|Xenophobia means hatred of strangers. (Or, more exactly,
fear of strangers.) How about some xenophilia?
In 1998 I happened to read about one of the latest outrages against
the Gypsies in eastern Europe it may have been the time when
a girl in a Czech high-school beauty contest got nationwide popularity
for saying she wanted to become a prosecutor and "cleanse"
her town of its "dark-skinned" residents. Or it may have
been one of the incidents in which skinheads beat Gypsies to a pulp,
or threw gasoline over them and set them on fire. Or it may have
been when Britain made the Gypsy refugees from eastern Europe unwelcome
by unreasonably shortening the time allowed to them for applying
I found myself thinking that my only feeble means of contesting
this sad drift in the wrong direction is offering words, in the
hope of getting a few more people to see that those different from
themselves are worth treasuring rather than hating.
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