X : XENOPHOBIA
We know that xenophobia refers to fear of the other, fear of the foreigner. Here in South Africa where I live, xenophobic attacks occur. Sometimes small scale, sometimes large scale. Irrespective of race, colour or creed, we are shocked to see such violence perpetrated on other human beings, sharing the same living space.
What is it that is instrumental in our own people here in South Africa burning down the Somali’s shop and livelihood, the Zimbabwean doctor’s rooms.
I wondered about xenophobia, fear of the other, fear of the foreigner, the stranger amidst us. Such irrational and dehumanising acts of violence against those who have caused no harm and who provide a service to the community.
What is it that causes inter alia The Spanish Inquisition, the Holocaust, Rwanda, Cambodia.
Could we be xenophobic toward ourselves using the above definition? Could we take this from the macro to the micro level? It’s a bit of a leap, but why not?
On the personal micro level, we too have that shadow lurking within who we do not want to acknowledge. That shadow that belongs to us and is as real as the shadow we see on the ground when the sun is shining. And even when it’s not. That repressed inner other to which we pay scant attention. Those parts of ourselves that we don’t want to own and that we project out onto the other. And if not actually onto the other, then in some form of self destruction towards our own selves as in e.g. eating disorders, drugs, alcoholism in our attempts to fill an empty space.
Could we bring our own mostly unconscious shadow – ‘the thing a person has no wish to be’ *- out in to the open, without doing harm to another? Can the shadow live side by side with our waking lives, in a peaceful way? Can what we perceive to be the demon within be our daemon if we befriend it and use it’s endless, renewal resource as we come to know ourselves better? Can the simple art of listening for the inner call, change our habituated pattern of perception? Can we break the pattern of fearing the stranger within?
As our perceptions change, so too does our reality. Gold can be extracted from the dark.
Can we play our small part in preventing xenophobia?
This is a quote by Albert Schweitzer, medical missionary who established a medical facility in a jungle village Lambarene, Gabon. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1952.
‘You know of the disease in Central Africa called sleeping sickness. There also exists a sleeping sickness of the soul. Its most dangerous aspect is that one is unaware of its coming. That is why you have to be careful. As soon as you notice the slightest sign of indifference, the moment you become aware of the loss of a certain seriousness, of longing, of enthusiasm and zest, take it as a warning. You should realise that your soul suffers if you live superficially’.
Today is “Freedom Day” here in South Africa, the day Mr. Nelson Mandela was elected in our first democratically held elections, in 1994.
Song below is The Kiffness ‘Never Again’ and uses voice samples of Mr. Mandela in this pumping vibrant piece of music, made by my son David Scott in honour of Mr. Mandela.
* C.G. Jung