The Spectator readers’ party was as always a swell affair, with long-time subscribers politely mingling with ne’er-do-wells like myself, the former having cakes and drinking tea, the latter desperately raiding the sainted editor’s office for Lagavulin whisky. But for once I was on my best behaviour, first out of respect for our readers, secondly because of the man I had personally invited to the party, Hannes Wessels, a Rhodesian-born 14th-generation African, whose book A Handful of Hard Men has me shaking with fury at our double standards where whites are concerned, and at the gauzy mythology of PC that has painted white Rhodesians as oppressors.
Just as American race relations are unravelling, with the odious New York Times running editorials just about excusing the murders of five white police officers in Dallas by a black hoodlum, let’s take it from the top where the battle for Rhodesia is concerned. As I write, public anger has brought Zimbabwe to a standstill. Ninety-two-year-old Mugabe’s 36-year rule has been celebrated at a cost of $1 million while the country is totally broke and unable to pay its civil servants.
Evelyn Waugh had it right. In 1932 he wrote that the unthinkable had come to pass. Europeans were departing Africa, leaving the benighted natives to fend for themselves. How prescient was Waugh? Here’s our own Theodore Dalrymple writing about his arrival in Rhodesia in about 1975. ‘Rhodesia was being condemned loudly and insistently as if it were the greatest threat to world peace and the security of the planet ...I expected to find on my arrival, therefore, a country in crisis and decay. Instead, I found a country that was, to all appearances, thriving: its roads were well maintained, its transport system functioning, its towns and cities clean and manifesting a municipal pride long gone from England ...The large hospital in which I was to work was extremely clean and ran with exemplary efficiency.’
Here’s Stephen Glover on the death of Ian Smith: ‘The BBC yesterday gave his corpse a final kick. If the insane Robert Mugabe has ruined Zimbabwe, where there is starvation and an inflation rate of several thousand per cent, the fault is Mr Smith’s, whose reactionary policies allegedly paved the way for this monster...’ The good Mr Glover goes on to say how he had believed much of the anti-Smith propaganda before seeing the real Rhodesia for himself. Once in Salisbury, he found a well-ordered society which, despite having been subjected to13 years of international sanctions, was much richer than any of the independent African states he had visited. In his hotel there were many black guests and no evidence of apartheid. He went on to write that however flawed Ian Smith might have been, his sins paled beside Mugabe’s.
Many African countries are poorer now than when they received their independence, despite the billions they received from a guilt-ridden Europe, yet it’s Europeans who turn a blind eye to the war and genocide practised by African leaders, and to this day condemn the whites of Rhodesia and South Africa for no other reason than the colour of their skin.
Hannes Wessels was born in 1956 in Salisbury and grew up on the Mozambique border. He left school to become a combat soldier and saw lots of action. His book is a paean to the greatest soldier he got to know well, Captain Darrell Watt, of the Rhodesian SAS and Special Forces. Watt won all his battles but eventually, thanks to Lord Carrington and gang, lost the war. For 12 long years in the cauldron of war Captain Watt never lost a battle, exhibiting Spartan-like bravery and better than Spartan-like ingenuity in combating far, far superior forces. The Rhodesian SAS amounted to just an incredible-to-believe 250 men. In the book Wessels recounts harrowing incidents perpetrated by Zanu and Zapu (Mugabe and Nkomo forces) soldiers on black and white civilians, and even on their own recruits.
Which brings me to the big lie. The pro-black propagandist Christopher Hitchens once made fun of Ian Smith’s facial scars, scars acquired when he was shot down while serving in the RAF against the Luftwaffe. Smith had left Salisbury and volunteered to fight for kith and kin. The BBC never mentioned the fact that Smith volunteered — it wouldn’t, would it? — and Hitchens made fun of it. Such are the joys of siding with the politically correct.
Darrell Watt and his brave band of 250 were a fluid and volatile unit that performed every imaginable fighting role: airborne shock troops, sniper duty, sabotage, seek and strike, you name it, Watt performed it. And managed also to survive. Like the great man that he is, he is now saving wild life on a continent that is being plundered for profit. Hannes Wessels studied and practised law briefly, then became a professional big-game hunter for 20 years. He is now a conservationist and lives with his wife and two daughters north of Cape Town in South Africa.
Although I might sound like some ghastly celebrity phony who declares pride in knowing a scumbag like Russell Brand, I am very proud to be a friend of Hannes Wessels, and to praise a work about brave men who we, the West, betrayed so cruelly. We definitely wish our disintegration as we continue to support rapacious, vicious, corrupt and murdering maniacs such as Mugabe and others of his ilk in Africa, while continuing to paint civilised white men like Watt and Smith as the unacceptable past. Shame on us in general and shame on white liberals in particular.