Before you read this article, please read the first two articles on Xenophobia and Hatred. They are available on the ACFS website: www.africancampfirestories.com.
This series of articles is to give you background and overview of what our Xenophobia and Hatred podcast series is going to be like.
The series is coming soon. So please stay tuned.
Also, please tune in into our website to check out the current series that is available. That series is called Cold War Pawns. Its about the Cold War and its impact on the African continent.
Without much further ado, on to today’s article…
Xenophobia is described as hatred, distrust, suspicion and/or fear of people that do not look like you, and/or hatred people that are not from where you are from.
Our motivation to do such a podcast are the recent spurts of xenophobic violence that have taken place in South Africa.
We want to explore the events from history whereby xenophobia ended up in the worst situation possible. The USA, for instance, sponsored a program that annihilated the Native Americans. What isn’t discussed a lot however is the annihilation of the South and Central American natives by the Spanish. So called conquistadors like Francisco Pizarro and Hernan Cortez destroyed age old empires of the Mayans and the Inca.
The arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas resulted in the population of the natives being wiped out so much so that it took centuries for the native population to return to its pre-Columbian numbers.
The killing of the native Americans was made easier because the Spanish and later the North Americans, saw the native populations as less than human. See, the natives were seen by the Europeans as disposable heathens. The fact that the natives were not Christian meant that they could be de-possessed of their land and they could be killed if they resisted conversion to Christianity.
The Vikings of Scandinavia killed so many people in Western Europe. With the Vikings it was the reverse, Western Europeans had to be killed because they were Christians and because they were a lower race. To the Vikings, men who cultivated fields and relied on agriculture for survival were beneath human.
In the first article we explained why the recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa worried us as students of history.
Throughout history, the epitome of xenophobia is genocide.
In our podcast series on Xenophobia, we are going to present you with information from different genocides from history. Both from African history and from around the world.
When it comes to genocides from history – there are rulers, leaders, governments or nations that have committed them. If you discuss, say Hitler, and the genocidal crimes that he committed – a lot of people agree. The same applies to people like Joseph Stalin and Genghis Khan – or Pol Plot, the leader of Cambodia during the Vietnam War.
But then you have leaders that are so ingrained as heroes in the psyche of history readers that you get disbelieving sighs. For instance, Dan Carlin, the man behind the Hardcore History podcast, named a podcast he did on Julius Caesar’s wars in Gaul (approximately, modern France) The Celtic Holocaust. The Celtic peoples are the Gauls, and we all know that the word Holocaust is associated with the Nazi murders of the Jewish people during World War Two.
Many people were offended by the implication that Julius Caesar was being compared to Hitler.
For many years, centuries actually, Alexander the Great was regarded as a hero of the West. A hero who humbled the “evil” Eastern Empire of the Persians. But some recent scholars are now saying that Alexander was also a mass murder – who went on a rampage, to kill Persians just because he wanted to earn glory for himself.
But Alexander was raised, and even educated, to hate Persia. Many Greeks of the time were the same – they hated Persia.
Other historical heroes have already gone through contradictory classifications as heroes and mass-murderers. Napoleon Bonaparte was initially seen as a selfish disturber of peace. However, after a while Napoleon became a hero – and a benchmark for great military leadership.
Napoleon’s wars left millions of people dead. His Russian invasion of 1812 was particularly murderous. But Napoleon cared little for human life – even if those lives were that of the French. He is quoted as saying something like “you cannot stop me, I spend 30 000 lives a month”. The lives he was “spending” were the lives of his men, his army.
What is disturbing about many of history’s heroes or evil men is that for the most part, the people they lead were very keen on doing the bidding of these leaders. Every mass murdering tyrant from history needed a bunch of culprits who hated like he did, and who put as little value on human life as he did.
Some analysts of the Nazi killings have shown that the contemporaneous German people’s blaming of only Hitler for all those murders is untrue. Through the breaking down of the effort, the resources and numbers of people required to kill so many people in such a short amount of time, these analysts have shown convincingly that the Nazi murders must have had wide-spread assistance from the ordinary German people.
Besides, European anti-Semitism is well-documented. The xenophobia against Jews started centuries back – and Jews were getting murdered even in classic times. During the great Jewish revolt against Rome in the 60s AD, Vespasian and Titus, a father and son double-team (both became Roman Emperors), killed thousands of people in Judea.
It should be noted also though that Jews also killed hundreds of people: the Jews killed Romans and their own people – those of their own people that were suspected to be in bed with Rome. But not only sellouts, people who were not enthusiastically supporting the revolt were also killed.
In Medieval times Jews were murdered whenever a major Crusade was taking shape. As the First Crusade was picking up steam, German Jews were killed. The funny thing about this being that the Crusades were supposed to free Jerusalem, a city with a large Jewish population, from the Muslims! Why were the people who were supposed to be going to save a place full of Jews killing Jews as they were departing for Jerusalem!!!?? Strange, indeed.
The hatred against Jews is a good thing to study, because it almost includes all reasons usually given for xenophobia and genocide. There is the religions hatred, because apparently the Jews killed Jesus. There are also the economic reasons for hating Jews. Even though in most cases the Jews were such a small minority that there was no logical way for them “steal” anything much economically.
Even the great Christian Protestant Reformer, Martin Luther, hated Jews. In Medieval times Jews were kicked out of England, Spain and France.
For the Xenophobia and Hatred podcast series, please Stay Tuned to the African Camp Fire Stories social media, and also our website: www.africancampfirestories.com
Don’t be left out:
Check out our audio podcast episodes on this website.
Currently we are on the Cold War Pawns series. It’s a very gripping story of the Cold War and its impact on the African continent. Also, in the near future we are going to tackle the topic of Xenophobia and Hatred.