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Archive for the tag “illegal aliens”

Synchroblog on immigration

Yesterday some bloggers had a synchroblog on immigration.

A synchroblog is when a group of bloggers decide to post articles on the same topic at about the same time, with links to each other’s posts, so that you can surf through the posts and get a variety of views on the topic. Thanks to Sonja Andrews for coordinating this month’s synchroblog, and for reviving it.

This synchroblog was specifically on Christians and the immigration issue. Why just Christians? Aren’t others concerned about it?

Well part of the answer is to be found in a blog post that isn’t part of the synchroblog, but perhaps ought to be:The New Litmus Test | Solomon Hezekiah:

All of my friends (and yes, I have a few) who used to go on and on about abortion now go on and on about immigration. The level of perjorative that used to be reserved for those favouring abortion rights or, at worst, abortion providers, are now reserved for those favouring leniency toward undocumented immigrants. In fact, if anything, it is worse. In reading around the conservative blogosphere and even in talking to individuals face-to-face (because people tend to be much less restrained in the pseudonyminous detachment of the internet), opposing views are treated with anger, aggression, and a remarkable lack of civility.

That was written by an American living in the UK, which shows that the problem is international. In South Africa immigration has been linked to xenophobia, and some South African newspapers, notably The Sun, have published articles calculated sto stir up hostility to “illegal aliens”. I’ve been told that in Australia “asylum seekers” is a dirty word.

But the dirtiest thing of all is that in America it appears that the “new litmus test” is being applied by people who like to call themselves Christians.

Illegal aliens

In September there is to be a synchroblog on Christians and the immigration issue, and here’s a foretaste, so you can start thinking about it in advance.

Teflon Christians, Refugees and an Invitation to a Christ-like Humanity | Peter’s Progress:

Let me introduce you to “Warren” (not his real name). Warren has a wife and three children. Before coming here he helped bury a friend’s wife, who had died of cholera (and was eight months pregnant). Warren slept outside for three weeks near Musina. The first day in Polokwane he approached me because he had heard that the Anglican Church helps refugees.

I said we weren’t much use, but we could give him some food. I know that people sleep down by the train station or the taxi rank and pointed him in the right direction. Warren arrived the next day having been mugged and stripped of everything except his trousers and shirt. Luckily he’d put his asylum papers (legal documents) in his pants.

“Chris” and “Fred” teamed up with Warren the next night and slept at a local garage, because it is well lit. The three of them fear the police. When they walk around town or wait on the side of the road for work, they get harassed or moved on. They’ve heard stories of our police tearing up asylum papers so they can be deported back across the border as illegals.

And its not only the police who are xenophobic, as the mob violence of a couple of years ago should remind us.

If you’d like to participate in the synchroblog, which is on 8 September 2010, there’s more information at Synchroblogging Is Back | Grace Rules Weblog.

Zimbabwe is top in literacy rate in all Africa

In spite of the last decade of misrule, it seems that Zimbabwe’s literacy rate is still rising. Africa Review – Zimbabwe is top in literacy rate in all Africa:

Zimbabwe has overtaken Tunisia as the country with the highest literacy rate in Africa despite the numerous problems that continue to dog its once enviable education sector

According to the UNDP’s latest statistical digest, the southern African country has a 92 per cent literacy rate, up from 85 per cent.

Tunisia remains at 87 per cent.

Post-independence Zimbabwe’s education was heavily subsidised by government, resulting in vast improvements from the colonial system.

Zimbabwean graduates remain marketable the world over.

In 2005 I was involved with some others in planting a new Orthodox Church in Tembisa, in Ekurhuleni. We met in a preprimary school, where most of the teachers were graduates — refugees from Zimbabwe. And it soon became apparent that the Zimbabweans were way better educated than most South Africans. We looked for leaders, who could read the services, and it was the Zimbabweans who were competent and picked it up quickly.

The Zimbabweans had a head start on South Africans. They never had Bantu Education. They never had Christian National Edcuation, which was neither Christian, not national, nor education.

But there are some lessons in this for South Africa.

What did we do to try to counter Bantu Education?

We introduced Outcomes-Based Education.

In theory, that was not a bad idea. The principle of outcomes-based education is a good one — you judge how well it is working by what pupils actually learn, and you remove the excuse of bad teachers: “We taught them that, but they didn’t learn it”.

It aims to replace rote learning with teaching pupils to think.

The problem is, however, that as a complete system it requires teachers who are equipped to run it, and teachers who had been trained in rote-learning under the Bantu Education system simply couldn’t cope.

The best way to reverse the effects of Bantu Education would have been to engage in a massive retraining of teachers, a re-education programme, in fact. Instead, experienced teachers (pre-Bantu Education) were enouraged to take early retirement, and the number of teacher training institutions was reduced.

And who would do the teaching while the teachers were being re-trained?

Zimbabwean and other refugees, of course!

There are hundreds of them, probably working in menial jobs, their skills going to waste, and instead we deport them as illegal immigrants. That is what happened to some of the teachers at the pre-primary school in Tembisa.

