Anybody Here Seen my Old Friend Ian Smith?: Where do Evil People Go When They Die?

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


When I saw the name, that name, Ian Smith, in the paper’s today, I shrunk back from my own computer.

I’m 48 and was raised to be apolitical by fundamentalist Southern Baptists who thought having a news awareness, with all the ungodliness on display there, was, well, ungodly. We weren’t allowed to play cards (tools of the devil) or games with dice in them (like Monopoly). Needless to say, we weren’t allowed to watch the news, listen to news radio or read newspapers. Both the Civil Rights Movement and the Viet Nam War, which raged through my adolescence, were tumults I learned of during my 20’s in the 1980’s. Still, even I somehow knew how much that man hated me and how much his hatred was required to justify white privilege. His racism, and the larger reality of racism in general, was a poison I couldn’t avoid inhaling. It’s hard to describe what knowing how thoroughly you’re despised does to you. And now, like Richard Nixon, Smith’s gotten to die peacefully in his feather-bedded mansion. Where’s the justice for those who brutalize the world, curse an entire race/continent, and go to their graves defiant?

Ian Smith, the former Rhodesian prime minister who broke away from Britain and fought to preserve white minority rule in what is now Zimbabwe, has died at age 88 in South Africa, the BBC says. …

Smith ruled from 1964 to 1979, isolating the former British colony by waging an ultimately futile racial war against the black majority. And estimated 40,000 people died and tens of thousands were imprisoned. He ultimately was replaced by Robert Mugabe, the black nationalist whom Smith jailed for 10 years and who has ruled Zimbabwe since its creation in 1980.

“I don’t believe in black majority rule ever for Rhodesia, not in a thousand years,” Smith once said. He felt vindicated by Mugabe’s dictatorial rule and the country’s economic collapse and hyperinflation

Yesterday, it was the heroic pastor of the church were the “four little girls” died. Today, Ian Smith, the destroyer who helped give us Africa’s present day problems.

Where’s the justice? I guess Death is the great equalizer.

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

Straight to the point: Donations have been concerningly slow for our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, over the next few weeks so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

Straight to the point: Donations have been concerningly slow for our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, over the next few weeks so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate