Mixed feelings as Donald Trump takes over

Donald Trump will swear in as the 45th President of the United States of America today. His inaugural speech is being looked forward with great interest as it is expected to set the tone for the days to come.
Donald Trump will swear in as the 45th President of the United States of America today. His inaugural speech is being looked forward with great interest as it is expected to set the tone for the days to come.

Dubai - While Trump may not be a direct cause of racism and xenophobic violence, his influence on what homeland security does cannot be denied.



By Sherouk Zakaria

Published: Thu 19 Jan 2017, 7:00 PM

Last updated: Thu 19 Jan 2017, 9:57 PM

 At 8.30pm local time today, Donald Trump will be officially sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America. The event - for which organisers are expecting 900,00 people - will include Trump taking the oath of office in front of the Capitol Building and the inaugural address to the American people. This will be followed by an inaugural parade which will make its way down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House. Trump has said that his inaugural speech will aim to unite America following a particularly divisive electoral campaign.
Even as Trump's presidential inauguration happens today, worries and concerns continue to rise among Arabs and Muslims who have been a frequent target of his attacks.
Threatening to ban Muslims from entering the United States and expressing anti-Muslims sentiments have been reflected in the hate crimes against Muslim women, people of colour, and Arabs.
"I won't feel safe visiting the US," said UAE-based interior designer Haneen Mazen. "Before his inauguration and just after each of his hateful, loaded speeches against Muslims and foreigners, a lot of violent incidents have been reported against Muslims/black people, and against their homes, and mosques. I can only imagine what would happen once he gives his team the green light as president."
While Trump may not be a direct cause of racism and xenophobic violence, his influence on what homeland security does cannot be denied. Mohammed Anis, whose father has an American citizenship and is in ailing health, fears he will be banned from visiting his father at any given time.
"This is one thing I cannot think about," said Anis, noting that increased security and investigations have lately surrounded Muslims landing at US airports.
And as Trump's first press conference saw his announcement of turning down a $2 billion deal with Damac properties in Dubai, fear of other businesses going in vain arise.
Among them is Emirati music producer Ahmed Al Yafei who said he will be "forced" to limit his work with American artists. The founder of a record label in California said: "If things go the way they look, then I think they will eventually have to limit their work with artists and producers from the Middle East, which is bad for my business.
"Now having a president who promotes racism and xenophobia will not help and the stereotype will translate into all aspects of life."
Other UAE residents, however, had a more optimistic point of view. Emirati, Ahmed bin Al Shaikh, said it is too early to judge consequences of Trump's presidency.
"Presidential candidates say promising or outrageous things to gain popularity and win. But until he sets his foot in the office, we cannot say anything," said Al Shaikh.
UAE-based Egyptian Yomna Garada said she sees an unpredictable four-year course. "At least he was straight to the point with blunt statements so anything that happens at this point will not be surprising."
The inauguration
Donald Trump's inauguration will begin between 8.30pm and 9pm local time and will be telecast live by all major news outlets including CNN International and the BBC.
For those unable to get to a television, PBS NewsHour will live stream special coverage of the event on Twitter beginning at 8pm at inaguration.twitter.com and @NewsHour. The livestream will include Trump's swearing in, the inaugural address and parade, and Trump's arrival at the White House.
Nothing to fear from Trump, says political science specialist
Speaking to Khaleej Times, a UAE-based political science specialist, who refused to be named, said Trump will not fulfill majority of the promises he declared.
"We have to remember that Trump's current behaviour shows he still didn't get out of the election phase. Once he steps into the White House, things will change," he said.
The expert noted that despite Trump's endless ambitions to bring his own deals, the president-elect will still be controlled by the congress and the US constitution.
"Let's not forget the forces of globalisation. He might have an impact on certain US policies, but he will never be able to control globalisation forces." He added, "Trump is still speaking like a prominent businessman. We still didn't see him as a president."
He stressed that previous presidents served the national security that remains the same, but with different tactics that each president followed. Same case will apply to Trump who will be serving national security. "When Barack Obama spoke in Egypt in 2009, for example, he made his own promises to the Arab Muslim world, but did we see any of it happening? No, because there is a difference of what's being said and done."
Speaking of the Mexican wall Trump threatened to build, the political science specialist commented: "He might be able to build a physical wall, but will he be able to stop trade ties between Mexico and the US?"
Feeding off the American people's love for change, the expert noted that Trump served as the perfect example. He stated that Trump's presidency should not come as a surprise. "He isn't a politician, so he lacks the wit and style of a politician, but his simplicity and conversational style made him win majority of Americans."
He noted, "Given that American people love change, Clinton didn't present that change, but Trump spoke out the American person's fears of immigration, 9/11 and terrorism groups. He promised change."
Besides, 12 years of Democrat ruling down the link was going to be almost impossible of a notion for Americans to grasp. Different tactics, but same strategy.
sherouk@khaleejtimes.com


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