Rhodesia’s 9/11 Attack, a Memorial and Unveiling of the Monument.

I’m not going to get all political, but I am going to be serious.

A disaster that happen 34 years ago, almost to the day, and follow by another, 5 months later, was commemorated with the unveiling of the memorial to those that lost their lives. Sunday past, the 2nd September 2012, saw this memorial unveiled in the gardens of the South African Voortrekker Monument. Civilians, shot down in cold blood, who were flying on civilian aircraft from Lake Kariba where they’d been on holiday. Terrorists using Sam 7 missiles targeted two Air Rhodesia Viscounts, and shot them out of the skies. The one had survivors, some remained by the downed plane, while others went to seek aid. Those that stayed behind were bayoneted and shot by the terrorist group that had fired the missile. Unarmed civilians killed in cold blood. This has been referred to as Rhodesia’s 9/11. The main plaque on the memorial has this statement on it…

 Rhodesian Memorial 164

I lost friends on both planes and it was a shock when it happened… They say all is fair in love and war, but that has no meaning to me when it comes to innocent civilians, women and children. These terrorists where tracked and captured, every single one of them that were involved  in the disasters..

The worst of it was that not one other country, except for South Africa, condemned the atrocity. No Church leaders, not the Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Chief Rabbi, not a sole. Governments, none, we were alone in a battle against this type of terrorism, but being at the memorial, witnessing those that were there, such pride still felt by all 450 there. Seeing old soldiers wearing their medals, berets and jackets adorned with their units badges proudly, I realised that the Rhodesians spirit will never die. If we were called to arms, to do it all over again, I’m sure we would.

The old Flag was lowered to half mast, the pipes played their tune and the ceremony began…

Rhodesian Memorial 036Rhodesian Memorial 049 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The prayers said, the hymns sung, the memorial unmasked, and the consecration done… to read the names and ages of all those killed in this atrocity, brought tears to many. Wreaths laid by family members and thoughts of lost loved ones, brought a deadly silence to the proceedings..

“We will remember them.”

Rhodesian Memorial 144

Rhodesian Memorial 153

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rhodesian Memorial 162

A good friend of mine and a published poet… wrote a poem about the proceedings and with his permission I post it here… my love for poetry probably began when I started to read his poems.. his book is available from Amazon… and here is his special poem for the day, and for this I thank him…

THE VISCOUNTS MEMORIAL

Piper’s mournful lament drifts on heat and rising haze,
‘Amazing Grace’, ‘Abide with me’; unto God we gave the praise,
The ‘Green and White’ flew at half mast; host Angels bid it blow,
Their gentle breath on our dear flag, caused many tears to flow.

Today the Highveld lay silent, a vacuum void of sound,
Monument Hill so quiet; baked red parched barren ground,
African Camel-thorn Acacia, indigenous to this land,
Stand as silent witnesses to Viscounts Memorial grand.

Two Granite stones bear the names of loved ones now passed on,
We have promised to remember them in the morn and setting sun, 
Those who survived Hunyani; troubled families seeking rest,
Come to honour the dead; civilians, and Rhodesia’s fighting best.

It stands now to remind the world of the depths that men can sink,
Showing man’s inhumanity to man; and just how the evil think.
This memorial stands not only to recall Rhodesia’s hurt, or pain,
But to remind a once proud nation …we would do it all again.

By Alf Hutchison after the unveiling of the Viscount Hunyani and Umniati 
Memorial in Pretoria on 2nd September 2012.

Advertisements

140 thoughts on “Rhodesia’s 9/11 Attack, a Memorial and Unveiling of the Monument.

    • As a Canadian, I regret that we didn’t stand up for our fellow commonwealth family in Rhodesia. Instead, we cowardly supported those who would shoot down civilians, burn farms, and kill black voters.

  1. You are so right when you said other countries were silent. I do remember a priest in Harare saying that the “the silence was deafening”. Sorry can’t remember his name.

    • Moira .
      I think this is from a sermon by the Reverend DaCosta called the Deafening Silence. A seven single record was made of this sermon called the same.

    • Here is the text of this powerful and moving sermon.

      The words are as true today, when the world ignores the plight of Zimbabwe and her people under the reign of terror of the despotic Mugabe/Zanu-PF regime, as they were then.

      The Silence is Deafening
      Sermon by Very Rev. John da Costa, Anglican Dean of Salisbury
      Clergymen, I am frequently told, should keep out of politics. I thoroughly agree. For this reason, I will not allow politics to be preached in this cathedral. Clergy have to be reconcilers. That is no easy job. A minister of religion who has well-known political views, and allows them to come to the fore, cannot reconcile, but will alienate others, and fail in the chief part of his ministry.

