American Sedition: View From Abroad

Magda Abu-Fadil
5 min readJan 10, 2021

No sooner had news of Wednesday’s Capitol Hill onslaught flooded social media, traditional outlets and multiple sources of information than worldwide comments, analyses, posts and cartoons weighed in on the mind-boggling implications.

They ranged from hilarious, sarcastic and critical to serious and jarringly alarmist. The screen shots I selected — a sampling — tell quite a story.

African “shitholes?”

Agence France-Presse (AFP) tweeted a link to one of its stories: “As they watched a violent mob smash into the U.S. Capitol, some in Africa could not help but see a little irony in the chaos incited by President Donald Trump, who once famously called African nations ‘shitholes.’

Others across the continent offered Washington some tips on how to run a democracy — advice that has so often gone in the other direction.”

French tweep Benjamin said 2021 had just beat 2020 in six days.

2021 had just beat 2020 in six days

Austria-based software professional Georgi Danov, presumably from Bulgaria as I saw on his LinkedIn profile, wrote: “In my home country we storm the parliament to throw out the trash. In US they storm it to keep their trash from being thrown out.”


Lebanese-Iraqi-British satirist Karl Sharro, a/k/a KarlreMarks, an architect in real life, opined: “Looking back at the last four years, Trump basically imported the US’ foreign policy to the US.”

Lebanese journalist Omar Harkous, referring to President Trump’s banishment from social media platforms following the deadly assault on the U.S. Congress by his followers, tweeted: “After Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, Trump only has TikTok.”

After Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, Trump only has TikTok

Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff, a vociferous critic of his own president’s heavy-handed actions and policies, pulled no punches.

Trump and his gang storming the US Capitol. It’s a coup attempt! Washington DC experiencing days of a banana republic.

Carlos Latuff cartoon

His illustration depicted a Godzilla-like creature atop the Capitol building wearing a MAGA (Make America Great Again) hat holding onto Lady Liberty whose torch breaks off while air force fighters try to shoo off the beast.

Quoting from Facebook, Egyptian development economist Mohamed El Dahshan tweeted: “Due to travel restrictions, this year the United States had to organize the coup at home.”

Game of Thrones-Final Season 2021

Mohamed Soliman, commenting on the picture of the man in the animal skin and horns nailed it: “Game of Thrones — final season 2021.”

Murtaza M. Hussain, commenting on the same image said: “Those Lord of the Rings mfs are the new face of American exceptionalism,” while someone who posts under the name Just Ali tweeted, “This lot look like a Scandinavian Eurovision (song contest) entry.”

Marc Rouhana jokingly wished for an American domestic conflict: “Me a Lebanese watching USA news and hoping that a civil war will occur so the dollar rate will drop.”

Civil war dollar

Rouhana was referring to the economic meltdown in Lebanon leading to the country’s currency collapse against the U.S. dollar and loss of 80 percent of its value.

But another Lebanese joker tweeted: “Hopefully there won’t be a civil war in America. We can’t handle any more refugees.”

Lebanon, a country 10,452 km2 (4,036 mi2) in size and home to about five million (give or take, depending on whose census figures one believes), has hosted up to half its population in refugees over the past century.

Someone sent me a doctored picture of Donald Trump in Gulf Arab garb with the comment: “Maybe his uncles are Arabs. He wants to stick to the seat (of power).”

His uncles could be Arabs

The reference was to Arab countries’ hereditary ruling dynasties whose leaders hang on to power until they’re six feet underground.

Lebanese activist Imad Bazzi cracked: “Who’s paying for the demonstrators’ bagels?”

Who’s paying for the demonstrators’ bagels?

Various local and foreign sponsors have reportedly supported demonstrators in Arab Spring countries with meals, money and other goodies.

Then came comments about, or from, regimes not considered pillars of democracy.

Greg Carlstrom, the Beirut-based Middle East correspondent for The Economist magazine, bitingly tweeted: “Someone in Egypt’s foreign ministry is gleefully drafting a statement urging calm and respect for the democratic process in America.”

The Turkish news agency Anadolu tweeted in English: “BREAKING Turkey invites all parties in US to use moderation, common sense to overcome this domestic political crisis.”

While Tweep Capitalist, wrote: “Pakistan is deeply concerned about the emerging situation in Washington DC. We hope that the nukes are safe” and tagged the Pakistani foreign ministry.

Montreal-based journalist/editor Kareem Shaheen was quite indignant: “So insulting to keep seeing ‘this is what happens in 3rd world countries.’ These freaks and psychopaths are all your brand of garbage America.”

Kareem Shaheen tweet

In other tweets he said:

Everyone check in on your democracies.

I’m not being facetious but I both envy and find amusing the real and performative horror Americans exhibit every time one of these crises unfolds. It’s endearingly innocent, hopelessly naïve and betrays a breathtaking unawareness of what happens everywhere else in the world.

I know this isn’t a popular take amid all the alarmism but I’ve covered civil war and these whiny cosplayers who think masks are tyrannical with laughable tattoos and Viking beards wouldn’t last 5 minutes in an actual civil war.

BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner, who was targeted by terrorists and shot six times at close range while on assignment in Saudi Arabia in 2004 and left severely wounded and dependent on a wheelchair, tweeted ominously:

The chaos + violence in #WashingtonDC has been a gift to Jihadist supporters of ISIS and Al-Qaida who’ve been celebrating it online, mocking western democracy.

Frank Gardner warns

Several netizens also reposted the June 6 cover of Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine featuring Donald Trump lighting a match from his White House office while Washington burns in the background.

Reposting “The Fire Devil”

The headline reads: “The Fire Devil.”



Magda Abu-Fadil

Magda Abu-Fadil is a veteran foreign correspondent/editor of international news organizations, former academic, media trainer, consultant, speaker and blogger.