February 19, 2002

February 19, 2002

My farm in Illinois is a centennial farm. It has been in the family for more than 100 years. There are thousands of family farms in the United Stated and all over the world, in fact, that have been built through blood, sweat and tears over many generations.

What would you think if you got up some morning and down on the south forty, where your grandfather plowed with horses and picked corn by hand, you saw hundreds of squatters talking over your family farm? They have built junk shelters. They plan to make a garden for their own use on your land. You order them to "get off my private property!" You go to the sheriff. He won't do anything. The President supports the squatters. The President calls it land redistribution. You call it stealing! It's stealing because you are not going to be paid for the land. Landless blacks will get your land. You get nothing.

I have just described a nightmare -- an unbelievable nightmare. Luckily we don't live in Zimbabwe. President Mugabe, fearful of losing the election next month, has unleashed a campaign of terror. Not just against the white farm owners but also the black families that work on the farms. Killing livestock, destroying crops, beating, raping. Three Supreme Court judges were forced to step down because they wanted the laws enforced. Foreign journalists have been barred from the country. The whole nation is caught in a deadly downward spiral.

Something must be done. The international community of nations should act immediately to insist that the rule of law be upheld and all farm invaders be expelled. Stay tuned.

Until next week, I am John Block from Washington.