A world of out­rage greets Trump’s words

Los Angeles Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Robyn Dixon and Siob­han O’Grady

JO­HAN­NES­BURG, South Africa — The anger was swift and the shock not sur­pris­ing, but the hu­mor — spon­ta­neous so­cial me­dia posts of breath­tak­ing images of African sa­van­nas, sun­sets and wildlife tagged with the word “shit­hole” — drove home a point about mak­ing sweep­ing gen­er­al­iza­tions of an en­tire con­ti­nent.

Pres­i­dent Trump him­self was prob­a­bly not pre­pared for the global fury af­ter he made crude re­marks about El Sal­vador, Haiti and all of Africa.

Ac­cord­ing to peo­ple in the room, the pres­i­dent added: “We should have peo­ple from places like Norway.”

It didn’t take long for so­cial me­dia to ex­plode with con­dem­na­tion.

“@re­alDon­aldTrump,” wrote for­mer Mex­i­can Pres­i­dent Vi­cente Fox on Twit­ter, “your mouth is the foulest shit­hole in the world. With what au­thor­ity do you pro­claim who’s wel­come in Amer­ica and who’s not. Amer­ica’s great­ness is built on di­ver­sity, or have you for­got­ten your im­mi­grant back­ground, Don­ald?”

Pres­i­dent Sal­vador Sanchez Ceren of El Sal­vador also un­leashed his dis­plea­sure on Twit­ter.

“The dec­la­ra­tion of the pres­i­dent of the United States strikes at the dig­nity of the Sal­vado­ran pub­lic,” he wrote in Span­ish, adding in a sec­ond tweet that the coun­try for­mally protests and en­er­get­i­cally re­jects such state­ments.

On the eighth an­niversa-

ry of Haiti’s dev­as­tat­ing earth­quake, Haitian Am­bas­sador Paul Alti­dor said Trump’s com­ments were “mis­in­formed” and “mis­guided.”

“We’ve been a part­ner, we’ve been a strong neigh­bor, we’ve been a good friend of the peo­ple of the United States,” he said on Na­tional Pub­lic Ra­dio. “And to­day Haitians are still here work­ing hard con­tribut­ing to the so­cial and eco­nomic fab­ric of this coun­try.”

Alti­dor went on to say that Haiti’s gov­ern­ment had sum­moned the U.S. charge d’af­faires, a top diplo­mat, to clar­ify the re­marks and pos­si­bly de­mand an apol­ogy.

Some of Alti­dor’s com­pa­tri­ots posted images on so­cial me­dia of white-sand beaches, turquoise water and abun­dant pro­duce to cel­e­brate Haiti.

“Let’s stand up and re­mind @re­alDon­aldTrump on this spe­cial day, what a real #shit­hole looks like. #Haiti,” wrote Sa­muel Dameus on Twit­ter.

Speak­ing to re­porters at a news brief­ing in Geneva, United Na­tions hu­man rights spokesman Ru­pert Colville said there was no word to de­scribe Trump’s com­ments other than racist.

“You can­not dis­miss en­tire coun­tries and con­ti­nents as ‘shit­holes’ whose en­tire pop­u­la­tions … are not white [and] are there­fore not wel­come,” Colville said.

As for Norway, Trump’s ad­mi­ra­tion wasn’t mu­tual — at least on Twit­ter, where users pointed out that Nor­we­gians en­joy ben­e­fits such as univer­sal health­care, free higher ed­u­ca­tion and paid parental leave that would not en­tice many to leave for the U.S.

“As a Nor­we­gian, the idea that any­one from Norway would con­sider mov­ing to the USA strikes me as rather hare-brained,” wrote Jo­hannes Brod­wall, a soft­ware de­vel­oper in Oslo.

“I’m a Nor­we­gian who en­joyed study­ing & work­ing in the US. The only thing that would at­tract me to em­i­grate to the US is your vi­brant mul­ti­cul­tural so­ci­ety. Don’t take that away @re­alDon­aldTrump,” wrote Jan Ege­land, sec­re­tary gen­eral of the Nor­we­gian Refugee Coun­cil.

