So if you are just back from your holiday on planet Mars or just woken up from a coma, I have news for you; Americans voted Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States of America. This sent shock waves across the world as no one thought the former reality show celebrity stood a chance. In an election that presented the two most unlikable presidential candidates in the history of American politics, the people made the most unprecedented decision. The billionaire from New York defied all odds to beat a household name that Secretary Clinton has and embarrassed the pollsters, the pundits, the media and what Trump called ‘The Establishment’ in an ad that served as his closing argument to the American people. So more human beings voted for Hillary Clinton as opposed to Donald Trump i.e. the popular votes but still lost because Trump who had more Electoral College votes. Thanks to the Founding Fathers -key word; Fathers- who saw it wise and prudent.
When the British people voted in a referendum to leave the EU everyone thought that they had lost their sanity and needed rehabilitation. We had clearly not yet met the Americans. So Brexit must have been the dessert preparing us for the main meal which is the ‘tragedy’ we are facing right now. Trump just like UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson (leaders of the leave campaign in the Brexit referendum) led a campaign that was anti-immigrant. On June 16, 2015 when Trump declared his candidacy he referred to Mexicans as ‘murderers and rapists’ and promised to build a wall on the border with Mexico and ensure that Mexico pays for it. He also promised to deport the over 11 million undocumented immigrants, ban Muslims from entering the US and end the uptake of Syrian refugees among other things. The leave campaigners had blamed the rise in unemployment rate and economic hardship on foreigners and that it was not in their best interest to remain in the EU which promoted free movement of people.
There seems to be an anti-immigrant wave in Europe and now America. Brexit has inspired that wave and now Trump’s win will cement the belief that there is a danger in immigration. The Syrian civil war and the war against ISIS have manufactured millions of refugees most of whom have been seeking refuge in Europe. Germany has taken up more than a million refugees, thanks to the pro-refugee policy by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. However this decision has led to protests by anti-immigrant movements led by Pegida-the Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West- who are pushing for deportation of immigrants irrespective of whether they are running away from repression and war. One of its leaders, Lutz Batchman previously described refugees as “junk,” “animals,” and “filth.” In Dresden the anti-immigration group Pegida attracts more and more people in their weekly protests. The right-wing Alternative fur Deutschland Party which is anti-immigrant is now one of the three most popular parties in Germany and performed impressively in the recent regional state elections.
The anti-immigrant movements have also spread into Hungaray. A 500km barrier-razor-wire fence- was built last year along Hungary’s border with Serbia and Croatia after hundred of thousands of migrants crossed during the refugee crisis. The Prime Minister, Viktor Orban who commissioned the barrier and has previously called migrants a ‘poison’ is known for his anti-immigrant views. Mr.Orban even endorsed Trump. In the Netherlands the Dutch far-right Party for Freedom is leading in opinion polls ahead of the March, 2017 elections. The party leader is currently facing a trial in Schipol on charges of inciting discrimination and hatred of Moroccans. There are over 4 million Moroccans living in the Netherlands.
French Presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Front is outpolling President Francois Hollande ahead of the springtime elections especially after several ISIS attacks in France in the recent past. Marine Le Pen was elated after Trump’s win saying, “They have rejected the status quo.” Austria goes to the elections on the 4th of December and guess who is likely to win? – The anti-immigration Freedom Party candidate Mr. Norbert Hofer whose campaign team sent a delegation to study the Trump Campaign.
In Africa we have had several anti-immigrant movements and events. Case in point is the xenophobic attacks against non-South Africans, in South Africa not so long ago. The attackers alleged that foreigners were taking ‘away their jobs’ and they were the sole reason why they are unemployed. Kenya is currently planning on the closure of the Daadab refugee camp -the largest in the world with a population of more than 500,000- and repatriating the refugees to Somalia. The government has repeatedly claimed that terrorists are using the camp as recruitment center.
Globalization has been sentenced to death and is now on death row waiting to be executed. We now wait to see whether the Mexican wall will be built brick by brick and if there will be a launch of the Deportation Airline. Meanwhile I promise to pick my relatives and friends in the US at the airport. As if I will have a choice!
BY FELIX OMBURA
This article appears in our weekly digital law magazine, The Deuteronomy Vol 8, Issue 2 of November 11th, 2016
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