Trump and the Ongoing Fight with the Shadow of the Elephant


President Trump’s temporary order banning people from seven majority Muslim nations from entering the United States is a most unfortunate and thoughtless decision. The order targets people who have neither the desire nor the capability to carry out hostile actions against America. What’s more, these people are from some of the countries that have been destroyed by the misguided policies of America and its allies.

There is a Sudanese saying that goes: “You are gazing at the elephant while pointing your spear at its shadow”.

I couldn’t think of anything else after hearing about President Trump’s Executive Order banning refugees and individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries – Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Libya and, of course, Iran, the perpetual enemy – from entering the United States.

While observing, like millions of people around the world, the hostility, racism and bullying towards women and other nations around the world in the discourse of the newly elected American president, two things strike me: First, the level of ignorance  especially of history and the current state of the world by the leadership of a country that is considered to be the “most advanced in the world”. Second, the lack of principles and shame that undermine all efforts made over the past 150 years to humanize our global interactions by openly denying refugees entrance into the United States.

President Trump and his government have pushed the button to travel in time, evidently moving back to the days of slavery, wars, bounties and big walls.

However, it is fair to acknowledge that President Trump has never been secretive about his agenda. He was open and clear about his stands, and yet he won the elections using the same electoral system that had brought “America’s first black president.” Hence, we are forced to admit that President Trump’s agenda, as ugly and hostile as it is, apparently resonates with a considerable number of people who voted for him and enabled him to win.

As a woman of Sudanese and African origin, my lived realties have always countered and contradicted American political views of the world. My intelligence and awareness of the world were shaped in a free environment and I don’t mean free as in the notion of “free world.” Yes, I do think that growing up in developing countries, and not in the United States, gave me the freedom and privilege to be exposed without censorship to a wide range of concepts and ideologies as raw, ideal and contradicting as they are. Communism was not an evil ideology nor was capitalism. They were thoughts and ideals we argued about and debated at our doorsteps. Photos of Karl Marx and Che Guevara were placed on our humble muddy walls next to pictures of Gandhi and sometimes the Queen of England and Marlin Monroe. The next wall would have verses of the Quran and the Nubian evil eye symbol. There is no fixation on the notion of greatness or concept embodied in the motto “them versus us”.