WE acknowledge the right of die hard Rhodesians to reminisce about the so called good old days of white supremacy in pre-independence Zimbabwe but their decision yesterday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence by Ian Smith’s government in 1965 is an affront on the thousands of blacks who died fighting for this country.
Rhodesians worldwide held commemorations in their various outposts in Western Australia, the United States of America, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom with further events lined up for this weekend to mark the decision by Smith who on November 11, 1965, declared independence from Britain. At the weekend, the Rhodesian Services Association of Western Australia invited “all Rhodesians and friends” to a celebratory dinner at Government House Ballroom St George’s Terrace in Perth.
The money raised from raffle tickets was ostensibly meant to be donated to an outfit called Zimbabwe Pensioner Support Fund. Another event was slated for Bedford, Britain, over the same weekend. This weekend, events will be held at Novotel Waterloo, England; and Mesa, Arizona, among others. Another notice reads, “In Association with the British South Africa Police Regimental Association (Australia) And in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Ian Smith’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence. You are invited to attend a UDI ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION WEEKEND Where: COFFS HARBOUR, New South Wales” with various events and activities arranged. The Facebook page, Rhodesians Worldwide, is awash with messages of Rhodesian solidarity and scores of posts denigrating Zimbabwe’s independence and calling for regime change.
While it is within their rights for unrepentant Rhodies to congregate and celebrate the exploits of their murderous regime in the comforts of their homes, we feel the decision to go public is ill-advised. Rhodesia and apartheid South Africa belong to an era in the history of humanity which is regrettable and should never be celebrated. Any attempts to justify the actions of the white supremacist regime which ruled Rhodesia with an iron fist should be rejected by all right thinking people.
We are aware that there are communities of Rhodesians scattered all over the world and who still yearn for the good old days of white rule in Zimbabwe. We feel sorry for them because they are trapped in a time warp and are holding on to an illusion and dream which will never come to pass. White supremacists are a dying breed and the world has no place for their kind and their fossilised ideas.
The USA, the world’s so called biggest democracy, has a black president showing that things have radically changed from the era of black subjugation. Rhodesians worldwide should move with the times and embrace the new world order where race is not an issue. Pre-independence Zimbabwe cannot be expunged from history but celebrating the oppression of blacks by whites is akin to spurning the hand of reconciliation that was extended to the settler colonialists by then Prime Minister of a nascent Zimbabwean nation, Cde Robert Mugabe, in 1980. We are appalled that during their celebrations of UDI, the Rhodesians plan to commemorate their various victories in the war of independence.
That is the height of crass arrogance and insensitivity to the thousands of families who lost their loved ones so that Zimbabwe can enjoy majority rule and self determination. The irony is not lost on the rest of the world which yesterday commemorated Armistice Day (which celebrates the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I).
The event also coincided with Remembrance Day and Veterans Day held in remembrance of lives lost in the various world wars. In contrast, the Rhodesians’ commemorations are a celebration of mass murder and an unjust system which should be frowned upon. They should be ashamed of themselves because their actions are influencing young impressionable white youths who go on to commit heinous crimes in the name of white supremacy.
In June this year, Dylann Roof, 21, gunned down nine black worshippers at a church in South Carolina, USA, allegedly after being inspired by the white supremacist policies of Rhodesia and South Africa.
He was even pictured on his Facebook page wearing a jacket emblazoned with a Rhodesian flag. Is this what the Rhodesians who congregated yesterday to commemorate UDI want their legacy to be associated with? We certainly hope not and urge them to stop forthwith their laughable shenanigans of celebrating shameful events such as UDI. There is nothing worth celebrating except the mass murder and slaughter of innocents.