Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Radical Trump, by Gabriel C Banda

 

Radical Donald Trump

By

Gabriel C Banda

WHEN did Donald Trump become radicalised? Around the time he was presidential candidate in the United States, there was often, in our mind, some question about the genesis of Donald Trump’s radical stances. When did Donald Trump become THE Donald Trump?

Not many times in humankind history, as some of us have known it, has there come onto the platform, as a ruler or even as a very private citizen, one so remarkable in the way of the Donald Trump spirit.

There have been some politicians and rulers in other times and in other parts of the world, including in Africa in very recent times, that have been very outside the widely practised range of human behaviour.

We thought that some recent president in Africa could rarely be surpassed by others in eccentric and rough behaviour but that one now measures low in comparison to the Donald Trump spirit.

In this world, there are not many visible persons that behave or perform like the Trump spirit. In many parts of the world, societies have evolved in such ways that a person in leadership and rule would almost definitely never turn out to behave like our American Big Man Donald Trump.

The appearance of remarkable persons has sometimes heralded wide changes, good and bad.

                                                                       A Radical

A radical is often considered to be a person that stands for, or works on, big changes and shifts in thought and organisation of society. Some persons strike a lot of controversy but may not be radicals. Radicals are more than just being unconventional. Radicals are involved in transformations that lead to extreme shifts in societies and times.

Some persons use the term “radical” to denote persons of particular political positions. For instance, some will easily name “leftist” guerrilla leader Che Guevara as radical.

Of course, I believe Che Guevara’s situation was significant for the ethics around combining his training as a doctor and his role as a military frontline commander. I would not be comfortable in Che Guevara’s situation.

But radicals are not confined to the left of politics. We would like to consider as radical someone, from whatever political or social action, who leads to dramatic and extreme transformation of society’s processes and systems.

There are some persons whose thoughts and actions greatly transform societies they are in. Their influence even goes beyond their societies and their times. That transformation can in some cases be almost irreversible, although things can follow on and develop in various ways over different periods and environments.

                                                                         Anti-Truth

Now, candidate Trump said things that were considered uncomfortable to say. Some of the things he said were not truth. Some of the things were even anti-Truth.

The things he continued to say cannot be tolerated by many in many societies. And the things the big man was busy tweeting on Twitter were shaking many persons.

Donald Trump promoted the hatred propelling idea that President Barack Obama was by birth not American, portraying that Obama was from a descent that was less American than some – especially the Euro-American.

And almost to a crusade, he carried an obsession, a constant discomfort, against the policies, practices, and even presence and existence, of outgoing president Barack Obama.

Some of Trump’s words on some things were not acceptable by those persons, in America and elsewhere, in pursuit of improved relations of human beings of various backgrounds.

From Trump, swear words have been uttered, uncommon from rulers and officials in prominent public roles. Some of it inflammatory and divisive, some persons can label some of his as hate speech both in word and tone. Sometimes, like on his tax situation, he did some verbal gymnastics.

Trump breathed tough, or even rough, language. He has used harsh words towards groups and political opponents. He was sarcastic, sometimes appearing insulting, of others. He made some persons deeply uncomfortable.

Remember, as they debated on television, Trump hovered very near candidate Hillary Clinton in some intimidating manner. We wondered, at what point in his life did candidate Trump become so radicalised?

                                                                  Devil’s Workshop

Some of candidate Trump’s remarks, in word and tone, seemed lifted straight from the devil’s workshop, with its fire and fury. Candidate Trump proudly talked of making institutions, laws, and barriers that would sieve humanity one from the other, lesser and greater.

Candidate Trump labelled Mexicans rapists and criminals. In many places in our modern times, persons, especially those in leadership, politics, and government, are not expected to express words that are prejudiced against members of social groups, amongst them ethnic, racial, and religious categories.

But on top of that, Donald Trump was openly saying he will keep away many Mexican migrants by actually building a physical wall. Many persons expect rulers and leaders in various fields to lead to building of bridges and bonds involving humans in various backgrounds.

Yet the Trump position was not hidden. Donald Trump’s prejudice, in open words, against Mexicans, Muslims, and persons of other human social classifications, was openly stated.

                                                                 Euro-American

He was fiercely hostile to the entrant of the Mexican type and seemingly welcoming of the Mrs Ivana Zelnickova Trump type, hailing from Czechoslovakia, and Mrs Melania Knauss Trump type, born in Slovenia. And the type of his mother, born in Scotland, Mrs Mary Anne MacLeod Trump.

Current wife Melania Knauss Trump immigrated into USA, around age 26, in fairly recent times, in 1996. She and Donald Trump married in 2005.

Donald Trump arose from migrants, some of them recent, of some particular kinds, including Germany and Scotland. Yet Euro-Americans, persons of European descent, are only a part of a wholesome America where each member should be considered a legitimate human being and citizen.

Persons are not supposed to be victimed due to classifications like colour, culture, ethnicity, citizenship, religious and spiritual following, location, being female or male, and other factors.

                                                                  Great Again

Now, candidate Trump was talking about making America “great again.” America, in his view, had declined under some administrations, including, or perhaps key, outgoing Obama’s.

The implication, said and unsaid, was a USA that was not like the result of the recent efforts of predecessor Barack Obama.

In reverse to the spirit of Trump, Obama’s America had tried to create bridges among persons from various backgrounds in USA and the globe.

In comparison to some other administrations, Obama’s America had reduced inter-state belligerence and appeared less war-like towards those other administrations had labelled “axis of evil”.

