By Nayeem Hossain;
It’s hard to imagine Donald Trump is elected as our president almost for a week. The election result might have come to us as a shock, but deep down inside how surprised are we? The whole world is going through a transition. Extreme views are in the rise everywhere. One person’s extreme point is countered by opposite extreme. The polarization we see here started probably a decade ago with Obama emerging as a possible leader. Honestly, I have seen and experienced racist remarks from Democrat voters about him. They’d rather pick a woman than a black man. 2007-08 crisis changed the mood. People who are raising their pitchforks now for Trump, raised their hand for Obama to change the status quo. The status quo of few making decision for few benefit in the name of all.
I think that’s where Washington, London, and now Paris is missing the point. The rise of racism against globalization in the West, which championed globalization of everything for last seven decades never probably thought they won’t be able to contain it in their own backyard. They wanted access in every part of the world, not by force, by tact. They got it. In exchange they also got millions coming to their shores. So the face of those Western societies started to change. India-England game at Lord’s, sounds like Eden Garden.
The face of French football icons are reading Fateha before kick-off, and the last point of hope and prosperity in Iowa is a man born in Hawai’i of a Kenyan father. On the other hand, maps are re-drawn in every other part of the world. Concept of country is a very new idea to many in Middle East. The tribal brute forces where replaced by dictators and the only two things they have successfully sold overseas are, oil and religion. Sweet oil, not a lot of refining needed; and Wahabism, not much explanation needed to follow, to be very precise about the exports. Both side co-existed as long as the West and Wahabis were served by a few for the interest of few, in the name of all. And then the Russian invaded Afghanistan. You want to know what happened from there on, go and read some books.
Fast forward to first Gulf war and to post 9/11 world and you find a curious naive US household who “don’t know the difference between Iraq and Iran” according to their country singers (Alan Jackson). Because they never needed to. The few they trusted to keep those thoughts out of their living room kept the differences out pretty successfully till then. So how do you expect them to react, when the few in media they trusted to give the information to all, also gave them a version that served the few. The mass became more curious, information became opinions and then social media happened.
Now everyone had an opinion, a news or information that’ll support their opinion and everyone found someone somewhere to validate their opinion. In the Muslim world, leadership forgot almost a billion Muslim around the world are actually under the age of 30. They are born with the concept of nation state, expects their ‘countries’ to provide for them and “in the name of..” is not an acceptable reason to sacrifice what they deserve anymore. On the other hand, it’s hard for them to fathom the blame lebals they are constantly getting from the West for a world of pre 9/11 up to 9/11. On the other hand, White America and western societies are not white anymore. The middle class of working class is next to none existent. Now, you have to understand, middle class around the world include only office going mid-level officers, teachers etc.
In the West, till the 80’s, middle class included all of your bankers, teachers, and newsmen. But also included your postman, factory workers, and mill workers. Look at the states that used to represent these blue collar middle class. Look at those states now. I’ll give you one example, Detroit used to be the crown jewel of US working class prosperity. Now the city ruins are used by Hollywood for locations in Eastern Europe. The ever expanding media juggernaut and social media showed them their jobs gave raise to middle classes, blue collar middle classes, all around the world.
Also the norm of White MEN talk and others listen started to change. Dr. King started and Obama kind of took it to the next level. And all those white men uneasiness had enough. Remember, this is the society, which fought and died on European soil to stop fascism around the world. The same society fought against equality on the home turf at the same time. If the correlations don’t add up, they are not supposed to. Brown VS Board of Education showed that division more to me then rise and fall of Jim Crow laws. For a lot of people, their way of life, meaning blue collar middle class white men making most of the decisions for everyone else, was disappearing.
The new world order and in this changed world they needed someone to be angry at. Let it be Communists, liberals, Chinese, Muslims, black man with a Muslim parent or now a woman!
President is a father figure to many in USA. It’s just too much change to have a black father for 8 years and replace the blackness with a mother. The Second World War hard working generation is gone. They are replaced by a decaying generation that yelled in their living rooms and shaped the next generation’s hatred. The Facebook or Tweet posts that you are seeing. Hitler hailing chants in schools or gratifies you are seeing is because of that. Now don’t forget about the changed face of West too. Browns and blacks look a little too familiar, far eastern Asians are also too dominant. They didn’t seat back, grabbed every opportunities and fighting for more space in a national landscape.
Remember Black Panthers existed before “Black Lives Matter” movement. The Weather Underground movement also existed before “Occupy Wall Street” movement. The White Men America could contain the previous generation. The new ones are just too big to contain. Europe was supposed to be the god gifted kingdoms. Their capitals are not supposed to have multi colored leadership. Take one country of the west, any country, and use that as case study to understand the rise of right again and the answer will be pretty much the same.
In came a new sort of radicals, who are not willing to take the blame for pre 9/11 to 9/11 world. Whom saw the blames and attacks unjust. Some blamed their own countries, some the west, but all the status quo.
When we wonder about the rise of the internet recruitment of ISIS, it’s because we never realized what the problem was at the first place. Also came a new generation of white youth, who heard about past superiority but losing their relevance. We saw the symptoms for a long time. Iran’s green revolution. Rise of the right in France of all places. None bothered to ask what’s next. And now we have Brexit-a clear economic class war in England. Marine La Pen in France. Trump in USA and we wonder how this happened.
My point is, don’t under estimate the anger of this white middle class. The kids chanting “not my president” in Oregon or New York has many white faces too. But don’t forget the vast country in between the coasts. Try to understand what made them bitter for so long and you’ll understand the protest vote they casted for Trump.
The narrative that actually made me blabber all these is what I have seen from Wednesday onwards. I voted for Trump, so I have a jail free card on racism; and you voted for Trump, your action gave validation to bigots and racism are equally dangerous narratives. That will solidify the anger, give rise to something more potent.
On the other hand, this will make someone somewhere feeling more hurt, more outcast and look for the solutions in the internet in distant lands just a bit too eagerly. So to all my friends and who ever might waste ten minutes of your busy lives. Remember, your opinions matter. Someone, somewhere, somehow is looking for validation of their anger, or finding refugee of their frustration through you. If you are Muslim, women, black, brown, gay; this is not the end of the world.
Don’t distant yourself by yelling, screaming and blaming others for everything that’s happening around you. If you are a bitter young man anywhere in the West- don’t blame the world either. It’s time to embrace the truth, you are just a part of the world, not the world.
Finally, let logic prevail, we need this now, more than ever. Have a great weekend.