If you’ve got something to say, say it now.
The world is contracting into conservative populism and freedom of expression is in the gun site. Trump idly suggests shutting down the internet or incarceration for flag burning, and legislators in Kenya and South Africa kick gleefully into high gear.
Stalled legislation in both countries to curtail the press and freedom of speech is moving forward, again.
Anyone taking a picture is arrested or shot. Then, Facebook takes down the pictures of the courageous who manage to post the massacre. A Kenyan TV journalist is charged with “abetting terrorism” for taking … TV video.
And most noteworthy of all, the organizer of the massacre, self-imposed Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni poses for a “government picture” in sunny South Africa with its despised leader, Jacob Zuma. You can truly wonder in Trumpian vernacular, “What the f*#! is happening in the world today!”
Today Elle magazine’s South African cover was the controversial, victorious woman athlete Caster Semenya. Semenya trounces all others in track and field and carried home Olympic gold for South Africa this year.
Her critics contend she is either not a woman or too androgynous to be allowed to participate as a woman. She’s undergone intense scientific scrutiny which certainly became personal humiliation. Legitimate concerns about the efficacy of the division between “men” and “women” in sports competition got hopelessly muddled in the process of investigating her gender.
In the end sports authorities accepted she had crossed the finish line first as a woman, but they’ve punted on the issue of whether or not she is a “woman.” Where does this leave us?
One of the world’s gentlest, most thoughtful and consequential men is sick and dying but more importantly, suffering. After 85 years he has changed his mind: euthanasia is right.
Desmond Tutu, the revered Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, Nobel Laureate and winner of countless other peace prizes including America’s Presidential Medal of Freedom, is above all a deeply religious, non-violent man. His prolonged sickness broke his resolve against euthanasia two years ago when he wrote in an Op-Ed in the Guardian “I have been fortunate to spend my life working for dignity for the living. Now I wish to apply my mind to the issue of dignity for the dying.”
Tutu’s arguments are not religious ones, and that is what has attracted me to his thinking. His arguments are practical, political.
“Wide-spread primal scream,” al-Jazeera’s 1pm news hour opened, reflecting not only protests in the U.S. but reaction worldwide.
I found one positive remark in Africa today about Trump’s election: A close confident to the horrible Zimbabwe dictator said that Trump “could turn out great you know.”
I could spend the rest of this month curating the remaining multi-thousands of remarks of horror and disbelief that Africans expressed today. It gives me great latitude to pontificate, so here goes:
No one knows what to expect from President Trump, so whether you’re a Kenyan tea farmer or an American software engineer or a South African financial consultant … suspend your fears. What he said in this incredibly nasty election, the alleged horrors of his past – forget. Elections are reality TV, and he knew better than any how to exploit that.
But everyone knows what to expect from a united conservative, Republican government. If that government holds under Trump – and that’s not certain – my predictions are clear:
Diversity vs. Human Rights is the great battle of our time. Elections are defined by them. They are so sacrosanct that they defy the necessary compromises for functioning democracies.
Society gets strained, broken, then destroyed.
That’s what I see happening in America, today, as it has already happened in most newer emerging countries like those I know in Africa. But exactly how far have Americans gone towards destruction?
The “world’s on edge” was the headline in South Africa yesterday, but I could have plucked it from virtually any corner of the world.
Most Americans don’t care what the rest of the world thinks, including Democrats and even Bernie supporters. I think of all the sadness I feel at this election, this is the greatest.
It proves that we are egocentric if narcissistic, but most importantly, grade school dumb. That may be fine for writing an involuted gaming app; it’ll kill you – and everybody else – in the real world.
Predictions matter. Trends across divergent, widely different worlds matter. This isn’t just a cathartic prognostication of a released Cubs’ fan. Tuesday, remarkable changes will afflict the already fatigued and troubled people of the U.S. and South Africa.
Call me superstitious but you’d be wrong. The world is so globally connected, media so lightning fast, that everything effects everything else in similar ways. Tuesday both the U.S. and South Africa may both have new presidents that the majority of their people don’t like and don’t want.
Is this democracy?
Joy Reid remarked last night that her father was Congolese, and she compared her experience today as a reporter covering the American presidential campaign to living in the Congo. There is much good to learn from Africa. But it seems that all we’ve learned is the bad.
The great King of Beasts might soon be something less. It’s not just the statistical decline. It’s losing its glamor. It’s important that we outsiders don’t force this issue. Africans are handling it just fine.
But you’d never guess which Africans.
America has never lacked of snake oil salesmen, but following South Africa’s banning of Steven Anderson it’s clear that we better start realizing they might be something dangerously more than just conmen.
The Tempe, Arizona, Baptist minister decided if Barack Obama won’t cleanse South Africa of “sodomites .. drinking booze .. and terrorizing God’s people,” he will. Well, guess what: South Africans are doing what we and our ratings-greedy journalists and weak-kneaded politicians won’t: Stopping American extremism.
The progressive social movement’s success worldwide continues to befuddle me when set against so many political setbacks, and no better example than what happened in Kenya over the weekend.
Three Kenyan Anglican clerics fired by the church for being gay were reinstated with back pay and damages by a Kenyan court that also enforces Kenyan anti-gay laws.
On the eve of Eid-Al-Adha, Kenya’s highest court today ruled that schools can’t prohibit girl students from wearing Muslim attire, including the hajib.
Kenya now stands in marked contrast to Europe led by France and Belgium which have banned religious attire in public areas. The U.S. sides with Kenya. So who is right?
Rotary Charity and Gabon Wealth, two very different issues this morning that teach a similar lesson: you can’t buy success.
The oil rich country of Gabon remains unsettled this morning following contested elections and days of violence. A third case of the presumed eradicated polio was confirmed this morning in Nigeria.
Two extremely different African tales share an amazing similarity. Both of them were completely predictable and for the same reason. Let’s start with Gabon.