Obama was moving away from an America some might consider a Goliath and bully. Obama promoted a unity of humanity.

Of course, the USA machinery made some essential mistakes in joining the invasion or regime change efforts in Syria and Libya, whose invasion was driven by the France war-lord Nicolas Sarkozy. On many accounts, many Obama pronouncements and actions were for reducing friction with other governments.

What “great again” of United States’ time Trump has been referring to is not openly stated yet its components are apparent. Which “great again” America?

                                                       America’s Experiences

America has had many experiences, pleasant experiences and experiences of trauma. There have been times of aggression and genocide by Euro-Americans against Native Americans.

There have been times of Trans-Atlantic slavery feeding America’s economy.

And at some point, from 1787, it was proposed, even when there existed the Constitution that should have proclaimed rights for all, that enslaved persons of African descent were to be counted as some three-fifths fraction of persons of European descent.

In past America, many persons of African descent did not vote. Even in recent times, in the mid- 20th Century, there was racial segregation of students in some learning institutions.

And there have been times when women of all colour were not allowed to vote. And Native Americans were not allowed to vote.

And there was some America of a violent “Wild West.”

And there have been times of some apartheid against non-Euro-Americans in as recent times as when Martin Luther King was campaigning for human rights in the 1960s. In “Apartheid” South Africa, racism was organised and racial law forcibly enforced in the land.

There have been times of America being in unpopular wars and invasions in other parts of the world.

And there is sometimes an America of killings, by uniformed or vigilante team persons, of innocent persons of some category, the Trayvon Martin human type.

America has also had social issues like huge amounts of persons that do not have access to secure basic health services.

Barack Obama’s administration made the radical effort, through the Affordable Care Act, to have many left out persons, in millions, to access health care, as is common in much of Europe, with their wide welfare programmes covering many basic needs.

In a radical assault on the Affordable Care Act, candidate Donald Trump openly wanted to have it disbanded. This would go to the position where individuals will by individual effort swim or sink rather than being supported by wide social humanity.

Yes, there have been many major challenges in America’s society. Which America “great again” was candidate Trump, and even President Trump, talking about? What face or appearance does the “great again” have?

                                                            Enemy of the Earth

Besides the radical walls to exclude some Mexicans and also plans banning entry of Muslims, candidate Trump had views that are against the health of the earth. Trump’s stances on weather, environment, and human union have made him appear like an Enemy of the Earth. Like an Enemy of Creation.

To the collective welfare of the earth and its environment, Trump has said, and acted, as in the Paris Climate Change Agreement, against the integrity of creation itself.

                                                   Insular America, Mental Walls

Candidate Trump pledged an isolated but thriving America or a prosperous but isolated America. It would be insular, insulated by walls of physical and mental kinds, against other nations. Of other nations, he charged: “They have taken our money…. They have taken our jobs!”

Trump’s America would no longer tolerate “trade abuses.” He threatened China, and other governments, for trade imbalances and threatened sanctions which may not be easy to apply but would also lead to some adverse effects on America’s people.

Trump’s America would be insular, yet aggressive. It would not consider the welfare of others but focus on its selfish self-interest. It did not seem to matter to candidate Trump and supporters that the principles of natural life do not for long allow for such a state of human isolation to exist.

The design of life, and very evident in the human part, is inter-dependence and cooperation. Isolation and insular living are bound to fail.  Humanity is a whole. Life is a whole. Within Trump’s concept of an isolated but elite “America First,” are inbuilt seeds of decline and self-destruction.

                                                    Tooth for Tooth

Trump would not be like Jesus Christ. On BBC Television’s Hard Talk programme, Donald Trump had supported the Moses times’ revenge and retribution of “an eye for an eye” and a tooth for a tooth, something Jesus Christ’s message and practice moved away from. A tooth for a tooth is fundamentally unChristian.

                                                  Emperor of the United States

Candidate Trump seemed to go for becoming a de facto Emperor of the United States, his likes and dislikes to decree on. The Trump spirit would then move the USA and the whole world.

Of course, many extreme persons sometimes, if without discipline, overstretch themselves and fall. Donald Trump seemed oblivious of, or unconcerned by, possible negative effects upon himself that could arise from his tweeting enterprise as he operated it.

It is clear that Trump’s mission on this earth, and some of it openly stated and unhidden, could greatly affect the world and reverse some major things in the USA and the whole world.

The Trump spirit roams, shaking many in its path. But a question kept on coming into our mind: at what point in his life was candidate Donald Trump radicalised? For many persons, it is not easy to understand the Trump spirit’s covfefe.

ginfinite@yahoo.com

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Based in Lusaka, Zambia, the author is involved in writing, social development, and observes peace and conflict issues happening worldwide.

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GCB, 2017. December 2017, LUSAKA.

 

 

 

 

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Donald Trump and the United Nations General Assembly, by Gabriel C Banda

 

 

Donald Trump and the United Nations General Assembly,

by Gabriel C Banda

HOW will heads of state and government of the countries recently banned entry into the USA get to the United Nations?

Previously, there are those of us that wondered how international sports and culture events and interaction will be affected by Donald Trump administration’s fortress walls that have targeted persons from particular places of the world. (Some of that we had published on WordPress.com platform in February, 2017, as “Donald Trump and Olympics and Oscars.”)

