A friend in line with the African Leadership Unleashed recently asked me about what I thought on the latest xenophobic attacks in South Africa. That was when I realised how sad I was. I was never sad because of the attacks per say. I was sad to know Africa was the continent to make the word “Xenophobia” popular and not Europe under Germany’s Holocaust. As my closest friend, Dennis Degbor will say “Nelson Mandela is certainly not a happy man wherever he is now“. Before I proceed on what I think about the attacks, I say to my audience, I doubt xenophobia is new and can be stopped. Xenophobia in itself is a specialized form of discrimination. It is a category of bigotry just like Racism, Misogynism and Tribalism from the spectacles of our own national localities. Now, reason I say Xenophobia can’t be discontinued is that, it is a form of discrimination and discrimination in itself will never end as long as we see differences among ourselves. We can ask ourselves these to understand how discrimination works: Why is there no form of skin colour discrimination (racism) in a clan?, Why is there no form of tribalism in our families? It is simply because we see ourselves as one, we do not see any difference as long as our tribes and skin colours are concerned. Kenyan actress in Hollywood, Lupita Nyong’o in one of her numeorus Lupita Nyong’o Quotes said, “I grew up in a world where the majority of people were black, so that wasn’t defining someone, you don’t start out with he’s black, he’s white“. Saying discrimination cannot be ended does not mean it can never be reduced though. In fact, the global outcry and reaction towards present atrocities of Boko Haram, Al-Shabab and certain unfortunate SA’s attack on foreigners depicts an effort to extricate various forms of discrimination we see on a day to day basis. The outburst of feminists in the world to ensure gender equality as well as make misogyny uncommon is another effort on its own. But before we will be able to kill xenophobia, let us kill the umbrella of discrimination by seeing all humans as one.
We finally arrived in Charlie Chaplin’s arena of comedy and why he is the best solution as long as education to the attackers are concerned. No, I am not talking about using comedy to stop attackers from attacking. I am not telling the world to sit the attackers down, provide them with palm wine and then fill their ear drums with resonance of jokes and funny tales. This situation is too serious to play a game of chance through jokes. South Africa is indirectly calling for solitary in a Globally advanced world of inevitable interdependency if its government does not arduosly work against the deadly attack its populants are giving to foreigners. The reason why Sir Charles Spencer “Charlie” Chaplin comes into a picture outside the sphere of comedy decades after his death (1977) is in accordance to the greatest speech ever made, in accordance to peace and unity. In 1940, Charlie Chaplin satirically attacked Adolf Hitler in his motion picture, The Great Dictator. The film ended with a speech by Chaplin. It was a speech speaking strongly against dictatorship but most of all oppression. It spoke on uniformity and togetherness. To the SA attackers, I go back into history to present to you the speech that should urge you to stop attacking those foreigners adding value to your nation’s economy. This will only force you to reconsider your attacks if you have the least ability to think.
Speech by the Great Dictator
I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone. If possible, Jew, Gentile, Black man, White. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out for universal brotherhood, for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women, and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me, I say, do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish. Soldiers! don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you, enslave you, who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men, machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate, the unloved and the unnatural! Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery!
Fight for liberty! In the 17th Chapter of St Luke it is written: “the Kingdom of God is within man”, not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people have the power, the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then, in the name of democracy, let us use that power, let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfil that promise. They never will! Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfil that promise! Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers! in the name of democracy, let us all unite!
Inexorably realising how common the word “Xenophobia” became, I checked out Oxford Dictionary‘s definition and disliked it because the meaning it portrayed was different from what we saw and are still seeing in South Africa. The dictionary wrote “
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