He called you a ‘shitholer’. Here's what you could do.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Trump hosts a working lunch with African leaders in New York


I was so confident that Hilary was going to win the 2016 US Presidential Elections in a landslide victory, that I had joked in good-natured banter that the world would end when Donald J. Trump wins.

Hilary did not win. And the world has not ended...

Yet.

But you would agree: it no longer seems so far-fetched that the world could disappear at any minute, with one big bang from an exchange of nuclear missile. What with the ongoing battle of egos between the American President, and his crazier counterpart in North Korea.

Which explains why the false alarm of an impending missile threat in Hawaii just three days ago struck genuine fear in the heart of the people, and seemed totally believable.

In Donald Trump’s America, anything is believable.

It is as though there is a sadistic bet on the extent to which the world can be shocked by the constantly unfolding drama from the US Presidency and the actions/words of the present American President, making his Presidency seem like a continuous reality show.

The most recent comment credited to Mr. Trump which has drawn global ire is his insulting reference to African countries (along with Haiti and El Salvadore) - whose nationals predominantly seek US visas - as "shithole" countries.

(Lol... I still cannot wrap my head around how one lone individual can successfully infuriate a whole continent)

Asides the outrage, Mr. Trump’s comment has sparked discussions globally, with some even ‘supporting’ his choice of language.

One major line of argument ‘in support’ is that "well, he simply voiced what the majority of 'them' think".

(Or something like that)

On the one hand, one could almost be minded to buy this line of reasoning, especially when I remember some rather disturbing ‘views’ of Africa that I have received from some folks, suggestive of alarming ignorance, absence of exposure and sheer prejudice.

There have been questions like: "do you get to take pictures with the tigers that pass in front of your house everyday"? and "Oh, I love Africa, and their thatched-roof houses! Is your house in Africa as beautiful as this one?

*Insert picture:


Image result for mud houses africa
Conceived picture of a 'typical' house in Africa
There has been ‘well-meaning’ small-talk like: "If only countries like Nigeria had oil, things would be better for them" and genuine exclamations such as "Wow... you speak really good English".

But the ones which never cease to amaze me are "Oh... you're from Nigeria??? Do you know my friend Kunta-Kinte from Zimbabwe?" and Do you speak African?”

(Huh? Ok... just kill me already)

I mean, these sorts of comments or general notions of Africa and African countries quite easily suggest the (unspoken) perception that Africa is one huge forest, or desert, or... shithole.

On the other hand however, the argument that "they all think it, he just voiced it" is not a sufficient reasoning to excuse bad upbringing and closet disdain for a whole continent, by a singular individual.

For starters... who exactly is "they"? Is it just male, Caucasian-American, supremacist, spoilt heirs, like Mr. Trump?? 

Because I have been amazed to receive similar indications of ignorance from people of other people of quite dissimilar demographics, which is clear indication that ignorance and hate is not exclusive to any particular race, gender, nationality, or group of persons.

And, except you are clairvoyant, psychic, or a witch (with active membership), you really cannot say (for sure) what people ‘think’ in private...

Right?

You see, as members of the “shithole” countries, we could keep arguing back and forth on the justification or (otherwise) of Donald Trump's hateful comments. 

We could even throw in the blatant murders of black people by police officers in the United States, the incessant sexual harassment by top-ranking government officials and corporate executives, the constant fear of indiscriminate (mass) murders stemming from the absence of gun-controls, and the debacle from the 2016 US Presidential elections with Russia, in order to point out that the USA could equally be argued to be a shithole of its own breed.

Or... we could choose to look inwards, and ensure that the basis does not exist for a debate to even consider the ‘justification’ of this despicable appellation to Africa, by taking individual steps to make our countries more habitable for the citizens, with less need for its citizens to be subjected to Mr. Trump’s kind of ridicule, in the search for 'greener pasture'.

In Nigeria’s case for example, we could start by collectively calling to order the President - Muhammadu Buhari - who has failed to ensure the protection of the citizens, or (at the very least) send a delegation to the mass burial of 73 of the citizens, killed for the failure of his social contract with the Nigerian people to protect them.

We could decide to ensure that in the upcoming elections, votes are cast based on clear objectives for development of the nation, and not in consideration of bags of Rice and Garri distributed by party members for immediate and selfish satisfaction, to the detriment of our collective future.

We could pay our taxes, avoid littering the streets, and ensure that our refineries are working, even as power is made available to everyone, and we ensure that under-aged girls are no longer forced into marriage.

Because while we can continue carrying placards on our heads, debating the unkindness of Mr. Trump, it would benefit us better to instead, focus on resolving our internal challenges as a nation, and let the world truly see us for the greatness that we are.

The Igbo tribe of Nigeria has a local proverb, that it is only your enemy who will tell you when you have body odour.

(Or something like that)

Mr. Trump is not likely to win the prize for my ‘fave’ person in the world, and I am not inclined to rationalising racist tendencies. I would however say that now is a good time, if never before, to look inwards, and create our own narrative of who we really are:

A good people. A great nation.

(Or something like that)

We may not be able to control a grown man’s election of “shithole” as the sweeping adjective to describe our place of origin. But we can sure determine if posterity will dismiss this tag as tantrum-speak birthed from power-drunkenness, or if our alleged ‘shit’ will be deemed to have continued getting ‘shittier’ by the day.

You don’t agree?

Well... that is why we are not rice and beans.  

Share your own views in the comments section below.

Paz,


Meg.


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Photo-Credits (in order of appearance)
www.quartzafrica.com
www.designindaba.com

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4 comments

  1. Is Donald Trump a racist? Yes. Is Nigeria a shit-hole country? Yes. The public outrage is because it came from DT. Our African leaders need to fix up or else the western world would keep referring to us as a shithole country. You graduate from school, no job. Rather than fix our hospitals, the president and his family would go broad for medical exigencies. A group of people would go into a town/village and blow up everyone or start shooting sporadically at people. This things only happens in shithole countries. We need to wake up,we've slept enough. I dislike DT but he was on point on this one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whoaaa! Calm down, calm down braa.

      So we should look inwards, and fix ourselves... yeah??

      I agree.

      Delete
  2. I also thought Hilary Clinton would win and to be honest i have not felt good since that result was announced. God help me recover. When i listen to racists i take them to be ignorant of the truth and see them lower than the Africans.
    Like you Said in response to Ugo's comment, we shud fix ourselves? The answer is yes. No one can fix us except us. Enough of the shithole talk and begin to work. Lets all stand together with one voice and stand for whats right. We still have a chance to change things in our next election. Sadly we cannot affect the primaries. That is where the problem begins.
    Lets have debates and lets select our leaders ourselves. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete