African leaders scramble while their citizens shout and scream, terrified that they will be added to Trump’s ban list.
On America’s most watched morning political show today one of the regulars asked why Trump’s travel ban didn’t include “Kenya?” This is a show that we know Trump and much of the Senate watch. The commentator finally brought into the open what everyone is secretly worried about.
Yesterday following two years of wrangling with U.S. officials, the Kenyan government deported two of four men the U.S. claims ran a heroin drug operation. (After setting free in July an alleged top terrorist on which the U.S. had offered a $10 million bounty, the Pakistani government put him back in detention today.)
Sarcasm has always been difficult for Africans, but Trump has cleared the way:
In an op-ed piece in Nairobi’s major newspaper, Trump was invited to enroll America in the African Union: “As a true believer in law and order, Mr Trump has honoured a great African tradition by changing the law where it is uncomfortable.” All he needs, the Nation said, “is a constitutional change …to remove term limits so that he never stops making America great again.”
“The world is worried that Trump will take it, indeed America, to hell. If that happens it would be a good thing,” writes one of East Africa’s most respected columnists.
Moving into the serious realm, in her final speech yesterday as African Union chairperson, Dlamini-Zuma warned her fellow African leaders, “We are entering very turbulent times.
“The very country to which many of our people were taken as slaves …has now decided to ban refugees from some of our countries. What do we do about this? Indeed, this is one of the greatest challenges to our unity and solidarity,” she said.
Commenting on his carefully worded statement to a South African reporter yesterday, the CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council admitted, “Trump’s travel ban has created immense confusion among travellers and travel companies worldwide.”
I could go on. Just as Trump manages to dominate American news 24×7, he now dominates African news. There were very important stories yesterday about a new Chinese ban on ivory, a new management team at the African Union, a new scandal with Robert Mugabe’s son – these and many other stories would normally be dominating the African press.
But they weren’t. What was dominating it is shown beautifully on the graphic that tops this blog.
What I hope the whole world, especially Americans are discovering is how astoundingly significant is every breath uttered by America. It’s a principle that’s never said out loud in correct circles in Africa because it is so demeaning.
But it’s also the truth and there’s little that any one person of us can do about it, much less an 8-year administration of a man remarkably close to Africa.
It’s the difference between Big and Small. In 2013 America’s $16.77 trillion GDP was 7½ times the GDP of the entire continent of Africa’s 52 countries and 1.1 billion people. The mean income of an American was 20 times that of an African.
Narrow that inequity into America itself for a large explanation of the political disruption that brought Trump to power. What does that say to Africans?