Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Height Of Xenophobia

At first glance,the word 'Xenophobia' seems complex.However,it's definition is quite straight forward & easy to understand.'A fear or contempt of that which is foreign or unknown,especially of strangers or foreign people'.Many nigerians may easily remember our own 'Ghana Must Go' era in the 80s when our Ghanaian brothers were peacefully asked to return to their own country.Unfortunately,the situation in recent weeks has been anything but pleasant.The disturbing and largely fatal attacks on foreigners(mainly Zimbabweans)which emanated in the Gauteng townships of Johannesburg have been received with shock across the continent.Gruesome attacks on foreigners were reported in the mainly poor townships of the nation's commercial capital.As at today,over 40 people have been killed and there's further bad news of the violence spreading to other South African cities like Durban and Cape Town.The grouse by the unruly locals are that the foreigners are competing with them for the few available jobs & housing and are also responsible for the rising crime wave in their communities and cities.While actual proof of their claim may not be readily available,it's easy to understand why the suffering masses in the once racially divided nation are venting their frustrations,what with the hardship the country's predominantly black poor currently face.Nevertheless,the cruel and fatal attacks on their neighboring brothers can't in any way be justified or rationalised.
Even though President Mbeki has summoned the army to assist with quelling the escalating violence,there still seems to be,in the views of many observers,displeasure with the way the government has handled the crisis.On another note,many of our fellow Nigerians make up a significant amount of foreigners residing in the beautiful african country.Expectedly,the developments there have become a major cause of concern for their friends and relatives back home.I've heard that many nigerians there have taken refuge in churches,police stations and the Nigerian Embassy building.I sincerely hope the mayhem and riots end in the shortest possible time as no one with a conscience can be happy seeing the disturbing pictures & footage of fellow africans being beaten,raped & burnt alive.
Lastly,from the PR perspective,the situation could have a devastating impact on the country's booming tourism industry(67% of tourists in SA are africans) especially with the upcoming 2010 World Cup & the enormous economic benefits football-loving visitors would definitely bring to the nation.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The BA Controversy

Ladies & Gents,let me start by saying these are my personal views/thoughts on the recent British Airways controversy involving some nigerian passengers(and some other foreigners,i should add)in March.Well,i personally love flying BA...simply because i've alway had a pleasant experience each time i fly with them to and from the UK.And like the saying goes,'if it ain't broke,don't try to fix it'.That aside,Nigerians make me laugh.With all due respect to the passengers who were allegedly affected by the incident on that fateful day in March,why have nigerians not signed petitions for the appalling way they are treated(as customers) in banks,general & private hospitals,offices,govt agencies,state secretariats,ministries etc over here?How about the way bullion vans,military & policemen harass law-abiding citizens on a daily basis simply because they have guns/power?..what about the decay called Nepa(PHCN),the frightening crime rate,insecurity and other pathetic vices most nigerians face daily?..why has no one petitioned/protested against the Govt for treating it's citizens like this due to some greedy officials in office who have no conscience while in public office?..or is that not maltreatment,especially for tax-paying citizens who expect to receive certain basic things/a respectable standard of living.?Left to me,this BA incident is primarily a publicity stunt by some selfish twats who want their names/faces in the limelight.
We are really funny in this nation,i tell you.Instead of facing real issues,we are trying to feel important in the eyes of foreigners.This reminds me of the dumb petition some jobless passengers made against a foreign airline for spraying the plane(passengers included) with insectide before international flights leaving Nigeria.1.Didn't the passengers hear a prior announcement from d cabin crew that the spray wasn't harmful to passengers?2.Weren't the cabin crew also inside the plane to face the same spray?3.When else should one spray a plane leaving a mosquito-infested country except when all the plane's doors have been shut,as a prelude to the flight's departure?Some people are just plain jokers,indeed.Back to the BA flight,do most of us know the procedures that can be carried out by the flight captain/police when there are incidents or cases of disturbances onboard a flight that could have an impact on the flight's security/safety?How do we know that the nigerians on board didn't get unruly/aggressive(as many of us could tend to be)during their protest in support of the nigerian passenger who was the catalyst for the entire drama?I'm aware that many passengers of different nationalities have been ejected from flights hundreds of time across the globe e.g in cases where they were deemed as security risks,unruly,aggressive or a danger to other passengers etc.
P.S. As someone who believes in the rights & respect of a paying customer,i however believe that BA should indeed apologise for the inconvencience/disrespect some passengers alleged faced on the day in question.However,we should stop seeking cheap publicity primarily for the sake of self-importance/relevance.