A farmer, observing how the white farmers around him were being stopped from planting crops by the black mobs, thought he would accept his fate and simply leave. But one of the leaders asked him to plant his crop, tobacco, the chief currency earner. "What's the point, you'll only take it." "No, you plant, you'll be safe." He planted, the crop was a good one, and when it was reaped, baled, and ready, the mob leader told him that now he must get off the farm. "I am taking your farm and your tobacco."
Some white farmers are in Mozambique; they had to begin again without capital, implements, machinery. Skilled and hard-working, they will survive. They are in Zambia, invited by the black government: white farmers in Zambia produce nearly all the food. They are also in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, while the people in Zimbabwe are starving.
A month ago the black occupiers of a white farm, a ranch, drove dozens of cattle into a dam and drowned them. Traditionally Africans in Zimbabwe have loved cattle, their "mombies" as they call them. Cattle are currency, riches, links with the past, a promise for the future. It is hard to believe that Africans would harm them.
Another story is more hopeful. On a pig farm the animals were dying because they had not been fed and watered since the white farmers were thrown off the land. Drunken blacks had hacked pieces of meat off some of the pigs and left them to die. A white woman vet stood by weeping, forbidden to help the pigs. But then one of the new black settlers, unseen by the others, came to her and said, "We are townspeople, we have these animals now and don't know how to look after them. Please help us." They had taken a couple of the dying pigs and put them in a shed. The white woman went with him and began showing him and his wife how to look after the animals.
The latest news is that Mugabe, under a contract with a Chinese company, is importing Chinese farmers to grow food, since the forcibly acquired white farms are not producing. He says this is because there is no farm machinery. Yet all the expelled white farmers had been forced to leave behind their machinery. If lack of machinery is the problem, then why not import some? But is the story true? It has the tone of zany, brutal, hasty improvisation that characterizes news from Mugabe. We can pity the Chinese, who may not be protected against Mugabe's arbitrary cruelties. And what about the poor blacks who will yet again watch their land being taken from them?
—March 13, 2003