 

One can assume that the 2028 summer Olympics have been awarded to Los Angeles because the Olympics Organisation assumed that the Trump fortress practice and influence will no longer be in place then. These games will be the third to be hosted by that popular city.

Now, a big concern by some persons has been what the Trump doctrine and practice will mean for the United Nations Organisation, especially when all representatives of nations and societies meet.

Every year, in September, representatives, most of them the rulers, of the United Nations member governments fly to New York city, in the United States of America, to participate in the General Assembly debates. They state their country’s situation in relation to humanity.

They are coming to share with others as a common humanity. They are not going to New York because they want to go to the United States. The United States happens to have the place that hosts the event.

How many of those from Trump’s banned list will arrive at the United Nations. And how many of them will not arrive? How many will not arrive because of the ban? And, of course, there are those that will test Trump by making the trip to the New York city.

And how many will merely send other representatives to a meeting that should be represented by the most senior government official?

Of course, there are Donald Trump’s fortress and isolationist stances against core items the United Nations was founded to grow and improve. Where there should be growth in human relations, Trump is building walls against targeted peoples and religions.

The Trump spirit has even acted against Creation itself, that through his plan to withdraw from the world climate agreement. From the earth’s view, the Trump spirit should be acting as an enemy of the earth.

Trump has started to develop some trade wars against those societies appearing to prosper in their trade and manufacturing. And where many persons need to be covered with health care as Obamacare tried to do, his plans may reverse this.

Whereas the United Nations was built to put an end to the practice of war, the Trump spirit breathes fire and fury towards others it differs with. The United Nations, as I have observed with the statues at the Head Quarters, believes in weapons eventually being turned into productive ploughs.

The United Nations has many times made joint declarations and plans to improve the lot of all of us in the world through collective planning and action. And indeed, in spite of some limitations, the world is overall a more stable place than if the United Nations had not been around.

It will be interesting to see if Bashar al-Assad and others from the listed ban list will attend the United Nations General Assembly. Of course, Assad may be busy dealing with the war in Syria. But we have to observe whether those from other banned countries will arrive. It may be that the United Nations may ask for exceptions or that the Trump administration may have exceptions for those going for the UN General Assembly.

But the reaction of the excluded governments will be interesting. Some may attempt to go to New York in defiance and assertion of their right to be with the United Nations body even when they are not in good books with the United States administration.  Others may send junior persons. Yet others may not send any high ranked official and do this as a way of protest against the Trump ban.

Some officials may be exempted from the ban but will avoid going to New York as a way of making some solidarity statement in support of their fellow citizens that are denied entry.

The doctrine and practice of the Trump spirit test the United Nations in its gathering, activities, and, essentially, Purpose. Interesting issues will arise at the first United Nations General Assembly under Donald Trump’s rule.

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Based in Lusaka, Zambia, the writer is involved in the arts, social development, and is a keen observer of Conflict and Peace issues.

 

– GCB, LUSAKA. April 2017/August 2017.

 

 

 

UK Election Candidates and Lessons, by Gabriel C Banda

 

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UK Election Candidates and Lessons

By

Gabriel C Banda

THERE are some lessons the UK Elections of June 8, 2017 have for the conduct of elections and politics in other parts of the world.

We will now consider the leaders of the main political parties.  Prime Minister Theresa May, of the ruling Conservative Party, called for the elections after she got into office after taking over from her leader David Cameron, a fellow Conservative, who resigned after the negative result of the Brexit referendum.

David Cameron, who had expected a vote in favour of remaining in the European Union and called for the referendum, was disappointed with the “Leave” result. He could therefore not preside over the exit from Europe, an exit he opposed. Therefore, David Cameron resigned to give way for another ruler to deal with the exit.

                                                                 Brexit

Mama Theresa May is in a position of heading a government that must respond to the Brexit Referendum result requiring UK to leave the European Union. Of course, leaving Europe is very complex for Europe, UK, and others and will have effects that are likely to leave Britain worse off in various things.

After UK leaves the EU, it is almost certain that Scotland will leave the United Kingdom.  There will also be complications in Northern Ireland, administratively a part of the UK, and the Republic of Ireland. We feel Brexit is more of a Break It.

But Theresa May is now prime minister and has, whether she likes Brexit or not, the task of following the referendum result that requires UK to leave UK. Because she must administer the exit required by the referendum, she has focussed on performing the task, whether she wants of not.

She has set her mind on doing some necessary task and role. She is making herself to flow with it. But we have to wait to find out if she will turn out like Cameron, calling for a poll and not winning it. But the elections she called are useful because they enable people, all citizens, to actually make a choice about who should be their prime minister at this time.

Of course, the elections will be more than just about Brexit.

                                                          Conservative for All?

Now, there are some issues that may be difficult for Theresa May because they are Conservative Party position and issues, not necessary that they are her limitations. It is interesting that Theresa May has, from the beginning of her rule, has called for a Britain and Conservative Party, often associated with positions of wealthy persons and the right wing striving for the exclusive, that works for prosperity for all people.

She wants to move the Conservative Party to be a party for people from all areas of life, rather than the wealthy and exclusive, so-called “elite.” She wants a Conservative Party and Britain for all.

Of course, sometimes Theresa May acts with a sincerity that can be considered naïve. At her meeting new USA president Donald Trump, one would have been careful about showing a shoulder-to-shoulder relationship with the Trump presidency.

Some people’s attitude towards her can be affected by their attitude towards Donald Trump. But Theresa May comes out as a person one may differ with over some issues but will respect for her listening to what others are saying and to her sincerity.

