Trumptrotting (Part Two)
‘Regular’ Folks in 13 Countries Evaluate Trump Presidency
In February 2017, The Reporters Inc.’s staff, Board of Directors, and Advisory Committee Members reached out to friends and associates living in different countries around the world, asking for their reactions, hopes and concerns about Donald Trump’s ascendency to President of the United States in the 2016 election, held four months earlier.
We compiled the responses of 14 “everyday” people from 13 different countries on four continents and published them in an article we called “Trumptrotting: Voices around the Globe Reflect on the Trump Presidency.”
19 months later, we’ve decided to reach out again. Below you’ll see the thoughts of 16 people (including five of the same folks from the first article) from 13 different countries on six continents.
Though by no means a scientific sampling, this wide array of thoughts and opinions provides a fascinating glimpse into the minds and hearts of people across the planet who have borne witness to the actions and effects of Trump and his administration. These observers discuss how his presidency has changed the U.S., its international impact, and how it’s affecting their own lives. (Due to safety or privacy concerns, some have asked us not to reveal their full identities.)
From Sydney, Australia: Pam Stevens, 68 years-old, retired expatriate
I’m an American and have been living in Sydney for the past three and a half years. The political atmosphere here has changed noticeably in that time. When I first arrived, Aussies would hear my American accent and start random conversations with me. About two years ago, those conversations would almost always turn to questions about my perspective on the then-upcoming 2016 presidential election.
Today, Donald Trump’s “promises,” better known as lies, have brought those interesting dialogues to a halt. First of all, immediately upon entering the White House, Trump blatantly began disparaging Australian leadership without any qualms. His actions were shameful and embarrassing. Has it affected Australians? Not directly, but America is now a joke, a laughingstock here (though that’s surely a global belief now, too). Nowadays, it’s inhibiting to open any real dialogue around current events. The natives are polite when it comes to talking about pretty much anthing – except politcs.
Trump’s political agenda? That’s not a real thing. The man living in the White House simply thinks he is above the law, who believes he has unlimited powers, and in his sociopathic state of mind still wants to be adored even as he single-handedly destroys people’s lives and ruins America’s economy with deficit-enlarging tax cuts for the rich — all just to line his own pockets. Trump views all this as his right, that he is entitled to do as he pleases. And as long as the red Congress steps aside from its duties, as long as they, as a collective group, ignore their constituents’ concerns, they are complicit in their support of Trump’s unethical, immoral and criminal behaviour.
In the long view of history, Trump will most likely be compared to other dictators and traitors who willfully set out to take power away from the people, to bully other countries and their leaders. Here in Australia, his lies fool absolutely no one.
From Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Robert Ritzenthaler, international development worker and former journalist
In May 2004, the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS dispatched me to Bujumbura, Burundi to document the Burundi National Defense Force’s HIV prevention program. One morning, as I was setting up my video equipment, I glanced at a local newspaper on the desk of a Burundian general.
Above the fold was a photo of an Iraqi man in Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison. He was hooded, standing on a box like a scarecrow, electrodes hooked to his extremities by his U.S. military captors.
The Burundian general strolled into his office and saw me eyeing his newspaper. As a U.S. citizen I felt ashamed, horrified. “It’s terrible, isn’t it?” I said self-consciously, attaching a lavalier microphone to the general’s lapel to record our interview.
The general, fierce-looking with a shaved head, looked at me sideways and smirked. “Why is it terrible?” he asked.
The enormity of the photo, and its ripple effect far beyond Baghdad or the United States, struck me. I realized that, for good or ill, people across the world monitor U.S. behavior very closely, taking cues. On the global stage, the United States has the power to model good behavior, or to enable horrific behavior.
I imagined the Burundian general would find it a bit easier to mistreat prisoners in his own country upon seeing U.S. mistreatment of prisoners in Iraq. (more…)
The Reporters Inc.'s New Documentary Accepted Into Chicago, Atlanta & Palm Springs Film Festivals
The Reporters Inc. is pleased to announce that our new documentary, The Queens, has been officially selected for screenings in three upcoming film festivals!
*Cinema Diverse: The 11th Annual Palm Springs LGBTQ Film Festival (September 20-23)
The Queens will be screened Thursday September 21st at 12:45pm at the Camelot Theater/2300 East Baristo Road. All the festival details can be found at http://cinemadiverse.org
*Reeling: The 36th Annual Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival (September 20-30)
The Queens has been selected as the festival’s “Documentary Centerpiece!” The film will be in competition for both jury and audience awards. The Queens will be screened at 9pm on Monday September 24th at Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema/2828 North Clark Street. All festival details can be found at http://reelingfilmfestival.org/2018/