President Trump tweeted Dec. 30 about a website called Africa World News that recognized him to be the Africa World Man of 2020. This website is not much known in Africa. In fact, it may not be even physically located in Africa. The president saw it; it said something good about him, he tweeted it. The fact that the president shared this should concern all of us, particularly those of us who have lived under dictatorship. These are the behaviors they are known for. Our president is encouraging this. It is betrayal to the American dream we had fought for many years.

Abdi Nor Iftin is a Somali-American writer, radio journalist and public speaker. He lives in Yarmouth.

Our families who live outside of the U.S. are following the U.S. news closely. New Mainers, including myself, must answer to our families every time the president tweets. To them the America of today is not one they can recognize, and neither do I. At times it was the police killing black men and women, white supremacists shooting and murdering people in broad daylight, the Proud Boys walking around the streets of the U.S. with their guns – all of this shown on televisions all over the world. These images are making America look like a war zone.

Trump’s refusal to admit a defeat in the presidential race and his baseless allegations of fraud and rigged elections damages the image of this country. In the eyes of the world we look like nothing but a failed state. Since this is not over yet, as we wait a few more weeks for Biden to take office and Trump to leave, our families are waiting. They have more questions than we have answers.

When I took the oath of U.S citizenship in January 2020 I was told that I earned the right to vote and to elect our leaders democratically. Like many other immigrants, I voted. Results came out, and President Trump lost. I did not expect that a sitting U.S. president would create political antagonism, public agitation and fear for violence.

Elections start wars in part of the world I have lived. In Tanzania police shot and killed nine citizens in the 2020 presidential elections amid unrest over alleged fraud. In Uganda, the military and local police have been in running battles with the 2021 presidential candidates, except for the incumbent. And most recently in Guinea, disputed elections have resulted in violence that turned deadly, killing eight civilians and a police officer. In many cases that’s how wars start, that’s what makes more refugees. I have been one. I never want to go back to that.

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