Africans felt es­pe­cially ag­grieved.

At a bustling mar­ket in the Ghana­ian cap­i­tal, Ac­cra, some saw Trump’s re­marks as highly in­sult­ing. Oth­ers thought the com­ments would make the U.S. a less at­trac­tive des­ti­na­tion for Ghana­ians and help solve the coun­try’s brain drain.

One shop­keeper, Mil­lion Anamoo, said, “Trump is scar­ing us. Whites and blacks should work to­gether like a pi­ano. Amer­ica is one of the best coun­tries. Ghana here is a free coun­try, a peace­ful coun­try. We re­ceive all tourists. We don’t dis­crim­i­nate. So we don’t ex­pect another coun­try to dis­crim­i­nate.

“We have co­coa here. We have gold here. We ex­port our co­coa to Amer­ica so that Amer­i­cans can make choco­late.”

Han­nah Akurigo, 32, who was sell­ing clothes, ad­mon­ished Trump to “stop in­sult­ing Africans” and ad­vised him to visit Ghana and find out for him­self how nice the peo­ple there are.

“We are very lovely peo­ple. He should come to Ghana. We let white peo­ple in, and now they turn up to in­sult us? We are not like shit. He’s say­ing he’s civ­i­lized, but we Africans are more civ­i­lized than him. We think be­fore we speak.

“We are not like the way that they say: We live in trees, we are like mon­keys. He should just come and ex­pe­ri­ence Africa.”

One young Kenyan with the Twit­ter han­dle @Ve­neeChay ref­er­enced Amer­ica’s his­tory of us­ing African slave la­bor, tweet­ing: “They wouldn’t even be where they are without us” pick­ing cot­ton for them.

A post on the Twit­ter ac­count for Chester Miss­ing, a satir­i­cal South African television puppet char­ac­ter, said Trump’s re­marks were “ironic from a dude run­ning a coun­try built on steal­ing peo­ple from said shit­hole.”

Some fo­cused on Africa’s hu­man cap­i­tal and the con­tri­bu­tions of its ed­u­cated mid­dle class.

“I hold two de­grees my­self not bad for peo­ple from #shit­hole­coun­tries as viewed by Trump and the likes,” tweeted Ayan­diswa Mthembu, a South African, of Van­der­bi­jl­park in Gaut­eng prov­ince.

In Kenya, where a young ur­ban gen­er­a­tion is tech­ni­cally savvy and ac­tive on so­cial me­dia, some posted pleas for un­der­stand­ing, while many tweeted their out­rage.

Po­lit­i­cal ac­tivist Boni­face Mwangi from the Kenyan cap­i­tal of Nairobi called on Trump to dis­tin­guish Africans from the coun­try’s po­lit­i­cal lead­ers. “Please don’t con­fuse the #shit­hole lead­ers we Africans elect with our beau­ti­ful con­ti­nent,” he tweeted.

Botswana’s gov­ern­ment was the first on the con­ti­nent to con­demn Trump’s state­ments, re­fer­ring to them as “highly ir­re­spon­si­ble, rep­re­hen­si­ble and racist.”

Botswana sum­moned the U.S. am­bas­sador to ex­press its dis­plea­sure over the re­marks and to in­quire as to whether Botswana was a “shit­hole coun­try”:

“The gov­ern­ment of Botswana is won­der­ing why Pres­i­dent Trump must use this de­scrip­tor and deroga­tory word when talk­ing about coun­tries with whom the U.S. has had cor­dial and mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial re­la­tions for so many years.”

Botswana called on the African Union and re­gional lead­er­ship bod­ies in Africa to con­demn Trump over his com­ments.

Since tak­ing of­fice, Trump has barely men­tioned Africa. The main ac­tion he has taken af­fect­ing the con­ti­nent is to sharply re­duce for­eign aid.

