The handing over to Robert Mugabe of Rhodesia/Zimbabwe was another political betrayal by the establishment elite of the 1970s that I was well aware of and cared deeply about. This was a betrayal of both black and white, in reality the black Rhodesians were to suffer more than the white Rhodesians, although so many families from all races lost loved ones, and generations of fine achievement in partnership was destroyed. This destruction should never, and need never have happened, and like the Common Market Referendum and the deliberate sidelining of the Book of Common Prayer still affects the world of the British and their kindred countries.
As with the 1975 Referendum key information regarding the then Rhodesia were withheld from the majority of the British public. Some people though did know - the facts were there for anyone who really wanted to find out - what manner of man Robert Mugabe was well before the Lancaster Conference in London in 1980. He had been murdering and destroying for years, determinately pursuing his Marxist agenda.
Again as with the E.E.C. -Common Market there were books then - some are still available – articles and leaflets which told these facts. And yet in spite of the continual massacre of Christians, and non Christians - black and white - which did sometimes receive a little publicity, the majority of churchgoers and main stream churches, Christian Aid and other charities, Christian and otherwise, continued to pour money into Mugabe's coffers, which in reality were just helping to make coffins for ordinary blacks and whites.
I had never been to Rhodesia but I did have knowledge of New Guinea. I knew there were bad black men as well as good ones; it was patronizing to pretend otherwise, just as there were good and bad white men. I knew too the great benefits many colonials with local help had brought to the various countries in the British Empire. These truths however was not what one was expected to think - and were being manipulated to think - by the mass media and many in authority, from the mid 1960s onwards. Few individuals were able to stand away from this gross propaganda.
I was to experience first hand at Charlbury in Oxfordshire in the late 1970s this determination by Christian groups to do as the establishment told them to do. I tried to get some discussion going and some facts at least recognised regarding what was actually happening in Rhodesia. As missionaries had recently been murdered and it was a fact that money was going from Christian charities to those doing the murdering, one imagined Christian groups might be interested.
The opposite happened. All the local, active church folk treated me with most unpleasant contempt, some verbally abused me, others ostracised me. My own Church of England vicar, the local Jesuit priest, the Uniting Church and Baptist ministers allowed this to happen. One evening at a meeting in a large upper room filled with people when the subject of Rhodesia was mentioned the whole group turned against me. There was shouting and waving, jumping up and down, taunts, mocking laughter. I was not allowed to speak; a brave room of people indeed – against one youngish lady. The only one person who had supported me - in private - the Anglican church warden, was sick that night!
Of course events in Zimbabwe after Robert Mugabe obtained power showed that people like me had been right but by then it was all too late. Decades of suffering followed for Zimbabwe. And still to some extant continues. It could all have been avoided.
My personal experiences of neighbourhood Christians at that time are reflected in the following poem published in my fourth book of poetry LEAVES 1986.
That these so pleasant hills
Can hold and hide
Hearts that do hate
With such a sureful pride
That lanes now blossoming beauty
Are home to men
Determined so to twist
All knowledge into knots
Like Wychwood of old
This town is forest
To a darkness
That has no sun
As eyes are shadowed still.
How well does Charlbury prove
As shut in sin
Its people praise the Lie,
Strut forth, as gods, entombed.
Remember Rhodesia also relates to those years. This was printed as a leaflet in 1981 by the LINUS SOCIETY and distributed in the following years.
Whilst asleep, Caractacus Pendragon of Britain was betrayed by his cousin to the Roman invaders, circa 52 A.D. He was taken captive to Rome with his family.
Rhodesia,a Christian nation, was betrayed by the British Parliament to the Marxist forces, March 1980.
"Betrayed not conquered",
Thus did he speak
Betrayed not conquered,
Thus did she speak
By stealth Caractacus was caught,
He Christian Prince
By his own cousin given
Prisoner to that pagan Rome
Whose Claudian Edict said,
"Exterminate Christian Britain”.
Rhodesia by her kin betrayed,
Her blood by Britain spilt
By order of that modern Rome
Which plans to crush out Christ
And rule a deadly heap of men
Through one, snaked Marxist state.
Church and Parliament have bowed
Before the shrine of Satan;
He, idol of the first Lie,
Has lipped them all to lie
And squeeze from Rhodesian black and white
The blood that trusted Britain.
Rhodesia to dark Africa gave
The lantern of Christ's love,
And from the painful fearing night
Dawn with blessed light arose
Upon minerals, food and Christian hope,
Now all to night returns.
Whither goes Rhodesia now,
For truth is twisted into chains
Yoking her people to the Lie
That turns men into beasts -
Strips Christ down into Marx.
Whither goes Rhodesia and whither now goes Britain?
Betrayed Caractacus in Rome,
Servant of Christ, did with his kin
Founded the Christian Faith,
Freed men from darkness.
Remember now Rhodesia
She too Christ's Will may serve.
LINUS SOCIETY l 9 8 l
Some of my other religious and political poetry, written from the early 1980s onwards has been published in my later volumes of poetry.