I was recently taking part in a discussion about the White South African, Brandon Huntely who has, at last, been denied asylum in Canada.
A senior judge recently upheld the Canadian Immigration Board’s decision to overturn his refugee status originally awarded him.
The general response was what one may expect (or not). One contributor wrote:
“the details of where Brandon Huntley stays in South Africa MUST be published. blacks must then rob him.” (sic)
Rather harsh. What do you think about this one then?
“Yet these Canadians take in millions of chinks each year.?Sorry bud, only dog eaters allowed in Canada.” (sic)
Free speech guarantees aside, I’m afraid that this debacle has yet again exposed an altogether horrid undertone that remains ever present in South Africa.
For our entire pretense at liberalism et al, it takes us all of two seconds to revert to what some may say, is our inherent racist nature. A tendency to instantly start throwing around racist slurs, however tongue-in-cheek, seems just an instant away.
However, to the issue at hand, as the debate continued someone mentioned that had he been black, no one in Canada would’ve even ventured a response and “voila” he would be “un canadien” in no time.
This got me thinking further. I recall the time that I spent in the UK (2004-2009), when so many Zimbabwean asylum seekers arrived on the UK’s shores. Whilst many of them were genuine asylum seekers, I personally know quite a few – who are not. As it happens, I know of a few black South African’s who posed as Zimbabweans, fake documents in hand and managed to pull the wool successfully over the home office’s eyes. Some were not so lucky but just take a walk down the streets of Luton, Leeds, Coventry, Birmingham, Leicester and Milton Keynes and you will find that many, many were. Do not misunderstand me, this is not an attack on genuine asylum seekers, the world needs to take care of it’s vulnerable, however the issue of Mr. Huntley seems to have exposed (as much as I hate to admit it) a double standard in the system.
Can white people be refugees?
I mean that sentence in its entirety. Can we actually BE refugees? With such well-established opinions on what refugees are, could we ever be seen as such especially if (and I’m not convinced Mr. Huntley would fall into this category) he had a genuine claim?
My Mother is Zimbabwean. I have cousins who still live there – but one of my cousins who left for the UK with his wife, was allowed there ONLY because she has British Citizenship. I know of a great deal of white Zimbabweans who, with no access to EU passports were denied refugee status in the UK. The irony here of course, is that one could argue that black Zimbabweans voted in Mr. Mugabe (and I have personally witnessed debates in the UK by black Zimbabweans singing his praises, who are in the UK by virtue of asylum and refugee status), yet after getting rid of the evil white farmers, they then went running back to their erstwhile colonial power. Forgive me but this seems all too much like a fait accompli on the part of the Zimbabwean government.
I’m not picking on Zimbabweans, they just happen to be the convenient example in this context but is it true that in the world right now, there exists such an ingrained and accepted “reality” that if you’re black and African you are instantly afforded “asylum status” because clearly you need it?
If I were a black African, I would find this MOST insulting indeed.
Moreover, should I be flattered or insulted because the overriding perception is then clearly that because I’m white, my life is SO fabulous, that I couldn’t possibly be a refugee?
Let’s hope that we never have to find out the answer to that question.