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US president Donald Trump turned his menacing gaze from Turkey onto South Africa, tweeting that land from white farmers were being seized, and that he asked his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to investigate this claim.

The USA declared an “economic war” on Turkey after the failed coup d’etat 2 years ago, causing its currency to devalue over 40% this year alone. Trump has also banned immigrants from

“shithole countries” in Africa and the Caribbean, and vilified Mexicans and Muslims, blocking citizens from seven Muslim countries from visiting the USA.

It seems like John Wayne, the actor idolised for his role as the all-American gung-ho cowboy in Hollywood western and war movies has been resurrected as a dangerous, racist and reckless Donald Trump.

White Americans revered films like The Searchers, The Cowboys, The Shootist, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance as the masterpieces where Wayne’s characters were rough-and-tumble as well as racist.

In perhaps his best- remembered film, The Searchers, he nearly kills the young niece he has spent a decade looking for because she has been tainted by living with Native Americans thus making her less human.

His movies screen constantly, inspiring military conscripts and young film directors championing white people pitted against the demonised Native Americans as terrifying, emotionless  villains who just needed to be shot.

The movie exhibits old Hollywood racism that persists to the day. John Wayne refers to his part-Cherokee nephew as “blankethead,” making a distinction between Comanches and humans, and slaughters a herd of buffalo so his Native American enemies will starve.

Is this not redolent of Trump’s economic wars? John Wayne’s 1971 interview in the soft-porn magazine Playboy, reflects his racist views on the genocide of the indigenous American “Indians”.

He said “I don’t feel we did wrong in taking this great country away from them, if that’s what you’re asking. Our so-called stealing of this country from them was just a matter of survival. There were great numbers of people who needed new land, and the Indians were selfishly trying to keep it for themselves.”

The “Indian Removal Act,” which gave way to the “Trail of Tears,” in which the tribes had to endure forced relocations during which thousands suffered from exposure, disease, and starvation. Thousands died as a direct result. Native Americans weren’t innocent victims, but necessary collateral damage in the name of manifest destiny.

Wayne remains a popular White supremacist, conservative icon. Aissa Wayne, the actor’s daughter, endorsed Republican front-runner Donald Trump for president at the John Wayne Birthplace Museum in Iowa. She said, “If John Wayne were around, he’d be standing right here instead of me.”

“He stood for those big American values that we know and we love,” said Assemblyman Travis Allen, a Republican from Huntington Beach.

Wayne “believed in white supremacy” and “didn’t understand why people insist that blacks” have been denied their right to an education. “I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don’t believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people. We can’t all of a sudden get down on our knees and turn everything over to the leadership of the blacks”.

The international sheriff Donald Trump refused to condemn the white supremacists who are campaigning for him. Trump sidestepped many opportunities to renounce white nationalist and former Klu Klux Klan leader David Duke, who said that voting for any candidate other than Trump is “really treason to your heritage.”

Trump also condoned the beating of a Black Lives Matter protester. At a campaign rally in Alabama, Trump supporters physically attacked an African-American protester after the man began chanting “Black lives matter.” A video of the incident shows the assailants kicking the man after he has already fallen to the ground. The following day, Trump implied that the attackers were justified. “Maybe [the protester] should have been roughed up,” he mused. “It was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.”

Trump disparaged a deceased Muslim U.S Army Officers parents,  Khizr Khan and his wife, a Muslim U.S. Army officer who died while serving in the Iraq War. He also claimed a judge was biased because “He’s a Mexican- We’re building a wall between here and Mexico. The answer is, he is giving us very unfair rulings — rulings that people can’t even believe.” Trump called Mexican immigrants “criminals” and “rapists”.

President Nelson Mandela, in an interview with the Guardian (April 5, 2000), accused the American government of encouraging international chaos by ignoring other nations and playing “policeman of the world”.

This  began with the America’s slaughter of the “Red Indians” at Wounded Knee and continued with invasions and massacres of indigenous people all over the world for the past 200 years. Their forces have intervened around the globe more than 200 times, dropping bombs on more than 23 nations, assisted in 20 different coups, and is responsible for half a dozen assassinations of political heads of state.

Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib prison, torture, renditions, assassinations, arming of dictators, slavery, exploitation, killing of civilians by drones and so on make a mockery of their claims to be the champions of peace, security and democracy in the world.

The danger lies in the delusion of Donald Trump as an international sheriff can destabilise SA, as in Turkey, given its economic and political vulnerability. This is no Hollywood movie.


Dr Firoz Osman

Executive member of Media Review Network

An advocacy group based in Gauteng

He is the co-author of Why Israel? Anatomy of Zionist Apartheid ASA perspective.

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