JUSTICE MALALA: Do not believe Donald Trump’s lies about Mexico, it is so much more than he says
One night in Tijuana — where thousands of desperate people are stranded — will disabuse you of the hateful hype about a migrant ‘invasion’
Like so many other leaders who are full of sound and fury that signifies nothing, the greatest and saddest problem with Donald Trump is that he makes the world forget what the US can be. Since his rise to power in 2016, Trump has turned the US into a joke on the global stage.
His actions at the Group of 20 (G20) summit in Argentina this weekend underline the boorishness of the man. He rants and raves. He insults and obfuscates. He manufactures facts and figures to suit his agenda. He tells untruths.
He supports the likes of Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi Arabian leader who has a direct connection to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, while coddling and encouraging dictators and anti-democrats from the Philippines to Brazil. In Trumpland, everything looks venal and corrupted.
The problem is that the world is not like that. The US is not like that. It is far more complex, far more interesting, far more colourful, than the stark binaries he forces so many of us who write about him and his country to take. Last weekend, migrants moving from Honduras through South America right up to Mexico arrived at the Mexico-US border in Tijuana. I am not sure that I should call them migrants, really. They are refugees. Those who come from Honduras, the second-poorest country in Central America, are fleeing from criminals who harass, torture and extort them into paying an arbitrary “war tax”. If you don’t pay you are killed. Local government officials are either complicit or absent in these cases. El Salvador is exactly the same. In Guatemala more than half of the country lives in poverty, and 23% lives in extreme poverty. People don’t want to leave their families. They have to leave them or die. They were stopped, teargassed, and are now stuck in Tijuana. The story of T...