After the latest asylum seeker application by white South Africans, there’s been a lot of talk about whether or not they should be allowed to apply for this status in countries around the world.
The first issue is the difference between refugees and asylum seekers.
A refugee is a person who, according to the UN Convention on Refugees “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country”.
This means that even the definition of refugee is somewhat subjective. A person can believe themselves to be a refugee if they believe that they are subject to persecution. An asylum seeker is someone who believes they are, but no international country has agreed with them yet.
But what is persecution?
Persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group by another group.
Here, too, the definition is subjective. To a non-white South African, it may seem ludicrous that a white South African, in their middle class house, with their middle class life, might feel persecuted. They’re probably right—in some ways.
It’s far more dangerous to live in a township than it is to live behind high walls and electric fences, with armed private security on call, in the suburbs.
But when you scratch the surface, the reason for that feeling of persecution isn’t hard to spot.
Just yesterday, our president admitted that in his youth, himself and his friends were plotting to murder white people. Julius Malema called whites criminals, and JZ still sings shoot the boer. Manyi’s views are well documented, and there are plenty of others who have made plain their views on white people.
You may argue, however, that sticks and stones break bones, but words will never harm, but what about the history of the ANC? Bombing, burning, murder. All of these things were a part of the struggle, and it’s not a stretch to say that the ANC is once again in a struggle—a struggle to retain it’s rulership.
Considering that the only thing required to apply for political asylum is the BELIEF that you may some day be the target of violence, it’s not all that hard to make the leap between talking about these things, and acting on them, is it?
The fact is, asylum, like the belief in persecution, is a subjective thing. There’s no shortage of evidence that some people at least would not shed a tear if every white person in South Africa today were to be magically erased, and it’s no stretch from there to believe that in the absence of magic, less ethereal means may become an option.
So, while some may say that asylum seeking for white South Africans is ludicrous, I would reserve my judgement. I think, if anything, the next five years in South Africa’s history will tell the tale. I hope it is all a case of paranoia.
White people are scared. They’re scared that the ultimate legacy of apartheid will be rabid policies of revenge on people who did not have any direct involvement.
Ask yourself. If you believed that you and your family were the target of violence for whatever reason, would you not try to get away, by whatever means necessary?