While the Boys’ Club prez was busy enjoying and amplifying locker-room talk, as in “grabbing them by the putty” (or did I get that wrong?) and in general was being disdainful and disgusting primarily about women but also on issues relating to “other people” and “other faiths” his loyal followers who had been suppressing their very own but similar urges were breathlessly panting for the day when the sun would shine over the US capital with Mr. D. Trump’s visage emblazoned on it.
And so it came to pass. Specifically it came to pass on January 20, 2017—a day likely to live in infamy as the day democracy began its southward slide in the US of A, and reckless and whimsical autocratic tendencies started to spread its grimy tentacles across the nation as critters from the gutters emerged from the slime to ensconce themselves in the chambers of power. And the rest launched their so-long suppressed longings on an unsuspecting populace.
Hence we see—incredible as it may sound—the son of a legend who passed onto another phase not too long back being heinously detained and interrogated for hours at an airport by immigration agents who unabashedly and zealously exhibited the most common denominator among bigots: a combination of ignorance and hatred. These agents, apparently, are unaware of who Muhammad Ali Junior is.
No kidding. No jest. Just the bare facts here. Hence before venturing any further into this sordid episode let’s be clear: We’re not only talking about a famously named son but also of a US citizen who was born in these United States to American parents. Here’s what the orange-haired Prez of the US has unleashed, as reported in USA Today:
“Muhammad Ali Jr., 44, and his mother, Khalilah Camacho-Ali, the first wife of Muhammad Ali, were arriving at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Feb. 7 after returning from speaking at a Black History Month event in Montego Bay, Jamaica. They were pulled aside while going through customs because of their Arabic-sounding names, according to family friend and lawyer Chris Mancini.
“Immigration officials let Camacho-Ali go after she showed them a photo of herself with her ex-husband, but her son did not have such a photo and wasn’t as lucky. Mancini said officials held and questioned Ali Jr. for nearly two hours, repeatedly asking him, ‘Where did you get your name from?’ and ‘Are you Muslim?’ When Ali Jr. responded that yes, he is a Muslim, the officers kept questioning him about his religion and where he was born. Ali Jr. was born in Philadelphia in 1972 and holds a U.S. passport.”
As readers can easily decipher the agents were only having fun—the metaphorical equivalent of “putty grabbing” very possibly—the kind of fun they hadn’t had for many decades and couldn’t have had if a new president with an irrepressible penchant for divisiveness but with barely any other knowledge weren’t shooed into the highest office in the land. Praise be the lord. Hallelujah! Et cetera.
Certainly, given the pernicious environment, numerous incidents of similar hues are occurring in many different places, but more significantly, they aren’t taking place only in the US because, after all, D. Trump has been successful in encouraging the subnormal propensities of deviants across the world. Merely a couple days back in a town in Kansas another weirdo inspired by the zeit geist cocked his gun and shot three people, wounding two of them but murdering one simply because they looked like the “other”—a vast group of humans who’ve failed the extreme vetting as articulated by their Prez.
Simultaneously and millions of miles on the other (and nether) side of the globe the Aussie prime minister, seemingly emboldened by events unfolding in the US and to a lesser extent in Europe, and after having received a good pasting from the US prez, decided to display the latent racism that resides in some segments of that society but especially in the policies of the Canberra administration as has been highlighted in its inhuman and ruthless attitude toward refugees and migrants, despite international knowledge of how creeps, crooks and criminals hounded the native people and occupied that land.
In its latest exposition Mr. M. Turnbull suddenly felt compelled to ride against the wind and prop up the sociopathic Tel Aviv prime minister Mr. B. Netanyahu and support his and his clique’s apartheid and vicious actions in spite of the entire international community opposing these repeatedly and more recently in a resolution adopted at the United Nations. But then that oversused cliché says it all: Birds of the same feather flock together, even if they appear like cartoons to everyone else. Hence herewith one example of what goes down in Netanyahu’s territory, reminiscent of the latest approach of US border agents, as per peace activist Ariel Gold:
“The offense I had committed was trying to enter the Western Wall area in possession of materials supporting Palestinian rights. After my name and other details, the Israeli officer began to go through each item I had with me. ‘Why do you want to Open Shuhada Street?,’ she screamed at me. ‘Why do you want to Free Gaza?’ ‘Why do you say no wall, no ban?’ ‘Why do you have a Palestinian flag?’ she screamed.
“She yelled at me that who my President appoints as ambassador to Israel is not my business. I had been trying to not talk politics with her, as the lawyer advised (I’d called an Israeli lawyer I had the contact for), but at this point I told her that actually as a US citizen, US government appointments are my business as they must be confirmed by Senators. I told her over and over that the protest in Tel Aviv had been totally legal, that I had not tried to hide my signs, and that I simply wanted to pay my respects to my grandmother…. My grandmother passed away in June 2016 at the age of 96.”
The signs all across the world are appallingly perturbing. Therefore before signing off allow me to share a bizarre incident that could’ve occurred only given the none-too-happy evolving conditions that have incited the worst of human tendencies to manifest themselves. The scene is an international airport way down in Sydney, and the dramatis personae include a couple of US citizens of brown complexion and an Aussie (white complexion) female working as a check-in agent for Thai Airways (about whose fall into shoddiness may be discussed another day).
For reasons not yet clear the check-in agent insisted that she just had to see, in tangible form, onward booking from Bangladesh if the couple wanted to fly from Sydney to Dhaka. At the obvious and natural surprise of the intending travelers she asserted, Nazi-like, that she was merely following instructions. She continued to fret over this even after her supervisor had informed her that she could let the couple go since they had the “no visa required” stamped in their passports.
Having failed in all her zealous attempts to stop the couple from getting their boarding passes, she suddenly ceased functioning on her primary work and instead scuttled off to another agent, in an apparent last-ditch attempt, to consult further on how to stop this pair from flying to Dhaka via Bangkok. After a lapse of more than half an hour and ultimately realizing it was surely looking like a futile effort on her part did she reluctantly issue the necessary passes to the bemused couple.
It’s therefore no wonder—given that this type of ignoramuses reside in his country, though it must be underscored that these exceptions exist mainly to prove the point that a majority of the people aren’t of the same ilk—Australia’s PM should not merely feel oh-so-comfortable in the company of a murderous megalomaniac like B. Netanyahu but also extend his head in support of the racist and outrageously homicidal actions of the Tel Aviv regime when the rest of the world finds the Israeli administration a manifest abomination.
“The times they are a-changin’”—sang Nobel laureate Bob Dylan eons ago, and they sure are. Evidently these are demanding times, too, for sane and reasonable people in every single space on Earth. Consequently it’s appropriate to close with these, most essential, words now: “There are two kinds of pride, both good and bad. ‘Good pride’ represents our dignity and self-respect. ‘Bad pride’ is the deadly sin of superiority that reeks of conceit and arrogance.”― John C. Maxwell, author.
The writer has been a media professional, in print and online newspapers as editor and commentator, and in public affairs, for over forty-five years.