Politicians and political parties should be unequivocally ensuring that every citizen’s right to live free from racism, discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance is staunchly upheld.
If a politician is unable to refrain from spouting racist or oppressive statements before the National elections, he would certainly be unable to stifle his racist tendencies or change his beliefs if he is elected as the next Head of State.
When people show you who they are, believe them. A certain politician has sparked outrage recently when he made a flippant (and very public) derogatory comment about the skin color of his rival in the upcoming National elections. The comment was made in the presence of a horrified group of witnesses, and was directed to the ONE SEYCHELLES Vice Presidential Candidate, Mr. Peter Sinon.
The comment was to the effect of: “how can you work with a white?” (translated from Creole), causing ripples of unease and anger amongst the politician’s white-skinned supporters. With a flick of a careless tongue, the racist comment has alienated a portion of the politician’s voters.
The irony of evolution is that while politicians who employ tribal ideologies of racism perceive themselves as superior to others, in reality they are acting on a more primitive, less evolved and more animal level. This purposeful use of divisive and inflammatory language to energize one’s political base is reflective of this politician’s determination to build tribal boundaries between “us” and “them”. Through ‘ek nou, pa ek nou’ campaigning strategies such as this, some politicians have succeeded in creating a virtual platform where many people hate anyone they perceive to be “outsiders”, without having even met those people.
By capitalizing upon the frenzied fear of their desperate hardcore followers in the lead-up to the high-stakes elections, these politicians have turned their followers into weapons – weapons that the politicians use for their own agenda. These weapons, however, tend to backfire in the faces of the politicians who nurtured them. Case in point: while the above politician was quick to make a derogatory quip about a white presidential candidate, the same politician’s devout follower took to social media to lash out against his dark-skinned Seychellois brothers and sisters (ignoring that his political party’s presidential candidate is not a white man himself). This man’s racial slurs on social media were too repugnant to be reprinted in our Publication; they involved touting white supremacy, and denigrating dark-skinned Seychellois as “slaves” and “servants”. His vile words keep resurfacing on social media, as people re-share the post on different forums; his words are destined to haunt him and his political party forever.
This is what happens when politicians lead by a poor example. Their followers will mimic the same unbecoming behavior of the aspiring leader whom they idolize, not fearful of any backlash or consequence for their actions, despite blatantly inciting hate on a public forum.
Racism springs ultimately from ignorance; it is beyond common sense and has no place in our society. It is sad that that in this day and age racism in Seychelles is not dead; it is on life support, being kept alive by politicians.