Anti-immigrant violence rages on in South Africa By Barry Bearak and Celia W. Dugger International Herald-Tribune, May 20, 2008There are a lot of reasons for this—black South Africans are desperately poor, by Western standards, but by the standards of neighboring countries they're well off. And three million refugees from Zimbabwe, plus Mozambicans, have the familiar effect of depressing wages:
JOHANNESBURG: The man certainly looked dead, lying motionless in the dust of the squatter camp. His body seemed almost like a bottle that had been turned on its side, spilling blood. His pants were red with the moisture.
Nearby was evidence of what he had endured. A large rock had been used to gouge his torso. Embers remained from a fire that had been part of some torture. Shards of a burned jacket still clung to the victim's left forearm.
Then, as people stepped closer, there was the faintest of breath pushing against his chest. "This guy may be alive," someone surmised. As if to confirm it, the man moved the fingers of his right hand.[More]
"White people hire the foreigners because they work hard and they do it for less money," Booysen said. "A South African demands his rights and will go on strike. Foreigners areÂ afraid."Immigrants are taking jobs from the natives:
Many South Africans consider themselves at a disadvantage with employers. "If you have a surname like mine, you can't get a job," said Samantha DuPlessis, 23, a woman of mixed race. "I've been looking for a job for four years. All the employers want to hire foreigners."Also, there's immigrant crime:
George Booysen said that as a born-again Christian he did not believe in killing. Still, something had to be done about these unwantedÂ immigrants.And a new version of the "middleman minority" effect:
They are bad people, he said: "A South African may take your cellphone, but he won't kill you. A foreigner will take your phone and killÂ you."
Most certainly, not all immigrants push ahead of South Africans economically. But Somalis and Ethiopians have proved themselves successful shopkeepers in theÂ townships.The Herald-Tribune says of these problmes that
A familiar litany of complaints against foreigners are passionately, if not always rationally, argued: They commit crimes. They undercut wages. They hold jobs that others deserve.Of course, all these complaints are perfectly rational—the problem is the rioting and killing, not the complaints themselves. The Law of Supply And Demand is so simple that only the highly educated can fail to understand it.