Thanks, David, for your example of real life experience.
On Fri, 7 Jul 1995, David Lush - MISA wrote:
> Perhaps it is just the nature of Namibians, but here there appears to be a
> pathalogical aversion to "foreigners" - particularly neighbours who share
> the same blood, language and culture as "Namibians" - and regard for
> colonial national boundaries appears to be paramount.
> Angolans and Namibians from these areas can cross the border within a
> certain distance without permits. And yet "illegal" Angolan imigrants are
> constantly being hearded up by the police, while Namibians pour scorn on
> Angolans in Namibia over the radio phone-in programmes.
> There is now a similar trend developing in the Caprivi, where "illegal"
> Zambian immigrants and traders are the targets of police clamp-downs and
> talk-show vitriol. Again most south-western Zambians and north-eastern
> Namibians are the same people.
I think that, unfortunately,this is the way of the world. Borders mean
something. They're barriers to other peoples. Within borders there are
specific laws, customs, resources that apply to the people within those
borders. People outside those borders belong to other sets of laws,
customs, resources. You could consider it a way of managing people.
Another important issue is that of a sense of belonging. Everyone needs
to feel they belong - to a family, a particular ethnic group, a country,
a religious group, whatever. Borders, a flag, and a central gov't are
all symbols of a specific population. Individuals need to feel they
belong to some country. Or some cultural group, if there are no countries.
It gets complicated when there are countries and cultural groups.
You seem to feel that the borders themselves are the source of conflict.
I don't think this is necessarily so. People/gov'ts often need
scapegoats. When things are going wrong in our lives we like to find
others to blame, especially those "others" from other countries, who come
to take our jobs, our resources, our women (yuck!).
Namibia is not an anomaly.
> Being a boudary-less technology, IT surely has a role to play in breaking
> down the artificial borders which divide so many countries?
Remember, those with access to the internet and discussions like these
are few in number, and they are the elite, who have a stake in
maintaining the status quo. So don't count on the internet for any
significant changes in Africa. Personally, I think we should leave
Africa alone and quite pouncing on them from all directions.
We mean to help, at least some of us do, but really, do we?
Vancouver, B. C.
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> > David Lush > Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) > Private Bag 13386
> Windhoek, Namibia
> Tel. +264 61 232975, Fax. 248016
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