Photo: Press Photograph Ku Klux Klan Parade 1926, Washington DC – Pennsylvania Avenue with Capitol in background – National Photo Company Collection, courtesy Library of Congress

Deyan Ranko Brashich

Once again, I rise in partial defense of Donald J. Trump, the President of the United States. He is being excoriated for calling an end to the protection of immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries and asking “Why do we want all these people from these ‘shithole countries’ coming here?” He is a rabid unrepentant racist and dead wrong in matching immigrants with countries from the Africa or black and brown like Haiti elsewhere.

This is nothing new, Trump has held that point of view for decades. By repeating it yet again he has donned the Ku Klux Klan’s hood and white robe and after tar and feathering should be burned at the stake for heresy. However, he cannot, and should not be faulted for calling a good number of African countries “shitholes”.

          For the semantically challenged non-English speakers the definition of a “shitheel” is a “low, stupid, mean, dishonest, despicable person” as in “he’s so low that he’s like the heel of a shoe dragging in dog shit” which defines Donald Trump to a “T”. Trump is the epitome of a shitheel and he lives up to that name in every one of his tweets.

Likewise, a “shithole country” is defined as an “extremely, dirty, shabby, corrupt or otherwise unpleasant place”. There is no question that many of the countries on the African continent are just so – corrupt dictatorships with no future that people are desperate to flee. Calling them out should have been the duty of earlier Presidents.

However, President Trump’s use of the term “shithole countries” is fortuitous. To continue with manure metaphors, he stepped in shit and came up smelling like a rose for speaking the truth about the political reality of many of oppressive regimes. He experienced a stroke of good fortune even though he didn’t really know what he was doing.

The “shithole countries” of Africa are the makings of internationally powerful countries. In fact, they are now participating in making major new “shitholes” in Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea as well as right across the Gulf of Aden in Yemen.

In Yemen, the Shia version of Islam, backed by Iran, is confronting the Sunni version backed by Saudi Arabia and supported by the U. S., the U. K. and France – the preordained outcome – yet another shithole country in the making.

As for the others and the historical legacy of failed international policy and nation building, I remind you of Liberia a country established in 1947 as home for America’s free blacks. It started decades long downwards spiral first with a coup led by Master Sergeant Samuel Doe, then Charles Taylor. Hit by the Ebola virus it still hasn’t recovered. In this hemisphere we have Haiti, if ever there was a failed state with its Papa and Baby Docs and would-be Docs.  

Need I remind you of Africa’s recent crop of dictators and failed countries? How about Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo in power 33+ years? Or Chad’s Idriss Deby Itno in power for 22+ years? I can’t forget Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni in power for 27+ years or Angola’s Jose Eduardo Dos Santos running amok for more than 33 years? Don’t forget Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe who ruled for more than 34 years or Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of the Congo who was good for 30 years of misery and misrule.

These were just the little guys – the Republic of Cameroon’s Paul Biya –  the guys on the fringes – I have no time to get to the big guys, the really bad apples. But all of them and the countries that they led are proof positive of the existence of “shithole countries” – otherwise why would citizens be fleeing, emigrating if they can?

Of course, Donald Trump is too dumb and stupid to realize that his crude, malicious, racist comment had a kernel of truth in it. What his deplorable racist comment illustrates is that the Klan’s ghost still lurks in the plain view of the Capitol.

As for those shithole countries – doth not you protest too much – you are what you are and you know it.


Deyan Ranko Brashich is a contributor writing from New York. He is the author of Letters from America, Contrary Views and Dispatches. His contact and blog “Contrary Views” is at

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