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Trump owes Africa an apology

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US President Donald Trump (Photo by Alex Edelman / AFP)

The world is still reeling from Donald Trump’s racist twitter avalanche, targeting four young Congresswomen of colour, known as “the squad” because they disagreed with him on policy matters, including his beyond the pale “kids in cages” immigration policy. His highly un-presidential and strongly divisive invective culminated in a proclamation in which he assumed the roles of judge, jury and executioner, stating that the women were incapable of loving “our country” and that they should “go back” to where they came from. The incendiary attacks were calculated to gin up grass roots societal shunning and de facto citizenship-stripping. Trump’s coup de grace was calling for their banishment from the U.S. which sparked domestic and international outrage when the sentiment was parroted and amplified by an unruly, partisan crowd. The squad’s “mortal sin” warranting expulsion was to voice constructive criticism of his leadership style. Their actions were conducted in the discharge of their Congressional duties and powers and in pursuance of ensuring the transparency and accountability of the ruling party. These patriotic, stalwart and civic-minded community leaders are all U.S. citizens who were duly elected by segments of the American electorate. Therefore, maliciously attempting to eviscerate their mandate and de-platform them would amount to voter disenfranchisement. Trump has dragged America, the beacon of democracy and shining city on a hill, imperfect though it was, from the realm of sublime democratic governance to the theater of the ridiculous and aberrant spectacle. His invective was widely condemned as unbridled racism by all but his enablers and acolytes, whom he seems to be able to lead and hood-wink willy-nilly, as if they were in an induced trance.

On the heels of the foregoing debacle, Trump’s recent attacks on Congressman Elijah Cummings for carrying out his sworn duty as the chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight Committee, witnessed escalating racial diatribes visited on the African- American lawmaker and recipient of 13 honorary doctoral degrees. The U.S. city of Baltimore which he represents was also not spared.

The volley of abuse was ostensibly because the oversight committee’s investigations did not stop at the water’s edge, but dared to cross over into the opaque activities of Trump’s family members serving in his administration. This apparently crossed a rubicon, sending Trump into a tailspin as he took to twitter to launch a torrent of abuse. He stated that Baltimore is a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess’’ and that no human would want to live there. Emanating from the U.S. President these dire characterizations of Baltimore are official. Therefore, it is left to the global community to draw our conclusions from Trump’s imagery of Baltimore as a blighted waste-land, completely colonized by rats and other rodents, to the extent that human life is unsustainable. By extrapolation we are to believe that rats have the upper hand in Baltimore. Ergo, international travelers to the U.S. await further elucidation of Trump’s Baltimore city “rodent infestation” assertions from our respective U.S. embassies.

It is scientifically incontrovertible that rats are carriers of plague causing bacteria. The disease was responsible for the death of millions in medieval Europe before the advent of antibiotics. In an article by Dr. Karine Tawagi for ABC News published on June 13, 2018 entitled, “The plague still exists, here’s what it’s like now in the U.S.” She wrote, “A child in Idaho is recovering after being struck with the plague, leaving many wondering how the plague exists in the 21st century….The plague, in spite of its lethal reputation, is not uncommon in the U.S.” It would therefore not be a stretch of the imagination to postulate that an outbreak of the plague is not beyond the realm of possibility. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention “human plague infections continue to occur in the Western United States…most human cases occur in northern New Mexico, northern Arizona, southern Colorado, California, southern Oregon and far western Nevada”.

According to Christina Maza of U.S. Newsweek, some Baltimore residents agreed that Trump was lumping their city in with ‘shit hole’ countries. Trump’s ungodly reference to African nations is on its face a rebuke of God, whom the bible he and his followers claim to be adherents of, states made “all men in His image.” Historically, most if not all our democracies were cynically cobbled together as a by-product of self-serving European imperial interests. In our unceasing struggles to overcome challenging and pervasive circumstances and conditions, we traditionally looked to the U.S. as an exemplar and partner in progress. The current state of dysfunction stemming from the Trump Administration can be attributed significantly to the pall engulfing Trump and members of his inner circle, as they have come under official investigations and been subjected to judicial proceedings for varying degrees of malfeasance. It gives me no joy or satisfaction to state that several negative indicators used as markers in measuring development in Africa, appear to dovetail with America in the full throes of Trumpism. This state of affairs could not be sadder or truer as we are witnessing in real time the denudation of democratic ideals and values exponentially, whilst Trump fans the flames of intolerance and racial violence. Trump owes Africa an apology.

•Fowler is an international lawyer.


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