Racism sans frontiers

Reports from Oldham are shocking. The violent incidents there during the last few days described by Greater Manchester Police as sheer carnage have brought to light the tensions between the migrants and the native whites. The clashes have left 15 policemen and 10 civilians injured. A local newspaper office has been fire-bombed and a number of houses and vehicles have been damaged. There is said to be still a heavy police presence in the areas to prevent further incidents.

While the police, community leaders and various organisations are trying to douse the flames of violence, Prime Minister Blair has told the BBC that the riots are not typical of the state of British race relations.

Mr. Blair's contention notwithstanding, the white gangs as well as the Asians have demonstrated their potential to unleash violence against each other. And the extent to which these groups will give vent to their pent up hatred is yet to be seen. Oldham is said to be a simmering volcano.

Police have put much of the blame for the racial violence on the far-right whites, who, they say, have exploited the tensions between the town's whites and Asians. An attack by a white mob on the house of a pregnant Asian woman is said to have triggered off the riots. The National Front and the British National Party have also come under fire for their alleged involvement in the violence.

Whoever is at fault for having turned Oldham into a Mawanella thus putting Britain to shame, the fact remains that there is certainly a deep-seated rot in race relations between the two parties to the clashes. Troubles are far from over.

One may wonder why the number of xenophobes is on the increase in the developed countries. There has been recorded a growing number of attacks on migrants by natives even in countries like Sweden, where neo-Nazis are targeting migrants or Blackheads as they are called by far-right elements. In the US, it looks as if the KKK were fast gaining dominance going by the violence ultra nationalists unleash against non-whites as the recent attacks in Cincinnati show.

Although the situation is said to be very much under control in these countries thanks to the efficiency of the law enforcement agencies and the efforts of governments and the majority of moderates, the audacity with which extremist groups give expression to their brutality from time to time has naturally caused much concern to every right thinking person.

The world is said to be moving towards a global village. What will be the impact of the already present tensions among different races and the clashes like the ones in question in the west, which will assume the role of the village headman on the emerging new world order.

Racial violence has already eaten into the vitals of many a developing country. Various explanations have been offered and solutions suggested by the West for the conflicts in these countries. Devolution of political power, autonomy, right to self-determination, constitutional safeguards for rights of ethnic groups are some of the measures that have been recommended.

But what is the solution to the ethnic violence raising its ugly head in advanced democracies like Britain, the cradle of parliamentary democracy? And what plausible explanations and viable solutions can one offer for this phenomenon?

Whatever the answers to these questions may be, this kind of violent racism sans frontiers is a frightening proposition. It is a new brand of terrorism, which has to be tackled by the civilised world with all its might. The same priority that has rightly been given to the battle against global terrorism, must be given to the fight against this enemy of mankind as well. The global terrorism is on the march and what will be the outcome of a possible combination of these two evils? One shudders to think of it!

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