      For this reason, I personally am surprised at there being two clergymen in the Executive Council. It is my sincere prayer that they can act as Christ’s ambassadors of reconciliation.

      My own ministry began in Ghana, where Kwame Nkrumah preached: “Seek ye first the political kingdom and all these things will be added to you.” We know what became of Kwame Nkrumah. We are not to preach a political kingdom, but the kingdom of God.

      Clergy are usually in the middle, shot at from both sides. It is not an enviable role. Yet times come when it is necessary to speak out, and in direct and forthright terms, like trumpets with unmistakable notes. I believe that this is one such time.

      Nobody who holds sacred the dignity of human life can be anything but sickened at the events attending the crash of the Viscount Hunyani. Survivors have the greatest call on the sympathy and assistance of every other human being. The horror of the crash was bad enough, but that this should have been compounded by murder of the most savage and treacherous sort leaves us stunned with disbelief and brings revulsion in the minds of anyone deserving the name “human.”

      This bestiality, worse than anything in recent history, stinks in the nostrils of Heaven. But are we deafened with the voice of protest from nations which call themselves “civilised”? We are not. Like men in the story of the Good Samaritan, they “pass by, on the other side.”

      One listens for loud condemnation by Dr. David Owen, himself a medical doctor, trained to extend mercy and help to all in need.

      One listens and the silence is deafening.

      One listens for loud condemnation by the President of the United States, himself a man from the Bible-Baptist belt, and again the silence is deafening.

      One listens for loud condemnation by the Pope, by the Chief Rabbi, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, by all who love the name of God.

      Again the silence is deafening.

      I do not believe in white supremacy. I do not believe in black supremacy either. I do not believe that anyone is better than another, until he has proved himself to be so. I believe that those who govern or who seek to govern must prove themselves worthy of the trust that will be placed in them.

      One looks for real leadership One finds little in the Western world: how much less in Africa?

      Who is to be blamed for this ghastly episode?

      Like Pontius Pilate, the world may ask “What is truth?” What is to be believed? That depends on what your prejudices will allow you to believe, for then no evidence will convince you otherwise.

      So who is to be blamed?

      First, those who fired the guns. Who were they? Youths and men who, as likely as not, were until recently in church schools. This is the first terrible fact. Men who went over to the other side in a few months were so indoctrinated that all they had previously learned was obliterated. How could this happen if they had been given a truly Christian education?

      Second, it is common knowledge that in large parts of the world violence is paraded on TV and cinema screens as entertainment. Films about war, murder, violence, rape devil-possession and the like are “good box-office”. Peak viewing time is set aside for murderers from Belfast,, Palestine, Europe, Africa and the rest, to speak before an audience of tens of millions. Thugs are given full treatment, as if deserving of respect.

      Not so the victims’ relations.

      Who else is to be blamed?

      The United Nations and their church equivalent, the WCC. I am sure they both bear blame in this. Each parade a pseudo-morality which, like all half-truths, is more dangerous than the lie direct. From the safety and comfort of New York and Geneva, high moral attitudes can safely be struck. For us in the sweat, the blood, the suffering, it is somewhat different.

      Who else? The churches? Oh yes, I fear so.

      For too long, too many people have been allowed to call themselves “believers” when they have been nothing of the kind. Those who believe must act. If you believe the car is going to crash, you attempt to get out. If you believe the house is on fire, you try to get help and move things quickly. If you believe a child has drunk poison, you rush him to the doctor. Belief must bring about action.

      Yet churches, even in our own dangerous times, are more than half-empty all the time. We are surrounded by heathens who equate belief in God with the Western way of life. In many war areas, Africans are told to “burn their Bibles”. If this call was made to us, what sort of Bibles would be handed in? Would they be dog-eared from constant use; well-thumbed and marked? Would they be pristine in their virgin loveliness, in the same box in which they were first received?

      There are tens of millions of all races who call themselves believers, who never enter any house of prayer and praise. Many are folk who scream loudest against communism, yet do not themselves help to defeat these Satanic forces by means of prayer, and praise and religious witness.

      For, make no mistake, if our witness were as it ought to be, men would flock to join our ranks. As it is, we are by-passed by the world, as if irrelevant.

      Is anyone else to be blamed for this ghastly episode near Kariba? I think so.