                                                               Jeremy Corbyn

In the elections also is my big man, Jeremy Corbyn, Labour Party leader. Just like my big man Bernie Sanders of the USA, Jeremy Corbyn is both sharply analytical and very courageous. He is fearless. And he is sincere as he speaks his message. His sincerity connects to the hearts and minds of many.

There were some persons, many from Labour in Parliament, who blamed him for what was not his fault – the “Yes” Brexit result.  They implied he did not do enough.

But Jeremy Corbyn could not do much about the result. Jeremy Corbyn did not cause the “Yes” Brexit result. Some persons, some of them Labour parliamentarians, also tried to stigmatise Jeremy Corbyn but, without much facts and basis, implying that he did not appeal to voters.

While those politicians within and outside Labour may not like Corbyn or his political positions, he actually has a lot of support with the public. The plotters of the coup plot may have envied, ignored, or underestimated Jeremy Corbyn’s widening appeal to the public.

If Corbyn’s Labour does not win the June 2017 elections, Corbyn, who was for Europe, will be saved from a very uncomfortable and complex Brexit UK delink process. If he then stays as Labour leader, he is very likely to win the next elections.

It seems Corbyn may currently be in a Win-Win situation. But, like in all elections, you do not speculate but just wait for the final announced results. In the UK, the elections are not held directly on the leaders of parties, but the leader of the party that gets the most parliamentary seats, or a coalition of parties with most seats, becomes prime minister. A victor may get the most seats but not necessarily the most votes nationwide.

                                                                   Lessons

In the June 2017 elections, there are also other contestant parties and candidates. For now, some of the key lessons are about the conduct of candidates during elections. The controversial, and cut-throat 2016 United States elections provided big contrast to the current UK elections.

The UK elections of June 2017 provide great lessons. The UK party leaders, like Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May, are generally, or relatively, polite. You do not hear outright insults and uncouth statements. They try to focus on policies and issues, and actually discuss those issues, even if they do not have the answers.

What I find striking is the sincerity of both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn, in opposition. You may differ with some things they say, but theirs are not political gymnastics to please voters. They are sincere in their discussion. They lay out their positions on issues. They are persons who have missions they feel are important for the society, not just for their personal and group interests. Their sincerity is very notable.

                                                              David Cameron

Besides the examples of Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn, in UK there was also some good lessons from David Cameron. One of the greatest things Cameron did was to allow the decision of parliament about not striking Syria over accusations of chemical weapons.

David Cameron, who actually as a person comes out as a likeable person, respected the decision of parliament. In America, that provided Barack Obama a window to also not raid Syria.

Raiding Syria at that time could have made ISIS thrive earlier and brought about further difficulties for the Middle East, the Western World, and the whole. Syria would have become ISIS.

Earlier, David Cameron and Barack Obama had made the mistake of supporting, even if reluctantly for Obama, the war-lord Nicolas Sarkozy, in charge of France’s forces, to, despite caution and opposition from the African Union, raid Libya and murder and overthrow Muammar Gaddafi and regime, leading to instability that has greatly affected the world.

The 2017 lessons about sincerity of Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn towards politics and governance can help others in many parts of the world. Politics would be more civilised, more cultured. UK June 2017 elections are better example in politics and governance than USA 2016. And, currently, we have not heard about some Russia conspiracy to hack into the UK Elections!

ginfinite@yahoo.com

The Author: Based in Lusaka, Zambia, Gabriel C Banda is involved in writing and the arts, social development, and observation of conflict and peace issues.

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– GCB, June 2017.   At Wednesday, June 7th 2017.

 

 

Obama and a Syria Strike, by Gabriel C Banda

 

Obama and a Syria Strike

by

Gabriel C Banda

Yes, I believe, Obama’s 2013 position not to openly strike Syria with American forces was the appropriate one.

As outgoing President Barack Obama’s legacy assessment will continue for ever, we will consider one issue.

There are those who feel that if Barack Obama had in 2013 ordered an attack on Syria due to accusations around the Bashar al-Assad administration and chemical weapon use, the recent outcome in Aleppo and Syria would have been against Assad. The accusers almost blame Barack Obama’s non-striking as the cause of the situation they are unhappy with.

Their wish had been for a “swift” and “sharp” strike that would have disabled, and removed, the Assad administration.

Strike supporters included John McCain and, sadly, Hillary Clinton, and others such as “Professor” Bernard-Henri Levy, so-called “philosopher.”  Bernard-Henri Levy, consistent with his war-mongering, had been a strong supporter of the intervention in Libya and the removal of Muammar Gaddafi.

War Monger

Over abuse of force, Levy has been a war monger hiding, or excused, under the coats of academic freedom and free expression. Had it not been for the tags of “Professor,” “Philosopher,” and “intellectual” he is referred by others with, the unclothed position of Bernard-Henri Levy would be more clearly recognised as that of a thug.

Still unrepentant about the terrible and evil effects of his position, Bernard-Henri Levy greatly supported and continues to defend, when on BBC and other media, the 2011 invasion of Libya led by the war lord Nicolas Sarkozy, who was then France’s president.

Nicolas Sarkozy, with a guillotine trailed against Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, used the machinery of the France government, and even twisting the United Nations system, to force a coalition of force that removed Libya’s Gaddafi and led to instability that has affected Libya, Africa, the Middle East, and the whole world, including innocent people in France and Britain, the USA, and ally nations assembled in the raid on Gaddafi and Libya.

