Leave the foreigners alone

2008-05-19 00:00

Once again, at this time, I am deeply ashamed of being a South African. My heart goes out to all the foreigners who have been mistreated for coming to our country; they do not deserve to be treated this way.

It’s on the news, it’s in the newspapers and everybody’s talking about how the people of Alexandra are ill-treating the foreigners who have had to flee their own countries, not from choice but because of unbearable circumstances.

The big question is why? Why are they being violated like this? Why are their rights being dishonoured in this manner? Why do they have to be abused this way and chased away? Is this how South Africans were brought up? To beat up those who are in need of our help and send them right back to the unstable and horrific conditions they are trying to run away from? To hate, abuse and maltreat others like this? But then again, this is South Africa, and isn’t that what we’re famous for?

There are so many other things that South Africans should be fighting against. For example, there are hundreds of street children roaming our streets — they steal, they rape and they kill, but you don’t see anyone protesting against that or chasing them away. There are hundreds of vagrants walking our streets and they intimidate us, and make the streets unsafe, especially for us females, but no one is brave enough to make that problem go away.

Instead of trying to find more ways to make more people aware of HIV/Aids, reduce rates of unemployment and educate ourselves about respect in the workplace and fighting crime, South Africans are focusing their energies on acts of cruelty and foolishness.

What the people of Alexandra (and all those who encourage them and condone such behaviour) are doing is wrong and immoral, and it shows a great lack of respect for themselves and their victims. It shows South Africans as uneducated, uncompassionate hooligans who solve problems by fighting and inflicting pain on other human beings. Is that how we want to be known? Is that who we are?

For years South Africans fought for liberty and independence, and they finally got it. Is this how we embrace it? Is this our appreciation? We should know what it’s like not to be free; we should know what it’s like to be oppressed and not have the freedom to be who we want to be; who we are.

We should know better, we should be better.

I end this by giving each and every South African something to ponder. Have you noticed how many of our people leave this country and go to look for job opportunities in overseas countries? Maybe you have a sister or a brother in Europe, maybe a friend of yours has started a new life in London, maybe your son or your daughter is making arrangements to go to Australia? How would you feel if they were treated with the same brutality?

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