Angela Campbell and lessons from history


A PARAGRAPH describing how Angela Campbell’s photograph survived the inferno that gutted Benjamin Freeth’s farmhouse makes interesting reading.
“Finally, they (war veterans) burnt down the Campbells’ and Freeths’ homes.
The family lost almost everything save, miraculously, a tattered black and white photograph of Angela as a very young girl that had sustained her father when he was a prisoner of war in Germany in the Second World War.
He called it his ‘lucky charm’.”
Angela has become a recognisable character in Benjamin Freeth’s rantings.
That she is fond of the father, who once held her photograph as a ‘lucky charm’ in a German war prison, is not in doubt.
In Freeth’s malicious Mugabe and the White African, she says about him: “I don’t think by leaving or running away from the situation it’s going to help any because if you run away, my father always said somehow, the troubles will always follow you.
So, it’s better to be…you know…where you are and face the realities and threats …”
That Angela’s father’s ordeal in Nazi Germany made a deep impression on her is also not in doubt.
Again, in Mugabe and the White African, she holds a copy of the Zimbabwean tabloid that conspicuously displays the headline: ‘We are like Jews in Nazi Germany’.
It is a suggestion that the white settler-farmers in Zimbabwe are experiencing a Nazi type holocaust.
But, history that is now indelible read-only-memory is unkind to Freeth’s sad attempt to recreate the wrinkled old woman as a saint worthy of any sympathy.
The stubborn facts that Freeth cannot change to make his saintly façade stand are that Angela, the daughter of a survivor of the Nazi holocaust, ironically went on to marry Mike Campbell, an apartheid war criminal – an incorrigibly racist practitioner in the apartheid genocide, a holocaust which was in every way equivalent to, if not worse than, the Nazi disaster.
That in itself shows a tragic incapacity to introspect.
It flies in the face of the family’s association with ZIMRIGHTS, whose catch-phrase is: ‘You are the inferior of those whose human rights you trample’.
It is sadly simple-minded for Benjamin Freeth to want his readers to read sympathetic divine intervention into the fact that Angela’s tattered photograph survived both the Nazi war prison and the fire that gutted the houses the racists had built on stolen land.
Benjamin Freeth must be reminded that not every reader is a passive recipient of his racist propaganda.
We, the extremely lucky survivors of the genocide perpetrated on black people by Angela’s apartheid husband, are justly pre-disposed by that experience to have a different reading of Angela’s photograph.
For us, the photograph survived the inferno to indict her conscience (that is if she has any at all).
If Benjamin Freeth and his racist mother-in-law should one day develop human compassion, we pray that the Pauline moment also makes them understand that the photograph that will move our bleeding hearts is not the photograph of a racist white-settler who married an apartheid war criminal.
The photographs that will move our wounded hearts are the photographs of the apartheid war criminal’s victims at Nyadzonia, Chimoio, Tembwe, Mkushi, Freedom Camp, Chibondo and Butcher Farm.
Or, alternatively, the photographs that would move our hearts are the photographs of those who bereaved for us being found guilty and being hanged from our own gallows.
Angela is the daughter of a survivor of the Nazi holocaust.
It is a war in which the father was fighting the racial genocide of one race by another.
A war in which white war veterans were rewarded with land confiscated from their fellow black war veterans (who were rewarded with wrist-watches or bicycles).
Angela was the wife of Mike Campbell, the late apartheid war criminal.
Angela is the mother of Laura Campbell.
Laura Campbell is the wife of Benjamin Freeth.
Benjamin Freeth and Mike Campbell are the white farmers who contested the equitable re-distribution of land to the landless black majority.
What do you do with unrepentant racists who are incapable of introspection?
What do you do with ZIMRIGHTS associates who cannot apply their own catch-phrase to themselves?


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