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Cocked and loaded

This interesting book covers primarily the period from the then Rhodesia’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence in 1965 to independence in 1980, with special focus on the period after 1974, when the armed struggle was most intense.

From the Barrel of a Gun looks at the United States’ involvement in the Rhodesian struggle and also addresses a range of US-based influences on Zimbabwe and other African nations. It also examines the relationship between Africans and African-Americans during the course of the liberation war.

In 1975 the US departed ignominiously from Vietnam. Many embittered veterans of this conflict felt they could redeem themselves and the anti-communist cause by deploying their skills on behalf of Rhodesia.

Zimbabwe is in dire straits today with its people pointing a finger at President Robert Mugabe, who in turn points to Washington. The book raises the point that the US-dominated

International Monetary Fund enforced a regime of cutbacks in health and education expenditures. Mugable also claims that promises were made at the Lancaster House talks that led to Zimbabwe’s independece — promises never kept. These promises were to do with funding land redistribution.

The US, or some of its citizens, still seem to be waging war on Mugabe. In March 1999, three white men from Indianapolis — allegedly working with a religious organisation with links to right-wing groups — were arrested in Harare with a small arsenal of weapons and a diagram of Mugabe’s official residence.

So it would appear that the US is still, in a way, both formally and informally involved in the destiny of Zimbabwe.

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