Xenophobia…The Word and the World

Xenophobia…that word, you hear it for the first time and you mistakenly think that it must have some exotic meaning (well I did, please pardon me for thinking everybody is an olodo like me). The first time I  heard that word was during the attack on foreigners in South Africa in 2015 and despite my fear for the safety and wellbeing of my people residing in the country, I remember thinking what the hell does such a fancy word have to do with such a dastardly act and I got my answer….it defines it.

Xenophobia is simply defined by the Merriam Webster Dictionary as the fear or hatred of strangers or foreigners or anything that is strange or foreign. If it remained just a feeling (me thinking),it won’t really be such a bad thing, but what people do as a result of that, like the violence in  South Africa, can be bad. In a world system in which the order of the day are correctness, inclusion and integration; any word, action or thought which goes against these internationally recognised norms are usually termed xenophobic.

It is however ironic that slogans such as ‘America First’ and ‘Put Britain First’ which normally would be seen to be nationalist in nature has had such divisive impact not just within the countries involved but globally also and have been wrongly termed xenophobic. The reason for this isn’t far-fetched.

While the goal here is not to lecture but it is imperative to remember that the international economic system which we know and take for granted, and which was promoted by the West is one of free trade, open borders and sub regional and economic integration (eg EU, AU, ECOWAS etc). This system has produced strong countries like the G7 abi na G8 and others like Nigeria which keep struggling with the hope of climbing that elusive development ladder.The effect of this lopsided international economic system has been that the stronger countries have had to babysit the weaker ones and much like an uncle who inherits the wealth, America and the West have been much happy to take care of the orphaned child as long as he remained a good child. The system was so good to the West  that there have always been an excess of jobs, albeit it menial jobs, to accommodate people from the third world and thus help maintain a big brother posture to countries of the third world as long as these countries ‘behaved’. “Xenophobia” was however the byproduct of this system.

While xenophobia and its attendant issues such as violence and racism (like was experienced in South Africa) are a real issue and should not be condoned in the international space, however this term have been wrongly used to qualify many actions and policies which have been plain nationalism in play.  It seems, to me at least, that the term xenophobia have been politically adopted in international relations as a negative tag to qualify people and countries with characters and actions which did not conform to the international order of free trade, open borders and sub regional and economic integration. So even if the international order is not in the best interest of a country (as indeed it has been for Nigeria and other third world countries) it had best conform or be termed xenophobic.

And in case you missed it… “xenophobic” policies seem to have become a trend.Yeah, it has. You ask how?…Oh please look around you. From the Danish Expulsion Law to the Brexit vote to the Nexit debate (yeah… some in The Netherlands are pushing for it to follow the steps of Britain) and now the emergence of Donal Trump as America’s president-elect. You probably thought less of it as xenophobic because it takes on many forms and names that makes it acceptable, but make no mistake about it, in the context in which the term has been adopted in international relations it is XENOPHOBIA all the same and therein lies the irony in which the west finds itself today.

There was once a time when countries could easily take actions on issues which affected them without the fear of going against the international order or without being termed xenophobic. For instance the ‘Ghana must go’ and the nationalisation policies of the 80’s in Nigeria was easily prosecuted without much ado. However the World Trade Organisation (WTO) happened to international politics and many things changed. This WTO run global system which makes many nationalist policies difficult or plain impossible was massively promoted by the west because it was a necessity for the continued growth of western capitalism. What the west didnt envisage however was the growth of China,now the joke is on the West.

The different ways in which China’s growth is affecting the international global system is a discuss that i would like to leave for the International analysts however it has, in no small measure, been responsible for the xenophobically tagged Brexit policy and Trump presidency.  China’s rise interrupted the international economic order. With her over 1 billion population (that’s about 1/7 of the total world population) China can take almost all the world’s capitalist businesses and still not have any left over jobs for citizens of other countries to manage. So the west now find itself at the receiving end of the international economic system it structured with jobs becoming a scarce commodity.

As the economy is the foundation on which politics is built, the economic rise of China is now having a sweeping effect on the politics of the west. it is the rise of China that created this new trend of “xenophobic” policies and choices in the west. For the bottom half of societies in the West, the jobs are either not there or not considered good enough. It seems the ruling political elite of the west along the line came to either believe or confuse the excuses which drove this WTO economic system to prominence as ideals. Hence when China’s rise began to loosen the wheels their economic drive and its citizens began to groan they still kept on like all was well. Well, While the ruling elite were living in denial and keeping up with the appearance that all was well and  hoping that their citizens would take pride in the big brother act, the non-ruling elite tapped into the frustrations and fears of the citizens to push their way into power.