Another observation I have made is that at our Catechetical School in Yeoville, johannesburg, we have had a number of refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). They got their education in French, and yet managed to cope with teaching in English far better than most South Africans. It’s another country that has seen turmoil for the last 50 years or more, and yet still seems to manage to produce well-educated people.

OK, it’s possible that the refugees are the smart ones, and the illiterate ones stayed at home. Dictatorial governments usually like to crack down on the intelligentsia, so they are often among the first to leave. But whatever the reason, the fact is that we have their skills in South Africa and we are not using them. If we did, we might soon surpass Zimbabwe in literacy.

Which country are we talking about here?

Immigration can be a contentious issue, and sometimes people get carried away and talk quite irrationally about it, as this letter in Cyprus Mail shows.

Which country are we talking about here? – Cyprus Mail:

Surely I’m not the only person to see the irony of British expats in Cyprus making comments on the UK elections last week such as: “I’ve got nothing against immigrants but there are too many and it’s getting out of hand” and “Immigration concerns me. It’s only a little island”?

Coming over here… can’t speak a word of the language and the colour – pink as lobsters, some of them.

Illegal aliens

Telling it like it is, as we used to say in the sixties.

The Sovietizing of American War Propaganda – Blog:

Think of it for a second: If a gang invaded your home, set fire to several rooms, killed several of your family members, and then decided to stay for a while, would you refer to such people as “guests”?

Another leaflet distributed in the villages ominously warns the residents not to tax the patience of their oh-so-benevolent “guests.” One side shows the forlorn and pathetic image of a soldier, his head bowed in exhaustion and pain; the other shows a team of soldiers kicking in the door of a house. The caption reads: “If you do not free the Americans soldier, then … you will be hunted.” (The last word can be translated as either “hunted” or “targeted.”)

In keeping with the self-serving conventions of official U.S. propaganda, the soldier is described as “kidnapped” — the victim of a criminal act — rather than “captured” as a prisoner of war.

Given that the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan have been carried out without a declaration of war, as the Constitution requires, the Afghans would be perfectly justified were they to emulate their supposed betters in Washington by referring to the soldier as a detained “unlawful enemy combatant.”

Hat-tip to A conservative blog for peace.

The author also mentions the 1980s TV series V, in which extra-terrestrial invaders insisted on being referred to a “visitors”. In South Africa that series was interpreted in a rather different manner. Our “visitors” were homegrown. In the TV series the “visitors” were reptilian, but disguised as human beings, and the 1980s were the heyday of P.W, Botha, known even by his cabinet colleagues as “Die groot krokodil”.

Nevertheless, no matter which way you look at it, the Americans in Afghanistan are illegal aliens.

Unemployment and xenophobia – the root causes

A clear and concise account of the root causes of the recent outbreaks of xenophobic violence in many parts of the country.

Hat-tip to Dion Forster.

clipped from

The brutal attacks on foreign refugees which have brought shame on our brave new democracy are the direct result of the interaction of two failed government policies — one caused by the old ANC leadership and the other at least partially by the new.
The first is the failure over eight years to develop a foreign policy to prevent the implosion of neighbouring Zimbabwe, and of dealing with its inevitable consequences as millions of destitute refugees have poured into our society. For that the Thabo Mbeki administration, particularly the president himself, must take full blame.
The other is the failure over the past 10 years of unprecedented economic growth to ensure that more was done to reduce unemployment and close the wealth gap, so that we did not develop such a tinderbox of disadvantaged groups struggling to survive on the margins of our big cities — the very areas where the refugees land up to intensify competition for the meagre opportunities available.

blog it

posters and notice | dionysus stoned

See the rest at posters and notice | dionysus stoned

Paid to kill foreigners

Xenophobia, racism and the media: there are some more than usually disturbing elements about this report, and some others about xenophobic violence against foreigners.

clipped from

A Soweto hostel resident has told police that he was paid to carry out the attacks on foreign nationals in the township.

The man was arrested with six others who looted houses belonging to those they believed were foreign nationals in White City, Jabavu, on Sunday night.

The violence which had claimed the lives of 22 people since last week, had been spreading like wild fire in Gauteng townships.

The Soweto police, however, also issued a stern warning to against anyone who dared to mount xenophobic attacks in the township. They said they would do everything in their power to prevent large scale black-on-black violence.

In the 1990s a third force element was responsible for black-on-black attacks that claimed the lives of thousands of people in the townships.

Basani Sondlane, a Tsonga-speaking South African, whose RDP house was looted, said she was alerted by her neighbours that Nancefield Hostel dwellers were coming.

blog it

Many have suspected that the xenophobic violence in Gauteng over the last couple of months has been deliberately instigated by a group of people bent on fanning the flames of hatred. There are stories of people arriving taxis and doing this. Also, the fact that the violence flares up in one place, and then starts up in another. It looks suspiciously like an arsonist trying to start a veld fire — setting light to a patch of grass here, and another patch there, until the whole hillside is ablaze. But this is the first account indicating that the police have evidence that this may be what is happening.

What is even more disturbing, however, is the use of the term “black-on-black violence” in this and other reports. This seems to indicate that our media (and the police, since it was quoting a police spokesman) are still racist, and that we haven’t really moved on from apartheid.

