Riots in Britain reveal racism's global scope

-- The Star, Johannesburg, South Africa - May 30

Posted: Friday, June 01, 2001

It is perhaps ironic that as planning moves into top gear for the World Conference Against Racism, which takes place in Durban (at) the end of August, there should be race riots in England.

We say ironic not because the UK is immune to xenophobia, but because Europeans do not hesitate to point fingers when such clashes take place elsewhere. In fact Britain is at loggerheads with Zimbabwe over that country's attempts at land redistribution. ...

Now the United Kingdom has once again discovered that we are dealing with a ''world'' problem. The exact cause of the violence in Oldham has still to be identified, but reports indicate there was a combustible mix of poverty and racial intolerance.

Matters have been exacerbated by the fact that the issue of immigrants and asylum-seekers is featuring prominently ahead of the June 7 general election. However, Prime Minister Tony Blair believes that what was seen in Oldham ''is not typical of the state of race relations in Britain today.''

But, as they say, people living in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

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