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There are refugees and then there are refugees

By Russell Grenning - posted Friday, 16 March 2018

Consider this scenario: a racial minority is being persecuted by the racial majority, is being murdered in wildly disproportionate numbers and is being forced off their land in a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign.

We have all read of this scenario over the years and whenever new instances of this crime against humanity emerge we can always rely upon the left in Australia – The Greens and the left in the ALP as well as any number of refugee and civil rights organisations – to immediately demand that the government do something about it. And in their view "doing something about it" means letting every single one of this persecuted minority into the country immediately and providing them with all sorts of taxpayer-funded benefits.

Well it seems to the left that there are refugees and there are refugees. It is politically correct and warmly humanitarian to help some but not others. Christians in the Middle East have long been some of the most persecuted people on the planet but they have not been given any special protected status by the Australian Government (or any advocacy by the usual refugee advocates) and now this minority are joined by another minority – white farmers in South Africa.


However, it seems that the government is recognising the horrors being visited upon white farmers in South Africa and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has announced that a range of options is being urgently investigated to smooth their path to Australia on humanitarian or other visa programmes.

The new South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, installed after the removal of the highly corrupt Jacob Zuma, has announced to cheering in South Africa's Parliament that he would "accelerate our land distribution programme ... to redress a grave historical injustice (and) make more land available to our people for cultivation". His African National Congress has taken its lead from the hardline Julius Malema, a former head of its youth wing.

In response to the President's announcement Mr Malema said, "... you mentioned expropriation of land without compensation and we all agreed that actually was the highest applause you got". Mr Malema issued this blunt warning to those who opposed this policy, "I want to warn you ... that's a fundamental issue which is going to make us fight with you because anyone opposed to expropriation of land without compensation is the enemy of the people, and as such a person will be dealt with". "Dealt with" has a deliberately grisly undertone.

Mr Malema argues that the government should be the "custodian" of all property and that mass expropriation of white-owned land is needed "to restore the dignity of our people without compensating the criminals who stole our land."

Ironically, the determination of the South African Government to throw white farmers off their land without any compensation comes at a time when the Zimbabwean Government to its immediate north is trying to entice its former white farmers back after they fled because of the same policies now announced in South Africa.

The Zimbabwean Government's more or less open admission that its previous policy of driving while farmers out was not just a dismal failure but a catastrophic one is not having its required effect. Perhaps former white farmers there are adopting the cautious view of one bitten and all of that. Who could blame them?


When Zimbabwe was Rhodesia it was known as the "breadbasket of Africa" and it had significant agricultural exports as well as feeding its own people, but after the overthrow of the white government, white farmers were driven out so that their land could be given to supporters of the corrupt dictator Robert Mugabe. Then agricultural production collapsed, its currency became an international joke and its people either fled the country or were left starving and relying on foreign aid.

The number of white farmers in South Africa has been dwindling for many years largely as a result of murderous attacks on their homesteads which have left hundreds dead since 1998. While completely accurate statistics are difficult to come by – the government has long discontinued the policy of identifying the ethnicity of murder victims – by some measures at least farming in South Africa is the most dangerous occupation in the world outside of an actual war zone. The best estimate is that some 400 white farmers were murdered last year.

Landless working-class whites are just as persecuted as laws are designed to give privileged status to the black majority in all workplaces and freeze out white workers however skilled and efficient they are. There are now hundreds of thousands of whites living in squatter camps and existing on charity.

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About the Author

Russell Grenning is a retired political adviser and journalist who began his career at the ABC in 1968 and subsequently worked for the then Brisbane afternoon daily, The Telegraph and later as a columnist for The Courier Mail and The Australian.

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