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Thanks, Trump

Call Them by Their True Names: American Crisis (And Essays)
Forfatter: Rebecca Solnit
Forlag: Haymarket Books (USA)
Call Them by Their True Names sheds light on the ugly truth about the reality we live in after Trump became president. Solnit calls for immediate action – before the planet burns up.


In the political essay collection Call Them By Their True Names (2018) writes American author, historian, activist and feminist Rebecca Solnit (b. 1961) thoughtfully and unfiltered about the US – and world – crisis, in retrospect of Donald Trump's election victory. Solnit believes we can change our dystopian world by changing the history and language we describe it with – by "calling them by their true names".

Donald Trump, "the most mocked man in the world", is the protagonist of Call Them By Their True Names. For each essay I read, the link between Trump and The Women's March will be January 21, 2017, the metoo movement in the US in the fall of 2017, and the award of this year's Nobel Peace Prize winner October 5, to Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege for their fight against sexual violence against women, more clearly.

Trump – who, with his whiteness, wealth, power and women's oppressive attitudes, is the foremost representative of the patriarchy – has started this powerful, worldwide and unstoppable women's movement. Thank you, Trump, for making the world more aware of how dangerous men like you are to women – and to nature: Since you became president, both the women's movement and the climate movement have gained greater support and power.

Violence against the planet

When Trump came to power, he clearly stated that "climate change is not man-made and therefore cannot be prevented." Solnit, on the other hand, thinks the opposite. She describes how everything ties together: “What comes out of your tailpipe or your smokestack or your leaky fracking site contributes to the changing mix of atmosphere, where increasing amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases cause the earth to retain more of the heat that comes from the sun, which does not result in what we used to call global warming but will lead to climate chaos. ”

I'm afraid she's absolutely right that the climate chaos is approaching – especially after this year's summer, with a record-breaking heat wave in both Norway and the rest of the world. In Eastern Europe, where I am, the summer weather was very changing – in a season when it usually tends to be stable and warm, it could suddenly shine and thunder with hail rain. The summer weather seemed heavy on my mood, and sometimes I would just lie in bed all day. After the schizophrenic summer weather in Vienna, Solnist's doomsday prophecy that "the climate chaos will burn up the planet" seems disturbingly close.

She writes that climate change and international conflicts are linked, based on a press release from a climate group announcing: "Scientists say there is a direct link between changing climate and an increase in violence." As a result of the climate chaos, the survival instinct of humans lead to conflicts, and eventually to hunger. She concludes: «Climate change is global-scale violence, against places and living species as well as against human beings. […] The revolt against brutality begins with a revolt against the language that hides that brutality. ”

We have the power

The book appears as a political call in which she encourages the people – the voters – to choose the right course. In the essay Twenty Million Missing Storytellers (2018) she writes: "We can start by telling a story that millions of missing voters matter and by working to get those voters back in the game."

We can change the world by changing its description.

Most recently 8. October 2018 I come across the article "We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, warns UN", written by Jonathan Watts in The Guardian, on Facebook. I quickly pass it on, to the sound of my own heartbeat, thinking of my nine-month-old daughter. The time we live in is crucial to her future. I do not want her to grow up in a world with a devastating and life-threatening climate catastrophe. It's just like reality hits me in the face. This year's summer tried to tell us something: We must wake up from this slumber and act – immediately.

As Solnit writes, journalists have a great responsibility for communicating and raising awareness about the endangered climate crisis. I take on some of this responsibility with this text. She further writes that it is we, the people, who sit together with the greatest power to change the future. We must begin now – before it is too late.

Also read: Timely wakeup call at Fahrenheit 11/9

Pinar Ciftci
Pinar Ciftci
Ciftci is a journalist and actor.

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