State Department, David, Tianna Spears discussed on 1A
David give us some more background. It is absolutely the case. The 20 years ago there was a crying need to deal with the land reform question. You had lots and lots of landless black peasants. You had these huge, sometimes very profitable white farms on DH. That was a real social crisis. The problem is that there was a right way to tackle that and there was a wrong way and the then president very dictatorial. Former war leader Robert Mugabe did it about as badly as you could. He basically forcibly took these farms on handed them to his own war veterans and supporters of his own party. ZANU PF and Gave it to people who whose credentials were entirely political. And he didn't actually know how to farm had no training had no support. And so these very successful commercial farms just basically collapsed, and that was an enormous part. Off the Zimbabwean economy, and it was a very successful political play by Robert Mugabe to say he was mending the crimes ofthe colonialism. And look those crimes needed to be redressed and there needed to be land reform. But this was a terrible way to go. It's it's still a mess because This compensation is not compensation for the land having been taken because the success of government of the former vice president who is now the president says that there will be no conversation with that. That just being compensated for improvements for building buildings and dams and stuff and that money will have to be borrowed. Still, that money is not sitting In government coffers, and so we may not actually see this land handed over and in the meantime, these farms are still being run. In many cases, far less well than they were. Zimbabwe is a tragedy because it was such a fertile, successful country. It needed reforms, but it's just being bankrupted by the most appalling policies. Well, Jennifer how significant is it that the's reparations are being handed out? Is that even the right word for them reparations? I would probably not not use reparations. Although you know in a in a technical sense, you know, compensation for your past, you know? Economic on DH. Crimes. I guess you could say, but, you know, in that sense technically, yes, but I think the kind of brother cultural on DH racial kind of historical. A conception of reparations is a little bit problematic there because again, you know these original land reforms. You are essentially meant to be the referee. The reparations were right. We're essentially Meant to take away you know this land that had, you know, traditionally going back, You know decades had been, you know, basically allotted on ly, restricted for white people and black people are essentially relegated to the margins and much less fertile farmland. So That was essentially supposed to be the reparations in that sense, and so you know again, you know, as David said, this this happened very rapidly and between 4001 in thousands of white farmers. Had their lands taken sometimes very violently. By the way it was. This was a very abrupt and violent kind of moment. Andi, you know, investors fled and like, David said, You know, the the the currency dropped inflation rose. I mean everything that the entire kind of economy collapsed so So I don't you know, I don't know if I would say reparations, necessarily, but But it is really, you know significant, even though as David rightly mentioned that, you know they're not gonna be compensated for the value of the land. It is still remarkable that this happened. The president of the Commercial Farmers Union who was negotiating on behalf of these white farmers. Said. Quote. This is nothing short of a miracle that this happened. So you know, this is something that has been for years. It's written into the Constitution that they had to compensate on pay this compensation, so the fact that they have reached some sort of agreement. Up symbolically is very much a promising thing. But again, as David said, there's no money behind it. So so the idea, you know that they're going to be paid this compensation under the agreement, it's supposed to be within They're gonna get half of it within the first year and then the full balance within five years, But they don't have any of this money. So they said they're going to issue some long term bonds on DH, Then you know, jointly with the farmers. They're going approach international donors to try to raise this money. But whether that you know actually materializes is going to be you know what really kind of determines How successful this Have you? No symbolic agreement now ends up being in the long run. I'm Jen white. You're listening to one, eh? Well, Tianna Spears used to work as a U. S diplomat in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. But she's not with the state Department anymore, She says racist harassment pushed her out in a post earlier this week, she said she experienced a continued campaign of harassment as she crossed the border to spend time in El Paso, Texas. Here she is talking earlier this week with PR ize the world. As soon as I started crossing the border regularly. I experience this harassment. I was threatened. I was constantly asked if I was really us citizen. The question If I stole my car, my car was a rental. They accuse me of being a liar. A drug dealer. Everytime I told them I worked as a U. S diplomat. They laughed at me. They told me they didn't believe me. It was just harassment and bullying on a racial level. One, Spears reported the behavior, she said she was told by two white security officers that what she experienced had nothing to do with racism. After being moved to a new position in Mexico City, she said the damage had been done, and she was forced out. In that same interview. Spears also reflected quote. It's just this environment where the State Department caters to that phrase Pale Male and Yale. That's the foundation that it's been built on end quote and talk about this pale male and yell culture at the state Department. How did he get to be this way? Well, she's she's right in a lot of of respects the senior Kadre of foreign service officers when I covered state for a long time on DH. You know, the people who had the the top jobs within the foreign service, as opposed to the top political jobs were not all male but heavily so almost all white on DH and in many to most cases, Ivy League or near ivy educated It it really the state Department became a A bastion of East Coast centered, you know, Ivy centered. Folks who came from from that provenance and you know, and we're sort of, you know, to the to the manor born right? You people who were interested in the world and had the education and in many cases, Thief, financial resource is to have travelled on DH seen much of the world were also the kind of people who might be interested in being US diplomats. So it wasn't particularly surprising that in the fifties and sixties and seventies, that culture really crystallized there, But what this young former foreign service officer experienced is something that you know. A lot of younger officers have complained about in less egregious form for years, which is that they felt marginalized or sidelined by A. You know a majority white majority male establishment and that the State Department didn't have their backs. I mean her. Her mistreatment was at the hands of border agents and was not part of the State Department. But she says she wasn't getting any help in backup from her from the agency of the U. S government, for which she worked well, according to State Department data, Black employees comprise a little over 15% of the State Department's foreign service and civil service employees. Billy hold 3% of senior level jobs are responding to that conversation with the world of Customs and Border Protection spokesperson said the agency investigated Spears claims in 2019. They said their investigation found no evidence of allegations of racial discrimination, harassment or unfair detainment at the U. S port of entry and that its agents acted appropriately. And the State Department separately told the world that the agency is working with customs and border protection to unquote, improve the experience of our personnel at the border and cooperation between the officers of the two agencies and that they took spears allegations quote very seriously. You know, David Over the years, you've had plenty of dealings with the State Department in foreign service officials. What issues does this story raise for you? But why? Don't y two diplomats?.