Dear family and friends,

I sat up until a little before midnight last night reading the 46 page document just released by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum and this morning I am still in deep shock. In a tip of the iceberg report the ZHR Forum gives details of human rights abuses committed in Zimbabwe just prior to last years election. It gives personal statements, names, places and the most horrific details of torture,murder and rape. It tells of torture centres and re-education camps, of locked rooms with barred windows.

It names both the victims and the perpetrators and many of the latter are men now sitting in our Paliament As I sit here on this beautiful spring morning in Zimbabwe, I cannot believe the horrors that have gone on, and are still going on in the name of land re-distribution.

The 77 cases reported in the document are not of whites or of farmers but of the ordinary men and women of Zimbabwe who have dared to stand up for their belief in democracy, who have dared to suggest that they no longer want to be ruled by a one party state. Please do not allow your children to read this one excerpt below, please do bring it to the attention of your parliamentarian.

"...3rd June 2000

... They made us lie down. They took ropes and tied our hands and legs and they started assaulting us. They were beating us with sjamboks. At around 7.00pm, they took us to their base at Texas farm. They made a fire and began assaulting us using fire. First it was my friend BM. They tied plastic around his hands and legs and then lit it. Next it was my turn. They beat me first. Then they used all the same tactics, wrapping my legs, hands and private parts and lighting the plastics. They also lit some plastic and then dropped it on us as it melted. They were taking hot ashes and spreading them on my body. ... I have burns all over my back, front, buttocks, private parts, thighs and legs ..."

This is just one statement from 46 pages. Others tell of horrific sexual abuses, of the use of electricity and water, of whips and batons, bicycle chains and iron bars used to inflict beatings on people suspected of not supporting the ruling party.

These abominations must be exposed, the perpetrators must be brought to justice. The countries still giving money to Zimbabwe must STOP now because the pennies you drop into a collection box are being used by our government for violence and torture and not for land redistribution. The people committing these crimes are not in goals, they are still out there, still being paid to kill and maim us. I know that if you are white and speak out you are called a racist and if you are from outside Africa you are called a colonialist. We know different though.

These abominations are being committed by black people against black, white, yellow and brown people. If we do not find a way of exposing these horrors now, thousands and thousands more people will be raped, burned, tortured and murdered in the next few months as we stagger towards elections again.

This week particularly I have questioned my place and my role in this country. I had a couple of frightening encounters with our local police, police who are not policemen at all but war veterans who wear the uniforms and sit at the desks of the officials over whom they have complete control.

My determination has wavered but then I turn in my chair and look at the collage of family photos that sits on my wall. My mother, father and stepfather all fought for freedom and democracy in Zimbabwe twenty years ago. They gave me these feelings of patriotism, these beliefs in right and wrong, they taught me to stand up for what is right. As I write three children are lying on the carpet watching cartoons, one is white, two are black. It starts there, racial harmony, goodness and honesty, morals and principles all start there.

They do not notice that their skins have different hues, they are children together and every Zimbabwean owes it to them to fight this evil. If you are an ex Zimbabwean in another country now, you too owe it to these children, our future parliamentarians to speak out. If you are reading this from the comfort of your walled and gated Harare home you too must open your eyes, you too must read these 46 pages of the hell that has engulfed us.

The 'war veterans' who are still beating, burning, raping and torturing Zimbabweans have led us to the edge of starvation. This week the Commercial Farmers Union held its annual congress and told us the cold hard facts of the situation we are now looking at thanks to the politicians who are so desperate to stay in power. The farmers have been as powerless as the people who had burning plastic draped around their testicles. I quote from Tim Henwood's address:

"...maize production was set to drop to less than half of the previous crop

. ...the shrinkage in cotton production has declined from 400 thousand to 282 thousand tonnes

... the coffee industry has seriously declined...tobacco production was down by 15 to 20%

...the wheat crop yield was expected to be 250 thousand tonnes, lower than the required 550 thousand tonnes

... the beef industry is facing a serious challenge as farmers liquidate their herds

... 160 out of 225 dairy farms have been listed for compulsory acquisition

... the wildlife industry continues to be raped......"

What the ruling party have called a peaceful demonstration in the name of land re-distribution will leave us with serious shortages of dairy produce, bread and maize, fruit and coffee, meat and milk. War veterans have removed almost all ur means of earning freign currency as they have swept over farms that grow all our export crops - tobacco and flowers, game and safaris. This week the FAO announced the top 3 African countires facing starvation in 2001/2, they were Sudan, Somalia and Zimbabwe.

The ravages in Zimbabwe have affected us all, rich and poor, black and white, educated and illiterate. In one way or another we have all had burning plastic dripped onto our backs. As Zimbabweans we are completely powerless and helpless. The ruling party have infiltrated the police and the army, the civil service and the municipalities. We will not survive this without outside intervention. I know that YOU can help. With much love and thanks as always,

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