The US is economically, militarily and culturally the most powerful single country in the world and its hold on the rest of the globe is such that a ripple in the US can cause a tsunami halfway across the world--for good or bad.
Few of us will have failed to notice that in global terms, the last year has been one of the ugliest in recent memory. Many commentators have linked the election of Donald Trump as the US President to this explosive new rise in tensions around the world.
They contrast this to Barack Obama's election, when a mood of optimism and hope swept the globe. But Trump has set out to completely dismantle his predecessor's legacy; where Obama was a unifier, he is a divider; where Obama looked for peace, he has been stoking the fires of war; where Obama has shown compassion, he has shown cruelty; where Obama stood against oppression, he has embraced the despots.
With such a radical departure from accepted values of global leadership, including withdrawing from the climate change agreements and raising the political temperature in the Middle East by tearing up the carefully worked Iran nuclear deal, Trump has set the world on a path of conflagration.
There is a Swahili saying that the fire that burns your neighbour's house will not spare yours. Africa has already felt the stinging lash of Trump's tongue and with the supreme hawk, John Bolton as his security adviser, worse can be expected.
But if the temperature had been steadily rising over the year, we finally had flames in May. Trump's decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were moved from their homes at gunpoint and dumped in refugee camps in Gaza, triggered appalling scenes of unarmed protestors being shot by snipers.
The juxtaposition of images, showing Palestinians running for their lives--many carrying wounded or dead children--alongside scenes from the glossy ceremony in Jerusalem, celebrating the opening of the new US embassy, brought home, in no uncertain terms, the reality of the new world order. The rich and powerful, comfortable, on the one hand and the poor, oppressed and disenfranchised, struggling to live on the other.
The parallels with the Sharpeville Massacre in South Africa in 1960 were uncanny. Most Africans, and not just from South Africa, can easily empathise with the plight of the Palestinians, who in Gaza, according to UN rights...