The Herald, May 17, 2008
When James McGee took up his posting in Zimbabwe, he made it clear Zimbabweans should never confuse his skin tint with the colour of his assignment here.
He had come as an agent and representative of the American Government and American interests.
These he would protect and pursue relentlessly, ruthlessly if need be.
I hope everyone took note. I certainly did, and still do.
But I also hope that by the same logic, Mr McGee granted Zimbabwe the same right, indeed freed it from obligations suggested by skin pigmentation.
When it comes to interests and purpose, he is decidedly white. When it comes to its purpose and interests, Zimbabwe is incurably black. Our paths may never meet. That must be plain and clear.
When black is white
I will favour him with a bit of information. His coming triggered debate on why white America had chosen a black surface for its envoy here, and at this point in the history of US-Zimbabwe relations. It is the same question debated here following the appointment of Powell, Rice and Frazer to high posts in the American Administration.
We knew Mr McGee’s chequered history in one country in our region, and in Madagascar. We knew his role in fighting America’s wars in Vietnam.
I remember someone quipping "White America is now so confident of the whiteness of its blacks that colour is no longer an issue. Colour is no longer a perspective. Look at Obama, he could be white America’s next President, far better at pushing her agenda than George W. Bush!"
I disagreed vehemently with that reading, reminding the owner of the frivolous point that Zimbabwe and Zanu-PF retain staunch support in respectable circles of African-African Americans; that as a matter of fact, many self respecting African-African Americans resent to be identified with these black pastes on America’s stripes and stars.
I also reminded the contributor that Obama was useful in knocking Clinton out of the race, herself the real threat to McCain, but never as a potential President of white America. McGee will deliver Zimbabwe to McCain, the same way Obama will clear the way for McCain’s presidency.
Reading from thongs
The debate went much further. How would we handle McGee in the event that he began to take a hostile line against Zimbabwe, in pursuit of white America’s interests? Again, I reminded the debate McGee would take a hostile line, sooner rather than later.
But I saw no dilemma: we would handle him like a white American, which is what he is, until he limps back home into the anonymity of retirement. But the debate still revealed to me a lingering complex, one deriving from history. Our incorrigible wish to be nice and good to anyone carrying our complexion, which make us so susceptible to needless dilemmas.
It is a disposition of gratuitous kindness, often against the imperatives of lived history. And if the cruel history we have lived and endured has not taught us that not everything black is indeed black, and that anything white cannot be black, I guess nothing ever will.
A people who cannot read from thongs of a cruel history, can hardly be expected to learn from fawned kisses and kindness deployed in peacetime. They have an acute wish to be loved and will smile after a sod splatter on their forehead.
Learning from Jews
The point goes much deeper. A people who cannot read or quantify the hurt of history, the massive injury done them by other nationalities in history, cannot be a people in history. Building a collective identity is based, among other things, on bitterness and bruises suffered and shared in history which become a rallying point for building a national project.
Ask the Jews who go as far as declaring war on whoever seeks to challenge the myth of the Nazi holocaust.
That myth founds them, sustains them, motivates them, unites them. Ask the Palestinians, themselves victims of Jewish victims. They know that each of their dead must go towards building an Arab counter-myth to the holocaust by which Jewish genocidal atrocities against them are beyond error and culpability for all time.
Using America’s colours
We put too much store in the man outside, forgetting the monster inside, we people of little judgement! As if we did not bring to the world the wisdom of the proverbial fig: sumptuous rind to please the eye, but dark, creeping vermin inside. True, the saying is meant to caution the love-smitten in the human drama of courtship.
But who says its semantic range is limited only mortal seductive beauty? No, it extends to warning one against the danger of colour-based solidarity belying an ugly and sinister white beneath. It is as if we forget America is a nation of colour. It has perfected the art of deploying its rich colours to effect. This is why multiculturalism and multicolour-ism are so key to understanding her foreign policy.
Arabised lips, Arab blood
When Iraq was rapped, the spokesperson for the "coalition of the willing" was a bloodshot American spotting the smoked skin and hard, thick lips of an Arab. Aggression and genocidal massacre of Iraqis was made palatable to the world by Arab lips.
