“Hondo!” in Zimbabwe

President Mugabe’s war on white farm owners reveals a nation whose “solutions” are worse than its problems.
From the September 2001 Trumpet Print Edition

Nearly 200 hundred people chanted in unison, “Hondo!”—an African word for war. They had come to claim the land by force.

They carried sticks and pangas, an African machete frequently used for cutting bamboo and small trees. Some carried guns. Their claim to the land came from the president of Zimbabwe himself, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, who has promised to seize the land of white farmers and distribute it to the black population of Zimbabwe.

The owners of this particular farm, Ian and Catherine Buckle, with their 7-year-old son, Richard, had purchased this land only ten years before from the same government that was now threatening to seize it. They had robbed no one. Yet the Buckles now found their land and the surrounding farms of their neighbors filled with squatters and the continual threat of violence.

The police did nothing to help them. For six long months, the Buckles tried to wait the crisis out, to save the only home their son had ever known. But in the end, like so many other white farmers in Zimbabwe, they finally packed up and left the country. It was the only way out of this terrifying situation.

Catherine Buckle, author of African Tears—The Zimbabwe Land Invasions, wrote the following upon making the decision to leave her farm: “We all begin to feel more than a little like the Jews who were stripped of their human rights, their property rights and then their lives in Nazi Germany. We can only hope and pray that, for us, we can leave our land with our lives and can remain in the country of our birth and try to rebuild. Ethnic cleansing—such a strange term. How terrifying to be the victims of it. …

“For Zimbabwe I weep. What is to become of her and her people when, by this time next year, it won’t be only diesel and paraffin we are queuing for but bread, sugar, maize meal, etc. There are now many farmers doing what we are doing. Agriculture has become untenable. There is no end in sight. There is no one that seems able to quell this insanity. How very sad that it has come to this.”

The Buckles are just the tip of the iceberg. President Mugabe’s government has approved the seizing of at least 5,200 farms in Zimbabwe (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, June 29). The Buckles were not even on this list. The fact that they are white-skinned was enough for the government to turn a blind eye to the invaders on their land. Other farmers have been beaten and even killed in these land invasions.

President Mugabe openly supports the invasions, saying that the forcible acquisition of thousands of white-owned farms would “complete the struggle for the complete decolonization of our country and our continent as a whole” (bbc, July 24). He has allowed this situation to escalate into a disaster, politically, economically and socially. The uproar of his own people has fallen on deaf ears.

Mugabe has answered the cries of protest from the international community by demanding millions of dollars in compensation from the United Kingdom. He blames Britain for creating Zimbabwe’s problems; Zimbabwe, until 1965, was a colony of Britain. President Mugabe does not want Britain’s support. He does, however, want their cash. The less Britain is involved in Zimbabwe, the worse the situation becomes, and the more blame Mugabe casts in their direction.

The results have been economically devastating to Zimbabwe. According to bbc News, both inflation and unemployment rates are over 60 percent—over half of the population simply has no work. There have been riots over bread. The most basic needs of citizens, black and white alike, are not being met.

Earlier this year, President Mugabe ordered the country’s commercial banks to sell all their foreign currency to either the state-owned-and-operated national oil company or to the nation’s central bank. This desperate measure was intended to help the government pay its overseas debts. This will force companies to pay foreign suppliers of goods and services in Zimbabwean dollars. “Exporters will be forced to accept the official exchange rate of 55 Zimbabwe dollars to us$1 instead of the market rate of 80 to 1” (bbc News, Feb. 11). At a time when Zimbabwe is already in economic turmoil, this spells absolute disaster.

At the same time, Zimbabwe faces the greatest health crisis in the world: More than a quarter of Zimbabwe’s 14 million citizens are infected with hiv. No family has gone untouched by this calamity. The United Nations Children’s Fund (unicef) projects that Zimbabwe’s average life expectancy would drop from 44 to 27 years within the next decade (Excite News, June 22). The death toll is on the rise. Millions of citizens will die in the next few years. In many ways, it is already too late to rescue the situation, and the steps that are being taken only highlight this reality.

At the recent summit in Genoa, Italy, “G-8 members wooed the developing world by inviting African nations to attend the summit as observers and by discussing poverty reduction measures, including debt relief, a global aids fund and education” (www.stratfor.com, July 27). The powers of the world certainly seem to want to help Africa, but the reality is that it is little more than a show of sympathy.

