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.

1 comment:

Charizard said...

Very well written...I have expressed my utter displeasure and consternation at the xenophobic attacks...