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He’s a Bastard

Coen van Wyk

Posted on June 16, 2019 13:36

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You can be fined € 50,000 for saving a drowning refugee, according to an Italian security decree. South Africans threaten to burn Zimbabwean refugees alive. The USA put pressure on Mexico to stop people fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries. But where do these people come from, and why are they fleeing?

Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba blamed refugees and immigrants for the crime and overcrowding in the city. Communist trade unionist Zwelenzima Vavi questioned foreign Muslim shop-owners’ impact on the economy. Various European countries are taking increasingly serious measures to halt a wave of immigration from Africa and the Middle-East. The United States has a growing problem with waves of people flooding into the country.

Where do they come from, and why are they migrating? Surely they would rather stay at home? Wouldn’t you?

I guess, as usual, it’s not that simple. Nothing is. Yet many of the South African refugees are here because their countries are destabilized and economically unviable. In several cases, direct South African interference in the politics and economy has created unviable states. In other cases, non-democratic leaders went unchallenged due to an exaggerated respect for national sovereignty. I employ two (legal) immigrants who left their countries because they would not be safe and couldn't get work. The anguish for family and children left behind is palpable.

Pressure on Mugabe to change his policies. Source: Zapiro.com


France, for years, practiced "le Francafrique," a relatively mild policy of political interference and military intervention in their former African colonies that left a taste of economic dependence and political patronage. French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, who considered himself a friend and family member of Emperor Bokassa of the Central African Republic, received a handful of diamonds to say thank you. Today, the Central African Republic is still an economic disaster bleeding refugees to… France.

Coronation of Emperor Bokassa. Source: Getty images



Italy has now issued an edict that could fine NGO’s and people who save refugees trying to cross the Mediterranean by up to € 50,000. We read of the struggle to reduce the numbers of refugees crossing into the United States. I know little about South America, but I wondered why these people chose to leave their homes. It was US Secretary of State, Sumner Welles, who once said "Somoza's a bastard!" And Roosevelt replied, "Yes, but he's our bastard."

Somoza and his family beggared Nicaragua with the help of American interests and helped destabilize a democratically-elected government in Guatamala. These countries now supply the majority of refugees, according to the press.

Democratically elected President of Guatamala Jacobo Arbenz before being overthrown in an American-supported coup. Source: Wikipedia


It is known that colonial powers tend to be taken over by those they colonized. So I may be naïve to ask: Can France not place its Peugeot and Renault assembly lines in the countries from which the immigrants come? Can they not act, as South Africa should have done, to support democratic governments that would create vibrant economies? Is there no way the USA could have supported the development of democracy and economic growth in South- and Central America?

Coen van Wyk

Posted on June 16, 2019 13:36

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