Letter: High Commission's role in Zimbabwe rescue

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The Independent Online
From Ms Lydia Tapping

Sir: Your article on David Pearson, killed by a landmine in Zimbabwe, highlights the plight of many Zimbabweans, black and white, who suffered in a largely forgotten war. I grew up in Rhodesia, as the country was formerly known, during the years of the independence war. Our family left after my father was abducted and murdered, along with a colleague, by terrorists in late 1979, a few weeks after the declaration of peace. Like Mr Pearson, we encountered the bureaucracy of the British High Commission after we appealed for help to track my father in the vital hours after his abduction, when we believed there might be a chance of saving his life.

We were relatively lucky, however. A schoolfriend's father was killed in similar circumstances and his family moved to the safety of the main nearby town. Some years later, while walking on the hills behind their house, his mother stepped on a landmine, losing her leg. As he went to her aid, my schoolfriend was blown up and killed.

This is to say nothing of the many black African people living in the rural areas who regularly lost limbs and lives in landmine accidents. The maimings are evident today, 15 years later, as those affected are reduced to living as beggars on the streets of Zimbabwe's cities.

Yours faithfully,

LYDIA TAPPING

London, SW2

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