I attended a lecture series on “Xenophobia” some time last week, and realised that this issue, just like many other issues had been with us almost since the inception of the world.
It was interesting that it even appeared complicated for academics to place an exact definition on it. While some defined it as ‘fear of strangers’, some others defined it as ‘fear of any people’. Anyway, I define it as ‘fear of your fellow man’ and I argue that it has been with us since Cain.
If you read the bible or know about bible stories, you’d have known about Cain and Abel. So, I should be right to say that Cain was ‘xenophobic’ towards Abel. However, my best bible example regarding this is ‘Pharoh and Egypt towards Moses and God’s children of Isreal’. Isn’t it amazing that as powerful as Pharoh should have been, he still feared that the Isrealites would one day, overpower him, hence, his HOSTILITY towards them?!
Actually, the topic of the lecture series was ‘Xenophobia: beyond the South African imaginary’, so there were instances of ‘xenophobic’ experiences beyond SA. However, I was blessed that day in my thoughts, reminding myself that nothing is new under the sun (we merely have repetitions), and more importantly, that the bible has a lot of wisdom. Wisdom in the sense of solution to Xenophobia (I think xenophobia is a sign of madness by the way). Here is my biblical solution again: Haman Vs the Jews (Esther’s and Mordecai’s story). Now, xenophobic rightly describes Haman… In fact, right now, I’m thinking that Xenophobia should be linked with Paranoia, because, why should you be VERY afraid of another man unto depression ( because I also think that xenophobia is an end result of depression)…
Back to my thoughts, if we would at least be humble enough to acknowledge (or pretend to acknowledge) God’s power, then, look into the bible for solutions to issues such as this, we would be safe and saved for ever. For instance, After Haman got the royal decree to exterminate the jews, Mordecai also got his own decree for the Jews to defend themselves… Of course, we know that fear would have already killed the xenophobic even before the defending Jews came up with their game?!
In conclusion, God’s word is still potent, let us make good use of it. Thank you.