Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Murder in Africa

I once saw a bumper sticker on a car that said, simply, "Someone I love was murdered."

A woman was driving the car, and I was so effected that I almost couldn't focus on driving. I saw a woman - my mother, my aunts, my sister - carrying on with her life, but with a hole in her so deep she was moved to share it with the world.

I would feel the same way if someone I loved was murdered. So does a working contact I have made. She lives in Southern Africa, and two weeks ago her father, a farmer, was murdered by a mob.

In the normal course of our working relationship - email, she also operates as a safari outfitter and is a very talented photographer - I expressed my sympathy to her and told her I would do anything I could to help her, even help her share her story and shed some light on the plight of the white farmer in Southern Africa.

She responded as such:

Dear Robby

Thank you for your thoughts. Yes, my father was the kindest, most caring, gentle man who ever walked this earth. I have told the press and anyone who questions his death this: Daddy would have prayed for his murderers, while they killed him. He was not alone because God was beside him, and the light of eternal life was on him when he died. He sits at the right hand of God and I will see him again in a place where people do not steal, kill for power money, land or religion, where we can sit down with the lions that we fear and be at peace with people of all races. But until then I will make the world aware that my father was a good honest farmer, who did not deserve to die under the political corruption and unfair laws that make up this continent called Africa. I will tell the world of the killings on white farmers in Southern Africa and the statistic will make you weep, because you have no idea what is happening on this continent. The most saddening thing is the world's powerful leaders, who you and I have chosen to rule our countries have allowed my farther to be murdered and will most probably not allow his murderers to see justice. Why? Because George Bush is fighting Iraq, and what gain is there in Zimbabwe or South Africa (no oil, gold only a little)? The "world leaders" allowed Mugabe to get away with killing the white farmers for 28 years so what example is this? Tabo Mbeki, South African President, is following suit and nobody is going to stop him. Since 9Th January, the day my father was butchered and beaten to a bloody pulp by 50 or more Africans armed with knob kirries, and 200 bystanders, 4 other farmers have lost their lives in South Africa alone, in 3 provinces. I need to be my fathers voice to tell the world that THE KILLINGS MUST STOP. My father did not die in vain, his death will be the voice for the farmers in Africa.

But we pray for all farmers in Africa because they might not see tomorrow.

When you watch a "Hotel Rwanda" or read about the ethnic cleansing campaigns in Darfur and Somalia, remember that there are other groups who are viciously brutalized in Africa, leaving behind families who have no choice but to accept their deaths as part of a flawed system, with no justice system in place to make right such a horrid brutality.

I could never find peace in something like this, and my heart can only ache for her. Read Barbara Kingsolver's "The Poisonwood Bible," and do what you can to understand Africa as a continent. There is a very savage undertone that was once considered "impolite" to recognize. I don't think it's impolite to recognize the obvious. A lion in wait is a lion in wait.

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