When Yugoslavia erupted into violence 16 years ago, did any reports call it “white-on-white violence”? I can’t remember any. So what does blackness have to do with violence that whiteness doesn’t?

I suggest thart thwe term “black-on-black violence” is a deliberately racist attempt to implant the idea that black people are inherently violent. When white people are violent, it’s just violence. But when black people are violent, somehow the word “black” has to be brought into association with the term “violence” when reporting it.

I hope never again to have to read that term.

It’s nasty, it’s ugly, and it’s racist.

Telling it like it is – why xenophobia

A lot of the blame for the growing xenophobia among ordinary South Africans must be laid at the door of the government, says Justice Malala.

The Times – A simple recipe for xenophobia:

A cocktail of factors, mixed by the ANC over the past 10 years, is responsible for the barbarism.

These people are behaving like barbarians because the ANC has failed — despite numerous warnings — to act on burning issues that are well known for having sparked similar eruptions across the globe.

This cocktail is made up of stubborn denialism on Zimbabwe, an increasingly incompetent and corrupt police service, poor service delivery and corruption in government departments.

The crime-does-pay culture fostered by the ANC — criminals such as the Travelgate fraudsters walk away scot-free — is a central ingredient of the cocktail.

But the bulk of the cocktail comprises the failed state that is Zimbabwe. The country’s economy has collapsed. Its political leaders, security services and agents are looting the treasury. Zimbabweans are fleeing.

Malala tells it like it is, and there is no point in repeating what he says, far better than I could.

But a few points could be added. The police and immigration officials have harassed foreigners, even those who have valid residence permits, and tried to extort bribes from them, because of the culture of impunity. The move to incorporate the Scorpions into the police is part of this culture of impunity. But this attitude of the police encourages xenophobia. When South African passengers in taxis see foreigners being singled out for bullying, it sets an example that people follow.

South African observers of earlier Zimbabwean elections have said they were not free and fair, but they were told to say that they were free and fair, so they did.

I get the impression that Thabo Mbeki has shrunk over the years. When he first became deputy president, I regarded him as one of those who had fought for our freedom, but he has become more and more gnome-like. Back in 1991, at the time of the break-up of the Soviet Union, there was a communist-backed coup attempt. Gorbachev was on holiday at the Black Sea and was held incommunicado for several days, while Yeltsin in Moscow faced down the coup leaders. A few days later a cartoon appeared in some newspapers showing Yeltsin driving a car, with Gorbachev strapped into a child seat on the passenger side. Now one gets the impression that Mugabe is driving the car, and Mbeki is strapped in the child seat.

The government does not want to acknowledge that there are enormous numbers of refugees from Zimbabwe at present in South Africa, because to do so would be to acknowledge that there is a problem in Zimbabwe. And, sad to say, Zimbabweans are often better educated and harder-working than South Africans. Nearly 15 years after the end of apartheid, the government has failed to repair the damage done to the education system by Christian National Education. A whole generation of school children have gone through school without seeing very much improvement. By now, the school system in Zimbabwe has probably collapsed, but the average Zimbabwean aged between 25 and 35 is probably far better educated than their South African counterparts, and so find it easier to get jobs.

No one in their right mind expects Thabo Mbeki to behave like George Bush and to invade Zimbabwe to bring about regime change, but he could at least say something in favour of justice, freedom and democracy. We’ve heard his excuses for his impotence for the last eight or nine years now, and he’s still strapped in the child seat and can’t reach the steering wheel and the pedals, and his toy steering wheel fools no one but him.

Xenophilia versus xenophobia

There have been many media reports of incidents of xenophobia recently, where the homes of illegal aliens and refugees have been burnt down (sometimes with the people inside) that this comment on Roger Saner’s blog Beyond the Boerewors Curtain: Zimbabwe for the weekend comes as a refreshing change:

A few of us have started the 100% tip challenge. It works like this: when we eat at a restaurant we ask the waiter where they’re from. If they’re from Zimbabwe we tip them 100%. It’s amazing how many Zimbabweans are working in Gauteng, serving as a lifeline to their family’s back home.

Of course once the word spreads in the catering industry you’ll probably find that every single waiter in every single restaurant is an expatriate Zimbabwean! But it’s the thought that counts.

Last night at the Vespers of Love at St Nicholas of Japan Orthodox Church in Brixton, Johannesburg, we read the Gospel in several different languages, as is the custom. At the end of the service Azar Jammine, one of the parish leaders, remarked that when we started the parish 21 years ago, we wanted it to be a truly multi-ethnic Orthodox Church, and that vision was being realised right now: the priest, from Kenya, read the gospel in Swahili. A Congolese student read it in Latin. An student Angolan read it in Portuguese. A Greek read it in Turkish.

And somehow some of the words we sang seemed to stand out more than usual:

This is the day of resurrection.
Let us be illumined by the feast. Let us embrace each other.
Let us call “Brothers” even those that hate us, and forgive all by the resurrection, and so let us cry:

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling down death by death
And upon those in the tombs bestowing life.

We sing it every year. But this year it seemed more real. Let us call “Brothers” even those that hate us. Let us replace xenophobia by xenophilia.

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