WHY DO people like to overcomplicate things?
Just listen to all the talk about the looting and attacks on foreigners over the last few weeks.
Politicians, commentators and others who like to sound important keep using big words, like “xenophobia”, and we even had the invention of a new one, “Afrophobia”.
I did a bit of research, and found out that xenophobia comes from two Greek words, “xenos”, which means “foreigner”, and “phobos”, which means fear.
Afrophobia is not, it turns out, fear of a 70s hairstyle, but apparently the fear of Africans.
I think both terms are kind of silly, and the second one especially makes no sense.
But let’s get back to the first word, xenophobia. Why don’t I like it? The first reason is that I don’t think what we’re seeing in the streets these days is the result of fear. Anger, yes, hatred, maybe, but not fear.
The second reason I dislike using this word is that it’s part of this trend of overcomplicating things. Why do we need to use some fancy combination of Greek words to describe killing people you don’t like?
It makes it sound as if the killing of foreigners is some weird, special condition or something, when there already exists a simple word that
perfectly describes what is happening. And that word is murder.
So we don’t need speeches about xenophobia or Afrophobia. We don’t need intellectuals on TV, political analysts and commissions of inquiry to talk about how to handle these mysterious and complex things.
There’s a simple message that deals with the whole problem, and it is simply: Do not murder other people. Easy as that! Foreigners, locals, albinos, whatever and whoever. The Bible makes it clear: Thou shalt not kill.
Maybe we all need a good reminder of that fact. That will stop a lot of problems, including xenophobia, in their tracks. But as it happens, the Bible also talks explicitly about dealing with foreigners.
“Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt,” God commands in Exodus 22:21. In Leviticus 19:33-34, we read: “When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat him. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.”
It doesn’t get clearer than that, does it? These days people often say they’re not sure what the Bible says about this or that modern thing, but this is a case where we don’t have to wonder.
GOD talks about murder and the treatment of foreigners directly, and makes it clear what He wants us to do.
If a human king thinks he knows better than the Creator, then that’s an issue between the two of them. I know who I’m going to be listening to.
Does all of this mean I don’t think Mzansi faces some very real problems that have contributed to recent events?
No. There are real issues that
government has failed to deal with. Having strong borders and controlling who’s allowed in is essential for a country’s stability and prosperity.
Our leaders never thought through the consequences of their policies, or lack thereof, in this matter.
Now we, and the people who fled here to find a better life, are paying the price.
What can we do? We can read those Bible verses. And we can pray that God guides our leaders, as the Bible also tells us to do.
What we can’t do is murder our foreign brothers and sisters, and still claim to be a God-fearing people.
Sometimes you have to pick a side, and those who murder are picking the side of Satan.
I like hearing from you. E-mail me at [email protected]
Until next time, when I can hopefully write about a more cheerful topic, salani kahle!
This article first appeared in the Sunday Sun.
Click here to sign up to receive our free daily headline email newsletter