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Trump confirmed as President – as terror strikes Europe

Donald Trump has passed another hurdle in his journey to become US President. The popular vote held across the federation on 8th November was not a direct election. The 120 million voters elected their own State’s delegates to an electoral college, and the election saw Trump win a majority of delegates. Since then, there have been a number of attempts to persuade delegates with a mandate to vote for Trump not to do so. However, the College has now met and confirmed that Trump will be president. There are reports that two delegates from Texas did not keep to their mandate to vote for Trump – but also that four delegates from New York broke their mandate to vote for Clinton.

Ironically, the result of the electoral college vote will be announced on 6th January –the last of the twelve days of Christmas. During Christmas, tradition has it, normal society has been turned upside down, with a Lord of Misrule appointed who assumes the power of the king or local Lord for the festive period and creates fun and mischief. In the US, it looks more like the Lord of Misrule is being appointed, rather than ending his period of causing mayhem.

The electoral college vote will be announced formally at a special session of Congress – after which, Trump will be good to go to the inauguration on 20th January.

berlinTrump marked the electoral college outcome by a provocative response to events in Berlin, where a truck drove into crowds attending a Christmas Fair, killing at least 12 people and injury a further 50. Investigations had just begun, but it appears that this is a terrorist attack, probably conducted by or on behalf of ISIS/Daesh.  Of course that attack, if it proves to be an attack rather than an accident, must be condemned. Mass killing of innocent people can never be justified – by Islam or any other religion or rule of law. However, Trump has gone too far. He has called for ISIS (whom he is already blaming for the attack) to be “eradicated from the face of the Earth”. This kind of over the top and provocative statement is likely to drive more recruits towards ISIS, not pull them away. It is certainly not going to help those trying to organise localised cease fires in Syria, evacuation of civilians, the delivery of aid and other humanitarian measures. Nor will it help the safety of refugees and Muslims in Germany – where the far right are hoping to do well in elections early next year.

turkeyNor will the assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey, which also took place on Monday evening, help the millions suffering in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world. The presidents of Russia and Turkey – Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan – have spoken since the killing. They agreed that the assassination was a provocation designed to halt the steps the two countries were taking to normalise relations which had become strained after the two nations backed different sides in the Syrian civil war.

The assassin, Mevlut Mert Aydintas, accused the dead ambassador of being implicated in the killings and suffering in Aleppo. Again, those people trapped in Aleppo need calm if humanitarian aid and means of evacuation are to reach them – without which their suffering, in the immediate term, will not stop. Even if the killing was done in the hope of obtaining media coverage of the suffering in Syria, it has not been successful, as press coverage of the assassination is relentlessly focussing on the relations between Russia and Turkey rather than the wider issues of liberation in the Middle East.


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