The New Yorker has an article up about Trump’s visit to India, the violence that spiked while he was there and the lies both governments are telling about the events:*
Two things happened in Delhi on Tuesday, and the gulf between them illustrated India’s wild, alarming swerve from normalcy. At the Presidential palace, Donald Trump concluded a two-day visit by attending a ceremonial dinner: an evening of gold-leaf-crusted mandarin oranges, wild Himalayan morels, and gifts of Kashmiri silk carpets. Half a dozen miles away, northeast Delhi was convulsed with violence.
Since Sunday, mobs had been destroying the shops and homes of Muslims, vandalizing mosques, and assaulting Muslims on the streets. In their chants of “Jai Shri Ram,” praising a Hindu deity, their loyalties were clear. The attackers were Hindu nationalists, part of a right wing that has been empowered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government; many of them were even members of his party. The Delhi police, who are supervised by Modi’s home minister, seemed to side with the mobs; one video caught cops smashing CCTV cameras, while another showed them helping men gather stones to throw.
Several reports said that policemen stood by while the attackers went about their business. In a few spurts, Muslims retaliated, and the streets witnessed periods of full-scale clashes. A policeman was killed, and an intelligence officer was murdered and dumped in a drain. At least thirty-eight people have died: shot, beaten, burned. At the Trump banquet, the Navy band played “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.”
As we know, obliterating truth is straight out of the authoritarian playbook. Trump sees Modi as a kindred spirit. (Tthough to be fair, Modi seems a thousand times more savvy and capable than Trump could ever hope to be.) So, it’s not surprising that Indian officials and Trump parroted Modi’s propaganda even while the violence unfolded around them:
Television journalists went out to work wearing cricket helmets, for safety; videos showed Muslim slums on fire; and the death toll climbed. Yet Ajit Doval, India’s national-security adviser, visited northeast Delhi on Wednesday and said, “Everything is normal. People of all communities are living in peace and love…”
Modi himself restricted his comments to just two tweets; in fact, he stayed away from the customary joint press conference at the end of Trump’s visit, leaving the American President to field questions about the turmoil. “He wants people to have religious freedom, and very strongly,” Trump said, of Modi.
As horrendous as Trump is, in a way, we Americans are more fortunate than India (and Russia and Hungary, etc.) because, unlike Modi, Putin, Orbán, etc., Trump is a walking collection of untreated personality disorders and not particularly bright.
His massive inferiority complex prevents him from surrounding himself with competent people, and his stupidity doesn’t allow him to game out scenarios beyond their immediate effect on himself. So far, this has limited the damage he’s able to inflict to some degree.
That said, we must make the most of the upcoming opportunity to oust our homegrown demagogue. We may not get another chance.
*Paragraph breaks inserted for readability and bold font for emphasis added.