O Tempora, O Mores! (September, 2006)

American Renaissance, September 2006

PC UK

During the 2005 British general election, Debbie Jones, an employee of HSBC bank, told a co-worker that she would be voting for Robert Kilroy-Silk because he promised “to get rid of the foreigners.” She also allegedly said she was “against immigration” and “hates foreigners.” Another co-worker, Ruby Schembri, an immigrant from Malta, overheard her and sued the bank for race discrimination. “I found Debbie’s racist comment to be offensive and very hurtful,” Mrs. Schembri told a government employment commission. “I left the room . . . [and] began to cry.” In July, the employment commission found the remarks could indeed be considered “racist” — even though the “victim” was white — and ordered HSBC to pay Mrs. Schembri compensation. The bank had already sent Miss Jones to racial sensitivity classes.

The case sets a precedent: Before the ruling, only remarks made directly to the “victim” were illegal. Now, anything a “victim” overhears could be illegal. Will eavesdroppers get the same protection? Civil rights lawyer Lawrence Davies applauds the judgment, saying, “The intention or aim of the maker is irrelevant, it is sufficient that it caused offense.” [Robert Verhaik, HSBC Found Guilty of Racism Over Kilroy-Silk Backer, Independent (London), July 14, 2006.]

Bewitching

Back in 1899, British colonialists in what was then Rhodesia passed the Witchcraft Suppression Act, which declared that witchcraft was nonsense, and made it a crime to accuse someone of witchcraft. More than a century later, most people in what is now Zimbabwe still believe in witchcraft, and are increasingly calling on it to solve the country’s problems. The government of dictator Robert Mugabe has scrapped the Witchcraft Suppression Act, so it is now possible to sue someone for casting a spell. If someone can prove in court that an enemy bewitched him, he can collect damages.

Claude Mararike, a sociologist at the University of Zimbabwe, is pleased. “We as Africans recognize the existence of witches and witchcraft,” he says. Prof. Mararike also approves of bringing witchcraft cases to court: “We are trying to remove the Eurocentric way of looking at issues.” The professor says magic or muti can do good things, too. It can stop theft, acting as an “electric fence” around a house. With the right mumbo jumbo, someone can get into a reed basket and fly from place to place. Prof. Mararike says Zimbabwe needs “to develop the science, patent and market it.” [Percy Zvomuya, Black Magic Gets Bob’s Nod, Mail & Guardian Online (Johannesburg), July 7, 2006.]

Post-White Bolivia

The anti-white, Indian populist government of Bolivian president Evo Morales is determined to get rid of the country’s remaining vestiges of European influence and recreate the supposed Eden that existed prior to the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors. Mr. Morales, who says he rejects Western concepts imported “in English” in favor of the ancient tribal wisdom, has assembled an eclectic team to implement his vision. The justice minister is a former maid who never studied law. His vice president is a former Marxist guerilla. Two cabinet members, education minister Felix Patzi and foreign minister David Choquehuanca, are Aymara Indian nationalists and “intellectuals.”

Education Minister Patzi says the government should encourage the indigenous population to procreate so as to reverse the negative effects of colonialism, and calls family planning an “elitist conspiracy” to hold down the Indian population. He says the country must decide whether to be “pre-capitalist or communal,” but whichever it chooses, there won’t be much of an economy: “Competitiveness? I ask myself why. Why study business in a country with no businesses.”

Foreign Minister Choquehuanca also has interesting ideas. He thinks it is possible for a person to be in two different places at once, one physically and the other spiritually. He hasn’t read a book in years because he doesn’t want to “cloud his mind” with Western concepts. “We have been in the hands of people who have read books, and look what a mess the Earth is in,” he says. He suggests Bolivians would do better to “read the wrinkles in our grandfathers’ brows . . . to recover the wisdom that our grandfathers still have.”

In order to receive a diplomatic posting in Mr. Choquehuanca’s ministry, applicants must speak one of three indigenous languages, Quecha, Aymara or Guarani — languages not often spoken in the world’s foreign ministries. [Jose de Cordoba and David Luhnow, A Dash of Mysticism: Governing Bolivia the Aymara Way, Wall Street Journal, July 6, 2006.]

Finland’s Fault

Finnish criminal courts recently convicted eight Somali refugees of violent crimes, including rape, robbery and assault, and the Directorate of Immigration quite sensibly ordered them deported. Unfortunately the men are from part of Somalia that the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) still considers “unstable,” which means deporting them would violate UNHCR treaty regulations that require the original country officially to take its citizens back. If there is no government back home, they cannot be kicked out since no other country will take them. Finland tried to deport a violent criminal refugee back to the Congo last year, but the UNHCR wouldn’t allow it for the same reason.

Finnish law professor Martin Scheinin doesn’t believe refugees should ever be deported if they arrived as children. “If a person has been in Finland since childhood, then any criminal acts as an adult cannot point to an inherent criminal nature. Instead, something is wrong here in Finland,” he says. [Refugee Deportation Order May be Overturned, www.yle.fi (Finland), Aug. 2, 2006.]

‘Africa as Home’

American blacks are the richest group of blacks in the world, and Africans want to share some of that wealth. Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, for example, tells American blacks “to see Africa as your home.” One plan is to offer African citizenship to American blacks. “Just as the people of different races in America have a place they call home, I believe we should have a place we call our ancestral home,” says Hope Masters, daughter of black activist Leon Sullivan. Anthony Archer, a lawyer who heads a committee studying the proposal, says, “Dual citizenship will start the process of mutual and spiritual reconciliation of differences between the two continents that came as a result of slavery. If we can feel like we really belong, we’ll feel more joyful about participating.”

One stumbling block is that most blacks have no idea what country their ancestors came from, although most were from West Africa. One solution would be to offer continent-wide African citizenship through the African Union. Another would be to allow American blacks to choose a country and apply for citizenship. Just what rights dual citizenship would confer has yet to be determined, but organizers hope to have a concrete proposal before a meeting between Africans and American blacks in 2008. [Dulue Mbachu, Africans Mull Citizenship for Slave Kin, AP, July 20, 2006.]

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