Saturday, June 23, 2007

Zimbabweans fleeing to South Africa

Many Americans, particularly in the Southwest, grumble about illegal immigrants from Latin America pouring over the Mexican border and want to put up a wall -- only problem is one can always dig under. The Nordic states -- indeed much of Europe -- are worried about illegals from Africa but in their case the problem is exacerbated by the open borders in Europe and I do mean open as in no interior border controls at all.

Now, add South Africa and the influx of refugees from Zimbabwe, over its (surprise) often porous border. And there seems to be common issues: the Horn of Africa which is already having economic problems and has to provide housing and education and health for its poorest must also find a way of helping its guests without appearing to be xenophobic. And those left behind in Robert Mugabe's personal fiefdom have to hope and pray they have relatives or friends in wealthy countries who can wire them money just to survive. With hyperinflation, the average worker in Harare now makes about two bucks a month. Last month, it was nine. I read the other day that inflation which was pegged to run at 1500% this year might be more like 1,500,000%. That is something no country has seen in years, not seen in fact since the early days of the Weimar Republic; something which Adolf Hitler used to his advantage in his later rise to power. And I make no bones in saying Mugabe is like Mr. Moustache in many respects.

And the weird thing is, those leaving the crisis are willing to do the menial jobs most of us would deplore -- and wind up getting exploited; just as is the case in Canada, the US, the EU.

The worst part is nothing is said or done by the likes of Stephen Harper, George W. Bush, John Howard or even the outgoing Tony Blair. And South Africa hasn't done much better either -- no one trusted it during the era of apartheid, for obvious reasons; and even after segregation ended neither Nelson Mandela nor Thabo Mbeki have done anything to neutralize Mugabe despite the tools at its hands.

This is a security issue as much as al-Qaeda style terrorism is, and a way must be found to ensure dignity for those seeking better futures while ensuring those few who migrate solely with ill-intentions don't get a chance to carry their plans out. AQ and its like-minded associates aren't the only crooks out there.

Building walls is not necessarily the solution in this particular case, but there's going to come a point where even the most tolerant will not tolerate anything anymore and when that day comes those of us in the developed world will really have a problem on our hands.

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