Thursday, April 30, 2015

xenophobia - some thoughts.....

xen·o·pho·bi·a ˌzenəˈfōbēə,ˌzēnəˈfōbēə/ noun intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries. I have been wanting to blog about the xenophobia for about two weeks now but have found it difficult to articulate how I feel. I am so appalled and shocked by what I see in the media, am not sure how I feel about what people post. I feel outraged at what I see and I wander how I as a Christ follower am to respond to this. One thing I am certain of is I cannot remain silent on the issue. I cannot sit on the comfort of my couch and be a commentator on something so appalling and my heart breaks as I think of people I know who are not South African, ex colleagues, children I love from Silikamva High, friends in my church. I read an article written by Mphuthumi Ntabeni from which I would like to quote "The sacrifice of Christ with His blood was the price of our reconciliation with God. The gospel calls us to stand with the poor against injustice. What price have we paid for the authentic reconciliation of our country?" He writes about understanding the causes of the barbaric act of xenophobia, it does not mean that we excuse the behaviour. It means we start by looking at the man in the mirror ( Matthew 7: 5). to try to understand what has brought our nation to this point. The church generally does well in looking after the needs of the poor and marginalised and so it should. Xenophibia should challenge us as Christ followers to the very core of our being. We know what it is to be forgeiners, in the sense that we know that this place we call earth is not ultimately our home. In his article Ntabeni goes on to say the " the wallpaper over the cracks of our soco-ecomonic problems is now being torn off. We have been deaf to the cries of the poor. And like all silently ignored and oppressed people, the poor have now chosen the language of violence, one which no one can ignore, to bring their plight to the fore." He says that perhaps when they still feel neglected and when the soft targets(the foreigners) no longer make a statement,perhaps they will march to our gated communities and disturb our merriment around our braai's? He asks the question of what we will do then? Will we cash in our tickets and use our dual passports and leave the country? OR will we heed the call of Martin Luther King Jr, and learn to live fairly with our brothers and sisters or will we as fools together perish. We need to start in our own sphere of influence, we all work with someone who is foreign? Or we know a foreigner. We have domestic workers who are still living in the grips of poverty. Are we paying a living wage? Do we treat them with the dignity they deserve? Would we be willing to open our homes and ourselves,and risk becoming a target in the fight for social justice? These are difficult questions I know, ones which challenge me, but I believe as Christ followers we need to take a stand, we need to speak out and be heard, and we need to be there in the trenches standing next to the poor and the oppressed. We need to make a difference. We need to be the change that our country so desperately needs.

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