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Xenophobia and a united Africa


The protesters passed through neighbourhoods that are home to many immigrants (Al Jazeera)

The protesters passed through neighbourhoods that are home to many immigrants (Al Jazeera)

SIR: The recent wave of xenophobic attacks in South Africa, especially against fellow Africans, is unfortunate, regrettable and condemnable. History will no doubt remember these killings, and the perpetrators will never be forgiven. This is because Africans, especially Nigerians, played a very vital role in the fight against apartheid in South Africa.

Nigeria has spent a lot and accommodated a lot of South Africans in the spirit of brotherhood and Africa’s liberation. Now it is South Africans that are attacking their fellow Africans, killing them and looting their properties. It is an awkward and irrational pay back gesture.

Xenophobia, in itself, is a barbaric thing. No country, state or nation can survive on its own. That was why Europeans, despite their development, had to accommodate their differences and unite under the cover of European Union. International organisations, like the UN, AU, WHO etc, were created purposely to assist and help countries. Legally registered foreigners that pay taxes in a country are more important to that country than criminal citizens. America accepts all people. That is why Afro-Americans, Arab-Americans, Latino-Americans etc, feel more being Americans than their ancestral nationalities. That is because the U.S. understands and harnesses the benefits in diversity and capabilities.

A united Africa is vague and a mirage if xenophobia and tribal wars will continue among African states. Africa must come of age and start to deal with its problems, using a local solution. The African Union (AU) should be strengthened to defend the interests of all Africans where ever they are.

South Africa must protect all foreigners within its domain and their properties also. Perpetrators of the xenophobic attacks should be brought to justice irrespective of status. The government should also apologise and compensate victims of the barbaric attacks, with an assurance that such will never be allowed to happen again.

•Abdulbaqi Jari,

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