Tag Archives: Sport

Donald Trump and Olympics and Oscars, by Gabriel C Banda

Donald Trump and Olympics and Oscars**


Gabriel C Banda

DONALD Trump, newly in office as United States 45th President, signed orders to implement the human divisions he had promised in his campaign. He, by decree, restricted persons of seven countries from entering the USA.

As during the campaign for presidency, for days, we have continued to wonder about practical aspects and effects on the world, and the implementers themselves.

There was confusion as some aspects and effects seemed not to have been considered by Trump and company. But the Trump enterprise is determined to implement controversial things it had said it would.

Some aspects were happening as intended by the Trump spirit and were being defended while some things were bringing about critical questions about human relations.

There was confusion at airports, border points, and in the travel process. There was fear and apprehension. And there were protests in the United States and many other parts of the world.

One aspect that came to mind was sports and the international interaction that it involves within societies and during international events. I then wondered whether United States cities and government will bid for some international tournaments.


These include the Olympics. United States cities have since 1904 hosted many Olympic games, summer and winter. After the St Louis games in 1904, winter ones were held at Lake Placid in 1932, with the Los Angeles summer games taking place again in 1932.

Lake Placid again hosted the games, in 1980. Los Angeles hosted the summer ones in 1984. Atlanta, in Georgia, hosted in 1996. The 2002 winter games were held at Salt Lake City.

For now, Los Angeles is amongst cities bidding for the 2014 summer Olympics that will follow the 2020 games in Tokyo, which has previously hosted them, October 1964.  Los Angeles wants to go on to host for the third time.

There is expectation that some US cities may compete for future Olympics in collaboration with other USA cities and with some cities of Canada in the north. But a question right now is the effect of the Trump entry rules.


President Trump also signed the ban on some refugees coming to the USA. This ban has implications for Olympic games being held in the USA. In Rio de Janeiro in 2016, there was excitement as an international team of refugees was assembled and took part.

As Trump’s term in office is scheduled to be four years, the Olympic movement should be considering the effect of the Trump entry ban.

Olympics cannot take place with citizens of some seven member countries not allowed to enter a host country. The seven countries are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, and Yemen.

Of these, the US government military intervention, in team with other regimes, for regime change in Iraq, Libya, and Syria contributed to instability, displacement, and refugees in these societies.

                                                                 Trump Card

Sadly, the Trump factor may act as a card against the Los Angeles Olympics 2024 bid.

And the United States is expected to be among those that bid for World Cup soccer tournaments. There are also other sports events that involve international participation. Some will involve persons from the seven societies banned entry into the USA.

Sport is not the only field affected by the Trump spirit. Trump has sought isolation and exclusion in other fields, including trade and economy. For instance, we wonder if under the Trump spirit the USA will continue to be members of the World Trade Organisation.


Of course, actions against others will not always go without reaction from the others. Some governments and societies may react through counter-actions that will greatly affect the United States.

There will be prolonged reaction to the Trump isolationism and apartness. As in the times of apartheid, Afrikaans for “apartness,” in South Africa, some persons will protest international events taking place in the US in sport, film and arts, education, research, and various fields. Some persons, due to conscientious positions, will decline attendance.

                                                                       Oscars and Farhadi

Already, I hear that in reaction to the Trump entry decree, a film director from Iran, Asghar Farhadi, and whose film was being considered for the 2017 Academy Awards, has said he will not travel to the Oscars this weekend.

And reports have followed that Khaled Khateeb, filmmaker of Syria, has been denied entry to attend the Oscar Awards his documentary is contesting in.


While I was wondering about the Olympics in view of the Trump entry ban, I learnt of some great concern in the USA basketball fraternity.

“I do have concern on the travel ban,” Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner, told the BBC. “We are a business based on global mobility,” he added. “25 per cent of our players were born outside the United States. We do a tremendous amount of business on a global basis…”

Adam Silver said the NBA stands for “…the best in the world all coming together to perform at the highest level.”

“So, government restrictions on travel, I am concerned about. It goes against the fundamental values, and the fundamental ingredients of what makes for a great NBA, and that is: the very best of the world coming here.”


Yes, like other Trump decrees and measures, the entry ban will have some predictable and unpredictable reversed effects that will be unfavourable both to the USA and others in the world. Some measures are working against the development of healthy human relations.

With government policy contributing to an enabling environment seized by them, some vigilantes will take it upon themselves to search for migrants and even to punish and harm them.

                                                                         All inter-dependent

It appeared to me that through wholesome banning of entry into the United States of members of some whole nations, Trump was banning the United States from hosting major international sports tournaments, and events from other fields.

Citizens of the United States are not special isolated species but are also members of one humanity and one life, all interdependent for various things and for the continuity of the whole.

And it is known that some advances were made in the United States because of migrants, from other parts of the world, that contributed greatly in various fields. In past times, persons of Africa were forcibly taken to the United States to toil as enslaved persons.

Life continues on in the United States because of the contribution of others from other places and across all fields.

Now, courts have put aside the entry ban but Trump is trying other ways to achieve the intention.

If Los Angeles does not get the 2024 Olympics, it might be that the Trump card might be a factor.

(**The title has been slightly expanded to include the Oscars focus that this writing already includes. All content is exactly the same. Thank You).


Based in Lusaka, Zambia, the author is involved in writing, social development work, and observation of peace issues.

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GCB, February 2017, LUSAKA.



