Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Jus Sanguinis

It turns out that a Dutchman is not a Dutchman when his family has been gone for three hundred years, and have been citizens of the British Empire and (at least) two different states in South Africa. What, you may ask, am I talking about?

Well, the Monitor reports that there is a smallish group of Afrikaaners seeking status as refugees and/or Dutch citizenship. They are afraid that South Africa will turn into Zimbabwe and white farms will be seized. Interestingly, Facebook seems to be their main avenue for pursuing this. It seems as if one of the main benefits of being declared refugees is that they would presumably get aid in the country of refuge. Citizenship is also beneficial in that it keeps people from becoming eternal "others" not allowed to work etc.

So, here's what's so interesting. First, the Facebook page is almost entirely in English. It may have more Latin than Afrikaans. Second, the people on this page are actually interested in European-wide solutions. In other words, depending on the nationality of your forefathers you may actually want to utilize French or German law to have a right to return to either of those countries. In all cases, the theory of nationality seems very . . . apartheidisch. The advice is to trace your ancestry to your stamvader (patriarch might be a good translation) and use that as proof that you have a "blood right" to return to that country. The 300 years in Africa are irrelevant, apparently. Third, some of these people seem incredulous that the Dutch are more willing to take in Muslim refugees than Afrikaaners. Clearly they expect that the Dutch ought to be more motivated by racial (and to some extent) religious affinity.

I don't know how this will play out. I suspect that many of these people will emigrate to the English-speaking world (United States, Canada, the UK, Australia). This will be sort of ironic because it will almost certainly mean the end of Afrikaans as a language and culture. I would also guess that the people who do make their way to the Netherlands or Germany will be surprised that their extremely proud, extremely race-conscious identity will be so poorly received in Europe. As a native Chicagoan I know whereof I speak. It would almost be easier for these people to emigrate as a group to the rural Canadian prairie provinces, or one of the Dakotas. They could retain their "Boer" identity and nobody would care that they were there . . .


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi David -- I understand this is an old post, but would like to comment. It's a lot more complicated than this. I am also American, but have been living in South Africa for 7 years. Europe and England, in particular, played a huge role in the development of apartheid policies (see history on the genocide of the Boer and concentration camps which killed 25% of their population, most women and children, which is well documented). Also, don't forget that the majority of white South Africans voted to end apartheid, and nearly all people I have met agree that it was wrong and reprehensible. However, the media also paints a skewed picture of this history, which is politically correct but not entirely true. Many Caucasian South Africans today are concerned that if they are persecuted as political targets (for the political agendas of certain leaders), they have nowhere to go. As an American, where would you go if all the land in Chicago was returned to the Native Americans, and you were not able to work or live there anymore, yet unable to immigrate? This sort of reverse apartheid has not happened, but is a concern. See the land reform policies proposed by the ANCYL (acquisition farms and property owned by Caucasians) and try to understand where this fear comes from. No one wants to starve to death or be killed as a political target, regardless of skin color. Only skilled immigrants or the upper middle class can immigrate as many European immigration policies currently stand. Those who are lower middle class, or those with only high school degrees, do not have a choice to leave and avoid political tensions (even if they would like to return Africa to Africans).

9:05 AM  
Blogger David said...

Anonymous, thanks for your comment. I am not sure that I disagree with anything you said. I do believe that emigration to Europe will be difficult, and that the Afrikaaners will be shocked at their reception in Germany or Holland. I also think that they could assemble a community in the Dakotas, or western Canada that might be favorable to a lot of them. That's all.

9:52 AM  

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