Crossing Line

The proponents of a swift strike and knock-out of Assad and administration have used Barack Obama’s warning about not crossing some red line against him. They use it as an Obama weakness because Obama had given a warning and did not follow it up with action.

It does not seem to matter to them whether Obama’s action would be right or appropriate for the emerged situation but that he had said it and therefore should have proceeded to attack Syria. It seems not to matter to them that the issue of chemical weapons use was not easy to definitely assign.

It does not seem to matter to them that the reasons or excuses of Weapon of Mass Destruction or Crimes Against Humanity used by intervening governments have at sometimes come out false or snares.

It seemed not to matter that the position of a clean, swift, strike was an assumption that was based on a sense of supremacy of oneself over others considered easily conquerable. Why is there an assumption that military might will always defeat others?

In long gone times and recent times, some rulers have acted improperly and created long term difficulties for all of us. Many leaders and rulers, from George W Bush Jr to Tony Blair, have acted by poor egos and handled the arsenals of military and force with immaturity. Many leaders and rulers have not been mature enough to handle authority over force.

Angela  Merkel Maturity

However, not all rulers have the same immaturity over use of force. One who has been cautious about use of force has been German’s Angela Merkel, a person of greatness, and one of the most mature of rulers and leaders in modern times.

To some degree, especially for an American president, Barack Obama has on some critical times acted with great caution where others would have thrown in the military machine heavily. This, not acting to go in when one is not sure, has been faulted against him.

In my view, it is better to be cautious about the use and effect of force and violence than end up creating the results that George W Bush Jr did in Afghanistan and Iraq. Barack Obama’s caution is a more sustainable and just position than that of leaping and attacking first and then thinking later, with turmoil around you.

Some bully others because these bullies feel they have weapon arsenals and can always defeat others they consider lesser.  It has been said that some bully others because the bullies have weapons and want to try out the weapons or intimidate others. Without weapons, they will not bully others.

Duet

In 2013, there was pressure to have Barack Obama and Britain’s David Cameron to repeat a duet, as George W Bush Jr and Tony Blair did over Iraq, and attack Syria. What helped the situation was the British parliament, with much of the public behind them,  voting against the move to another open war.

To his credit, and democratic credentials, David Cameron readily and politely accepted not to proceed with the proposed open armed intervention. That helped Barack Obama’s position for, without ally Britain, as they did in Iraq and Afghanistan, America has been reluctant to attack alone.

What if Barack Obama had directly used America’s forces to intervene in Syria and remove Assad? The results might have included the following: If Assad had fallen, ISIS would have been stronger. If Assad had fallen, ISIS may have now been in control in Syria. ISIS may have become Syria or Syria would have become the ISIS state.

Then also, there would have been no guarantee that American strikes could have happened without injury on America and those intervening. In scriptures, the story of small David and big Goliath is a lesson for all times.

You should never underestimate your opponent. Already, without factual basis, many officials in the West had underestimated the resilience of the Assad administration and thought he would collapse in a short time, in months rather than years. The situation turned out differently.

Barack Obama had been reluctant to get in to support Nicolas Sarkozy in the removal of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi. Obama’s weakness was to yield to Sarkozy and reluctantly join in. It is not enough to say one did something wrong because another had insisted to be joined.

Within his administration, war monger Susan Rice pushed for the military intervention and even insulted Africa’s rulers for calling for caution because of the effects they feared would happen with intervention. The effects feared came to pass. Obama had allowed people like Susan Rice and Nicolas Sarkozy to work against his inner caution over Libya.

Spring

Another sin that Obama fell into was to agree to support the armed rebels fighting the Assad administration in the so-called “Arab Spring.”  Clearly, ISIS was, from the beginning, in the “Arab Spring.”

Yes, I believe, Obama’s position not to strike Syria was the appropriate one. Already, the position to support armed rebellion against Assad’s Syria in a conflict with religious undertones was not appropriate, with its consequences that led to the rise of ISIS as Syria government forces faced militias from many groups.

There have been times when rulers of America’s regimes, feeling and acting on the myth that their country is a superpower and can push around others to do what it wants, have gone on to take actions that have created immediate and long-term problems for others, the USA, and the world.

Over the decades, even just to take the decades following World War II, this has happened under various administrations, Republican and Democrats. There seems to be in the background a machinery that, with whatever party in office, tries to assert intervention in other parts of the world – even where the intervention will create difficulties for those intervened, others, and the United States itself.

In recent times, this has happened over the invasion of Afghanistan, occupation of Iraq, and, without lessons being learnt and applied, intervention in Libya. Another key burden of a US administration has been supporting the armed rebellion against Syria’s Assad administration. But Barack Obama’s avoiding of striking Syria in 2013 was, I believe, the appropriate one. That will be a pleasant memory of the Obama legacy.

ginfinite@yahoo.com

**Gabriel Banda has been on the MA Peace Studies Bradford University  programme.

Hillary and Trump first debate lessons, by Gabriel C Banda

 

The Hillary and Trump first debate lessons,

By

Gabriel C Banda

The first televised debate involving Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, done September 26, 2016 USA day, provided some deep lessons. We learnt, through Hillary’s presentation, that it is possible to tame persons that behave roughly.

Of course, there are some moments when Hillary Clinton allowed some chances to slip away following Trump’s words or responses. Trump called treating another person badly some business achievement. He tried some gymnastics over not revealing his tax details.