Muhammad Ali and Us, a View from Africa, by Gabriel C Banda


Muhammad Ali and Us,
a View from Africa


Gabriel C Banda

IN Africa, from the 1960s, Muhammad Ali was widely respected and loved. People followed, and accepted, as the boxing champion changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali. In newspapers, magazines, and broadcast, they keenly followed Muhammad Ali.

The 1960s were a period when many societies of Africa became independent states. But the United States of America was still struggling with some apartheid after passing through the sin and evil of slave trade. Persons like Martin Luther King Jr and Malcom X and millions of other persons were fighting organised racism in America from many angles.

People of African descent were focussed on developments in Africa, the United States, the Americas, and many places of the world. The projection of Muhammad Ali onto the world stage light affected the feelings of persons of African descent.

Straight from achieving independence through various experiences, it was time of courage. Many persons of African descent were asserting themselves as equal human beings of humanity, no lesser than others in the human family. None is inherently inferior or superior by nature of their birth grouping.

Ali was one key symbol of asserting humanity. Being born in January 1942, he was still young, but very assertive. Many people in Africa observed and accepted as Muhammad Ali changed from the Cassius Clay name, mentioning the unfair slavery circumstances from which the name had come about. And Africans of various religions accepted his choice to turn Muslim.

Throughout, Muhammad Ali, as persons in Africa against colonial and apartheid racism, was a very vocal critic of the apartheid in the United States.

And then Muhammad Ali refused to fight armed war for the USA in Vietnam. He said it was unfair to travel 10,000 miles to go and kill Vietnam citizens. In Africa, and other places, many persons were critical of the US war in Vietnam. They supported Muhammad Ali.

They further applauded when he sacrificed the boxing crown for his principle against the war. Of course, at those times, there were also many other Americans, like singer Joan Baez, another person of greatness, who were against the war in Vietnam. People were with Muhammad Ali when some years later he got back to boxing. And won. His following and support increased. New generations began to join the following and support.

So, persons in Africa admired Muhammad Ali and his courage. Ali became a heroic icon. And, more, he was to affect persons across colour, religious, culture, language, politics, location, economic situation, and other factors. United by a common person, the fans were from various backgrounds.

Many bonded with him. They loved Muhammad Ali. He was a friend. Muhammad Ali united humanity from many angles. He was an active child of the family of the whole of humanity.

Boxing has been called organised violence and is many times violent, and even brutal. But in Muhammad Ali, many did not consider brutality. He did not come out as brutal. He was friendly. His situation was that of a skilled person entertaining the audience with physical tact and verbal talk. In boxing, here was a master. He was showing what one in any sport should achieve.

Muhammad Ali had grace. He was alert. And calm. He had endurance and stamina. Clearly, any one that wants to attack must first learn to defend. Muhammad Ali could take punches and attacks to the body. And much of that he was doing while he was in control of the situation.

Ali was creative and strategic in his game. A quick reader of things, he was a careful observer of the forces affecting him. He tested and sized up the other contestant. He was careful, rarely careless.

Surprisingly amongst most persons in the heavyweight divisions, Muhammad Ali was swift in response. He was efficient with his size and weight. And he enjoyed playing with words, psyching his opponents in the match and outside. He spoke in very direct manner. He had spontaneous rhyme and poetry for persons, matches, and situations. He enjoyed working on others through words.

Unlike now, in the 1960s and 1970s, in Africa, just after independence, there were few persons with television sets. But when there were boxing matches involving Muhammad Ali, people, young and older, would go to watch at neighbours and relatives places. Many times, because of the time difference involving Africa and places like the USA, the boxing matches were in late night and very early morning.

In the morning, people would go over to work and school. Many who watched Muhammad Ali ordinarily did not like boxing. It was not fighting they were watching. They were watching Muhammad Ali the person, Muhammad Ali the big soul. Boxing was merely the means that allowed them to watch a big soul like Muhammad Ali.

The boxing was not an end. Ali was an inspiration touching other persons also be lifted and soar in their own fields. A master’s work inspires others in other fields. In a master of any field, the mind and spirit of the master has control over the results the body does. A skilled boxer, soccer player, or other sportsperson, will learn to use many limbs.

In addition, Muhammad Ali contributed a lot in time, money, mentoring, and friendship to those in need. His name and resources became means of supporting others. He interacted with persons from various backgrounds and reached with them the point of Human to Human, and perhaps Soul to Soul, communion.

People knew Muhammad Ali’s family history and who was who. They followed events in his family life. They knew the trainer Angelo Dundee (1921 – 2012). They knew about his cheer person Bundini Brown (1928 – 1987). When Muhammad Ali retired from boxing contests in 1981, his following did not fade. New generations joined the veneration.

Muhammad Ali met people from various fields all over the world. They felt their journeys were linked to his.

The condition of Parkinson’s disease greatly affected him. But his soul was still active and interacting with people. When he passed away recently, June 3, 2016, aged 74, great memories and appreciation came into hundreds of millions of persons all over the world.

As Muhammad Ali’s funeral was being organised in Louisville, Kentucky, for burial on Friday, June 10, 2016, it was clear that this was one rare moment where such a huge number of persons, from various backgrounds, and from all over the world, are united around a person.

Muhammad Ali touched and lifted up many persons. Millions and many generations appreciated Ali. As when he was boxing, in his death, Muhammad Ali has united humanity.


Based in Lusaka, Zambia, the Author is involved in Writing and the Arts, Social Development, and observation of conflict and peace issues.

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GCB, June 2016, LUSAKA.