His sud­den char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of the en­tire con­ti­nent shocked many — and an­gered oth­ers who saw it as part of a stub­born Western nar­ra­tive char­ac­ter­iz­ing Africa as a coun­try and not a con­ti­nent of 54 highly var­ied na­tions.

In some coun­tries, peo­ple lam­pooned Trump’s char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of Africa by post­ing pic­turesque land­scapes with ele­phants, sweep­ing green sa­van­nas, beaches and the hash­tag #shit­hole or some vari­a­tion thereof.

Sene­galese Pres­i­dent Macky Sall said he was stunned by Trump’s re­marks.

“I am shocked by Pres­i­dent Trump’s state­ments on Haiti and Africa. I re­ject and con­demn them vig­or­ously. Africa and the black race de­serve the re­spect and con­sid­er­a­tion of ev­ery­one,” Sall said in a tweet.

The African Union — the con­ti­nent’s lead­er­ship body — was “frankly alarmed” by the com­ment, ac­cord­ing to AU spokes­woman Ebba Kalondo.

“Given the his­tor­i­cal re­al­ity of how many Africans ar­rived in the United States as slaves, this state­ment f lies in the face of all ac­cepted be­hav­ior and prac­tice,” she said.

Some were pointed with their out­rage.

“This racist trash shows we not only need im­mi­gra­tion re­form but also pres­i­den­tial re­form,” said Ken­neth Roth, di­rec­tor of Hu­man Rights Watch, in de­scrib­ing Trump’s com­ments.

In South Africa, of­fi­cials from the gov­ern­ment and op­po­si­tion also ex­pressed out­rage.

Jessie Duarte, deputy sec­re­tary gen­eral of the gov­ern­ing African Na­tional Congress, said the com­ments were “ex­tremely of­fen­sive.”

“De­vel­op­ing coun­tries do have dif­fi­cul­ties. These dif­fi­cul­ties are not small things,” she told a news con­fer­ence. “Ours is not a ‘shit­hole coun­try.’ Nei­ther is Haiti or any other coun­try in dis­tress,” she said, not­ing that the U.S. has its own prob­lems, such as poverty and un­em­ploy­ment.

“We would not deign to make com­ments as deroga­tory about any coun­try fac­ing dif­fi­cul­ties,” she said.

Op­po­si­tion leader Mmusi Maimane of the Demo­cratic Al­liance added that Trump’s com­ments were ab­hor­rent.

“He con­firms a pa­tron­iz­ing view of Africa and pro­motes a racist agenda. Africa-U.S. re­la­tions will take strain from this, with a leader who has failed to rec­on­cile hu­man­ity. The ha­tred of Obama’s roots now ex­tends to an en­tire con­ti­nent.”

Zim­babwe’s am­bas­sador to Sene­gal, Trudy Steven­son, said Trump’s com­ments were “re­veal­ing.”

“How em­bar­rass­ing for #Amer­ica, and in­sult­ing to #Africa,” she tweeted.

‘We’ve been a part­ner, we’ve been a strong neigh­bor, we’ve been a good friend of the peo­ple of the United States.’ — Haitian Am­bas­sador Paul Alti­dor

Evan Vucci As­so­ci­ated Press

MANY in Africa felt par­tic­u­larly ag­grieved by Pres­i­dent Trump’s dis­parag­ing com­ments.

Siob­han O’Grady For The Times

SHOP­KEEPER Kwame Azong, 34, at a mar­ket in Ac­cra, Ghana, said, “Have you ever heard of turn­ing a neg­a­tive sit­u­a­tion into a pos­i­tive? Don­ald Trump for me, I don’t know the an­gle he’s com­ing from, but it should be turned into pos­i­tive think­ing.”

Christo­pher Jue EPA/Shutterstock

“I AM SHOCKED by Pres­i­dent Trump’s state­ments on Haiti and Africa,” Sene­gal Pres­i­dent Macky Sall said in a tweet. “I re­ject and con­demn them vig­or­ously.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.