Even though Donald Trump threw in some cynical comments and remarks that would have shaken and destabilised other persons, Hillary Clinton kept steady. She was in control of the debate and even Trump himself.  Trump’s gymnastics, which had humiliated fellow Republican candidates of the primaries, did not make Hillary Clinton fall.

With skill, facts, preparation, and keeping balance, a calm, gentle, person can actually tame a beastly creature. Even a beastly creature that is normally unpredictable can, under effective approach, be tamed.

Actually, Hillary continues to show that she is connected with issues and people. There has been heavy propaganda, much of it from her opponents, about Hillary missing something in terms of connecting with persons. It is possible that even her team may be believing this statement which sometimes is difficult to prove as always true. But her opponents have created a “connection” stigma on Hillary. Yet this calculated stigma seems exaggerated.

In our last post written just before the debate, we were concerned that Hillary Clinton should not be ruffled by the crude diversionary and humiliating antics of Donald Trump. We said she should keep her cool and not have some instinctive, knee reflex, “knee jerk,” reactions to Donald Trump. She should avoid Trump driving and avoid herself been driven into a direction Trump was crudely determining.

But the actual first debate showed Hillary Clinton with great composure and with masterly over the Trump personality in human body. In the process, such as on business and taxes, Donald Trump mumbled some words that made him appear crude in his relations with the public. Donald Trump seemed not ashamed that he had fanned the prejudiced Barack Obama was not born in America “Birther” lie.

Trump had been persecuting and slandering an innocent person and now, as it is in the open that what he said about Barack Obama was false, and crude, he says his evil actions actually helped Obama. It was as if he did the Birther campaign as a way of helping Barack Obama!

Many times, the more Trump tried to defend, dismiss, or cover up on something, the more open and fake he began to appear.

Many observing the debate should have been taken aback that Trump casually dismisses off serious things he had done wrongly and had thrived on. To many, it should be frightening to have such character as a President, influencing America and what influences it has in other parts of the world.

He defends exploitation of persons and the public as being astute, clever, for finding ways to cheat or beat official systems and human morality. Instead of correcting and improving himself as many persons all over the world try to do, Trump seems proud and protective of his very evident weaknesses.

The first debate, and Trump’s words and attitudes have shown there are distinctions between mere political debates/games and actions that nourish and drive evil.  Yet the Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump debate has shown that, with good preparation by those confronted by such, falsehoods and evil do not triumph.

ginfinite@yahoo.com

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GCB, LUSAKA. September/October 2016.

Mama Hillary Clinton in Zambia, by Gabriel C Banda

In 2011, Hillary Rodham Clinton, then United States Secretary of State, visited Zambia. I wrote about her in relation to some key challenges facing humanity and human relations.

Hillary Clinton, in whom many of us have for long been well pleased, has just had official endorsement as Democratic Party’s 2016 US presidential election candidate.

Of course, I differ with her on events of Libya and Syria. Unlike persons like John McCain and Sister Hillary Clinton and Bernard-Henri Levy, I believe that President Barack Obama did the right thing not to directly invade and strike Syria. If more armed pressure had been made on Syria and Assad had fallen, ISIS would have risen earlier and things would have been worse now.

On Libya, I believe, then as now, that Barack Obama, reluctant at first, should not have allowed himself to join France warlord Nicolas Sarkozy and others to invade Libya and destroy Muammar Qaddafi, leading to the chaos that will be with us for long. Western support for armed rebels in Libya and Syria, as the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, has created difficulties and some instability for the whole world, including Western societies.

And in the view of many of us in various parts of the world, Hillary Clinton will definitely make a good president for the United States.  The rule of Barack Obama has dignified America in the world and managed to make many outside the United States appreciate the projection of a United States that has a more friendly and humane nature, a society that is surely a close family member of humanity rather than its boss and bully and actor for the Superpower idea, “Superpower” being a myth that cannot be achieved in nature by any government or group. 

Hillary Clinton would more likely continue the improvement of human relations than, say, a person like Donald Trump, a personality that may lead to increased tension and division in human relations. Already, Hillary Clinton has made some remarkable contributions to the Common Good. More good than bad will arise from Hillary Clinton’s rule.

Here, I reproduce, courtesy Post Newspaper, Lusaka, the piece published on my then “Another View” column in the Post of Saturday June 18, 2011:

 

Mama Hillary Clinton’s Challenge

By

Gabriel Banda

“ALL too often, we were doing programs that continued year after year, and we, frankly, did too much of the talking and not enough of the listening, ”said Mama Hillary Rodham Clinton, USA Secretary of State, in our city Lusaka, Friday, June 10, 2011. She was closing the AGOA, African Growth and Opportunities Act countries, forum.

She observed that, “despite the best of intentions, for too long, in too much of our development work, the United States was not focused on the kind of partnerships that should be at the root of development,”

And Mrs Hillary Clinton said the United States administration of Barrack Obama aims to be more sensitive.

“In this Administration,” said she, “We have embarked on a new way of doing business.” And, “Our approach is based on partnership, not patronage.”

Also, “Ultimately, it is aimed at helping developing countries chart their own futures and, frankly, end the need for aid at all.”

Sister Hillary Clinton’s words in Lusaka highlight some key problems in human relations and development. These issues face not only people in USA and Africa relations, but governments and persons all over the world. It is about patronage or true partnership.

Problems of patronising attitudes and practices affect various fields. Besides the social development field, in politics example is the George W Bush administration’s March 2003 invasion of Iraq. The results of the invasion continue to affect not only the United States and the Middle East, but all of us, worldwide. Tensions increased.

