Links on the situation, some quotes and some comments:
The Guardian has a good page with a bunch of resources and articles, including video here, and a little bit of a call for accountability for those truly responsible, and a recognition that this did not come out of nowhere;
For years now, violent protests against the government’s lack of service delivery have also been commonplace. One reason, for example, why President Thabo Mbeki was ousted as leader of the ruling African National Congress last December is because of deep-seated unhappiness with the government’s poor record of service delivery to the black majority.
From the Independent, as the death tolls rises to over 40:
Leonardo Boby, a senior Mozambican migration official, said 10,047 people had returned home in buses provided by the government. “The number is likely to increase in the next days as long as violence unfolds in South Africa,” he added.
This opinion piece starts off making it clear “When you need an explanation of xenophobic or tribal violence in Africa look to the money.” But this passage made me pause:
The plain fact is that post-apartheid South Africa faced a huge task building a new mass-based economy. Aids has made that more difficult. So has the high drop-out rate from black schools. But the final straw has been the huge burden of immigration. One in 10 of the population are now foreigners. (emphasis mine)
1 in 10 people in Spain, more or less, is also a foreigner. In Madrid, we’re 16%. The deciding factor is not immigration, it’s economics. One of the more illuminating and enraging chapters in Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine, explained in frighteningly clear detail the hijacking of the South African economy after the end of apartheid, basically, while no one was looking. But will anyone be going after the interests that created this socio-economic tinderbox? Of course not, they’ll just let people vent on the foreigners.
I particularly love this headline “African leaders express shock at South Africa violence”. Really? Did they really? Cuz I know barely anything about African politics and this doesn’t surprise me in the least. Is anyone paying attention?
In this article on AllAfrica.com, the author expresses a thought I come across alot in my readings. Explaining the resentment of South Africans towards employed foreigners who get jobs because they’ll do it for lesss, he is quick to take the moral high ground: “None of this justifies murder, but it does begin to explain it. ” But then he lets slip this popular gem:
Mbeki was incredibly foolish to assume that he could just let foreigners flood into the country and not expose them to a popular backlash.
Perhaps, but does this mean that we must keep poor, desperate people, many of whom are fleeing in the same way South Africans did – from brutal oppression – and we must do it, for their own good – to save them from our own people, who don’t know any better that to lash out? It patronizing to say the very least.
And then he cites this incident:
Last week in Italy, other ordinary people threw Molotov cocktails into Gypsy camps and burned them down. Most of those people have jobs, live in comfortable surroundings, and eat quite well, and they still behaved badly. There are only about 150,000 Gypsies in Italy, half of whom have been there since the 15th Century. They are less than a-quarter of 1% of the population, and yet 68% of Italians want them all expelled.
What is this supposed to prove? Italians can be xenophobic racists so lets not let in immigrants because we shouldn’t expect better from anyone in South Africa? Nice.
There are a billion articles out there at the moment, I’ll keep linking to particular oes as I run across them