Racism. Sexism. Terrorism. Ethnocentrism…These terminologies do not seem to convey the true message of what really happens (or is happening) before our very eyes in this small world. Listen to the radio. Watch TV news. Men are brutally murdering other men almost every day. I tell you, the heart of a man is desperately wicked and deceitful above all things!*sighs*. What in the world drives one to do something as inhumane as taking the life of another man in the name of ‘you are a foreigner in my country’? I say this with respect to the on-going crisis in South Africa that has claimed the lives of many innocent victims. You can’t fathom how a person/people can be so threatened by the presence of another group of people to the extent of losing one’s sense of love for humanity. If we really think we are dealing with just another kind of political, gender, cultural or racial difference, please let’s consider our line of thought once again.
The social media is electric with anger and indignation judging from the numerous tweets and Facebook posts pertaining to the recent xenophobic attacks in SA. Many (especially blacks) were disappointed by the fact that Africans are the very people perpetuating these gruesome attacks on their fellow African brothers. In my opinion, that should be the least of the reasons for our disappointment. This is men killing other men! Whether it’s black people attacking white people or white people attacking black people or black people attacking black people or white people attacking white people, our conscience must be stung strongly regardless of the kind of people involved. This [Xenophobia] must be seen as a heightened form of barbarity incited by powering one’s fears with absurd imaginations and false preconceptions. If this ‘fear’ is irrational and unreasonable, then it exists for the wrong reasons. Why feed such irrationality? Some say the attacks began shortly after the Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini said the immigrants “should pack their bags and go” because they were the cause for the increment in the rate of unemployment among the local citizens of the country (Others claim the masses misconstrued his statement). Even if it’s true that the foreign citizens are ‘stealing’ jobs from the hands of the ingroups, does it still justify any of these killings? Does it?
Xenophobia isn’t a 21st century problem. The word may be quite modern but the act is as old as humanity itself. There was a time in Egypt when a King was threatened by the presence of the Hebrews who were greatly multiplying in his kingdom. For fear that they may join forces with his enemies if war broke out, He ordered the midwives to kill all male babies born by the Hebrew women. This didn’t go as planned so he tried again but this time around he [the King] was more successful with his request after he charged all his men to drown every Hebrew baby boy in the Nile River. Just picture that. Someone please take a look at how evil can comfortably seep into a man’s heart even when’s he’s threatened by his own defective imaginations. This King certainly had no idea that Egypt was once upon a time found in a sorry plight with the situation turned around by a very wise and kind-hearted Hebrew man named Joseph. If only this King knew that their presence was actually a source of blessing to Egypt, he would have thought twice about treating them ruthlessly and subjecting them to meaningless deaths. And South Africa, these people you call ‘strangers’ are the very people who have greatly contributed to the development of your nation. All their struggles have helped boost the nation’s economy for a better future for the next generation. Can’t you at least be grateful for this? You’re rather setting their stores and children on fire. Really?
You know what’s funny? We are here calling people ‘foreigners’ on our lands. How about us? Aren’t we ‘foreigners’ on Earth too? There’s a beautiful sky above us laced with clouds that condense to give us rain to cool our surroundings and to help our crops grow. Did anyone of us create that? Look up to the sun. We definitely didn’t hang it over there like we do with our portrait pictures. We came to meet this burning ball of gas which stimulates our sense of vision and even help in proper skin formation by giving us some amount of Vitamin D free of charge. I won’t even go into the science and specifics of the other things it does. No one pays air bills. You breathe this air for free! Did anyone of us offer suggestions when the lands were being demarcated into continents and countries? We didn’t even help draw the plan of mother earth to start with. Where would we go if the owner of this earth told us to pack our bags and leave because of our ‘threatening presence’? The sea? The skies? We will have to travel to space or a different planet for that matter—another foreign place for foreigners like us. Do you get what I’m driving at? We are here enjoying these gifts given to us freely out of loving kindness by someone (or something depending on how you view the origin of this universe) but today, we go ahead of ourselves to decide who lives and who dies on the basis of our unjustifiable feelings. C’mon people!
We can keep on protesting against the wave of anti-immigrant violence by brandishing ‘SAY NO TO XENOPHOBIA‘ placards on the streets or playing friendly matches in ‘LET’S KICK XENOPHOBIA OUT’ jerseys and all that but if that’s all there is to do, then we’ve only succeeded in taking Aspirin to relieve our fever and pain. We still end up missing the main point. All are strenuous efforts have unfortunately aimed at curbing the symptoms of the problem and not working to uproot the source of the problem itself. We cannot deny the fact that the heart of this issue lies in the issue of the human heart. Living within us are wild hearts that are depraved beyond our wildest imaginations. I’m not referring to the pear-shaped organ that pumps blood to the various vital organs in our body. I’m referring to the ‘heart’—the seat of our emotions—where every issue of life springs up from. It’s dead. Just dead. I get to understand and appreciate more why Jesus wasn’t that interested in making bad people good but was rather keen on making dead people with dead consciences alive. It’s because our bloodthirsty hearts need something more than social conventions and ‘ethics rehabilitation’ classes to neutralize the poison within. It needs something beyond what this world is familiar with. We don’t need a lot of good morals to fix this. WE NEED GOD. It’s about time we humbled ourselves and actively pursued after His Spirit because He is the only one capable of creating in us a clean heart and renewing a right spirit within us. Without His transforming power, we’re like unplugged electric irons trying to remove wrinkles from a fabric. If we don’t get serious with our quest to find and deal with the root cause of these problems plaguing this nation and the world at large, we will continue to wallow in injustice and our lands will remain broken because what lies beneath…God help us all.