Two soldiers of the Rhodesian African Rifles, 1976.  

In civil war, hatreds are more intimate than in international conflict. The enemy is less awesome; he is killed with more conviction that he deserves it. Invariably-inevitably-the death tolls are higher. The American Civil War set records for its day. Despite the limited weaponry and skill, the Biafran war has taken the lives of an estimated two million people, mostly starved children. And now a war that is already engaging about 26,000 black guerrillas and approximately a quarter-million white or white-officered troops in Mozambique, Angola, Rhodesia, South Africa and Namibia (the United Nations' new name for South West Africa) offers such a prospect of escalation that it can hardly help but be bigger, in cemetery terms, than Viet Nam. In this corner of the globe, whose fair hills make a savage contrast with the ugliness wrought by man, the restless spirit of Nazism, with its accent on genetic myth and legal caste, will perhaps be put to rest in a swamp of blood.

The chain of austral African wars is poorly reported: correspondents are limited to nibbling in from the fringes-and there are many fringes. Some front-line reporting is possible in Angola from the guerrilla side, thanks mostly to the self-confidence of the guerrilla leader, Holden Roberto. Under the late Eduardo Mondlane, a similarly responsible attitude to world opinion was being cultivated in those parts of Mozambique controlled by resistance forces. And earlier this year, this correspondent made a brief foray into Rhodesia with the Zimbabweans (as Rhodesia's black majority call themselves). Reporting in Namibia, however, is difficult from the resistance side. In South Africa, it is practically impossible for the moment, unless one is a Russian and lands from the same submarine as the resistance fighters. Because of the extent of the war, and because of press censorship in South Africa, Portugal and Rhodesia, no war reporting of any consequence seems to have been possible, so far, from the side of the white- minority governments.


The liberation forces are as

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