Thursday, February 21, 2008

How soon we forget

Reports of South Africans attacking immigrants from other African countries seem to be getting worse, with the latest being today’s attack in a settlement called Laudium, just outside Pretoria.

Tomorrow’s Pretoria News leads with a story titled: “Flames and Mob Fury”, a sad account of how South Africans turned against their Angolan, Malawian, Mozambican and Zimbabwean neighbours attacking them with anything from guns and machetes to sticks and booted feet. Not even children were spared, the report says.

Authorities could not say what really sparked the attacks, but the locals accused the foreigners of committing crime.

Whatever these people have done to anger the locals should not warrant any attacks in a country considered to have the rule of law.

In any case, South Africans should not forget that it is only a short 14 years ago when millions of them were scattered in the countries where their victims come from.

They were treated as guests in their time of need and rightly so. No South African was ever victimized in all these countries even when, in some cases, people felt some of them abused their privilege of being apartheid victims needing protection.

The foreigners they are attacking now are in South Africa because they too need protection and help and they figured who better to go to other than their brothers and sisters whom they protected not so long ago.

The South African government should stop these attacks forthwith lest it be accused of abetting these attacks.

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