Another page for the “blogging a book” project. All the posts for this project are categorised under “Memorable Moments”. This post describes my reaction to and thoughts about 9/11 from an ex Rhodesian’s point of view at the time and more recently as a dispossessed ex Zimbabwe farmer now living in Canada.
September 11th or 9/11 as it has become known since that terrible day 11 years ago when over 3000 people lost their lives in the most despicable act of terrorism on American soil. Our thoughts go out to all those who lost loved ones, family and friends on that terrible day.
I remember when I heard the news of the first plane flying into the World Trade Centre tower, I was in the granadilla (passion fruit) trellises on our farm in Zimbabwe. Acres of shady green tunnels with purple fruit hanging like Christmas decorations from the lush foliage. The news came over the two-way VHF radio I carried all the time for security. A neighbour had seen it on CNN. I thought it was a joke. How could the USA with all its technology, security systems and other resources, have been caught by surprise like that. Impossible. Other neighbours joined the conversation, many had heard or seen the news on radio or TV.
Still believing it a hoax, I went back to the house and turned on the TV, switched between CNN and BBC and discovered that it was not a joke and that it was worse than expected with four planes hijacked and deliberately crashed. Ironically, although Zimbabwe was a third world country rapidly heading to destruction, our satellite TV programme choices from a South African service provider were in many ways better than we can get from a single provider in Canada now 11 years later.
We were experiencing our own brand of terror at the time with the Mugabe government’s murderous wave of illegal farm seizures slowly but inexorably moving towards us. The first farms in our part of the country had already been seized. A farmer and workers murdered, many more viciously assaulted.
Like most of the world, we were glued to our TVs for the rest of the day (we were 6 hours ahead of Eastern Time) watching the disaster unfold, hearing the forecasts that up to 15 000 could be casualties.
It was also a grim reminder for me and fellow ex-Rhodesians that we had our own 9/11 22 years before. Similar in that civilian aircraft were the vehicles for an equally despicable terrorist atrocity. Different in that the rest of the world did not care, showed absolutely no sympathy and continued to force us to hand the government of our peaceful and economically successful country to the same terrorists who murdered the passengers on the two aircraft.
On 3 September 1978, the Viscount passenger plane “Hunyani” on a flight from Kariba to Salisbury was brought down by a Russian made SAM 7 surface to air missile fired by ZIPRA terrorists in the full knowledge that it was a civilian plane carrying holidaymakers home from a popular resort – Lake Kariba. Amazingly, the aircraft was able to crash-land, 18 passengers survived. Then in one of the most cowardly and brutal terrorist acts in modern history, 10 of those survivors, including two young girls, were shot to death on the ground by the terrorist gang.
A second Viscount, the “Umniati” was brought down by a missile on 12 February 1979 with the loss of all 59 passengers and crew. Again no condemnation by the rest of the world, no sympathy from our former World War 2 allies, just more pressure to hand over our country to the perpetrators of those two barbaric acts.
Joshua Nkomo, leader of ZIPRA, like most terrorist leaders, leading bravely from the rear, in his case from the relative safety of Lusaka, Zambia, boasted about the murders in a BBC interview. There was no attempt by any supposedly humanitarian Western government to bring him to justice. Only more condemnation when Rhodesian forces attempted to do it.
For a small country like Rhodesia the loss of 107 people in two terrorist incidents was a huge tragedy, more so because most of the victims were from the small (less than 400 000) White community. That is like a small city in North America losing 100 people in a terrorist attack.
I wrote about discernment in a recent post, the treatment of Rhodesia and Rhodesians is a classic case of an inability to discern between right and wrong in Western electorates thereby allowing their governments to sacrifice former allies and appease terrorists.
The result is a total disaster in modern Zimbabwe, a continent ruined by corrupt governments, billions of aid dollars squandered, millions of Africans condemned to brutally short, poverty and disease ridden lives.
Nice job by the Western Leaders of the time. UK Prime Ministers, Wilson, Callaghan, Margaret Thatcher,and US Presidents Ford and Carter and their underlings, all bear responsibility for the great betrayal and the deaths of thousands of innocent people and life-long misery of hundreds of thousands more..
For more information on the murder of the Viscount passengers, read Keith Nell’s book “Viscount Down”.
(I have no commercial interest in promoting the book)
Sympathies to all those who have lost loved ones to acts of terrorism. I have first hand experience of the sense of loss, outrage and injustice of it.