Post-Trump Stress Disorder – By Jehane Akiki
Anti-Trump Protest, Flatiron, NYC 11.12.2016. Picture by Sima Ajlyakin
I am sharing this today because as a woman, as an Arab, as a New Yorker, as a global citizen, as someone from a predominantly Muslim country and when some of my favorite people in the world are Muslim, I cannot stand aside and be quiet as I watch people be divided and give up on the world and on humanity.
A Trump presidency is the result of our collective actions. It’s a slap in the face and a huge wake up call that the system has failed. Hillary might have held the fort down for a few more years, but I think what the US elections have shown, and what is becoming more and more apparent all over the world, is that what we need is nothing short of radical change. A lot of people are in disbelief; they’ve lost hope, they think it’s the end of the world. And it is. It’s the end of the world as we know it.
We can’t change what has happened, but we have a choice moving forward: we can let the election wave pass, go back to our daily routines, forget and then sit passively and let the Trumps and Putins lead the way as we wait and marvel at our own destruction. Or, we can rise above it, realize that fundamental changes are needed to lift us all out of this, and start working towards building a better future.
We’re so ingrained in our current system that we take it as a given. We see it as this holy thing above our heads that is crumbling. We’re freaking out trying to hold it together that we actually forget that it’s nothing but a product of human design.
We created this together, and we can change it together. We’ve always had the power; fear is what keeps us divided. I am not calling for anarchy or a fuck-the-system revolution, far from it. Instead, start by putting things in perspective and realizing that: yes, the global system is tenuous at best right now, but it’s not the end of the world. Just because things have been a certain way doesn’t mean they always were or always will be that way. It’s not even about left or right anymore; they both suck. We need to transcend that and stand together as humans. We need to be reminded that nations aren’t real. Borders aren’t real. Systems aren’t real. Markets aren’t real. Humans are real. Nature is real. Our planet is real. Our universe is real. Our collective fate is real. So start doing something about it.
March towards Trump Tower, NYC, 11.09.2016. Picture by Sima Ajlyakin
I know social change can seem so daunting and complex. You might be thinking where can we even start with all this mess. Start with yourselves. As cheesy as it sounds, be the change you want to see in the world. You can’t control the elections, but you can control your body, your mind, and your life.
Focus on conscious actions in everything that you do, and don’t live your life on automatic pilot. Think of the impact of your work and projects you take on. If you work in finance, for example, realize that no matter how volatile, the markets have always followed one rule and one rule only, and that is that they are based on total speculation. If the current ones are failing, create new ones. Shift and raise stockholder confidence in more sustainable markets, invest and direct money in more impactful ways. If you work in tech, focus on developing solutions that have environmental, social, and economic repercussions. Don’t disregard your passions, your creative outlets. If you have an idea, follow through with it. In your daily lives, maybe commit to using less plastic, eating less meat, or drinking coffee that’s fair trade, volunteering, or even just being nice to everyone you encounter. You will be surprised at the ripple effects of all these actions. One person alone isn’t going to change anything but sustained, collective efforts will.
It’s not going to be straightforward or easy, and it will definitely be uncertain. Systems might waver, nations might weaken, markets might crash, negativity and violence might erupt as politicians try to hold on to the last strands of the world they’ve constructed, so to all the governance buffs, buckle up and enjoy; it’s going to be one hell of a ride. We are fighting an uphill battle with the status quo right now, but remember, we’re all in this together.
NYPD at Anti-Trump Protest, 11.09.2016 Picture by Sima Ajlyakin
The struggle is real, but we will prevail and there will come a time when we will feast (on local, organic, sustainable, plant-based fare no less), and we will marvel at how far we have come. We have to. What is at stake is not just the outlook of the US but of the world and of future generations to come, if any. Mourn the potential death of a nation if you must, but rise in the birth of a global collective.
Yesterday was one of the saddest and greyest days here in New York. I wanted to hug everyone I saw on the street and tell them that Trump can have his America, but he will never have New York. He will never have California. May can have her England, she will never have London. Aoun can have his Lebanon, he will never have Beirut. They can have our nations — joke’s on them because they don’t even work as a globalized form of governance anymore.
Hell, let them even take the land, they will never have the people. They will never have what matters. They will never have our urban centers, our cosmopolitan melting pots of creativity, of culture, of diversity. That’s where our collective power lies, the heart of our human capital. We need to use everything in our reservoir in those hubs of knowledge, wealth, expertise, technology and creativity to empower the less fortunate of humanity.
Don’t hate the people that voted for Trump, or the extremists, or even the terrorists. They did so out of fear, because they were fed up, and because they saw no other choice. Show them. We are all battling different sides of the same coin. Tap into yourself, unleash your unbound inner potential, and just fuckin do it! I emerge from this dark cloud empowered and committed with every breath, every thought, and every action I take to be towards the betterment of humanity. I hope others will feel the same. #makehumanitygreatagain
Anti-Trump Protest, NYC 11.12.2016. Picture by Sima Ajlyakin
Anti-Trump Protest, NYC 11.12.2016. Picture by Sima Ajlyakin