IN THE midst of dealing with effects of climate change such as drought, hunger and deforestation, the world economic situation, violence against women and children, corruption issues, xenophobia, Afro-phobia, trade wars, international and domestic terrorism, human rights and democratic governance, among many other problems, let us not forget that there is a growing scourge of racial discrimination and anti-Semitism which is rearing its ugly head in the 21st century.
It is hard and painful to see black footballers being racially abused at football matches in the English Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, and the Italian football league, among others. There have been several instances where footballers of colour have been racially abused and subjected to derogatory chants of “monkey, monkey”!
We have also seen and read about anti-Semitism in a number of European countries directed at Jews. All these ugly developments are emerging at a time when extreme white racist right wing political parties are gaining ground in their respective countries. The response of football clubs, national football associations, CAF and even FIFA, has been lukewarm.
Racial discrimination was abolished a long time ago and there has been a presumed acceptance – at least on paper- that all men and women are born equal regardless of race and ethnic belonging. The struggle of black people to achieve universal acceptance and respect has been long and, at times, a very bitter one.
400 years ago, black people from Africa were being sold as slaves and taken to the United States of America to work on farm plantations. We still have vivid scars of the slave trade at Goree Island off the coast of Senegal and other sights off the coast of Ghana.
Modern slavery is on the ascendancy as can be seen in Libya, where black people, mainly from failed African states, are being sold as slaves for as little as US$200, as they desperately try to cross the Mediterranean Sea in search of better lives.
DR VERNON J MWAANGA