Before invasion, the Bush regime had been cautioned, by many worldwide, of unjustness of the actions and the likely negative effects. These came to pass. Even now, clearly, instead of using the United Nations system to broker peace, in Libya the current external governments’ military role, which does not meet “just war” criteria, will bear huge negative effects worldwide. The war lord attitude has not been restricted to Bush rule.

But in development, trade and business, civil society, and other fields, actions arising from the patronage mindset are still with us.

Apart from other variations in nature, human variation is noted in issues like skin colour, being male or female, religion, ethnic link, culture, language, nationality and citizenship, and location.

Variation in many aspects of the world contributes towards a more whole earth and life. That there is variation on earth is great resource for us to learn and grow from many angles. This variation actively contributes to the making of the whole and the balance of that whole.

Each individual part is unique and gifted. Each we must appreciate. I believe that none is inherently superior or inferior by being born in some particular community. I believe a person born in the deserts of Africa can learn to fly a Boeing 747 while a person born in the skyscrapers of Manhattan can learn to live well in a desert.

We need to open ourselves to other persons. There is no stranger in the world. And the earth being circular, each point of the world is the centre of the world. Each individual or place is important for the maintenance of the whole world. Wherever you are is the centre of the world.

And wherever each person is, they must actively contribute their skills, experiences, and thoughts. A problem is when we are doing “too much of the talking and not enough of the listening.” This has meant closing, or limiting, ourselves off from the skills and experiences of others.

Often projects and activities are tackled without the active consultation and involvement of the ones who live the practical situation. This has led to projects not working well. Even where much money is poured in, lacking the essential human ingredients, the projects have reached less than they would have had they involved input from a wide variation.

Some who handle cash and resources tend to control the direction of projects and activities. They leave out the thoughts, skills, experiences, and visions of others they consider less able because those persons in material, finance, resource, and background situations are thought to be lesser than controller’s.

Many projects do not take in input of local persons as the projects merely implement templates designed from outside. In Zambia, Africa, and elsewhere, work against HIV and AIDS could have advanced further or earlier had there been more listening to others. The resources would have reached and done further. This is a bigger problem in mono-donor situations, where some donors dominate particular fields. They stifle creativity and growth.

Various talents, skills, and experiences willingly shared can contribute to the benefit of many. We are fortunate that with some six billion persons, male and female they are, we have chance, if we open ourselves to them, to live some six billion lives and deep experiences.

Slavery, slave trade, and apartheid have been evils because of pain and working against preferred choices of the enslaved as things are directed to service of the slave masters. Left to their own choices, enslaved persons could have contributed greatly, in many other ways, to the world. Slavery made the world lose out in growth and opportunities.

Currently, there are so called “experts” who are not competent, while some have skills but are not very appropriate, relevant, to the situations. Some do not do “enough of listening” and allowing other persons.

IMF and World Bank and their allies have shown arrogance, bullying, incompetence, and dictatorship. They pushed aside local views and imposed some inappropriate programmes. They kept imposing their activities through various sanctions and threats against governments and society.

The fruits of IMF programmes include increased poverty, crime, corruption, environmental impact, and inequalities around factors like ethnicity, cultures, gender, and regions. Their programmes have caused reduced capacity of societies. The programmes worked against growth and opportunities of societies. The activities have acted against peace and the integrity of life.

They have not organised resource and other reparations to redress the damage they have done to societies and humanity. Perhaps some recent debt write-off may be considered silent reparations. But the organisations still control economic programmes which are still inappropriate for societies

But, even though many have sought it and others been assigned, in this unitary and interdependent world, there can be no superpower. Superpower is a temporary human created myth without basis in truth.

Now or in other generations, the action of one in one place affects all others everywhere. To grow, we should be moving towards relationships of mutual respect, growth, and realisation that the work of all of us on earth seeks to eventually pull together towards a common good.

The world will flourish through partnership and creativity, not through patronage. It is important to allow others. Every one will nourish and grow. Many should listen to, and practice, some of Mama Hillary Clinton’s words!

END

– GCB June 2011, LUSAKA.

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Abducted Nigeria Girls and the America Brand, (Gabriel Banda Peace Notes, 12)

Gabriel Banda Peace Notes, 12:

Abducted Nigeria Girls and the America Brand

by

Gabriel C Banda

THE recent abduction of hundreds of schoolgirls at Nigeria’s Chibok Girls Secondary School has deeply stirred worldwide concern, including demonstrations and high social media postings.

The abduction and other violent attacks, sabotage, massacres, and destruction before and after April 15, 2014 are of concern not just in Nigeria and Africa but the whole world. Captured girls are from backgrounds of Christianity and Islam.

The Chibok incident is touching our common humanity. Those who condemn the abduction and other violence by militants include Muslims.

It is important that responses to the abduction lead to the safety and freedom of the hostages. With relevant approaches and even some types of external support, it is possible for Nigeria’s authorities to swiftly make recovery of the captives.

Responses and approaches should minimise harm to the girls, their families, communities, and society. While there is a wider anti-terrorism and anti-banditry context, approaches used should not endanger the safety of the held school girls and other persons in other parts of Nigeria and beyond.

Some of us were worried when, with innocence, Nigeria president Goodluck Jonathan said his government had made approaches to the United States to help in dealing with the hostage situation. Later, United State’s President Obama and John Kerry and Britain’s David Cameron said they would be involved in supporting Nigeria deal with the abduction.