“Though the G-8 communique touted current debt relief programs, which total about $53 billion, it failed to propose or support any new relief initiatives. Likewise, the communique pointed to its commitment to a $1.3 billion global health fund to fight the pandemics of tuberculosis, malaria and hiv/aids that grip the developing world. But according to the Financial Times, these funds are merely a re-labeling of existing aid budgets, and the $1.3 billion dollar pledge pales in comparison to the $7 billion to $10 billion annually that the United Nations says is needed” (ibid.). In other words, the African nations were promised money that they were already receiving, and no meaningful progress was made toward halting the death of millions and the collapse of the African nations.

How did things get so bad? Why has Africa fallen into such a horrific nightmare?

Blessings From God

Social, economic and political issues aside, Zimbabwe has many natural blessings: a stunning landscape, an ideal climate. There are numerous deposits of gold, coal and metal ores. The land is fertile and yields abundant cash crops. It has a self-supporting cattle and dairy industry. What a fantastic potential this country could realize!

In 1923, Zimbabwe, which was then known as Southern Rhodesia, was annexed under the British crown and became a part of the greatest empire the world has ever known. Certainly no empire has ever been blessed as the British Empire was.

The vast national riches and material blessings that both the British Empire and the United States have enjoyed are a direct blessing from God, because of the obedience of Abraham. In Genesis 17:4-5, God told Abraham, then called Abram, that he would become a father of many nations. Abraham’s son, Isaac, passed these promises on to his son Jacob when he prayed over him: “Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother’s sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee” (Gen. 27:28-29). These nations would have great wealth and fantastic material blessings given to them by God Himself.

When Jacob, who was renamed Israel, became old, he prayed over his two grandsons Ephraim and Manasseh, asking God to put his name—Israel—on them (Gen. 48:16). Therefore, when we read about Israel in prophecy, it refers to the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh, not to the Jews, who are the descendants of Judah. In verse 19, we read that Manasseh “shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother [Ephraim] shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude [or a commonwealth] of nations.” In The United States and Britain in Prophecy, Herbert W. Armstrong proved in detail that the promises made to Ephraim were fulfilled by the blessings bestowed on the British Empire. (We will give you a free copy of this booklet upon request.)

As a part of this “multitude of nations,” Zimbabwe was a direct recipient of those blessings that God made to Abraham so long ago. But in 1965, Ian Smith, then the prime minister of Rhodesia, unilaterally declared independence from Britain. This cut Zimbabwe off from the blessings of Ephraim. In 1979, bereft of international support, his nation bleeding from the imposition of heavy trade sanctions, and after years of intense guerrilla warfare led by Robert Mugabe, Ian Smith finally gave in, relinquishing control of the government to those he had been fighting.

Now, he too is a victim of the land invasions. On May 14, 2000, dozens of angry supporters of Robert Mugabe invaded Ian Smith’s 6,000-acre cattle ranch (Guardian, May 15, 2000).

Pride of Their Power—Broken

God prophesied that He would break the pride of Britain’s power, and that their strength would be spent in vain (Lev. 26:19-20). Britain has already lost its major strategic sea gates. Its possessions are but a pale shadow of what they once were, and they lost any claim to being an empire four decades ago.

In Hosea 4:17-19, God says, “Ephraim [Britain] is joined to idols: let him alone. Their drink is sour: they have committed whoredom continually: her rulers with shame do love, Give ye. The wind hath bound her up in her wings, and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices.”

Because of Britain’s sins, God has removed their national blessings, including the colonies that were once part of Britain’s vast empire. The entire world is suffering as a result. Nowhere is this more evident than in Zimbabwe.

Today, the leaders of Zimbabwe are the sworn enemies of colonialism. This is like flailing in the wind, since Zimbabwe has not had a leader of British descent since 1979. President Mugabe and other leaders are actually fighting the legacy of colonialism, fighting to tear down what was built during the colonial period. The white farmers, those British who have never called any place but Zimbabwe home, are being beaten and even killed because they are white and live on land that President Mugabe has promised to blacks. The leadership is fiercely destroying everything built over the last century. Every blessing that remains is being taken from the Zimbabwean people against their will.

Consider the following passage from the article “Rhodesia to Zimbabwe: Peace at Last?” in the May 1980 Plain Truth magazine: “Often in the past the ascetic, intellectual new prime minister [Robert Mugabe] talked about expropriating white land holdings, nationalizing private industry, setting up a one-party Marxist state and dispensing with future elections as a ‘luxury’ his country could no longer afford. Now, however, bowing to reality, Prime Minister Mugabe forswears nationalization and vows not to interfere with private property. Only presently unused farm land will be distributed to rural blacks—and present owners will be compensated for it. It is felt that Mr. Mugabe has not, down deep, disavowed his Marxist principles.”