Make no mistake about it, the recent policy trends by the west (like those highlighted earlier) are xenophobic, at least in the context in which it has been political adopted in international politics but xenophobia becomes virulent usually only when people feel threatened; and they feel threatened when their jobs do. The irony which the west now finds itself is such that the excuses, cum ideals which it promoted have become so widely accepted and believed that its recent actions to redeem itself from economic collapse are seen as immoral. Do not get me wrong though, xenophobia and xenophibism should be condemned but it should be very well separated from political or economic nationalism which the Americans, the Britons and many European countries have decided to adopt of recent.

More simply put, the west is trying to cure itself from  a “sickness” that it helped create in the first place, that is, America, Britain and other countries with what are now xenophobic policies and actions are trying to run away from the responsibility of the international economic system which they created…talk about shifting the goal post.

More intriguing to me is the fact the west itself is undecided on whether it wants to save itself or keep promoting the status quo. Even though it wants to shift the goal post it is finding it difficult to do so because the goal post have been buried too deep (lol…funny but accurate analogy).The ideals they promoted initially in the interest of their people have taken strong roots such that any attempts to undo it (again in their interest) is resisted by the same people it is meant to favour…that to me is pure dramatic irony. Simply, the west (the elite and its citizens) is divided along the lines of globalism and nationalism and the nationalist seem to be winning.

Looking critically at the case of the USA, Clinton represented the idealistic status quo while Trump represented the “immoral” reality. While many of the political class, even among Trump’s own party, whom are rarely affected negatively by the policies of government all wanted the status quo to remain the working class felt a redemption could come through a Trump presidency and if truth be told…it could, that is if Trump really has the liver, sorry I mean liver to see through all his campaign promises. Really, Trump represented a realist truth which some Americans (those protesting his election) refuse to accept or simply do not understand,and that is that America can no longer play the big brother role as it used to, it simply isn’t buoyant enough to do so, and I wonder why he should be painted bad for that. Clinton was more interested in keeping the status quo and the voters didn’t want that at their own  expense. As it was for the USA so also for the UK and so this analogy becomes true: Clinton is to Scotland as England is to Trump…And there lies your line of division.

In the U.K., the U.S., and other European countries, the rebellion against globalization and integration is taking root.The U.K. voted Brexit, the U.S. elected Trump, many European countries are passing anti-immigration laws. Every where the politics of exclusion is on display but while this is going on Nigeria and the rest of Africa are caught up on the wrong side of the debate asking such silly questions as ‘what will Trump do for Africa’. Well, while they are asking silly questions the international system and its order is changing again with the west adopting policies which she (Africa) should have championed long ago but unfortunately it seems that She will be left to play catch up again…too bad.

France 2016 and the ‘Witchee’ of Arsene Wenger.

I have watched as this transfer market has progressed with all the usual shenanigans that goes with a transfer market, and more annoyingly, all the shenanigans that have come to be associated with Arsene Wenger and Arsenal’s transfer dealings. I have watched with sadden heart as all the rumours, failed bids and confusion in the transfer market which are usually a prelude to another disappointing Arsenal season have all been repeating itself, so I decided to pen a bit of my feelings even going back to the 2016 Euro Championship in France.

I know that the topic of this post must seem surprising, maybe even confusing to some. Every one knows that Arsene Wenger is the long-term serving manager of Arsenal Football Club (which I support, incase you haven’t deduced that from the tone of this write-up so far) and apart from the punditry which he ran for a sport television station during the Euros he had absolutely nothing to do with the Euros or even the French national team at  the tournament…so whats  Arsene Wenger’s  witchee and whats it got to do with France’s Euro tournament?  Good question, now let me explain.

For many years now, Arsene Wenger and his Arsenal team have come to be known as the nearly men of the English Premiership. The team, arguably, have always been strong enough to win the league over this eleven (or is it twelve? its been so long, I forget)year period in which they have failed to win the league. Boosting  some of the best players in the league during this period ( such as Van Persie, Nasri, Fabregas and  Arshavin just to mention a few) plus a robust style of play that almost always guarantees a larger share of football possession  all point to prove that, perhaps, Arsenal should have been doing better than the fourth place finish which they cam to be known for.

