noun | xe·no·pho·bia |
•: fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign
Merriam-Webster’s definition of “xenophobia”
This is arguably the best definition I’ve come across. Xenophobia is categorized by the fear and hatred of the unknown. Fear in simple terms is cause or reason for alarm.
Fear brings out the worst and the best in us. The worst speaks for itself, I need not mention. The best though; as I’ve seen lately, can really surprise you! From the likes of Julius Malema speaking so much sense, to growing unity.
This fear; often misplaced, is fear nonetheless. Seeing the atrocity that is presently going in South Africa; from the outside, it becomes very easy to get riled up. I too, was so furious when I watched what was happening.
We start wondering why the people behind the xenophobic acts are so cold. “Why?” Just why? We ask. As an African, I’m disappointed. So many people feel strongly about what’s happening and rightly so.
I personally take a lot of pride in being African. A Southern African and West African came together, now here I am. I never quite fit into one place so I’ve always been “foreign”.
This was never a problem for me personally. I actually appreciated it. I don’t have that typical nationalistic mindset. Not to say that it’s bad or anything, it’s just that I now identify as an African. I’m not confined to one thing/place.
I do not belong to one country. When I’m with Zimbabweans, we click. When I meet a Nigerian, I say fam. Ghanaians are my people, Namibia is my home, Botswana is my sanctuary. I relate to Ivorians on another level.
I’ve come to find parts of myself in many different people from all parts of the world. In fact, scratch that! I’m human before I’m African. In China, they accepted me. Yes, they did!
Ok, so they may have been a tad racist and ignorant, but that wasn’t their fault. If you knew how China tries to keep the outside world from its people you’d understand why they are the way they are. Exposure is key.
Once I learnt how to speak their language, we were one. We connected, we bonded, we got along. Many said before getting to know me, they never thought they could like blacks.
Yes! That sounds wrong but it isn’t. We can’t blame people for feeling the way they do or thinking they way they do. As bad as that sounds, it’s the truth.
Sit on your high horse and feel good about yourself for ranting on Twitter. The truth is, your angry tweets won’t change anything. Your hashtags won’t solve anything.
Firstly, before I speak on the Xenophobic South Africans, allow me to start with Boko Haram. Not too long ago the world was going hard on #BringBackOurGirls.
Today, Boko Haram is threatening to go put a stop to Xenophobia and now they’re being hailed and praised. I know, I laughed as I wrote that down too. Funny enough, they laughed and mocked the trending hashtag.
Fact of the matter is, people are people. I will never ever condone inhumane acts. But I won’t pretend like I wouldn’t do the same thing in their shoes. That thing of we are all villains in someone’s story? Yeah!
Before your natural judgy instinct kicks in, hear me out for a bit. Multiple behavioral studies have shown that in the right circumstance, condition and environment, a murderer can be a saint. An “angel” can be a demon. There are no “good” people.
The thing is, these people carrying out these xenophobic attacks are messed up on levels we can never fathom until we ourselves have experienced what they went through. They are as good as dead inside. Inhumane!
As you’re reading this right now, one of 2 things will be going through your mind. One, you’ll either understand what I’m trying to say, or you’ll get all angry and self righteous at my “stupidity”. Take it or leave it, it is what it is.
|| “Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.”
Proverbs 18:2 NLT
Nobody is born wicked. Nobody is born racists. All of that is learnt; or better yet, conditioned. I can only imagine how little humanity exists in one who is capable of watching another person burn alive.
Not flinching, not being moved by the pain their fellow human being is being put through, finding joy or pleasure in hearing the anguish and screams of a dying man.
I’m not asking anyone to forgive these acts, I’m not asking for us to tolerate that, I’m just trying to raise awareness. We’ve been at each other’s throats for the longest time. Kill or be killed, it never ends.
Nothing will change until we change. It’s always nice to be the fighter that people cheer for. You get a heroes death. Sadly your followers suffer for it. They’re left to deal with what’s left after the fighting.
There was racism, there was slavery, there was apartheid, now there’s xenophobia. What’s next? Something much, much worse I fear! We fear each other because we are too divided!
You impact the life of every person you meet. Your encounter can either fuel a person’s hatred, or put out the fire. That tiny spark has a ripple effect and along the line you are responsible for what they turn out to be.
We are all capable of bad, we are all capable of good. Let’s be people first, before anything else, otherwise we ought to just get used to burning each other in one way or the other and use nice little tweets to help sleep better at night.