Review: Innocent Victims by Cathy Buckle

This is an updated version of a book review I wrote in my first year as a blogger. I hope, that if you don’t already have a copy, this might persuade you to look for this excellent book about animal rescues in a difficult time in Zimbabwe.

The Phraser

Innocent Victims - Rescuing the stranded animals of Zimbabwe's farm invasions by Catherine Buckle Innocent Victims – Rescuing the stranded animals of Zimbabwe’s farm invasions by Catherine Buckle

Turmoil tore into Zimbabwe’s farms in the early 2000s, the years Mugabe’s government chose to ignite its programme of land redistribution. Thousands of animals were trapped in the mayhem that followed.

Innocent Victims tells the story of the rescues carried out by a small team from the Zimbabwe National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ZNSPCA). The team leader was Meryl Harrison.

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Zimbabwe and the Crocodile

Zimbabwe's children - what next?

Zimbabwe’s children – what next?

The sense of dread comes in waves.

How to watch? Where to find the words when the killing starts again in Zimbabwe?

This is an outline in story, a sketch, of the elections (result still contested) held recently in Zimbabwe, and the intention is to try to explain to those who have no connection with the country a little of what is at stake. It is not intended in any way to make light of the efforts and agonies of those involved.

The story is set in a boxing ring, and the prize is leadership of a land rich in elephants, pangolin, gold, diamonds, rivers, life-giving soil…and Zimbabweans.

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Poetry: If you were to come back (by Hasani)

Zimbabwe flag

Zimbabwe flag

Hasani is a poet from Zimbabwe who left the country due to political strife. He writes protest poetry and advocates for recognition of human rights and justice in Zimbabwe. He currently lives in London.

Below is one of his poems: “If you were to come back”

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Poetry: Zimbabwe teapot (by Hasani)

"Torture, hatred and political rhetoric stoke the flames" by Hasani

“Torture, hatred and political rhetoric
stoke the flames” by Hasani

Hasani is a poet from Zimbabwe who left the country due to political strife. He writes protest poetry and advocates for recognition of human rights and justice in Zimbabwe. He currently lives in London.

Below is the poem he wrote to go with the image above. I read it for the first time in 2013.

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Poetry: Cry beloved Great Zimbabwe (by Hasani)

Hasani is a poet from Zimbabwe who left the country due to political strife. He writes protest poetry and advocates for recognition of human rights and justice in Zimbabwe. He currently lives in London.

This clip will take less than 90 seconds of your time.

 

Innocent Victims by Catherine Buckle: Extract 4

Innocent Victims - Rescuing the stranded animals of Zimbabwe's farm invasions by Catherine Buckle

Innocent Victims – Rescuing the stranded animals of Zimbabwe’s farm invasions by Catherine Buckle.

Innocent Victims is about animal rescues in Zimbabwe during a violently enforced land redistribution programme which spilled across the country’s farms at the turn of the millennium.

Meryl Harrison and her small team from the ZNSPCA were at the heart of the rescues.

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Innocent Victims by Catherine Buckle: Extract 3

 

Innocent Victims - Rescuing the stranded animals of Zimbabwe's farm invasions by Catherine Buckle

Innocent Victims – Rescuing the stranded animals of Zimbabwe’s farm invasions by Catherine Buckle.

“In total, 260 Holstein cows were stuck in the middle of a bitter dispute and were losing weight and condition dramatically.”

The land the cattle were on had originally belonged to the Hughes family who had bought Bains Hope Farm in 1932. In 2003 the family were evicted and the land was caught in a tug-of-war between A1 settlers and Mr Bayisa – an A2 settler. As the arguments and intimidation continued the cattle got weaker and weaker.

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