Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Canada: the chickens have come home to roost

What does the ruling, on a white refugee desparately fleeing South Africa, of the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board, say about their own competencies or sense of reality? Is it possible that the members did not know about the complexities of the current South African transition? Is it possible that they are not aware of their own struggles, with their own racialised history and the genocide of the First peoples in North America?

I'm not sure about the answers to these questions. Its complex. I however would hope that the Canadian government will look into this affair, come out of their innocence and declare where they stand with regards to these matters. They need to re-affirm their support for the complex peaceful transition in South Africa, towards a non-racial, just society; they need to affirm their seriousness in addressing redress. All communities in South Africa, face the cruel reality of an inherent violent society. Our challenge is to change it all, to keep the dream alive of a just society, for all who live in it, and to make it a reality.

Last weekend, I was part of a church meeting in Soweto, where we wrestled at length, on the safety of our churches and members, all black. Members were shot at, robbed, brutalised, the last few months. On Monday afternoon, coloured members of our church were traumatised in the middle of the Southgate Mall robbery and had to run for their lives. We support them in this situation, of course, but this is not the issue for me here and now. We all know that violence affects us all, even for a highschool in Welkom, in the Freestate.

The question is what lurks behind the ruling of the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board. What we have here, is a manifestation, a commentary on their own struggles. Canada, a highly diverse country, some would argue, a deep settler community, like Australia, New Zealand and the US, is still struggling to come to terms with the growing demands of their own indigenous communities for reparation, for justice. The ruling elite also have to deal with the fears and insecurities of their constituencies, who amassed their personal wealth, power and prosperity, at the expense of the colonised. Somebody asked me on Sunday, why Austrlia have never been challenged in the same way, as white Afrikaners on their institutional racism, by the world community. My thinking is simple: they had the military, culturalm political and economic power to virtually wipe-out the indigenous peoples, whilst in Africa, it was impossible, simply because of the sheer numbers. I also think the reason why Australia is sometimes called 'little South Africa', and Canada to a lesser degree, is simply because these emigrants feel a sense of déjà-vous there Anyway, my point is simply that we need to look deeper into the current decision and challenge the Canadians to acknowledge that their government cannot innocently wash their hands, parading as the paragon of open-ness and diversity…the chickens have come home to roost.

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