‘Xenophobic attacks on foreigners locally can threaten the lives and livelihood of SA citizens in foreign lands’

Human nature, most unfortunately, dictates that hate is a far more spontaneous reaction than love, far easier than any genuine respect.

It seems churning up a negative emotion comes far too easily, whereas a pleasant outlook requires lots of active, conscious energy. Generally, our brains prefer the first option.

Much of this not-so-nice natural reaction is irrational, prejudiced and not premeditated.

Intense, violent, deadly frenzy can easily be churned by a self-appointed leader who decides to mobilize a crowd of people ,who, normally are not prone to any form of violence, but at the behest of a loudmouth, can easily transform into a frenzied mob, looking for blood.

This serves as a warning that our every step needs to be treated as though treading on egg shells.

This brings me to the recent outrage which followed after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited a predominantly Muslim country – Bangladesh – to obviously gain some political mileage against a hovering, hawkish China.

He claims that he once participated in the call for East Pakistan, the step- daughter of Islamabad, to be wrenched from Zulfikar Bhutto’s reign.

Historically, India DID support and even assisted activist Mujibur Rehman militarily for finally setting up the then new country of Bangladesh. No dispute there.

But sadly, Modi altered himself years later and decided that Muslims in India, left right and centre, were persona –non-grata– pariahs in the country of their birth. He, by the way, did the same thing to Hindu’ “Pariahs” (read low caste, scheduled castes, also known as Dalits).

A country as “advanced” as the United States once banned the word “socialism”.

The word communism had to be spoken of in whispers. Hollywood, the pinnacle of wealth, stardom, specialized technicians and ultra-liberal thinking actually banned any film star remotely suspected of being a “Commie supporter”. Examples are “Trumbo” and, believe it or not, Charlie Chaplin! The latter was humiliatingly questioned about his political leanings by U.S Immigration and as a result exiled himself for 20 years from America!

Meanwhile the so-called educated classes of that country (read “mob”) already decided that he must have been a communist because most of his silent films were about poverty and down trodden citizens! 

Another example of such “xenophobia” also clearly surfaced during World War Two where Germans and Japanese – fully-fledged American citizens – were ostracised, looked upon with suspicion and some even imprisoned for alleged “spying, in America!” 

In our own country, xenophobia once again resurfaces, mainly due to very poor economic conditions where locals are unemployed while innocent, foreign entrepreneurs themselves, battle to eke out a living.

Repercussions to the local flare-up against foreigners here, threaten innocent South African citizens and business enterprises in corresponding foreign lands like Nigeria, Ghana, Zimbabwe and Uganda .

“An eye for an eye” could be the spontaneous, irrevocable reaction described in earlier paragraphs. It is even now, the basis of all legal systems.

No country, no government, no tyrannical ruler, no religion, no race then dares to tramp the wrong toes in their own territory. The world has shrunk into a village. Nomads from every tin shanty of this rustic land have taken their camels and moved all over the world. Simultaneously, like scientific osmosis and diffusion, others have arrived here, there and all over by donkey carts and huskie-driven sleighs. Some even by propeller-driven airplanes and air-balloons…

Perhaps we all need to go on a Satyagraha to seek truth that may just give everybody an equal chance for survival….

Ebrahim (ebkoybie) Essa 


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