America

Pressing Trump

By Andrej Mrevlje |
pressing-trump

As the president-elect’s government slowly takes shape, America transitions into unknown territory with much guessing, many unanswered questions and a feeling of uncertainty. But while the podium and stands for the inauguration parade are being built at the Capitol in D.C., one thing is certain, at least: the ceremony that will conduct the new president into the Oval Office will be Donald Trump’s first successful presidential deal. The president-elect envisions collecting $75 million from his donors for the occasion! That is $32 million more than the amount President Obama spent for his parade in 2013. So it appears that Trump is preparing a lavish self-celebration. There will be a lot of shine, with golden decorations and symbols of American power — no doubt about it. The question is, how much of the show will be a transplant from Las Vegas?

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History

The Consumer in Me

By Andrej Mrevlje |
dinarji

I remember how I spent my first bit of money before I started going school. It was a five-dinar coin that I got from i do not remember who, and I decided to buy myself an ice cream in a shop that was a few blocks away from our house in the heart of my small industrial native town.

I knew about this slaščičarna — probably one of the most difficult words to pronounce in Slovenian — because my parents had taken me and my siblings there before. It must have been during one of our Sunday walks with my father. However getting to this paradise of sweets, a place by the name of Bakijević — a name that was obviously from the south of what was then Yugoslavia — made me feel like I was crossing an ocean. I was nervous. I did not know whether the man in white behind the counter — was he wearing a moustache? — would give an ice cream to a small boy like me. Would he ask me where my mother was, like stupid grownups always do? I was sweating. It was summer, and I was wearing shorts that made me look even smaller. I bought vanilla on a cone and felt guilty not sharing it with my siblings. I was alone in this. But while I wanted to keep my first purchase secret, the city was small and everyone knew our family — knew me.

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Yonder's Trump Watch

The Plutocrats and the Awakening of Melania

By Andrej Mrevlje |
Trump Tower Secret ServiceTrump Tower Secret Service Guards Photo : Andrej Mrevlje

There has been very little evidence that the president-elect will turn the United States into his own Trumpland for the purpose of maximizing his own brand. But nevertheless, things are happening, and the city that feels it most is New York, where the former headquarters of the brand manager have turned into the transition office of the president-elect. The most visible change actually happened in and around Trump Tower. The traffic on Fifth Avenue immediately below Central Park is hampered by security fences, with secret service and NYPD members searching everyone who passes the area. I can’t say what it’s like when the president-elect is in town, but during my stay in New York City over Thanksgiving, Trump was in Florida, and yet the tower was still swarmed with people in uniform — some of them with the incredibly heavy guns. I don’t remember ever seeing so much security around the actual president. There are endless police cars parked around the blocks near Trump Tower and deep into Central Park.  Read more »

America

Trump and The Chinese Model of Governance

By Andrej Mrevlje |
trump-royals

In 1990, Donald Trump reflected on the Tiananmen Square Massacre in Beijing in an interview for Playboy. In the early hours of June 4, 1989, Chinese Communist Party leader Deng Xiaoping ordered the People’s Liberation Army to clean the square.

For nearly three months, students had been occupying Tiananmen, asking for more social reforms and rights to follow the sweeping economic changes that the government had planned. The students were not asking for the end of the regime — they were supportive of then-General Secretary Zhao Ziyang, who was inclined towards a more open and modern Chinese society.

But dark forces within the Communist Party and intrigues among the leadership prevailed and led to the decision to sacrifice the students in the square to regain the unity of the Party. Zhao Ziyang and other leaders were arrested, and hundreds  of students were slaughtered in the square that night. People across China were arrested and persecuted. Many of them managed to flee the country. Quite a few of those political refugees are now American citizens. Listening to the president elect — who expressed support for Chinese government’s show of “strength” by slaughtering thousands of young people — they most probably do not sleep well.

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Internet

It’s About Entertainment , Stupid!

By Andrej Mrevlje |
facebook-giphy

When I first came across the Buzzfeed report on “How Teens In The Balkans Are Duping Trump Supporters With Fake News,” I reposted it on Yonder’s Facebook page. I was not thinking about why the hell Facebook is letting the issue go. My take on the matter was that the teenagers from Macedonia were allowed to create fake U.S. political websites because the American election campaign was way too long, and therefore well-suited to create these kinds of business opportunities. I did not think that these young internet savants — who were just trying to earn some pocket money — could actually have an impact on the outcome of the presidential election. I deeply trusted my and other readers’ judgment — our capacity to debunk a hoax in the same way that we do with fake online Apple customer service, for instance.

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Yonder's Trump Watch

Let’s the Dance Begin

By Andrej Mrevlje |
Anonymous are regular visitors of Washington D.C. Photo: Andrej MrevljeAnonymous are regular visitors of Washington D.C. Photo: Andrej Mrevlje

These are weird times. The sky in Washington, D.C. has been incredibly bright and beautiful. I do not remember experiencing such a long, mild autumn before. It seems like a perfect time to enjoy life in this mellow city that — against all odds — does not seem to be the world capital of power, but the capital of pleasant bike rides with hundreds of miles of well-kept bike trails that are part of its pastoral landscape.