That is how consent was manufactured, destruction of Arab life, endorsed and naturalised. The same happened in Afghanistan. The same would happen on the African continent the day America decides we deserve a bit of its hot, molten iron in our bodies, before it takes our prized raw materials.
America’s multiculturalism arises not from its largeness of heart, but from the sheer expansiveness of its global imperial designs. It is a weapon of war, which is why America’s citizens of dark shed eagerly await overseas aggression to find their place and glory, albeit for a short while.
If you are an American of Arab roots, you prayerfully hope Syria or Iran will be next, perchance the American military designates you spokesperson. If you are African-African American, you hope Zimbabwe is next so you become the black spokesperson cleansing such infamy.
The story of a good Rhodes
At some point, a black ambassador had to come to Zimbabwe. In fact he did, much early on, well before the situation in Zimbabwe was ripe for regime change, and before America had built a critical mass of "right-thinking" African-African Americans.
We had ambassador Ambassador Rhodes here, who turned to be a wrong and premature deployment of blackness.
Beyond his title as America’s ambassador here, he turned out to be an African-African American who read Garvey, Malcolm X and Nkrumah.
He never lasted. When the timing was right, a McGee had to come, the same way Andrew Young came in the late 1970s, to win for America the confidence of liberation movements which threatened to overrun white Rhodesia. It is very important to know that not everything black is not white.
The technique remains the same: see one side; hear one side; speak one side. We saw this at work in the run-up to the attack on Iraq. America built evidence with which to justify aggression, using sources which had a vested interest in damning Saddam Hussein and his Ba-athist party.
She built evidence from testimonials from persons opposed to Saddam, persons America herself had taken into exile in America, in preparation for Saddam’s ouster. Why did they expect the rat to plead for the accused groundnut? Now to brother McGee.
The last two weeks, McGee has been very active. He has led missions of diplomats, mostly western, to many places, if only to build a story of a Zanu-PF-led torture campaign in the countryside.
He has been to the Avenues Hospital; he has been to hospitals and clinics in Mvurwi, the so-called international media in tow. He has held interviews with anyone who has cared to ask for them.
He has harpooned African envoys, hoping to dramatise African outrage against Zanu-PF "atrocities".
In one interview, he revealed the whole game plan. It is to pin Zanu-PF and Zimbabwe down for debate in the Security Council, "which will happen very soon." Currently, Britain is in the chair.
Next month, America will be, which is what explains the man’s optimism. And his comments are outrageously unguarded, suggesting more an angry American fighting an unjust war in Vietnam, than a circumspect ambassador with any claim to polish. The violence is 99,9 percent Zanu-PF, he says. If there are any Zanu-PF victims — and he says he is not aware of these — these would have earned it by provoking an MDC retaliation!
The man has made up his mind and will not move or be moved by anyone, by anything. He is defiant, and will push aside the police to access any place. Using an arsenal of illegally imported b-gans, he pipes his choreographed encounters to CNN which obliges a line: "Zimbabwe authorities stop American ambassador twice". It is like you have dared ask God why he is called Almighty, you a mere, puny mortal!
Listening to himself
But McGee has some recommendation. People must see a video produced by some organisation called Solidarity Peace Trust clearly showing that Zanu-PF is culpable! You search who this organisation is and, the horror, the horror! It is an NGO registered in South Africa, co-chaired by Pius Ncube and Bishop Rubin Phillip of KwaZulu-Natal Anglican church.
The same Ncube of church sex-scandals, and who accosts America to invade and topple President Mugabe. The same Bishop Rubin who mounts action against Chinese arms shipment to southern African states, including Zimbabwe.
These are avowed enemies of Zanu-PF and unconditional supporters of the MDC, set up and sponsored by the American Government. Why would they have any other motive other than to damn Mugabe, Zanu-PF and Zimbabwe? Why would the American ambassador pretend discovery of material whose gathering and compilation he commissioned through his intelligence officers which his Government has now deployed in industrial quantities, having smelt Zanu-PF blood? Why feign distance?
