issue 155 | January 1986
Whatever happened to the 100,000 whites who left Zimbabwe after independence in 1980? A new newsletter, Rhodesians Worldwide, will tell you. The Israeli towns of Raanana and Netanya, for example, are home for an estimated 1,000 ex-Rhodesians who are busily organizing social events for each other. And Anthony Lewis, who now lives in Brazil, 'finds the odd word of Portuguese picked up on the beaches at Beira in the good old days comes in handy'. There are Rhodesians 'by the ton' in Papua New Guinea, most of them waiting for their Australian immigration papers to come through.
The 'Rhodesian Christian Group' in London offer to supply readers of the magazine with tapes of the speeches made by Ian Smith (and Harold Wilson) at the time of UDI. Only $11 - 'a must for you and your children'.
South Africa and Australia harbour the largest concentrations of nostalgic Rhodies. The South Africans are so fed up with all the reminiscing that they refer to the Rhodesian arrivals as the 'whenwes'.
MOTO magazine, August 1985
Inspired by a bigoted response to an Oxfam Canada mailing appealing for funds, we launched a modest competition in these columns. Oxfam Scotland has submitted this stiff challenge, a letter published in Dundee's 'The Courier':
Some readers . . . seem to take the view that we of European stock have not been too perfect in our past and have experienced our own brand of tribal warfare. But there is a vast difference between us and the black Africans.
We have a long history of politics and democracy behind us; we have learned from the past; we have sorted ourselves out. Black Africa's history is short and brutal and the blacks are reluctant and too obstinate to learn from their past.
Why should white South Africans accept the inevitable? They've made a success of their country; would they want to see it turned into a Marxist state?
They have the example of Zimbabwe before them.
When blacks move in, white investment is pulled out. The risks are too great, the result is chaos. Africa is littered with once successful countries ruled by whites, laid waste, enduring never-ending bush wars. But the blacks seem to ignore this.
Explore the highways and byways of myth and prejudice. Submit your favourite example reminding us how much still needs to be done on development education. Who knows, we may even publish it.
Who is the stingiest of them all?
Real Growth of Aid Disbursements 1977-78 to 1982-83
Average annual percentage change in real terms between period averages
Source: OECD 1984
Australia admits the persecuted
Iran's Baha'i community is said to be suffering the same fate as the Jews in Nazi Germany. According to Tom Price, spokesperson for the Baha'is in Australia: hundreds of Baha'is have been murdered, thousands tortured and tens of thousands forced into exile by Iran's religious zealots since the revolution in 1979.'
Islam proclaims that Muhammad was God's final messenger to mankind. But the Baha'i faith - an offshoot of Shi'ism, which is itself as minority branch of Islam - asserts that two prophets came after Muhammad. To Muslims this constitutes a new, perverted faith.
While Jews and Christians are allowed to practise their faith in Iran, the Baha'i are not. In fact, under the Iranian constitution, the Baha'is have no rights at all unless they recant their faith. The largest concentration of Baha'is, around 300,000, are still in Iran - out of approximately three million scattered worldwide. But they are looking to escape Khomeini's country. They do so via Turkey and Pakistan to the US, Canada, Australia and Scandinavia.
The US has accepted by far the largest number of these religious refugees, about 8,000. Last year Australia accepted 271. Mr Price also praises the Canberra administration which 'has been vocal in the United Nations over their (Baha'i) persecution.'
From Kari Wilson, Sydney, Australia. August 1985.
Acid rain now threatens ecological catastrophe on a scale much greater than previously thought, according to a new book from Earthscan, Acid Earth. Acid rain is still largely seen as an ecologist's concern affecting only pine forests and lakes in Scandinavia and Canada. But the situation has now changed in many respects.
For one thing 'acid rain' itself is now an outdated expression. The problem is acid pollution, which is transmitted as rain and mist, in dry air, in melting snow and through the soil itself. And it now appears that acid pollution is found not just in Europe and North America but in every continent of the world. Japan's soils, for example, may already be being damaged by acid pollution from China.
Motor vehicles now also seem to be an important source of acid pollution, with nitrogen oxides from their exhausts mixing with sulphur oxides from power stations and reacting with one another and with sunlight to form an unholy brew whose chemistry is very difficult to unravel.
The downwind countries like Norway, Sweden, Canada and Germany, bitterly resent the apparent indifference of the exporting countries. There is already talk in Sweden of taking Britain to the International Court, and in Norway of offering loans to Britain and Poland to finance anti-pollution measures at their power stations.
Hot air plus bubbly
Floating above the Kenyan bush in a hot air balloon is the newest way to view the country's wild life. An hour aloft in the 'Kenya Rainbow' costs $200 and includes a champagne breakfast. Who knows, you might also catch sight of the natives whose annual gross natural product is $390 per head, life expectancy is 53 years and daily eat about 88 per cent of their calorie requirements.
Statistical information from 'The State of the World's Children. 1985'
High tech answer to riots
The search for crowd and riot control weapons by police continues apace. South African security experts are looking at new weaponry designed to keep the crowd distant from the police. So far they have discovered the Pepper fog tear gas dispenser and the Sound Curdler, which emits high frequency shrieks that physically knock people over. Imported from the US for testing has been the Photic driver which sends glaring flashes into crowds and Chemical Mace. Other weapons include the Taser gun which delivers 50,000 volt shocks. Not tried yet but in the offing is sticking rain which sticks people together so they are immobile and skunk odour to flush people from houses.
From Compass News Features, Luxembourg, August 1985
'Man has long lost his ability to foresee and forestall.
'It is not enough to allow dissent. We must
Robert F Kennedy
'Those things which some possess in excess of
Help us keep this site free for all
New Internationalist is a lifeline for activists, campaigners and readers who value independent journalism. Please support us with a small recurring donation so we can keep it free to read online.