Now President Mugabe’s government is applying the “Marxist principles,” that the Plain Truth wrote about over 20 years ago. In his first-ever address to the commercial farmer’s union on August 1, Zimbabwe’s land minister, Joseph Made, shocked white farmers by directing that 90 percent of white-owned land would be taken over by ethnic black Zimbabweans. This represents an increase of 3.3 million hectares over and above the 5 million hectares originally indicated by the government.

The farmers in Zimbabwe still hold out hope that Mugabe’s presidency will finally collapse and the country return to some semblance of normalcy. This is, however, a vain hope, considering the legacy of post-colonial rule in the rest of the African continent.

Even if President Mugabe were removed from office today, it would already be too late for Zimbabwe. Their situation is far too critical to be solved internally, and the international community simply does not have a solution for the problems of Africa in general, much less that of Zimbabwe. But God does have a solution.

However hopeless things may appear now, Zimbabwe will prosper again—as will every other nation on the face of the Earth. Every man will have his own land: “But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it” (Mic. 4:4). The violence that families like the Buckles are experiencing today will be wiped away. “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:9).

History of the G-8

From the September 2001 Trumpet Print Edition

In November 1975, at the suggestion of French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing, a summit meeting was held at a sleepy chateau in Rambouillet, France. The meeting brought together the heads of state from France, the United States, Great Britain, Germany, Japan and Italy.

Born of the necessity for combining efforts to deal with the oil crisis, the meeting was intended as a one-time event. Attendees thought the exercise was so profitable that they determined to meet every year to discuss the principal political and economic issues and their consequences on the global community.

Canada joined in 1976, and the European Community entered at the 1977 summit, making up the group formally known as the G-7. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the rapid collapse of the Soviet Union thereafter, Russia was offered membership to the exclusive club at the Denver meeting in 1997, making up what was renamed and we know today as the G-8.

Since that inaugural summit in Rambouillet, there have been 27 meetings of these leading industrialized nations. Issues discussed by the participating nations have included international business, employment, environment, crime, drugs, arms control and nuclear safety.

“[The] drastic increase in the importance of industrial capacity for national power has also accentuated the traditional distinction between great and small powers. The very term ‘superpower’ points to an unprecedented accumulation of power in the hands of a few nations, which sets these nations apart not only from the small ones but from the traditional great powers as well” (Politics Among Nations, p.135).

The leading industrialized nations in the G-8 account for over 65 percent of total global production. G-8 trade and investment with other nations has established the Group of Eight as the gatekeeper of developing nations’ prosperity.

Qualified Leadership

From the September 2001 Trumpet Print Edition

In an interview with Bryant Gumbel last year, Martin Gross expressed his extreme displeasure over America’s inability to solve its many financial woes. “Listen, they [the politicians] talk to me and say, ‘Mr. Gross, you’re right,’ and nothing happens. You know why nothing happens? Because there is no one in charge. The politicians know politics and know nothing about government,” he said.

He pinpoints the cause of this world’s soon-coming economic collapse: irresponsible leadership. That’s why, when Jesus came the first time, He spoke about the Kingdom of God—God’s family government—to be restored to this Earth when He comes a second time. For the past 6,000 years, God has been preparing leaders to fill certain posts within that family government—leaders who know everything about government.

One such example is Joseph. As a young lad, barely out of his teens, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. In Egypt, he ended up serving in the house of Potiphar. And yet, even in slavery, God says Joseph was a “prosperous man” (Gen. 39:2). Potiphar took note of Joseph’s wise stewardship and made him overseer of all that he had (vv. 3-4). God blessed Potiphar’s house all the more as a result of the kindness he showed Joseph (v. 5).

Joseph was in a position not unlike politicians of today. He was given charge over much wealth and prosperity—and none of it belonged to him. God wanted to see if he could unselfishly handle the goods and riches of another—and do so with wisdom and prudence.

“And [Potiphar] left all that he had in Joseph’s hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favored” (v. 6). Potiphar did not worry about one thing with Joseph overseeing his estate. Joseph didn’t drag him into debt. He didn’t embezzle funds. He didn’t write bad checks. He didn’t covet all that his boss had. He didn’t even cheat on Potiphar’s behalf. He was a goodly, trustworthy, honest, hard-working finance manager!

