What happens in one country can have dire consequences in many others — we have a responsibility to speak up and work together.
This week, after I expressed my outrage at one of Trump’s extremely disturbing tweets (he suggested to marry legislation on background checks and immigration reform), people with diverging views sent me the following messages:
“You’re not from here, you don’t get to voice your opinion!” “Why do you even care?” “You don’t know anything about the topic so go inform yourself, talk about your own country’s abuses.”
Those are the answers I regularly receive when talking about any issue that is not solely French. Such responses do not only demonstrate a total lack of any valid argument, thus defeating their very point, but also something more worrying. Indeed, the first thing that comes to those individuals’ minds is that their country is somehow isolated from the rest of the world, not connected to it, that they should have a special derogation clause by which only them can comment on that news. Although those concerned tend to be nationalists, this still leaves me feeling very uneasy and worried about our future.
While I was reflecting on how to best answer, which I generally do by not answering at all, it struck me: Trump’s trolls made the case for transnationalism stronger!
“The concept of transnationalism refers to multiple ties and interactions linking people and institutions across the borders of nation-states.” It’s basically the idea that we are all connected and impact others’ lives; that we can go beyond the concept of nation-state as one world to work together on major issues.
But how is this linked to Trump’s internet supporters? Well their wrong assumptions are exactly what shows the need to move towards a world in which governments cooperate increasingly, individuals have more of a common consciousness and fight together the same battles.
In this case, Trump’s followers assumed that I didn’t know anything about the topic as ‘I’m not American’. Yet, we live in a hyper-connected world where the internet, social media and global news agencies enable us not only to get informed about any specific topic at any given time, but also ensure that we are confronted with what happens in the world on a daily basis.
It was also suggested to me that I shouldn’t care nor engage as I wasn’t from their country. Most issues and challenges happening in one country exist in another, with citizens facing the same hurdles, feeling the same way! Think about it, Trump’s hateful narrative isn’t unique, it is happening all over the world every single day. In Europe, nationalist and extremist politicians try every day to find scapegoats (in general migrants) for unrelated domestic issues in the hope of winning votes.
The truth is also that what happens in one country can have dire consequences in many others. To go back to the example of Trump’s racist and xenophobic rhetoric: his words have an impact on the US’s relationship with Mexico, and on the domestic policies of many countries south of its border. They have huge repercussions on the lives of Americans, of migrants, of refugees and on the world as a whole.
We should thus care about what happens outside of our own countries, and not only because humanity goes beyond boarders, but because it affects us all.
We, as citizens of the world, have a responsibility to speak truth to power, to stand up and ensure that we shape the narrative. What happens in one corner of the world ripples: we do not live in isolation.
Finally and more practically, we cannot solve today’s most important issues on our own as individual nation states. Consider the topics of climate change or fiscal injustice: countries alone cannot have a substantial impact, even regions will not change much if not all are onboard. This is also the case for diplomatic crisis: when two nuclear powers like India and Pakistan are in crisis mode because a government unilaterally changed the constitution, we are all concerned. Global challenges require common responses. Only as one world can we adequately answer to the biggest questions of our time.
And the good news is that we can move towards a transnational world. Trump’s case enabled me to show that we have knowledge about what happens abroad, we are connected and face similar issues all over the world, and we are responsible for changing the tide.
I believe that working as one society is the only way forward to solve global challenges: for this we need to increase cooperation between governments, connect individuals across the globe and fight together the same battles. It’s now or never.