It’s fun. And it’s curious. The capital of the U.S is empty. While the seated president is traveling around Europe, enjoying one of his last flights in the comfortable Air Force One that he likes so much, he is also trying to convince his country’s European allies that the U.S. will not withdraw from the Old Continent. Europeans, like many Americans, are perplexed by the outcome of this election. So was President-elect Trump, who stays locked in his golden tower on Fifth Avenue in downtown New York. He did not expect this victory, and now he has to improvise building his team. But he must also be taking many crash courses on how to manage and govern the complicated reality called the United States — or so it seems, at least.

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America

When Trump Comes to Town

By Andrej Mrevlje |
trump-and-obama

There are two images that illustrate the initiation of Donald Trump’s era. First, there is no one in my life — no one among my friends, relatives or acquaintances — who would ever vote for Donald Trump.

And I have never engaged in “locker room talk” with any of these people. I am not a priest or a prude. I love to live a good life, and I’ll laugh and talk with anyone. I can also listen quietly to and admire others. And I am still learning how to love. Yet what I’ve heard from Trump so far has never struck me as part of the culture that I’ve encountered, or as part of the language and the education I received in my family or in the many education institutions that I attended around the world. It is not part of the person that I have become over the years.

Trump’s world is not my world. But the very fact that this unknown parallel world exists is obviously also my responsibility. And yet I am shocked. The man about whom I and those in my world were making jokes about has followers — many of them. And they have the same rights as anybody else. It is their right to elect their leader. It is their right to impose their world by voting. It is their right to interpret and exercise the same constitution that exists in my world. It will be hard, but like many other times in the past, in order to keep swimming in the stream of life, one must step outside his or her own comfort zone.

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America

Slovenian(s) in the White House

By Andrej Mrevlje |
Holding hands, Melania Trump is making her first  steps in american politicsHolding hands, Melania Trump is making her first steps in american politics

Melania Trump — or Melania Knavs, as she was called before she married and moved into Trump Tower — will be the only first lady since 1829 to have been born outside the United States. She is preceded only by John Quincy Adams’ wife, Louisa Adams, who was born in England when the U.S. was still a colony.

Even before she set foot in the White House, Melania Trump already received an invitation for an official visit to her native country, Slovenia. According to Delo, a Slovenian daily newspaper, Mrs. Trump was invited by the Slovenian prime minister, Miro Cerar, in a letter of congratulations for “the success that is of historic significance for Slovenia, as well, and makes the citizens of our country proud and happy.” The Slovenian prime minister also expressed his belief that a good relationship between the two countries will develop further with the support and help of the new first lady.

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Earth

Man Made Geology

By Andrej Mrevlje |
human-geology

From the wooded summit in the Grunewald, a large expanse of the flat East European plain stretches out to a hazy horizon. The glitzy new landmarks of post-Cold War Berlin stud the distant panorama; the needle-like TV tower of Alexanderplatz is slightly farther away. Teufelsberg, at a height of 400 feet, is comfortably the highest spot in Berlin. An expansive and verdant peak, it might easily be mistaken for a geological feature with a history stretching back millions of years, or, perhaps, as the remnant of moraine shunted here by some primeval ice sheet.

Yet Teufelsberg is barely half a century old.

In this amazing piece, Stephen Graham, professor at the Newcastle University’s School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, lays out the human arrogance of replacing million-year-old geology with the 59 billion tons of material that we create yearly with mining, construction, agriculture and waste. Not only are we changing the landscape of our planet, but in our short existence on this planet, we are deliberately and radically changing the ground on which we walk and live. St. Peter’s Basilica, the Holy See of the Roman Catholic Church, is built on a pagan city. “The surface of contemporary Rome, which rests upon many ancient worlds,” Graham writes, “has been built up by about 50 feet since the founding of the Roman Empire two thousand years ago.” Read his piece, and you will find out how small and precious this planet of our is.

European Union

From Brexit to Scotix

By Andrej Mrevlje |
Mhairi Black, 22 years old star of the British ParliamentMhairi Black, 22 years old star of the British Parliament

Mhairi Black is the 22-year-old deputy of the Scottish Nationalist Party in the British parliament. She is very energetic and speaks like vulcano. To have a taste of one of her fiery conversations, just watch her interview with 32-year-old independent journalist, Owen Jones. They spoke at an airport three months before the Brexit vote, and their words seemed to be flying with the planes. Catherine Ashton, Baroness of Upholland and former High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs, describes those months as the period when Britain managed to put the Scottish request for independence to bed and everyone was calm.
Well, the newborn baby, as the Westminster Boys’ Club calls her, was not calm at all. In spite of the defeat of the referendum in 2014, she continues to fight for Scottish independence. And she wants it to become socialist. Now that Brexit has become a reality and London has to prepare for its negotiations with Brussels and define the modality of the divorce, Black and her majority party want to secede from the United Kingdom even faster. The main reason this time is that Scotland wants to stay in the European Union.

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