Secondly, who are these victims? Who are the villains? What is this violence? Fundamental questions which fixation with images of torn buttocks is meant to push away. You have villagers who are clearly traumatised, but who have been rounded up and checked into Harare’s most expensive hospital, the Avenues Clinic.
They have even over-spilled to West End clinic. Until now, they were not known. They are not on any medical aid. Until now they would never have dreamt of such first class facilities. They have no money, clearly village wretches, not through the violence which has visited them, but by historical processes which McGee will not want to discuss. But they are in Avenues. They are predominantly women aged between 30 and 40, badly hurt and bruised. Surprisingly, these are calibrated injuries, mostly on buttocks, under feet and backbones. Relatives who visit them are all middle class coxcombs from the city.
They are very aggressive with hospital staff and immediately go quiet when hospital staff are within earshot. Once away, they are in deep discussions with victims, talking deep MDC politics, victims resting their heads on crispy issues of "The Zimbabwean".
Mr McGee, something is not adding up here. After visiting hours, these "relatives" troop out and congregate to swap animated gossip, all political, before disappearing in the direction of Harvest House or some such MDC-connected NGO offices and safe houses.
Dr. Lovemore, I presume?
Much worse, the rags-to-riches kingly victims have been checked in by one Dr. Lovemore, herself historically associated with ZCTU and Amani Trust.
She runs something called Counselling Services Union, again US/UK funded, and positioned just in time for violence we all did not know would come, but which the West predicted and wished through their media networks. More dramatically, Avenues Clinic has a standing contract with Counselling Services Union, clinched well before the poll and the violence!
Most dramatically, Counselling Services Union generously offers to pay admitting hospitals in currency of choice, with Avenues receiving payment in hard currencies. Goodness me! Including Doctors for Human Rights, which is why habitually scarce doctors will be abundant for this one assignment. And they are even keen to set aside rules governing visits to victims.
They will allow you anytime, grant you as much time as you want to get the outrage pasted on Zanu-PF. Come on!
Return of Selous Scouts
Let us not have short memories. We saw this kind of operation during our liberation struggle, did we not? We had Selous Scouts here, did we not? Cruel men of Rhodesia who melted into farming soon after the war. We had the Special Branch here, did we not? Cruel men who melted into civilian outfits soon after.
We had Rhodesia African Rifles, did we not? African askaris who came under the command of white officers the majority of whom were drawn from territorials. And territorials were white farmers. Rhodesia had a small standing army which got boosted from the farms. Have we forgotten that?
Which stupid Zanu-PFsupporter would create a torture base and leave it intact for Mr. McGee to come and inspect for maximum damage against Zanu-PF? Are we not stretching believability?
Has anyone asked why Gutu, Hurungwe, Buhera and Chikomba have become critical for MDC? What was the significance of these districts during the war?
And why is the violence following the zone of resettlement, targeting new farmers, Zanu-PF supporters or MDC turncoats?
Ambassador, are you puzzled by this like all of us? And why do you not visit victims of Mayo and Shamva?
What place do you give to UN reports which indicated MDC was a villain, not just a victim?
Rhodesia’s new war vets?
Why have you not investigated the role and place of white farmers in all this? Have they now found Rhodesia’s war vets in roving MDC thugs they have equipped with vehicles, cameras and crude weaponry, to effect new land occupations?
Are we not seeing MDC’s land policy unfolding ahead of the run-off? You get an MDC youth arrested on scenes of violence. He is unemployed, unkempt.
But he wields an expensive camera, a b-gan, and expensive cellphone with roving facility. The names in it include whites in the UK, America and South Africa, all linked to MDC activism. Those youths, abundantly unsophisticated, uneducated even, have hotlines to BBC and CNN.
How so Mr McGee, Mr Pocock?
So many questions, no one interested in answering them.
Zanu-PF has to be indicted, guilty or not guilty. Sooner than later the link between the violence, a former white now in self-exile and white commercial farmers who drifted back, will be made and Mr McGee shall have a major rethink.
Assuming his mission, conscience and decency are compatible. In the meantime, McGee defies his blackness, his history as a descendant of white atrocities, to become so wonderful, so lovely a white man. Icho!
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