Monday, December 11, 2023

Refugees are caused by world’s inequalities

Smoke still emits from the smoldering ashes of the elections held in America last Tuesday. There is still a long way to go before the results emerge and be officially certified.

America’s political casualties, like the regrettable and frequent batches of traffic fatalities on Zimbabwe’s roads, abound.

Both lists grow longer as late votes are counted while Medics in Zimbabwe painstakingly zero in on apparent survivors while announcing a life or more lost.

Nations around the world have serious problems.

It is a wonder why all the world’s nations have problems that are, in most part, caused by other nations.

Be that as it may, many of them can afford to consider their problems as ‘short term’ because they not only have the ability but the desire to rush and right things before greater damage is caused to both citizens and nation.

America’s politics is like no other yet the long-held beliefs and adherence to American political norms now seem to have been washed away.

I knew America at a time when the ‘Press’ was the necessary and respected ‘Fourth Estate’ that has now become “an enemy of the people”.

I have a great concern whenever journalists and reporters are threatened or have their role in society reduced to political levels.

America has always been a beacon of free expression and of freedom of the press, so it was with regret that I saw the humiliation of a journalist in front of an American president in, of all places, the White House itself.

Once upon a time as a student journalist, I was taught to believe that a president was always there to, among other things, protect journalists and free expression.

There is no doubt that America is undergoing a transition in many ways. A metamorphosis of sorts that is changing attitudes and long held beliefs and values.

There is no doubt that the norms of yester year no longer apply in today’s America.

Today’s citizens have a totally different view of the world and no longer subscribe to the fact that America is a nation built by immigrants.

The welcoming of immigrants in yester years has been replaced by a hostility such as we see when hungry people fight for left overs.

The country has become secondary to self.

America, today, is fighting like hell for a seat on the world’s political table because it can no longer afford to be on its own yet is unwilling to be too close to any other country. Today, no country can stand alone.

The United States government has just decreed that all those who enter its territory illegally are not eligible to apply for asylum. This as if refugees have a choice.

While I do not dispute the need to secure borders, I wonder how America hopes a person seeking asylum to do it “legally” since a refugee can only ask for asylum in the “first country they set their foot in”. There is no time to apply for visas, none.

That is why an asylum seeker bursts across a border and explain later after securing safety and receiving a cup of water to drink.

The whole idea of seeking asylum is based on an immediate threat to life. Few refugees enter “the first country” with passports, let alone any documents or property.                                                                    Asylum seekers and refugees do not just pack their bags and leave as if they are going on a trip to Disneyland.

Needless to say, countries like America, Britain and those in Europe have become fatigued with refugees. This, to me, is the outcome of historically misplaced priorities and of imbalances allowed to expand.

America dreads what it thinks is a threat from South American refugees because they are organized to achieve a common purpose.

While I admit that there might be some justification in controlling entry into the country, this should not be done at the expense of legitimately distressed people whose lives are in immediate danger.

America is flooded by asylum seekers from south America just as much as Europe is weighted with asylum seekers from the Middle East and Africa.

While America is fighting a war in the Middle East and supports dictators in Africa, the victims, whether intended or not, escape to seek shelter in the eaves of the countries that are destroying their former countries.

Likewise, America’s support of Latin American dictators has encouraged people of those countries to try and seek shelter in the “offending” country.

America should consider itself lucky that it is dealing with only South American refugees. Imagine what the case could be were it sharing borders with Asian and African countries.

The inequalities in the world will continue to cause refugees. That is why Zimbabwe is hosting refugees from Rwanda, DR Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia and other countries while there are Zimbabwean refugees in DR Congo, Kenya, Angola, Rwanda, Ethiopia and other countries.

The issue of refugees is an emotional one on both sides. When I arrived in Botswana seeking protection, I used to tell officers at the Francistown Center for Illegal Immigrants that there is no way Botswana or South Africa would enjoy their freedom while Zimbabweans across their borders were starving while in bondage. That situation still exists today.

This is precisely what is happening in America today as hordes and hordes of people travel from the southern most tip of south America to the United States to escape violence and poverty and to look for the elusive opportunities seemingly available in another country.

Elections were held in America on Tuesday and immigration reform was one of the most talked about issues, along with universal health care and the economy. Some winners in many constituencies are still to be declared.

There is an ongoing fight for the soul of America while a president cries for a wall across the border as if the Berlin Wall and the Great Wall of China ever stopped anyone.


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