African Tears: The Zimbabwe Land Invasions, by Buckle, Catherine
"They broke us eventually, crippled us psychologically and drove us to the brink of bankruptcy. They harassed us and our employees, tortured one of our workers, pulled a gun and threatened to kill me, slaughtered one of our oxen, roamed our fields with packs of hunting dogs, felled over 3,000 gum trees and burnt the entire farm to the ground. Our farm remains undesignated, unlisted and not required by the government for compulsory acquisition." Catherine Buckle.
""African Tears" is the story of a white farmer in Zimbabwe, living side by side with "war veterans" for 7 months. The veterans claimed the small 1,000-acre farm belonged to their ancestors. For 7 months the squatters watched and intimidated, claiming the farm field by field, "liberating" the small stock dams and then the timber plantation. The farm was claimed as a war veterans headquarters and every weekend political meetings were held in the field below the house--with hundreds in attendance.
Search your heart, revisit your past and squint into the future, into your greatest fears, your truest loves. Then understand that the emotional and psychological traumas one family has had to endure--in the face of unabashed greed, ignorance and savagery--has been pushed to its limits; their lives threatened; their farm stolen before their eyes and burned to the ground. Readers may well want to ask author Catherine Buckle, "If things are so bad in Zimbabwe, why don't they leave?" Her answer sums things up swiftly by asking, "How much longer are we going to be made to pay for the sins of our fathers, grandfathers?" She wants to know why history cannot be laid to rest. Blame for the injustices of the past has been placed squarely on the white population of Zimbabwe; she wants to know why the nation cannot accept this blame, admit that what went on 100 years ago was a disgrace, and move on. She admits openly that her patriotism is both old-fashioned and deep-set. "I love my country, I love the people here, I love being here. That's why I wrote 'African Tears.' Perhaps, because I don't want to leave. I want to belong."
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