As is well-known, analysed and chronicled, the albatross of the Arsenal team many a times has not been a lack of quality (whether of team or play), after the all-conquering Leicester team of 2015/16 season isn’t better in terms of quality than the Arsenal teams of the aforementioned period. what the Leicester team had and which Arsenal lacked and have lacked for a while was A WINNING MENTALITY…but again,with Arsenal saying this has become a cliché.

That Arsene Wenger and his Arsenal teams of recent times do not have the mental power to handle pressure is nothing new.  This lack of mental power is the curse (or WITCHEE as we Nigerians like to call it) which Arsenal has had to bear. It is a curse which has been powered in no small measure by Arsene Wenger himself…How u ask?? By refusing to sign players with a stong personality and also being timid on the touch-line, especially when under pressure (he is  fondly called shaky shaky daddy by many Nigerian football fans). This has a way of negatively affecting the morale of the players. So over time the Arsenal players have come to reflect the character of their manager, more so, when faced with difficulties.

That Arsene Wenger and his Arsenal team do not have the nerve (or liver as we popularly say in Nigeria) to handle pressure has now become an old, well-known story. Case in study was the Manchester United/Arsenal match of the second half of last season. Arsenal were the title favourites at that point and needed to win to maintain a title push only for the pressure of the occasion to get to them as they connived to lose scandalously to an injury ravaged Man United team. It was so bad that a Marcus Rashford felt like a Cristiano Ronaldo to them.

Still, what has Wenger’s witchee got to do with France? Well I dare say… A LOT. Les Blues, as the French national team are called, were among the pre-tournament favourites to the Euro competition, but like Arsenal, they connived to lose the cup to perennial underachievers Portugal. Ironically, if there had just been a change of jerseys between the France and Portugal teams then you may probably not be able to differentiate between the stories of Arsenal’s season and Les Blues’ tournament.

Unfortunately for France, they, just like Arsenal, were unable to handle the pressure of being clear favourites on the final day of the tournament. They started the tournament in fine fashion  (much as Arsenal usually starts its season) , showed some brilliant skills and eliminated one of the bigger favourites of the tournament, Germany. They did all of these coming from the position of being ‘one of the favourites’ and not the position of being ‘clear favourites’. Once they were clear favourites,against Portugal, Arsene Wenger’s witchee set in.

The similarities between Arsenal and Les Blues doesn’t end there. The France team also was beaming with quality players, albeit, players suffering from Arsene Wenger’s witchee. It didn’t help that some key players (Giroud and Koscielny)  of Les Blues were from Arsenal. Pogba plays for a team ( Juventus) which dominates a calciopoli ravaged league ( much like Arsenal dominates the teams below 4th position in England, especially Tottenham Hotspur) but suffers from a ‘witchee’ in Europe. Griezmann’s penalty loss in the champions league is symptomatic of Arsene Wenger’s witchee. I could go on and on about the French players but you already get my drift…init??

So, do you still question what Arsene Wenger had to do with France’s tournament?…Naaaah, am sure u don’t. But who is this post really about you may ask, well my dear, I really do not know which of Arsene Wenger, Arsenal and Les Blues I have a grouse with, but what I do know is that this coming season is a disaster waiting to happen.

In the end, somewhere deep in my heart, I do hope that,  concerning Arsenal, this post stands to judge me at the end of the coming season…but again, I have a feeling that it would not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A “Corrupt” Boss Vs an Aggrieved Successor

Monday morning saw us hit (here in Nigeria, incase you are one of my numerous readers from around the world…lol, yeah! Am allowed to dream init?)  with the headline of the probe of the former Inspector General  of Police (IGP) , Solomon Arase. My first thoughts were, hmm, another corruption story to occupy the masses and make them forget, even if momentarily, the harsh economic realities of the day. I even wonder when all these events which make headlines on Monday occurs.. don’t these people rest over the weekend?

Anyway it seems to me these days that all public officers have to do to earn legitimacy (either for themselves or their actions) is to flaunt an anti-corruption  stance or mention the magic word “PROBE”. At least that is what they seem to believe.

