News from Trumpland is out of date before it is written. Reporters struggle to keep up with events, which slip off and are impossible to digest. One minute it is Betsy DeVos and some idiocy at the Department of Education, but before you can focus on that - it is off to the races with former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and his phone calls with the Russian ambassador.
And then there are the Trump press conferences. Thursday's brava performance by Trump will take a great deal to surpass. His attack on CNN's Jim Acosta was something to behold. Trump's tirade ends with a statement that could have been written for the part of an Autocrat by Brecht - 'I would be your biggest fan in the world if you treated me right'. (It would also work as the chorus for a show called Trump! by Andrew Lloyd Webber; maybe I should write the book. It would be fabulous. I mean it. It will be fabulous, and it will.....).
In this week's Frontline there is a complete package on the Trump phenomenon (including an excellent essay by Aijaz Ahmad). I have the explainer piece, which lays out the Trump White House and its turmoil. It opens, 'Time is of no consequence in America these days' and ends on a note about the protestors, who are to swatted by Trump, 'whether by executive order or on Twitter'.
There is a section on Steve Bannon's hatred of foreign technocrats. Here is what I write:
- “These are not Jeffersonian democrats,” he complained. “These are not people with thousands of years of democracy in their DNA coming in here.” Resentment and revenge are the contours of Bannon’s viewpoint. It is fitting that he used the term DNA in his statement. Skin is the limit of ideas such as democracy. America made an error, Bannon suggests, in allowing darker skins to participate in its democratic experiment.
You can read it here. Before I get deported, I hope to be abducted.
A year and a half ago, a small boy's dead boy washed up on the shores of Bodrum, Turkey. A photographer took the picture and the image became an emblem of the terrible Syrian war and the refugee crisis that it has produced. The boy's name was Alan Kurdi.
Last week I spoke with Tima Kurdi, Alan Kurdi's aunt. Tima had an impassioned story to tell about her family and the war in Syria. I urge you to read her story and to share it with others.
I had Filippo Grandi's voice in my ear, telling me not to forget to mention the UNHCR's request for funds and the failure of the international community to finance its essential work. I also mention an important study done by Diane Bashur on the ratio between what the West has made in arms sales for the Syrian war and what it has spent for the refugees.
The picture above is of a mural in Duhok, Iraq.
You can read my story here. Please do share Tima Kurdi's plea from the heart.
Meanwhile, from LeftWord Books, comes our letter on our work. This is in lieu of a catalogue. Sudhanva and I try our best to let you know what we have published and what we are getting ready to release. Please read our letter here.
The book that is with the printers is pictured above. It is a book that I have edited - a slim volume, one of our books to be read in an afternoon. I really hope you find it challenging and entertaining.