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Raffique Shah


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America's shame

By Raffique Shah
January 11, 2021

As decent Americans try to come to terms with the shameful conduct of their president and his robotic army of white supremacists, dumb nationalists and sundry dissidents of multiple obscure persuasions, billions of people around the world who have suffered at the uneven, prejudiced hands of the world's greatest power will be inclined to gloat, to celebrate its implosion.

Such emotions are understandable. From the descendants of the native Americans, the handful who have survived the extermination of their ancestors by the invading Europeans, to the millions of Afro-Americans whose forebears suffered unspeakable atrocities for generations, during and after slavery, and who, to this day, face irrational racism from the lingering Caucasian detritus that coalesce around the likes of Donald Trump, the hurt is palpable.

Many liberal whites in and outside of the United States whose lives are shielded from the everyday indignities that people of colour, and, indeed, people of ordinary means, be they white, black, brown or in-between, must face, had their sensibilities shocked when Trump's madding mob invaded the Capitol. In horror, they screamed: "No! This is not America! This must be some banana republic!"

Oh, but it is America. And the rampaging beasts you see are the ugly Americans, the snarling, snorting animals your leaders, almost throughout the history of your country, have unleashed on people of diverse ethnicities, religions and ideologies, across the world. From Asia to Africa, the Middle East to the Far East, people and nations have faced the wrath of your armies and armaments, as your leaders imposed their will on hapless, powerless people. You invented the banana republics, controlling the Americas from Mexico to Chile. You manufactured despots such as Somoza, Duvalier, Pinochet, Trujillo. When you settle down, after this storm is over and we will have helped you isolate and rid yourselves of Trump, read the history of American's bloody interventions in the affairs of nations and people just about everywhere in the world.

Before I tripped off on the sins of America, and I apologise for that deviation, I was making the point that many countries and people who have suffered at the hands of your leaders and armies, might be tempted to welcome the home-bred terrorists who have emerged to threaten your democracy. I urge them to do no such thing. We must see their assault on your government, their refusal to accept the will of the majority of Americans as an abomination that must be repelled with every means at our disposal, even a voice like mine, emanating from a tiny island-state in the Caribbean.

I must admit that I find it unpalatable that there are people in my country, and nationals from TT who are residing in the USA, who blindly support Trump. I say ‘blindly' because I cannot conceive of informed, thinking people who would even listen to a man who lies as much as he breathes oxygen, and rather than apologise for lying, would add layers to his lies. Trump's claim that the recent presidential and other elections were ‘stolen' by the Democratic party are manifestly untrue. I sat here in TT, monitoring the polls via television, and from that distance, I could almost count the votes, such was the transparency. In several states, Georgia for sure, the officials who supervised and verified the process, which was painstaking, were from Trump's Republican party.

That the incumbent's supporters could not, or likelier will not, see that, speaks of a level of ignorance that is difficult to imagine. Further, that Trump's claims of irregularities have been dismissed by scores of judges in various courts, adds to the prospect that the man is mad. Last Wednesday, when he assembled a mob such as has not been seen in America in many years, if ever, it was clear that he was taking his fight to retain his presidency to the lowest level possible. That is when he and those who aided and abetted him should have been arrested and charged with treason.

But who would arrest him? Who would stand in the way of that maddened mob, fury etched on their faces, murder on their minds as they mounted a full-scale assault on The Capitol? But for a few police officers who were dangerously outnumbered, nothing stood between the thugs and their targets.

Where was the National Guard? Where were the federal police officers and the army? Most of all, where were the generals? On any given day, at any function in Washington, the "brass", assorted army, navy and air force officers, can be seen preening in full uniform, their breasts plastered with ribbons and medals. On Wednesday when Washington needed them most, the generals had mysteriously disappeared.

I repeat: Trump should be charged with treason, sedition and other offences and the generals must explain their absence and face the consequences. They brought shame on America.

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