Even Potiphar’s evil wife could not diminish Joseph’s unblemished character. She falsely accused Joseph of

seducing her, and Potiphar unwisely believed her and sentenced Joseph to a prison term. Yet, even in jail, Joseph was given charge over all the prisoners! “The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the Lord was with [Joseph], and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper” (v. 23). Joseph spent two years “prospering” in prison.

While in prison, the Pharaoh summoned him to interpret one of his dreams. Joseph gave him God’s interpretation—Egypt was to enjoy seven years of prosperity, followed by seven years of famine (Gen. 41:25-30). Joseph advised Pharaoh to appoint someone to oversee Egypt’s agricultural economy so it could begin to prepare for the seven lean years (v. 33).

Pharaoh, like Potiphar and the jail-keeper before him, could immediately see that Joseph understood how to handle prosperity. He told Joseph, “Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, See, I have set thee over all the land of Egypt” (vv. 40-41).

As a slave, Joseph was placed in charge of Potiphar’s belongings. As a prisoner, he oversaw the jail-keeper’s responsibilities. Finally, Pharaoh placed him in charge of all Egypt! Obviously, God was preparing this man for a special position in His Kingdom. Herbert W. Armstrong wrote about that in his book The Wonderful World Tomorrow—What it Will Be Like: “Joseph became food administrator of the greatest nation on earth of that time—Egypt. Joseph was synonymous with ‘prosperity.’ … He was made actual ruler for the pharaoh of the world’s greatest nation. But his specialty was dealing with the economy—with prosperity. And what he did, he did God’s way.

“It seems evident, therefore, that Joseph will be made director of the world’s economy—its agriculture, its industry, its technology, and its commerce—as well as its money and monetary system. These systems will be on the international level, the same in every nation.

“Undoubtedly Joseph will develop a large and perfectly efficient organization of immortals made perfect, with and under him in this vast administration. This will be an administration that will eliminate famine, starvation, poverty. There will be no poverty-stricken slums. There will be universal prosperity!”

The reason for this revolutionary change is that, finally, there will be a qualified and responsible leader at the helm of the world’s economy who understands everything about government.

October Slide

From the September 2001 Trumpet Print Edition

The world teeters on the brink of global recession yet again. Growth is faltering in the world’s two largest economies—the European Union and the U.S.—and continues to evade the third, Japan.

The most recent worry centers on Latin America. Previous to the East Asian

financial meltdown of the 1990s, it was Latin America that most threatened global economic stability. Now the wheel has turned, and once again it is Latino economies which scare stock traders around the world.

In a sign reflecting this fear, the imf announced in August that it was granting a $15 billion emergency line of credit to Brazil. At the same time, it prepared to speed up a $1.2 billion loan installment for Argentina.

It was not so much these actions that set off alarm bells as it was the speed with which these announcements came. This was a reaction to Brazil’s currency hitting historic lows coupled with emerging fears that Argentina would default on its $128 billion debt and also devalue its currency, the peso.

The prospect of the Asian scenario repeating itself in Latin America is the new worry for global economists at the very time when those main engines of growth—the EU, the U.S. and Japan—are in trouble.

In a seeming head-in-the-sand approach to the problem, the German head of the imf praised Brazilian and Argentinean efforts to bring their economies back on track. His praise belies the structural weakness of these largest of the Latino economies.

Even as observers watched for a positive turnaround following the imf announcements, a former official of the federation, Morris Goldstein, observed, “It’s an indication that [imf and U.S. officials] are very worried about contagion, worried about global risks and worried about weakness” (Washington Post, Aug. 4).

The onset of the northern autumn is traditionally a signal for a stock market slide. The global economy enters this fall very wobbly, facing the full implementation of the weak euro in January.

The next few months will prove crucial to the survival of the world’s economic structure in its present form.

A Warning of Hope

Christ said to preach “good news.” So why is the Trumpet so full of the bad?
From the September 2001 Trumpet Print Edition

The word gospel means good news. And what fantastic news it is. Peace and prosperity are about to fill the Earth. The knowledge of the Lord will cover the Earth as the waters cover the sea. Jesus Christ will set up His government, and Satan will be locked away where he can do no further harm to anyone.