And France was reported to be ready to get involved. It has also been reported that Israel’s government offered to help Nigeria in this Chibok issue. In the Middle East, the Israeli, Palestinian, and anti-Israel forces are some of world’s most skilled and efficient forces when it comes to fighting in non-regular warfare. Yet open involvement or suspected involvement of Israel and others may lead to negative effects.

Officials from governments of Nigeria, USA, Britain and others should have been careful about talking about the involvement of forces of external governments in the Chibok hostages mission. External interest may be well meaning but can contribute to deepened hostilities.

Already some officials from external governments have been quoted as discussing Nigeria officials and government’s unannounced and closed door responses and positions.

But openly asking for external military assistance in rescuing the hostages and combating bandits has many implications. Who comes in to assist will also affect direction of the rescue and the whole conflict.

Officials of Nigeria and external governments should avoid making pronouncements that can lead to negative effects on the held girls. They should also consider the effects of the announcements on relationships in the Nigerian society and the neighbours.

There may be some fear that external forces may take over control of the anti-insurgency work and people then begin giving the activities some American or other external branding. Branding may go together with marketing the brand through activities of “visibility.”

The entry of external forces may or may not be worrying to the captors. Captors might feel they have made some achievements by bringing into the conflict offshore troops from western governments. They may feel their status raised. Some bandits may welcome the USA and external involvement, seeing this as a new stage to proudly go to and take the conflict to another level.

Actions to free the Chibok girls and also protect the public from acts of sabotage need wide support. But open involvement of external forces may make persons who don’t support terrorism but are still critical of, or opposed to, the USA and other governments not to be supportive of the mission against the Chibok captors.

Currently, the primary task is to get the release of the school girl hostages. One has to be careful about not getting this to be overridden by other actions, attitudes, and policies towards terrorism. The general action against terrorism and banditry is important. Yet some policies and stances may affect recovery of the hostages.

For instance, Americans and others have official policy, generally inflexible, about not bargaining and negotiating with terrorists, captors, and hostage takers. Yet there may actually be instances where negotiation with bandits is a useful step to safety, conflict resolution, and deeper understanding. A hope is that policies and positions should not endanger the Chibok school girls.

With governments collaborating, it is easier to quickly deal with abductions and the conflicts behind them. But how they get involved is important. For some governments, some presence in the Chibok crisis is useful for the external governments’ own continuous training and preparedness.

It is possible for governments of the United States and others to be so involved in Chibok as part of their worldwide anti-terror programme that they may put their brand on the Nigeria situation. This may create difficulties for the held hostages. Anti-American feelings may rise when US and other forces openly get involved. Existing hostilities and conflict may escalate.

A risk is that the Chibok abductions may be considered by external forces to be part of their own worldwide fight against anti-western banditry and violence. They may view Chibok with their past and current lenses and incorporate it into “the fight against terror.”

Some governments have fairly advanced equipment and technology, but you need more than machines to solve human conflict. Some methods Americans and others have used in some parts of the world have worked well while some have led to responses of more violence and terrorism. Negotiators and those intervening must be sensitive to local knowledge and processes, otherwise they may create problems.

External involvement has potential of aggravating hostile attitudes and actions by bandits involved in abduction. Some people are already hostile to forces and peoples of the United States, Israel, and allies. External involvement may provide branding that may create further problems for the situation.

Some military presence, approach, and rescue attempts do not ensure success but may create big problems. Crucial is understanding of local environment, local social issues, and local negotiation dynamics. Insensitive external input may endanger our young sisters.

While banditry and terror occur in many parts of the world, there must be close focus on local conditions, approaches, and issues. Working on relationships and human approaches is what finally settles issues. External supporters must study local ways of doing things, settling conflict, and reaching agreements. Roots of grievances should be considered.

You need to involve those with some influence on abductors and government. This may include the use of elders, persons of religious and spiritual influence, and other persons in reaching the abductors and moving towards release, safety, and freedom of the young women.

In many parts of the world, there is abduction, enslavement, and abuse of women, boys, and other innocent civilians by militant combatants. There is use of non combatants as hostages and even human shields against attacks. The innocent are used for bargaining in grievances.

Militants seem to feel the result justifies the means. They believe the extremity in the use of the Chibok girls as bargaining factors against government forces will bring them desired results. In the captors’ view, the Chibok girls, attracting worldwide concern, are some huge bargaining chip.

Although assistance may be required from all angles as the Chibok event is a concern for the whole of humanity, there must be caution on how external support gets involved.
Priority of government, families, and many in the world should be to have the girls released, even if it means going against policies of external governments.

The key expectation of the families of the Chibok school girls and the wider society worldwide is safety and freedom from violence for the captives and other communities.

The announcements of external interests and involvement may delay or endanger the safe return of our young sisters. External support, even with goodwill and sincere intentions by providers, must be handled very carefully.

The Chibok event can provide chance to do something about abductions, enslavement, and human trafficking worldwide. It can be time for Nigeria to find effective solutions to insurgency.

While external support can be useful and some forms of it should be allowed, in this situation, to succeed effectively and sustainably, the Chibok girls rescue process must be locally rooted and not externally branded.

                                ginfinite@yahoo.com

Based in Lusaka, Zambia, the author is involved in writing and the arts, social development, and peace issues. He holds an MA in Peace Studies, University of Bradford.

 

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GCB, May 2014, LUSAKA.