      Politicians throughout the world have made opportunist speeches from time to time. These add to the heap of blameworthiness, for a speech can cause wounds which may take years to heal.

      The ghastliness of this ill-fated flight from Kariba will be burned upon our memories for years to come. For others, far from our borders, it is an intellectual matter, not one which affects them deeply. Here is the tragedy!

      The especial danger of Marxism is its teaching that human life is cheap, expendable, of less importance than the well-being of the State. But there are men who call themselves Christians who have the same contempt for other human beings, and who treat them as being expendable.

      Had we, who claim to love God, shown more real love and understanding, more patience, more trust of others, the churches would not be vilified as they are today. I have nothing but sympathy with those who are here today and whose grief we share. I have nothing but revulsion for the less-than-human act of murder which has so horrified us all.

      I have nothing but amazement at the silence of so many of the political leaders of the world. I have nothing but sadness that our churches have failed so badly to practise what we preach. May God forgive us all, and may he bring all those who died so suddenly and unprepared into the light of His glorious presence.

      Amen

  2. I lost 6 from one family due to this, all I can say is that the extended family have a hole in their lives like an invisible scar never seen but always felt.

  3. A beautiful tribute and heartfelt words that speak so eloquently to the sore hearts of Rhodesians around the world. We do not die because we all work to keep the memories alive. Our commitment to our beloved country must be such a thorn in the side of evil that reigns there still. Good, I say. Forever may it continue to be so. Amazon: “A Country Dies” (hard cover and e-book available) if anyone is interested.

  4. That no “civilised” country,either in the western world or elsewhere saw fit to condemn the ghastly atrocities which were perpetrated in Rhodesia during her years of trial and tribulation says much about the sheer decadence,spinelessness,hypocrisy and indifference to human suffering which has permeated these states.Unless,of course,that suffering be far away,preferably amongst blacks,asiatics or arabs and then we hear,unisono,how inacceptable this is,how we cannot stand by and gaze with indifference upon such scenes!Yes,we all know the mantras of concern and compassion.Whilst Rhodesia struggled to keep aloft the torch of civilisation in Darkest Africa those who stridently proclaimed the virues of “Western Values” stood by,not only conniving at such barbarities but actually and actively assisting these murderers by granting them “aid”, aka weapons and logistics, but cloaked in the mantle of “humanitarian assistance”.
    It appears to me that shame does not exist in GB any more neither is there any will to self-examine.No,what the policitiians of all parties specialise in is self-praise.After all,was not the long-drawn out agony of the Rhodesians not about “human rights”,”democracy”,one man one vote and the rest of the liberal,self-destructive litany?What did the deaths of their fellow countrymen in far off Rhodesia matter to the Hampstead socialists and their running dogs?Nothing;after all,their so-called political philosphy was well acquainted with their version of “democracy”.Had not their idol,Stalin,not murdered millions and all in the name of liberty,democracy and freedom?What nobler cause could there be?But,if the stubborn and gallant Rhodesians were determined to stand in the way of progress-and who will?-and were not willing to be exterminated in the name of some specious non-racial state,then who were the British to judge?Only able to see out of the left eye their love of the Black was overwhelming;nothing else counted.Old debts of blood and sacrifice from the time of WWII when Rhodesians did their utmost to protect the then “mother country” were not to be honoured and the values for which many had fought and died were simply ignored if not spruned and ridiculed.
    I am ashamed of my country,its leaders and its policies but,alas,am not in positiion to influence events.But there does appear to be a twist in the tail.Look at GB now,multi-racial,cultural:more of everything alien and the country is falling apart;the Scots wish to leave the union and so,in some strange way,not fully understood,the sins of their fathers are being visited upon the children.
    Rhodesia,in my opinion the finest country on earth,no longer exists,but memories of this wonderful country and its people persist.My children,both educated in Rhodesia,cherish bright and happy memories of their lives under the sun.To all of you Rhodesians,wherever the “winds of change”-yes,do you recall the words of that sly,egregious traitor MacMIllan,all bonhommie externally but rotten to the core?-may have blown you,I wish you well.As it stand in St.Pauls in London in honour of Christopher Wren,the architect of this astonishing construction,”si monumentum requiris circumspice”
    If you seek his memorial,look around you!The ruins of Zimbabwe are testimony to the equally astonishing construction of Rhodesia.

    • How to reply to this comment has me stumped…. you have said all that we have felt for years and for that I give you praise…. Well said Tom Foster… well said and thank you…

All comments are welcome... please...Write something.. go on, let your voice be heard...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s