Christ told us to preach the gospel, the good news of His coming Kingdom, to every creature (Mark 16:15).Why, then, does the Trumpet so frequently focus on the problems of the world? Why write about the seemingly limitless evil that exists today? Why dwell on the horrible times just ahead of us? Wouldn’t our time be better spent telling about the wondrous times that are coming, shining a spotlight on the glorious Kingdom of God?

It would be nice to be able to do only that. It would, undoubtedly, be a popular message—but it would also leave the world without hope!

God gives the command to warn for a reason: He wants people to repent. In His loving mercy, God will do anything possible to spare us from the terrible times that are coming. A warning is the only hope anyone has of being spared.

The book of Jonah tells the story of a city named Nineveh that was about to be destroyed because of its sins. God sent a prophet, Jonah, to the city to warn of coming destruction. Initially, Jonah fled from that duty. Who would want to carry such an unpopular message? But as Jonah’s example shows, if God’s warning is not given—if the messenger does not deliver the warning God gives him—he just might end up in the belly of a whale. God requires that His warning be delivered.

Imagine if God had allowed Jonah to shirk his duty. What if Jonah had just given a message that talked only about the glorious future ahead, ignoring the warnings God had given? Nineveh would have been utterly destroyed, with every inhabitant looking for this fabulous future that God’s prophet had told them about, but finding only the most terrifying destruction they had ever seen.

But what amazing results Jonah’s warning had. The entire city’s inhabitants, under the direction of their leaders, humbled themselves in sackcloth and ashes, fasted before God, and truly repented. The city was spared the horrible fate they had been warned about. This was—and remains to this day—the only time in history that a Gentile city has repented before God. What an example of hope they left for our time today. What beautiful results the warning God sent had in Nineveh. Please write for a free copy of our booklet about Jonah.

The nations of the world today are in the same situation that the city of Nineveh was in nearly 2,800 years ago—filled with sin, and on the brink of destruction. The warning is being delivered. If even one nation would repent, God would spare it as surely as He did Nineveh. But the world has, unhappily, become so immoral that the chances of even a single nation turning away from its present course of destruction are pitifully low. Although they are being given the chance to repent, the nations of this world probably will not. The world’s leaders will almost certainly reject the forgiveness that God is offering them. But what about you?

The Bible gives only one example like that of Nineveh, but is filled with examples of individual repentance. And if we look to God for deliverance, He can protect us just as surely as He protected Daniel from the jaws of the lions. He can bless us in our individual lives as He did Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and so many others. The warning that you are receiving today fills your life with hope!

The Kingdom is coming. Imagine how much different things will be when God’s laws are obeyed. Swords will be beaten into plowshares. There will be no more war or poverty. Children will be able to play in the streets without fear, and the desert will blossom as the rose. Everyone will live the way of give, so competition, wrong business practices and other evils will be things of the past. Religious instruction will flow out from Jerusalem, given by Jesus Christ Himself—religious bickering will be eliminated, and the Church will finally have perfect unity. All nations will obey the King of kings.

At that point, there will no longer be a need for a warning.

But in order for this time of peace and prosperity to come, the sin that is on this Earth now must be wiped away. Mankind must see what dreadful results our 6,000 years of self-rule have created. The evil that exists today must be removed for mankind to truly live the abundant life, for the godly way of life to cover the Earth.

The horrors of the Great Tribulation will lead into the millennial rule of Jesus Christ, the greatest time of peace and prosperity that has ever been. Until then, both the message of God’s soon-coming Kingdom and the warning simply must go out, as they did in Jonah’s day. This warning is filled with hope!

The Problem Spreads

From the September 2001 Trumpet Print Edition

Rather than decreasing in Zimbabwe, the problems have only began to spread to Zimbabwe’s neighbor, South Africa. Holding the infamous reputation for the highest murder and rape statistics in the world, South Africa is witnessing an increasing number of deaths of white farmers as blacks move onto white farmland.

The greatest fear of white farmers in South Africa is that the example of land seizure set by Zimbabwe will become the accepted policy of South African Prime Minister Thabo Mbeke’s coalition government. With pressure mounting from hordes of blacks for the government to fulfill its election promise to house its huge population of homeless, it seems inevitable that South Africa’s white farmers will soon face a similar situation to that in Zimbabwe.

The current generation of Caucasians, whose forefathers pioneered civilized settlement in Southern Africa—worked the land, built the roads, developed the infrastructure, raised the health, education and welfare of the ethnic black population to unprecedented levels—seem destined to have their hands powerfully bitten by those whom they, for so long, have fed.