In July 2008, this blog posted of the horrendous attack on an elderly white farmer, Mike Campbell, 75, by a bunch of Mugabe's black savages, Violence continues in Zimbabwe. Campbell had been severely beaten, his wife and son-in-law were kidnapped and later found along a stretch of road also bloodied and beaten. Mike Campbell was concussed and his collar bone was broken. His wife, Angela, 66, had her arm broken in two places. Their son-in-law, Ben Freeth had cuts and bruises and had been beaten on the soles of his feet. Despite being told not to return to his farm, Campbell was defiant and returned to his farm in August 2008.
This article from the Los Angeles Times picks up on their story where the Campbell's are slowly losing the battle to keep their farm. As fellow blogger Vanilla Ice justly queried, why is it that the media expends so much focus on an isolated racial incident where whites are the alleged suspects but seldom report on violent acts where non-whites are the perpetrators, the story of 4000, I repeat, FOUR THOUSAND whites being attacked and driven off their land by blacks. This video tells the tale of their attack.
Zuma vows to continue supporting Harare
AFP (June 6, 2009) - Zimbabwe defied court order on white farmers: regional tribunal
Mad Bob's thugs chanted: 'We will eat your children'
Zimbabwe: Letter From The Diaspora!
Possession is nine-tenths of the law. That's Mike Campbell's bitter motto.
"The moment you move off, you're finished," is how he puts it.
The thugs who want his farm almost finished him. They beat the 75-year-old so badly last July that he hasn't been quite the same since. They broke his wife's arm. But the Campbells weren't finished yet. Ignoring their nightmares and their forebodings, they went home to their farm.
Returning to the land where he'd lived for 36 years, Campbell prepared himself for the empty closets, the looted farmhouse.
But he wasn't ready for the sight that greeted him, driving through the gate that August day: All the farmworkers had gathered in welcome.
"It was quite an emotional time. They were shaking hands. I even got some hugs, which no one would believe. But I did," he says, sounding almost surprised.
Relieved to be alive and back home, Campbell got on with his job. But when he sat down to calculate how much fertilizer to spray on an acre of crops, the numbers mocked him. He tried again. And again. But a simple sum he'd done all his life was beyond him.
"I just can't work it out. It's like a closed book," he says.
He forgot things or lost his way in the middle of a sentence, as if he'd aged overnight. He felt useless and depressed. His doctors say he sustained brain damage in the beatings. "I'm very much slower than I used to be. My brain doesn't work," he says over a cup of tea.
"It does. A little bit," his wife, Angela, insists gently.
"A little bit," he frowns. "But not much."
Hardened after years of loss and disappointment, the old farmer can be a little gruff at times.
Angela Campbell (nowadays gently correcting anything misremembered) has always been the soft, idealistic one, the foil to his tough, cynical side.
Whenever she sees their ancient chestnut horse, Ginger, standing patiently on the veranda outside the window, she hurries to feed him slices of bread. It is she who picks the ticks off him, and carefully washes the cancerous growth on his eye.
It is she who worries about him now.
Thousands of farmers were forced off their land when President Robert Mugabe told war veterans to invade white-owned farms in 2000. The seizures destroyed agriculture and the economy, ultimately undermining the entire public sector, including healthcare and education.
A top ruling party official was determined to get Campbell's lush 3,000-acre citrus and mango farm, Mount Carmel, about 60 miles south of the capital, Harare. But Campbell clung on.
Even after last year's beating, Campbell, bruised and frail, was unbowed. In an interview for an earlier article on the tenacious farmer, he said, "I don't think we would ever have given up."
In a sense, Campbell outlasted Mugabe: He lived to see the president forced to agree in September to share power with the opposition.
Then Campbell and 77 other farmers won a landmark case in November challenging the farm evictions. Southern Africa's highest court, the Southern African Development Community tribunal, ordered authorities to protect farmers from eviction or harassment and demanded compensation for past evictions.
"I thought we'd reached the end of the road," Campbell says.
When the unity government was sworn in early this year, it seemed that Campbell had won. He'd held on just long enough.
But within weeks, Zimbabwe's High Court -- largely stacked with Mugabe allies and recipients of former white-owned farms -- rejected the judgment of the SADC court. Dozens of farms were invaded.
As leader of the appeal, Campbell was a prime target.
The invaders, led by a war veteran named Chimbambira, arrived at Mount Carmel on April 3. There were about 10 young thugs, armed with pellet guns.
But about 150 farmworkers, afraid they would lose their jobs if Campbell left the farm, confronted the invaders and chased them away.
The next morning, a phalanx of riot police arrived and beat or arrested many of the workers. That night the invaders were back, on the Campbells' veranda, singing war songs.
"They were beating on the door and I heard the grindstone going, as if they were sharpening something," Campbell says. "Then they smashed the kitchen door and got into the kitchen."
Piercing screams drifted from the workshop, where the thugs were beating a worker.
Campbell stood, terrified, in the hall, listening to the invaders on the other side of a locked door. He remembered the moment last June when he was hit on the head by other ruling party thugs and knocked out cold. He knew he couldn't survive another beating.
"I decided I was going to shoot anyone who came through that door. I said, 'Look, if you come through that door, I'll shoot you. You'll be a dead duck.' Otherwise they'll hit you on the head and you're dead."
The couple radioed their family, who live on the neighboring homestead. Their son-in-law, Ben Freeth, and a friend crept through the garden to the other side of the house, where Angela Campbell let them in.
"Once they realized we had reinforcements, they backed off," she says. Police initially refused to come, but eventually arrived about 4 a.m., warned the invaders to be quiet and left.
Late the next afternoon the Campbells returned from lunch at their daughter's neighboring house. The thugs surrounded the house, shouting threats and firing pellet guns.
"Just as it was getting dark they started to become very threatening," Angela Campbell says. "The threats became worse and worse. They built a huge fire near the house."
Family and friends came over to help defend the farm. But because Mike Campbell was such a target for arrest, the family decided that he and Angela should leave until things settled down. They feared he would not survive a jail stint, and farmers, especially ones involved in the SADC appeal, recently have been arrested and jailed for being on their own farms.
At first, Campbell resisted.
"I have always agreed with the theory that if you are seen to move, that's the end," he says. "But they were so threatening, and we'd been beaten up nine months before.
"I don't know what I was thinking. I thought it would just be for one night or two nights."
But a few days went by. And then a few days more.
The realization crept up like a cat padding silently into a room. If Campbell was right, if possession really was nine-tenths of the law, then after years of struggle and resistance, they had finally lost the farm.
Visiting Freeth's house, I take an evening walk with him to the edge of Mount Carmel farm. A tractor putters, harvesting the last of the Campbell's $600,000 mango crop. Youths mill about.
But when they see us on the border of the land, they shout furiously and give chase.
"Come here!" one orders. "Come here! I'll shoot you! I'll cut your neck." We leave, steadily walking back to Freeth's house. I follow Freeth, trying not to break into a run.
The farmer and his wife cannot get close to the eight cows and their calves, who rely on them and their workers to fill the water trough. No one knows the fate of Angela's two cats. No one knows how the old horse Ginger is doing.
"He won't make it through the winter," Campbell says gruffly.
Campbell has not given up. Not yet. But he's close.
"But Mike is a pessimist, by nature," Angela says softly. "I'm optimistic."