Xenophobia, as defined by theorists and scientists, is the fear of a strange thing or person. It is the result of the paranoia that exists when an indigene of a state or country thinks that their life is at risk as a result of the existence of a foreigner within that country or community. This fear sparks the impulse to carry out violent acts towards strangers and people that do not identify themselves with your language, culture, and traditions. The reason why I am writing this piece is as a result of Xenophobic attacks against certain groups of people in time past. For instance, the 2005 Cronulla riots in Sydney between the city’s Lebanese and white populations, attacks on immigrants (mostly Nigerians) in South Africa in 2015, and the ethnic discrimination against Rwandese in Zambia in 2016 are all examples of xenophobia, and they resulted in several deaths of innocent people. However, this article is not to rant or criticize the actions of indigenous citizens of these countries but to see where their thought process came from which resulted in these brutal acts. Also, I’ll examine how the international bodies (i.e. the UN) that preach unity today has failed in its part to make its goals inclusive for every citizen of the globe. Again, I’ll analyze how specific governments of our countries have been unable to help us in having the mindset of a global citizen and to aspire to collectively achieve the goals set out by some of these international bodies (i.e., the SDGs) instead of hating one another.
Reasons for Xenophobia
Indigenes of countries that commit xenophobia do not commit these acts based on their self-will but rather as a result of certain reasons. One could be the fact that the government has failed to provide basic amenities for them, whereas, this is not affecting immigrants in a particular locality— immigrants having good jobs. This sparks the hatred and want to violently make that immigrant go back to where he came from. This was the case in some part of South Africa. Another reason could be rumours of the evil deeds of immigrants within a specific community. The xenophobic attacks that took place in Zambia stems from the rumours that Rwandans were using people for ritual. Though it wasn’t substantially proved, people took it out of hand and started discriminating against and killing Rwandans in Zambia. The above reasons are just two ways xenophobia is motivated.
Formation of International Bodies
During world war II, 26 countries came together to form an alliance. Their aim—to fight against the emergence of another war as well as to uphold world peace across boarders. After a couple more years, many other countries joined in the course, and today we have well over 190 countries represented. Also, within the confines of our continents, we have certain continental bodies set up by our leaders to help us achieve collective goals of tackling everyday challenges we face as citizens of these continents. Examples are the African Union (AU), European Union (EU), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), etc. However, I must say that since these bodies have worked tirelessly in helping us coexist with each other across boarders and helping us work together collectively and putting our differences aside, they have also contributed to shaping xenophobia across the countries affected. Maybe not directly but through the lackadaisical actions of governments of countries across the globe.
How Governments and these Organizations have failed in tackling Xenophobia
We have witnessed the formation of pivotal, key bodies that fight for global peace and good relationship between countries across the world today but sadly, these organizations are politically motivated. Inasmuch as there are big and vague visions of these bodies, the majority of them overlook certain menace that needs to be curbed. Xenophobia is one. It is being neglected in the sense that delegates from countries are sent to these peacekeeping bodies’ conferences and meetings; however, when they return, the governments of these countries do not utilize the impact of these discussions to spark the change amongst the people of the state. They do not talk about these things in schools (which are meant to be a citadel of learning), in parliaments, amongst pressure groups and other bodies that are crucial to the formation of a society as a whole. Instead, they try to look for what can be vaguely done just to show that they are doing something about a peculiar issue. I mean, many people know about the UN as a colossal body responsible for peacekeeping treaties and other obligations, but they are not aware of the specific goals of the UN which are trying to address world problems. In fact, they feel the need not to know them, and the reason is that the governments of these countries haven’t built a solid foundation in integrating the whole idea of the UN as a microcosm for global peace amongst the people, hence, xenophobia. People commit crimes against immigrants because they feel neglected by their governments; because they feel exploited; because they feel like immigrants are taking their jobs for a lesser pay (as in the case of SA) and other reasons. The government also indirectly contribute to this by not first, adequately providing for sufficient welfare amenities as well as not educating or instilling in citizens the true meaning of global patriotism and intercontinental love for one another. Also, xenophobia has been neglected because it really isn’t seen as an issue. At this junction, I begin to wonder if there are repercussions for perpetrators that commit these acts.
In conclusion, the government and these bodies have failed on their part to really impact the citizens of this world on the potential dangers of xenophobia. The sooner they let people know of its danger, the closer we are to creating a cohesive world of humanity and sincere love for one another.
You can drop your thoughts in the comments section below.
DISCLAIMER: Every opinion here is based on my own personal research, thoughts, ideas and notions. Hence, you are welcome to disagree and challenge the idea but not revile the writer of the idea.