#AtoZAprilChallenge: Xenophobia

William Holman Hunt - The Scapegoat Simplistically, xenophobia is “intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries”, that is “foreigners”.

The English Wikipedia article explains that “Xenophobia can manifest itself in many ways involving the relations and perceptions of an ingroup towards an outgroup, including a fear of losing identity, suspicion of its activities, aggression, and desire to eliminate its presence to secure a presumed purity. Xenophobia can also be exhibited in the form of an “uncritical exaltation of another culture” in which a culture is ascribed “an unreal, stereotyped and exotic quality”. Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action urges all governments to take immediate measures and to develop strong policies to prevent and combat all forms and manifestations of racism, xenophobia or related intolerance, where necessary by enactment of appropriate legislation including penal measure.”

Behind the words hides a world of complexities. The incitement to hate, and even destruction, of scapegoats is as old as politics. Many of the tragedies of the last and this century, from Europe to Africa and Asia, were the result of deliberate attempts by demagogue politicians to channel popular anger towards “the other”. The most obvious example in western countries today is the call to stop the alleged flow of unwanted immigrants from various parts of the world, orchestrated by conservative and sometimes openly racist parties.

Image: William Holman Hunt – The Scapegoat

3 thoughts on “#AtoZAprilChallenge: Xenophobia

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  1. Subject very dear to my heart…
    Funnily enough, a couple of years ago I remember someone telling me my job (as intercultural expert) would be obsolete, because we all travel so much abroad now and get to know other cultures. And since then, xenophobia has been on the up and up!

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    1. A serious subject! I intend to write more on the subject, prompted by both the European elections viewed from the UK (!), and also the tragedy unfolding East. I don’t like how this decade is turning out…

      Like

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