Dear President Trump,
Canada continues to serve as an immigrant laboratory for the world, highlighting diversity, pluralism and multiculturalism. We are fortunate to be living in a country that has always welcomed refugees, immigrants and those fleeing from war, poverty, dictatorship and famine.
“Why do we want all these people from shithole countries coming here?” you have been reported to have said in early 2018 while discussing immigration in a meeting in the Oval Office, allegedly referred to Haiti, El Salvador and countries in Africa, according to CNN and the Washington Post. “Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out.”
I am grateful that as a “shithole” immigrant, I chose Canada and not the U.S. for permanent residence. Mr. President, you continue planning to build walls, but Canada has been building bridges among “shithole” peoples and “shithole” nations for years.
Mr. President, I am a “shithole” immigrant in Canada and there are many of us “shitholes” here, residing in a friendly and welcoming country which has an open-door policy, unlike yours. Many of us “shithole” immigrants have contributed to the country’s growth and prosperity as employers, businessmen and professionals. Other “shithole” immigrants have played a meaningful role in the political affairs of the country.
I consider it my good fortune to have been born, as you said, in one of the so-called “shithole” countries in Africa, Tanzania.In your comments to legislators gathered in the Oval Office to discuss immigration, you laid bare your world vision, adding that there are wealthy white countries, such as Norway, which are welcome to send immigrants to the U.S. But you were emphatic in saying that there are “shithole countries” — Haiti and all the nations of Africa — whose people (overwhelmingly black and brown) are not welcome in the U.S.
As someone who is used to Twitter as your only means of communication, you may not know that we have “shithole” Canadians as mayors, ministers and governor general. You would be surprised to learn that the prominent “shithole”
Not Bad for an S-Hole, eh?
On a smaller, personal level, and without any modesty, yours truly from “shithole” Tanzania has been the only newspaper publisher of colour in Canada of two suburban mainstream English community newspapers near Edmonton for 25 years, creating employment in the area by employing 11 full-time people, several part-timers and boosting the local economy. An impressive contribution from a “shithole” immigrant, don’t you think?
One of your officials defended your “shithole” comment by saying that, “President Trump is fighting for permanent solutions that make our country stronger by welcoming those who can contribute to our society, grow our economy and assimilate into our great nation.”
Come on Mr. Trump, who are you kidding? “Shithole” immigrants in the U.S. have been contributing a great deal to your economy for years. Maybe instead of Tweeting all the time, you should take time to ask your officials to compile the number of “shithole” doctors, IT personnel, businessmen and other professionals without whom the U.S. would stop functioning.
If you try to read newspapers, listen to radio or watch news on television instead of always Tweeting, you would have known the contributions that these former “shithole” residents have been making to your nation.
As the Twitter-friendly president, you have denied your “shithole” comments. No one believes in this or other denials that you are so used to. We were not surprised when, as expected, you denied your “shithole” comments. This won’t be the last time that you have denied your comments. Do you think we “shitholes” are so stupid as to believe you and not the legislators who were present at the meeting?
Mr. President, the more I think and learn about you, the more similarities I see between you and former “shithole” Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. When I was living in Tanzania in 1972, President Amin expelled residents of Indian descent from Uganda leading to a mass exodus that forced hundreds of thousands to leave the only homes they had ever known. “Shithole” Amin had the same arrogant, biased, racist and outspoken style as you; both of you specialize in rhetoric, self-praising and confrontational approach, indulging in frequent controversies.
During your campaign, you trumpeted your wealth and personal attributes. As a self-glorification champion, at various times during the campaign, you have been reported to have said: “I have made billions,” or “I have made a tremendous amount of money,” and “I am really rich,” or “They love me,” and “God helped me by giving me a certain brain” or “I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.”
Now consider what “shithole” Amin said during his presidency. “People like me,” or “I am the one who has got all the money,” and “I am very popular,” or “I am very powerful,” and “I have a very good brain” or “I am the only black leader in Africa who is very tough and very strong in the world today.”
Amin expelled Asian citizens from “shithole” Uganda, triggering the greatest exodus in Africa, while you have been known to embark upon an immigration policy based on race and religion, imposing a ban on Muslim countries. In a climate rampant with Indophobia, “shithole” Amin claimed that the Asians were hoarding wealth and goods to the detriment of indigenous Ugandans and “sabotaging” the Ugandan economy.
Continuing Idi Amin-style rhetoric, you have branded American Latino immigrants as “criminals” and “rapists.” You have accused Mexico by saying “when Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. … They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
You will be pleased to learn that “shithole” Amin was like you, a great friend of Israel. “Shithole” Amin first aligned with Israel and later abandoned them in favour of Arab states, especially Libya, saying Israelis “are criminals and they don’t tell the truth.”
Strange as it may seem, even as someone from “shithole” Tanzania, I don’t feel offended by your “shithole” remarks. This is the type of presidential rhetoric we are accustomed to hearing from you. In case you haven’t noticed, the civilized world has become more tolerant, broad-minded, and find your continuous comments unbecoming and unfitting from the leader of the free world.
Mansoor Ladha is a Calgary-based journalist, travel writer/photographer and author of Memoirs of a Muhindi: Fleeing East Africa for the West and Portrait in Pluralism: Aga Khan’s Shia Ismaili Muslims. Mansoor has held senior editorial positions with newspapers in Canada, Kenya and Tanzania. For many years, he was the only newspaper owner of colour publishing mainstream newspapers in Morinville and Red Water in Alberta.