The Inauguration: Reactions in Tbilisi
22 January, 2017
The Inauguration: Reactions in Tbilisi
Facebook has, since Donald Trump became the President-Elect last November, been consistently entertaining with regards the man who, through his eloquence, body-language and personal Tweets, has generated a plethora of creativity; from cartoons and photo montages to the "Trumping" make-up tutorial and the "Life Accordion Trump" videos. Reactions to these have been naturally mixed, with some finding them immature and others taking them as a good-natured dig at Trump.

Wanting to get a taste of how Tbilisi's ex-pat community viewed
the 45th President of the United States of America and to witness his inauguration on the big screen, I went along to the celebratory (or commiserative) event at DivexFabrika, a well-known and well-loved ex-pat hangout.

The crowd was made up of as many locals as foreigners, and there was a distinct feeling that the majority of locals weren't all that bothered with the events unfolding on the screen and in the most powerful country in the world- as Trump was declared President, they sat playing cards and joking. Some of their friends were watching the Georgian Eurovision Final in Tbilisi Concert Hall, about as far from anything American as one can get. The reaction from the Americans and Brits gathered at the bar was far different from the Georgians, however.
Eyes glued to the giant screen, Trump's declarations of a new America were interspersed around me by expletives, anger and genuine incredulity at the major turn-around the world is facing.

"...today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another - but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People," Trump said in his inaugural address.

Yet the majority of Americans, staring in shock at the screen, seemed to be feeling rather powerless.

As Trump declared his "America First" and spoke of the protection of military and God, a cry of "Fascist!" was heard in the room. Some Americans had hands to their foreheads in disbelief.

His messages were strong, patriotic; perhaps messages that an American could believe in. But few that I spoke to believe that President Trump will stay true to his word, especially considering his choice of team members, the latest scandal being Betsy DeVos.
"We will get our people off of welfare and back to work - rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor. We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and hire American," (bang goes Georgia's trade aspirations, then). "We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world - but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first. We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow. We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones," (a trembling fear of a Russian alliance, and what it could mean for Georgia, circulates the room) "-- and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth. At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other," the President said.

"This is the most totalitarian speech the world's heard since the 30s," one attendee said, shocked.

"Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength."
The sensation at this moment was that Georgia could have very little to hope for in its future dealings with the Trump administration. We will see.
The song that the bar owners chose to play following his speech seemed scarily appropriate to many there: 'It's the end of the world as we know it...'

Katie Ruth Davies

Source: Georgia Today


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