‘Shithole’ nationalism

It’s hardly surprising that Trump made his ‘shithole’ remarks.

Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump holds a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington on January 10, 2018 [Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

One thing that is upsetting about the comments that US President Donald Trump made calling African and African-descent nations “shitholes” is that his African and African-descent supporters from the 2016 election period haven’t come out to support him on that. After all, loyalty counts for something, doesn’t it? Some of these people are my friends, mind you. Any takers? Come on, now. Y’all were loud in 2016, time to show your face again, fellow #shithole inhabitants.

Seriously, though. There’s a couple of things going on here. First of all, I want to address the fact that Donald Trump is flamingly out of his mind. Where I come from – proudly a #shitholecountry – we generally try to be kind to our elders whose minds have clearly gone into the void while leaving them physically behind. Because there are values connected to the concept of Utu (or as non-East Africans call it, Ubuntu) that demand a basic level of common decency from individuals. It’s a social contract thing.

As a consequence, I am largely horrified on a daily basis that his people are letting The Donald run around nekkid-minded in public every day under the pretext that he doesn’t have a formal mental health diagnosis. The only response that’s appropriate from out here is a gentle eye-roll and some prayers for America. This man is dying a slow and horrible public death and here I am writing about it. Utu forgive me. 

The other issue is condescension. Dear media, telling us that Donald Trump is a racist is … not news. It is low-hanging fruit. He’s a mean old git who promised to build a wall between the US and Mexico to appeal to his voters. Was anyone surprised that he also despises people from continents he has never visited, especially considering he can hardly read to expand what appears to be a tragically limited intellect? Nope. It only adds insult to injury that we have to talk about this as though it merits consideration. Another overpriviledged American goes Heart of Darkness. Been there, done that.

This is the continent of untold racial injuries, of apartheid and Zimbabwe and the Namibia situation we don’t talk about. Congo and Libya selling slaves in this here present day. Of Sudan and Sudan, Somalia and Kenya, al-Shabab and the IMF structural adjustment programmes with their long tails of woe. Of genocides both internal and external, of injustices that popular culture and rate-chasing modern media tries its best to forget.

Because you know what? Everything I have said above about #shithole countries is applicable to the United States of America and everywhere else. Genocide, slavery, rape, sexual slavery, extreme patriarchy, religious nuttiness, gun-toting fools, horrendous presidents, electoral shenanigans, corruption, inefficiency, brutality, apartheid (what are “Native American reservations”… like, seriously?), the drug trade, you name it. It takes a #shithole to recognise one.

Good old Trump who is in way over his head is simply expressing the anxieties of a decaying society that maybe needs to start talking to itself about these things, among others. I understand, the fear of the rise of Russia. More pertinent to #shitholecountries, the American preoccupation with the rise of China in Africa where all the good minerals, land and natural resources are, is no bueno. The decline of oil power makes them crazy. There’s a lot going on. It isn’t surprising to act out when you’re cornered. If Trump is America’s Id, well …

Fortunately, the thing about #shitholecountries is that we survive, always have … and most menacingly, we always will. This continent is going to hit a billion and a half not too far from now. The superbly highly-skilled immigrants America rejects (African immigrants to the US are consistently the most highly qualified “type” of immigrant, look it up) will find elsewhere to do their work (Jyna, probably) and repatriate their knowledge and money. And we can reproduce like champions. Like I said, I understand. There is something frightening about the inevitability of the browning of the world, and the slow and grinding demise of a certain kind of privilege. 

By the way, could someone please tell Donald Trump that a #shitholecountry feminist woman columnist is praying for America to dump him for his own good and mental health? And that he needs to embrace the inevitable browning of the world? His personal apocalypse is here. Because anything I can do to drive him closer to the edge of completely undeniable unfitness-for-office is something I will do gladly. Utu, forgive me, some things just have to be done.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.