Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The end of the world.

I had that uneasy post-Brexit feeling.

I woke before five, went to look at my phone.

It took me a while to take in the news.

TRUMP to win.

I went back to bed.

I didn't sleep.

I got up and turned on the TV.

TRUMP wins another state.

My son came down to breakfast, followed by my daughter

TRUMP has won.

They couldn't believe it.

They didn't have many words, they dropped their heads and ate breakfast.

I went to the university, the students were sitting, muttering in the gloom, lights unlit.

My colleague arrived.

She had not slept.

She had received a message from her young grandchild.


There is that feeling that we as adults have not done enough to protect our children from this.

We have let down the kids.

How did we let this happen?

What else can happen now?

Huddling in the dark.

Students huddled together preparing themselves for their class.

One or two stopped me to ask for a few words.

Some were speaking about war.

I couldn't find the words in English.

I spoke French.

I felt they needed reassurance.

I wasn't much of a reassurance.

They couldn't believe it.

TRUMP won.

I found two student blog posts in my RSS reader.

"The end of the world"  Mael had written.

There was a picture of TRUMP and then it was blank.

I flipped it into a Flipboard magazine and then saw there were some words.

I opened it.

There were no words.

I suppose sometimes no words are better than nothing.

I opened it up again on the PC.

I found a black page, with writing which shone out.

This morning, we are in mourning.

A world just collapsed, one that will succeed it gives hardly want to know we can still believe and yet it will live with, is to show the challenges he proposes, show uncompromising on our values and ways of thinking, continue to affirm our faith in the belief of a carrier humanism of hope and progress.

We do not have the choice.

Mael maybe thought that he couldn't write in English, he had never blogged before.


Mael's meaning shines through his unpolished English.

We don't have the choice.

"Slippery Slope."  Maxime had written.

I noted the word  'hangover.'

There was a strange feeling of the day after in the classroom.

An American election and the young in a terrible state in France!

I went back and read Maxime's post.

Far from being paralysed by the news, Maxime was thinking of the action to take.

If TRUMP won.

Le PEN can win.

"What is a big part of my hangover too is that I think about 2017 in France. If a racist man could be president of the USA why not in France ? The Front National party could be access to the Elysée. 
I can uderstand that people vote because a Fed up but why vote to the extreme. I believe that 1936 is a good exemple to say that's not the solution. The solution is in part of everybody. 

So my french friends and all people I know who live in a democratic country, I'm happy to see you hit by the news of D. Trump president, but don't stop here ! Engage you, participate of politics debates, vote!" 

A sneeze in Bamako and France gets cold.

A few hours later, I overheard a vigorous conversation going on between a group of students.

One of them, Abba, from Bamako, Mali, was busy educating his friends on global politics and colonialism.

"Where do you think the French Nuclear Industry gets its uranium from?" He asked

"There aren't many uranium mines in the Massif Central."

"'What do you think the French army is doing in Mali?"

"Have you heard of Areva?"

"Did you hear that they have found oil in Senegal?"

Time out to think.

The students were preparing 'gap year projects'.

It occurred to me that this might be a fruitless task for someone from Mali.

"No, it's ok he said, I have a diplomatic passport."

I was somewhat relieved...

He would indeed be able to get to New Zealand.

"I have always dreamt of going to New Zealand." he said.

We spoke of the injustice of "freedom of movement."

The other students were attentive, listening.

Whose stories count?

We spoke of how histories are weapons of the powerful.

"This is not the American Dream, this is the American Nightmare," I quipped.

"Oh yes that's a movie" one of the students chipped in.

"American Nightmare One, American Nightmare Two."

I fear that I shall sleep badly.

I blog to mark the day.

Fuck it.

I go and find Abba's card trick tutorial.

He'd never made a video before.

It took him hours.

If you listen carefully you can hear him, you can hear them speak.

We don't have the choice.


  1. Thank you for sharing your students' words at a time when words fail us.

  2. Thank you Tania.
    Please encourage them on their blogs. They need it.

  3. My 16 year old son came downstairs this morning and received the information in silence. "How did this happen?" he asked me. How, indeed. "It happened because Trump used the language of fear and voters voted," I answered, with a heavy heart, thinking: my country is not the country I thought it was just a day ago.

