Intolerance of divergence

What is happening to Africans seeking asylum in Europe and other parts of the words is truly dehumanizing. Apart from the hazardous trips over seas and deserts, they must also face discrimination when they arrive in these foreign countries.

 In Israel African Asylum seekers have been parading outside Western Embassies in Tel Aviv protesting Government policy which seems designed to encourage Africans to leave the country.

This is happening in a country which is actively encouraging immigration from Russia and other European countries.

It is interesting that more than 50,000 of the African immigrants in Israel are mainly from Eritrea and Sudan. These are two dysfunctional countries which emerged from years of war and civil strife.

Instead of establishing, nurturing and fostering a vibrant democracy the two countries have quickly degenerated into ideological, ethnic and regional conflicts that have torn societies asunder forcing citizens to flee and seek asylum within and outside Africa.

At the heart of these conflicts is poor political leadership. Most leaders will not tolerate divergent opinion. Any divergence or opposition has been criminalized.

It is common knowledge that in Southern Sudan President Salvar Kiir became increasingly authoritarian, intolerant and insular. Without realizing it political differences were quickly translated into ethnic differences resulting in the current impasse.

Eritrea is another country that sees up to 5,000 citizens flee the country every month to neighboring Ethiopia and Sudan because of the very repressive regime. Aid agencies have estimated that there are more than 6,000 political prisoners in Eritrea. Many of these prisoners are languishing secret detention facilities.

Eritrea has zero-tolerance for dissent and has been accused of exacting extrajudicial executions, torture, incommunicado detention and arbitrary mass arrests. As if to prove the point most of the over 10 opposition parties in Eritrea have been forced to operate in exile, mostly from Ethiopia.

Thousands of Eritreans are reported to have been killed by border guards as they attempted to escape to neighboring countries in a shoot to kill policy. Those who are caught are reportedly subjected to imprisonment and harsh prison conditions.

These are all harrowing tales which are finally translated in mass African migrations to uncertain futures, perilous desert and boat rides which claim lives, property and of course undermine African dignity.

These are all self inflicted political crisis which could be avoided if leaders chose the path of dialogue, reconciliation and above all taking criticism for what it was.