GLOBALLY, they are many who warm up to leaders who vow to guard their flock against ‘outside influences’, while for others it is getting increasingly difficult to fight back against the xenophobic values being promoted by these ultra-conservative politicians. Unfortunately, right-wing tendencies are on the rise across the world, not least in Donald Trump’s America where the president’s aversion to a collective response to global challenges is well-known. Lately, he has ducked a supposed missile from the Time magazine which has dared to mock the president of the United States by declaring a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist named Greta Thunberg as its Person of the Year. Criticising the magazine’s choice, Mr Trump tweeted, “So ridiculous. Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill”, leading to an indirect though humorous riposte from Greta who simply changed her Twitter bio to accommodate Mr Trump’s concerns. The US president has previously attacked the young activist as well — when she spoke in anger at the UN, lambasting the international community for not doing enough to address the effects of climate change.
It was inevitable that President Trump would pour cold water on the celebrations in the award winner’s camp, leaving many journalists to write caustic editorial notes — for perhaps that is the only resistance they can put up against polluters who are responsible for changing climate patterns across the globe. There are also many who, with some justification, oppose the idea of students taking a break from their education — as Greta Thunberg is doing — in order to raise awareness about a problem that ought to be handled jointly by all governments. After all, that is the more sensible strategy for saving the planet. Had Mr Trump been guided by saner counsel, he could perhaps have seen the larger picture of the dangers the world faces as temperatures grow hotter and the snows melt. Sadly, he chose the wrong battle.
Published in Dawn, December 14th, 2019