I have finally finished reading Mugabe and the White African, written by Ben Freeth. It was not an easy read, or an enjoyable one for that matter. It reminded me of The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom in that respect. One big difference between those two books, however, is that The Hiding Place tells of events that happened many years before I was even born. Mugabe and the White African, on the other hand, chronicles horrible, shameless events that are happening as I type.
I wrote some of the background of the story in my last post. Robert Mugabe is the current President in Zimbabwe, and he has openly and unapologetically changed that country's constitution to make it illegal for any white person to own land there. In essence, all land is controlled by the government, and the land is taken from the white farmers and 'redistributed' to black peasants--on paper, anyway. Freeth tells the story of his family's history with being African residents and landowners, and details Mugabe's reign of terror in much detail. He documents specific dates, encounters, interactions and legal battles that have occurred over the years, which helps explain why Zimbabwe has gone from a land of prosperity to one of the poorest countries on earth in the relatively short time that Mugabe has been in power.
Of particular interest is the background and outcome of the international court case filed by Freeth's father-in-law, Mike Campbell, against Mugabe. After many delays and postponements, the courts (in Namibia, not Zimbabwe) ruled in favor of Campbell, stating that the white landowners could retain ownership of their land. It was a great civil rights victory, but totally ignored by Mugabe and his government. Freeth goes on to tell of how his family lived in constant fear, and their farms completely destroyed by Mugabe's henchmen anyway. Mr. Campbell was so severely beaten, that he died just a few months ago from injuries sustained from ONE of the times he was beaten up.
There are so many details and stories in this book that bear knowing and repeating. I couldn't help but think of the quote; "All it takes for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing". Mr. Freeth was very clear in this book that he and his family feel called by God to fight this battle. He wishes there were many others alongside them, but even if all leave, his family will continue to stand as long as possible to confront what he characterizes as pure evil and satanic forces. I have heard various missionaries to Africa say that although it is something that most Westerners just can't grasp, the powers of evil and destruction are very real and evident is so many places there. It sounds like just the kind of setting where Christ followers should be fighting, and this book chronicles one family's experiences with that so effectively.
This book has also provided much material for me and my husband to talk about. Would I be willing to do what this family has done? At what point do you just give up and give in and leave? Do you potentially sacrifice your family for a belief? How effective can being a martyr be? Is it providential that I received this book to review? Is it providential for anyone who might read this blog? What do we do with this information now?