  4. Most of my friends seem to live in places safely removed from the profound cultural destruction that I see every day. (What do I know, maybe they don't) but I do know what I have seen in my "hills and hollars". I have seen the complete dismantling of an agri-'culture'. It is no accident that my state, Kentucky, voted overwhelmingly for Trump. It's so amusing-- no one asked me during this election what is going on where you live. I have volunteered my opinions on a regular basis on how rural areas have been swept away as if they were unimportant and irrelevant. I live in the belt buckle of the Bible Belt. I live in what is routinely described as DumbFuckIgnorantistan. Yet I love every Tom, Dick and Harry here. These folk who are 'ignorant-shamed' on a daily basis finally got to have their one vote say. The language of fear works when you are already deathly afraid. These people are still people. I live around them. I work with them. Most of the ones I taught in the schools have lit out for the cities because their was no hope here for them. All these ignorant, hillbilly rednecks are Americans as true and good as you and me. We have asked them to fight enough wars that's for sure. If we forget that the preamble to the US Constitution begins with a big fat all-inclusive "WE" then all of us little "i"s are done for.

    These are my peoples. Stop saying it's the end of the world. It ain't. And let me just counterargue this: it didn't happen because of anything Trump did. He can play a room but he is not really a very good Il Duce. It happened because all of the voices that live around me have been silenced or ignored or just plain too humiliated and self-loathing to speak out. And this has happened over a couple of generations. These are the only voices I know of. Other places have other stories. Just listen to Michael Moore in "Trumpland" talk about urban voices who have been silenced. Powerless people seize whatever poor tools they can find. They are driven to it. They want to be part of the whole if we will let them do it in a constructive way: free tuition, broadband access, healthcare, real learning and training (not the utter bullshit we call K-12 in my part of the world). All people want is meaningful and useful lives and families and futures. And that is what their vote for Trump was mostly about. Give me some respect. Continue to dismiss that and we might really have a tidy apocalypse. Have a nice day.

  5. Thanks Terry for your voice here. Thank you for being witness for those whose world has already been ended by years of neglect. By choosing the title, I was echoing the one chosen by Mark. We need to peep under the headlines, listen and understand. TRUMP is in part riding on the rural apocalypse you describe. Similar stories are unraveling in France. The story viewed from a French context is both scary and largely incomprehensible. Once elected the question will be whether those voices will be respected and stuff done.

    I fear not.

    What we do need to do is to listen, to respect and to listen. It is very difficult to go beyond expressions of fear and anger.

    Have a nice day too.

    1. The TITLE chosen by Maël - bloody auto-correct.

    2. I understand. I have followed the story of agriculural, hell, of community apocalypse in places like Portugal and Spain. You can buy entire villages some places because no one lives there any more. I am not saying things won't get worse here. Perhaps apocalyptic. I will keep you apprised here. I will tell you this from an experience yesterday. I had taken a load of wool to a nearby town. Had breakfast and was listening to people happily discussing Trump's victory. Giddily. Here is one conversation

      "Can you tell me what a 'basket of deplorables' is?"
      "Hon, that's you and me"
      "What do you mean?"
      "That's what Clinton called all of us Trump supporters."
      "Well, that is hateful if you ask me."
      "That's alright, hon, she got hers."
      "Did you vote?"
      "Yeah, I voted. Me and all my deplorable friends."

      A basket of deplorables. Yep. That's what we are here in Dumbfuckistan. These sweet stupid country bumpkins were taught what deplorable meant and when they found out what it meant, they voted.

    3. Hiya Terry

      It's very similar to the response here to the Brexit voters (and I was guilty of it myself at the beginning). Folk ain't stupid, on the whole, they are faced with a world fucked up by capitalism and few real options.

  6. Thank you sir to share your opinion and ours about world problems, I think people need to know what happen really and ask himself good questions. Because we have not the true informations about what happen around the world the only reason of that is all the media are corrupted by the governments.
    I don't know if you already listen to talk about Thomas Sankara ? he was the president of Burkina-Faso (country located in west africa) I'm just going to share with an documentary about him and you will make your own opinion about the neo-colonization

    sorry the documentary is on french but it's subtitle in english!

  7. Thank you Abba for sharing your voice here. It is so important that we take time to listen, and to be curious enough to question our own "certainties". I am continuously unlearning and then learning when working with people from so many different contexts.

    Thank you very much for the documentary and for your part in my continuing education.