United Nations Photo / Flickr US President Waits to Address General...
United Nations Photo / Flickr

The African Union mission representing all 55 nations in Africa have released a letter demanding an apology from Donald Trump after his vile comment calling many African countries ‘shitholes.’ From the BBC:

It said the “remarks dishonour the celebrated American creed and respect for diversity and human dignity”.

It added: “While expressing our shock, dismay and outrage, the African Union strongly believes that there is a huge misunderstanding of the African continent and its people by the current Administration.

“There is a serious need for dialogue between the US Administration and the African countries.”

The pan-African grouping represents 55 member states throughout the continent. It succeeded the Organisation of African Unity – which originated in the decolonisation struggles of the early 1960s – in 2002.

At least one U.S. Ambassador in Africa was summoned to explain Trump’s comments:

  • Botswana summoned the US ambassador and asked the envoy “to clarify if Botswana is regarded as a ‘shithole’ country given that there are Botswana nationals residing in the US”

The nations in the African Union held an emergency meeting to discuss Trump’s comments.

“The African Union mission to the UN is extremely appalled at, and strongly condemns the outrageous, racist and xenophobic remarks attributed to the US president as widely reported by the media,” Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee, Ghana’s ambassador to the UN, said on Friday.

Donald Trump’s blatant racism and bigotry are having a real effect on how the United States is perceived around the world. There are more than 1.2 billion people living in Africa and it is an important front in the war on terror. His racism goes beyond words and has become policy. Those policies are already having negative consequences. From Foreign Policy in November 2017:

Making matters worse, the Trump administration has shown little respect for the expertise that resides at the departments of State and Defense, within the intelligence community, and within the academic and policy communities. Important African diplomatic posts remain unfilled, and domestic positions concerned with Africa have been filled only very slowly. For his meetings with African heads of state on the margins of the U.N. General Assembly, career State and Defense officials were not invited to be present.

And it isn’t only Donald Trump’s words that are harming Africans and Americans, it is his racist-based policies, including the travel ban:

The Trump administration’s freezing out of State, Defense, and intelligence community expertise predictably results in mistakes. The most costly to date was the inclusion of Chad — a major U.S. ally in the fight against terrorism — on Trump’s travel ban, which also targets travelers from seven other countries. Not long after the latest version of the ban was announced on Sept. 24, Chad shifted troops from Niger, where they had been involved in operations against Boko Haram, to its border with Libya. A reported upsurge in jihadi activity followed the troops’ departure. 

The head of the Africa Union mission, which is demanding the apology, is from Chad:

The travel ban blunder may yield additional negative consequences that are difficult to predict. The current chairman of the African Union Commission is Moussa Faki Mahamat, a Chadian. And to the extent that the travel ban is interpreted as a Muslim ban, it’s not just Chad that the administration risks alienating. Islam is the majority religion in some 22 African countries, 13 of which are in sub-Saharan Africa. In certain parts of Africa where the rivalry between Muslims and Christians is acute, some Christians, especially of the Pentecostal tradition, are welcoming and exaggerating what they see as the Trump administration’s anti-Islam policy. If African elites perceive Trump’s immigration and refugee policies as part of a larger “war on Islam,” then a general hostility to the United States is likely to grow.

Emphasis added. That was written months ago, long before Trump’s ‘shithole’ comments. Donald Trump should absolutely apologize. His words are dangerous. And the American people and the United States Congress should be moving immediately and expeditiously to remove him from office. He is grossly unfit for duty and every day he is in office, his racism and ignorance are putting our nation and many others at great risk. 

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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