According to the news, the former IG is alleged to have made away with operational equipment (mostly cars) belonging to the police and converted them for personal use. He is alleged to have made away with as much as twenty-four cars, yeah you heard right, 24 cars for one person, makes you wonder if Nigeria would ever get developed at this rate as there is no guarantee that whatever cars are bought to replace these “converted” ones would not also be converted in future. Add to the picture the fact that other high-ranking officers who were retired with him were also alleged to have taken their own share of the “largess”..oh sorry, cars, I meant police vehicles.

Well, all in all the constitution says, and I believe, that everyone, till proven guilty, is innocent. This makes me wonder as to the manner in which this news report was given to the media by non other than the acting IGP himself, Ibrahim Idris. As a trained and professional policeman you would think he should know better than to all but condemn the young man,or is it old? (I mean hin don retire na?). This is especially in the light the of the fact that by his (Idris)  own admission the matter is still under investigation.

I am not a policeman, neither am I a lawyer, but simple logic dictates that you do not condemn a person until you have all your facts and evidence put together. In anyway the police in Nigeria and the general Nigerian populace need to learn to leave the job of the judiciary to the courts..stop condemning people on the strength of here says (which is what the acting IGP’s remarks amount to until he completes investigations).

Again this culture of shaming accused people which the police practices (probably as an offshoot of the African culture that shames criminals) by parading them or, as in this case, berating them is barbaric and outdated. Again it is a violation of the freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment as enshrined in The International Bill of Human Rights. Whether its parading a suspect or publicly berating a person yet to be declared guilty by a competent court of justice, it amounts to degrading treatment and we must as a people learn to desist from it.

In any case the actions of the police boss opens the police and the police boss himself  up to court charges of libel and slander respectively and I earnestly hope that the Ex-IGP does not take this lying down, rather he should slam a serious legal suit against the police and the acting IGP, if and only if his hands are clean of these accusations. There is a strong need for these “leaders” of the Nigerian society to show the citizenry how to properly do things.

Having had all of the above run through my mind after reading the news report, a question arose in my mind..what exactly was the motive of the new police boss for such brash move? Ohhh..the answer is right there, provided by the police boss himself..MALICE. Yeah, petty malice seem to be the reason behind all the drama of the missing police vehicles. One of the points of investigations against the Ex-IGP are cases of irregular promotions which the acting IGP claimed he was a victim of. It is clear that the acting IGP has some axe to grind with his predecessor this is even more highlighted by the fact that barely 24 hours after he made his allegations, some of the cars were discovered in a repair workshop by investigations of the Vanguard Newspapers…talk of incompetence of the police and it seems like the acting IGP is embodying it.

So what lessons do we learn from this episode of  “probing” drama in Nigeria? Well, try to keep all your subordinates happy…yeah, one of them is definitely going to succeed you and it wouldnt do you any harm to be on his good side..lol

My people na so I see this matter oohh. Continue reading

Welcome To My Thoughts

Hello Everyone

I am very excited to be able to finally introduce and welcome you to my blog, AS I SEE AM (naasiseeam.wordpress.com). I am glad to have finally achieved this long held ambition which achievement have been delayed by other pressing needs and demands.

This blog isn’t called AS I SEE AM because of a lack of nice or better names to call it, rather it is so called because it represents what this blog is and would be about. Yeah, this blog would be about presenting issues the way I see them and boy, trust me, my views can be very atomic. I initially toyed with the idea of calling this blog “The Devils Advocate” but realized that this would mean that my point of view on issues would be restricted to that of a “devils advocate” and my wish isn’t really to play a devils advocate though i would not hesitate to do that if it really represents my view on any issue. I hope to be able to express the full extent of my sentiments on this platform whether it be for or against an issue

Since this blog is going to be about me, my thoughts and my approach to life I suggest you (yes you, cause I hope to make a loyal reader out of you) take a peek at my profile page to get a hint of who I am and the way I see things. At this point I think it is important that I add this caveat: if you liked, loved or hated me before this blog is either going to reinforce those feelings or is going to change them, that is, you are either going to love me or hate me, there will be no middle grounds as no topic, issue or personality would be seen or treated as sacred by me. Yeah, I am going to speak my mind on issues that you and many others either mystify or are scared to talk about, whether it be issues of religion, politics, sports, health, love, sex, music, movies, or just plain philosophical mumblings from me, you are going to get it all on this blog

I look forward to writing my pieces while I hope you look forward to reading them, hopefully this would be a great experience for me and you….Ciao