“PICTURES don’t lie” used to be a common refrain until Digital technology birthed Photoshop and similar tools that wiped out the cliche. Now, we have to verify any pictures before we’re sure they’re not lying, otherwise we may be fooled or misled.
There are no such doubts about the pictures coming out of South Africa depicting the attacks on black immigrant businesses by local mobs. Men, women and even children can be seen in videos and photographs looting the properties of their victims in Johannesburg, and thereafter setting shops and vehicles ablaze.
Nigerian nationals in South Africa are confirmed to have suffered some of the biggest losses, including loss of lives. It is understandable therefore why the Nigerian people and government are very upset and demanding that the South African government brings the culprits of the “xenophobic attacks” to book. In fact, some angry youths back home have taken matters into their own hands by attacking South African businesses in Nigeria in retaliation. (There are reports of similar reprisals in Zambia). This is quite unfortunate and playing right into the hands of the criminals behind the conflict.
Doubtless, I am equally very upset by the pictures of the senseless and shameful looting in Jo’Burg and I agree with those who say we should to declare “war” on the menace. However, the war should not be by the Nigerian government and people on the South African government and people. Rather, it should a war by BOTH governments and peoples on the criminal elements on both sides whose activities are responsible for the current mayhem.
The criminals on the South African side are the petty thieves, gun-wielding car jackers and lazy thugs who create and/or seize on any opportunity to attack and rob foreigners, especially Nigerians, whom they shamelessly accuse of stealing their jobs and taking their women. The criminals on the Nigerian side are the heartless drug dealers and fraudsters who have exported their stock-in-trade to the Rainbow nation and given other honest, hard-working Nigerians in that country a very bad name and reputation.
If both the Nigerian and South African governments and police can collaborate to painstakingly investigate, honestly expose, diligently arrest and effectively prosecute the criminal gangs and elements on both sides, the xenophobic attacks and counter-attacks will be kicked into touch, thus restricting the battle BETWEEN both countries strictly to the developing football rivalry between the Super Eagles and the Bafana Bafana.
Remember, this is SOCCERTALK! I rest my case.