THE SPINE OCTOBER 16, 2006
Robert Mugabe was in power in Zimbabwe already when I visited in 1985. Wherever and whenever we met locals, they would put on a radio (and put it on loud) to keep the political police from hearing our conversations. Not that we were planning anything. Nor was the country in disaster yet. But the skeptical citizenry, black and white, felt that government was inclined to be dictatorial, paranoid, cruel, and intent on what it blithely called land reform.
Land reform meant taking productive farms away from whites. I understand the revolutionary impulse. Alas, it also meant turning Zimbabwe, which had once been the Kansas of southern Africa and beyond, into a place of hunger and renewed hatred. If you were from Mugabe's tribe, you were the first to eat. If you weren't ... well, tough.
Here's a report from the Scotsman on what may happen in Zimbabwe now.