ANC Daily News Briefing/Sapa, 20 June 2008

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The impulse behind South Africa's recent xenophobic attacks was the same as that which led to the Holocaust, archbishop Desmond Tutu said on Friday. Human beings were very good at finding scapegoats, he told a World Refugee Day media conference in Cape Town. "And when things are not going right, you look for scapegoats. And the easiest targets for scapegoating are those who are different. "Hitler did that, I mean that is how the Holocaust happened. Hitler said the economic woes of Germany in the 1930s were ... because of this group. "And that is why actually we've got to be very, very, careful with this sort of thing breaking out." It could become "one of the most awful things", he said. Tutu also made a plea for the xenophobia refugees who have been housed in temporary camps in Gauteng and the Western Cape. They ought not to be treated as objects, having things done and decisions taken for them. That disempowered them, he said. Instead they should be involved in planning, and asked what they wanted. "I would just hope very much that all of us who are involved in trying to find a solution would not behave in a way that disempowers or even depersonalises and turns them into statistics," he said.