By CHARLES ONYANGO-OBBO
Oren Hazan, a member of the Israeli parliament (Knesset) from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, has been called “Israel’s most scandalous lawmaker”.
His scandals, one publication noted, “have run the gamut from drugs to sex to bigotry”.
Recently, he was quoted explaining Netanyahu’s Israeli policy on African refugees in typical Hazan fashion: “Those people that came from the black lands…now they’re getting married, they bring kids [into the world].
“We’ll stop this… They don’t even have a culture…You need to destroy the problem when it’s still small.”
This kind of racism from the Israeli right is common fare; after all, this is the country that, for more than 20 years, banned blood donations from Ethiopian-born Israelis (and other people from Sub-Saharan Africa except South Africa) because they saw it as impure (believing it was infected with HIV, et al).
So, a Kenyan friend sends me a message asking: “What, in your view, informs this terror that (white) folks have of the black man?”
He was referring, among other things, to the popular view that the fear in the ‘white world’ of being overrun by non-white peoples in general, not just black ones, is driving racist and anti-immigrants and leaders to power.
In the United States, the same forces are thought to have resulted in President Donald Trump’s unlikely victory in 2016.
The racism of it is galling but we would be squandering an opportunity to understand the bigger forces at play and, thus, the possibility to profit from them if we just focused on the bigotry.
If you take a dry-eyed rational view, the white world is right to fear. For the ‘Western Order’, stretching the past 500 to 1,000 years, depending on how you reckon it, is ending. This Western Order was when the defining systems in the world were organised and ruled over by white men (not women).
By 2050, it is projected that white people will not be in the majority in the US and most of Europe. Not everyone would chill about that.
Consider, for example, what would happen in Kenya, Uganda or Tanzania if it became certain that the majority populations of our countries would be non-black.
As it is, there is already some mild hysteria over the children Chinese workers on dams and road projects are having with African women, and otherwise self-respecting commentators have painted alarmed pictures of an Africa overflowing with mixed African-Chinese in a few years.
The hatred of people of colour in the West and places like Israel is partly a ‘good’ thing. It is an acknowledgement that they are taking over the world.
Now that we know, good people need to do something about it. At a defensive level, prepare better for the backlash, which is coming in the form of a convoluted anti-globalism and rejection of international law.
An activist told me of a rights organisation in the US that received nearly six times more money in donations in the face of the recent separation of immigrant families it didn’t know what to do with it. A lot of innovation around new forms of protection, but also how to calm the fears of those who think they will be ‘finished’ in a new order, is needed.
Secondly, the overturning of the old racial or cultural order will probably not be the most disruptive. The gender and economic wars, if we can call them that, threaten African countries more than the black-white thing.
For example, Zimbabwe held its first post-Mugabe election on Monday. One of the striking things about the vote was that women were 55 per cent of the registered voters.
In more and more African countries, women are the majority of voters and, while some nations still lag behind, in most of them economic power is slowly shifting into women’s hands. In Uganda and many countries in West Africa, most private businesses are owned by women.
However, the laws still protect patriarchy. Women’s property rights are still in the Stone Age in several parts of Africa and the male establishment still holds the strings of power. In parts of the continent, men have responded to this rearrangement of power by resorting to even more violence against women. However, this can only be temporary. The cookie must eventually crumble.
And, then, outside demographics, it’s projected that by 2050 the world’s richest nations will be China, the US and India, in that order. That will be the biggest change in global wealth in nearly 300 years. It will be messy. But we can prevent the worst if we are alive to the reality that the losers will not go down without a fight.
Mr Onyango-Obbo is the publisher of Africapedia.com and explainer Roguechiefs.com. Twitter: @cobbo3