“Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt. Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless.mIf you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless.” Exodus 22:21-24
Now that I, your LORD, and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. John 13:14-15
The term xenophobia is defined in the dictionary as chauvinism, racism, nationalism, prejudice, racial intolerance, and dislike of foreigners. All over the world these elements of intolerance of people that are different from others, appear to be flourishing, most with extreme violent outbreaks. In the new Millennium, the term “immigrant” has, suddenly, instantly, and immediately become a dirty word.
When all scenes are displayed on a big panoramic screen, perhaps the xenophobia that surpasses all xenophobes is that of the United States of America under President Trump, who is living true to plum on the plum line, the old saying “him white man speak with fork tongue.
South Africa comes a close second, although in mob justice antics, they beat all nations’ thumbs down. But other countries are also displaying the sharp dislike of foreigners with treacherous murders being reported everywhere. Even my peaceful Warm Heart of Africa (Aka Malawi), is exhibiting xenophobia, whereby incidents of gruesome violence against foreigners is frequently being reported in the media. This is so unlike us.
But in searching where did all this xenophobic behavior come from? Who started it all? How can the leader of the free world become a viscous immigrant-hater, with rhetoric of “we don’t want you here” coming from the most democratic country and model of institutionalized guaranteed freedoms and universal human rights?
There is a small country (in size only) but very powerful age-old country with its own home-grown religion, that flouted the Catholic Church at the height of the reformation; it has a language that has been embraced by the whole world – everywhere this small country’s language is the language of communication, educatedness, and business transactions.
This small country is also the only country that has an institutionalized (not neo-colonialism as such) grouping of 52-member states. This grouping is headed by a monarch, respect to whom it is an honor of all members to behold as Her Royal Majesty.
This small country known as the United Kingdom is headed by the longest reigning and oldest monarch, 90-year old Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. This small country, that can be found in the northern section of the Atlantic Ocean and the English Channel, once held the reins of power over the largest number of colonies in Africa, Asia; and even in the Americas, although the UK (at the time of its imperial power known as Great Britain), never had any colonies in South America, as the world’s great sea power, it got the lion’s share in North America, with colonies that later became the United States, and Canada.
That is in the distant past. Recently this great former grand colonial power did three things that have influenced many countries that are displaying and morphing into grander and shocking xenophobic grandiose spectacle.
1. The first action that the U.K. (formerly Great Britain), was to gradually introduce visa requirements for almost all of the Commonwealth member states. Almost all. This includes all countries in Africa that were former colonies, and current members of the Commonwealth group of nations, with recognition of HRM Queen Elizabeth as the head of that institution.
Persons with citizenship in Canada, New Zealand and Australia do not need a visa to travel to the U.K. Americans (former colony but not a member of the Commonwealth, do not need visa to travel to the U.K.
The premise is that the citizens of all the visa-needing countries want to enter the UK to among others, take advantage of the national health system (one of the best in the world), get on the dole (welfare), take our jobs, get free education, change our culture and traditions by bringing in their strange traditions and cultures, etc. etc. etc.
2. Then enter Scotland, and its flirtation with the idea of being an independent nation. This was secretly and openly cheered by Northern Ireland, for many lifetimes wishing to be a free state and not part of the Kingdom. It can be stated with high certainty that most Commonwealth countries sided with British premier David Cameron for Scotland to stay in the United Kingdom during the Scottish independence referendum in September 2014. The vote was made in so many hearts-not-British, but desiring the unity to be retained. Scots are still part of the Kingdom.
3. Despite our collective Commonwealth hearts being for unity of the Kingdom, BUT the United Kingdom turned its back on unity and in a close contest, voted to exit from the European Union. The UK membership in the 28 member state organization gave great leverage for its 52 members that were not and could never be part of the EU. The spillage that have been enjoyed by Commonwealth members since UK Ascension in 1973, were stripped with the Brexit yea vote in 2016.
The UK’s desire to leave the EU (when unity was the song and dance for Scotland to stay tied to the Kingdom), was laced with racial intolerant. Unity with Scotland was desired, so as to prevent other parts of the kingdom from fraying away. However continued unity with the 28-member entity known as the European Union, would undo the elements in point one above.
Although the keep foreigners out of the U.K., through expensive visa costs and bother, the ultra-liberal European Union numerous policies and their almost easy to obtain visas, and resident permits, many of those undesirable immigrants that the UK kept locked out from entering its boarders, found their way through a third party – the European Union countries. There were other reasons, but this ones fits the pot.
On the bleachers of the Scotland referendum and Brexit, vote theatrical presentations, was a US presidential candidate of the first world, and numerous third world countries that are incumbent presidents.
Using nationalists and populist strategies and a little help from an unlikely friend in the north east (Russia), one candidate swept into the office of the President of the US. He is armed with Brexit ideology in hand, coupled with Scottish independence dreams, and like the Brexit edifice, a deep dislike of foreigners is paramount on his policy and a chanting rhetoric at political gatherings that still sounds like campaign pep rallies.
Just like the UK policies on immigration, is coming from a former colonial master, with a continuum existence as the leader of a multi-member entity with its tentacles reaching into and controlling the affairs (especially economic and political), the anti-immigration sentiments meted out in the form of a Muslim ban into the USA, overzealous officials are also targeting immigrants that are already in the USA. Using the facade of dealing with those that are in the country illegally, the blanket anti-immigrant activities are lashing out at anyone who looks different. And this includes Muslims, Jews and of course African Americans and Native Americans.
These are different. They are different from Caucasian, persons of the white skin variety. Into the basket, add also women; sometimes this group is different because of their sex. The crime on top of the xenophobic pie is the threat to exit from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), there’s also talk of denigrating the United Nations.
To use Mr. Trump’s own words: what the h—- is going on? How is it that traditional democratic countries are biting their teeth on their own democratic practices, chewing the dickens out of them and spewing them out the window? How are third world countries leaders to behave? Who will monitor who when leaders start behaving badly – in the democracy realm? Who is going to be accountable to who?
The USA is made up of immigrants — immigrants, the whole lot of them. Immigrants came from Great Britain (present day U.K.), France, Germany, Ireland, Sweden, Portugal, and through the slave trade (as pointed out by Ben Carson) Africa, China, Japan, and almost every part of the world. The only group that can claim to be natives of this great country are, well for lack of a better terminology, Native Americans – everybody else in the USA, is an immigrant. Even the president’s current (wife number three) is an immigrant.
To stop all these xenophobia policies and keep them from flourishing all over the place, is for the UK to return and retain its membership to the EU. This will thwart separatist tendencies brewing in Scotland, who wants to copy the Brexit mode. U.K. must remove all prohibitive visa fees and allow all and sundry into the UK – trust I, only those who love rainy weather, will stay.
A famous historian has said: what (the xenophobic people) are doing will hurt global history and its future.
Janet Zeenat Karim Maravi Post Senior Editor