Support letters to Sheila and Michael Forbes in their fight against Donald Trump, Balmedie, Scotland.  Photographs © Beowulf Sheehan www.beowulfsheehan.com
Support letters to Sheila and Michael Forbes in their fight against Donald Trump, Balmedie, Scotland. Photographs © Beowulf Sheehan www.beowulfsheehan.com

From Hannover, Germany: Sorry, my english is bad, but I must write you… My wish: Please, you must fight!!

From Maitland, Australia: It may seem bizarre to receive a letter from a stranger but I felt I had to write and say well done.

From Duluth, Minnesota: Stick by your guns! You are an inspiration.

Michael Forbes, a former salmon fisherman from Scotland, has received hundreds of letters like these since he began standing up to Donald Trump’s land grab efforts around 2009. These perfect strangers wrote to express their support for Forbes, who lives in a coastal village in Scotland and has been engaged in a David-and-Goliath battle with the real estate tycoon.

Trump wants Forbes’s farm, but Forbes won’t let him have it. It’s located in the middle of Trump International Golf Links Scotland, a 1,400-acre luxury golf course resort Trump brags is “the world’s greatest.” Trump has tried numerous tactics to get what he wants. When Forbes refused to sell his farm, Trump attempted to seize it through compulsory purchase orders, Scotland’s version of eminent domain. He called Forbes a “pig” on television. He blocked Forbes’s access to the water, Forbes claims, forcing the fourth-generation salmon fisherman to abandon fishing.

The letters are from people throughout the UK and across four continents. There are letters from South Africa and Australia, British Columbia and Germany; in the US, from St. Paul, Chicago, Coral City, and Las VegasMany are addressed to an unspecific address (“Behind the dunes,” or “Adjacent to Trump fantasy,” or “The Farm Donald Trump Wants”), yet they managed to make it into Forbes’s mailbox (the tenacious collaboration of Scottish postal workers cannot be underestimated). As the US presidential election draws near, the letters are an astonishing testament to the solidarity perfect strangers can exhibit when battling a tyrant.

Support letters to Sheila and Michael Forbes in their fight against Donald Trump, Balmedie, Scotland.  Photographs © Beowulf Sheehan. www.beowulfsheehan.com Support letters to Sheila and Michael Forbes in their fight against Donald Trump, Balmedie, Scotland.  Photographs © Beowulf Sheehan. www.beowulfsheehan.com Support letters to Sheila and Michael Forbes in their fight against Donald Trump, Balmedie, Scotland.  Photographs © Beowulf Sheehan. www.beowulfsheehan.com Support letters to Sheila and Michael Forbes in their fight against Donald Trump, Balmedie, Scotland.  Photographs © Beowulf Sheehan. www.beowulfsheehan.com Support letters to Sheila and Michael Forbes in their fight against Donald Trump, Balmedie, Scotland.  Photographs © Beowulf Sheehan. www.beowulfsheehan.com Support letters to Sheila and Michael Forbes in their fight against Donald Trump, Balmedie, Scotland.  Photographs © Beowulf Sheehan. www.beowulfsheehan.com Support letters to Sheila and Michael Forbes in their fight against Donald Trump, Balmedie, Scotland.  Photographs © Beowulf Sheehan. www.beowulfsheehan.com Support letters to Sheila and Michael Forbes in their fight against Donald Trump, Balmedie, Scotland.  Photographs © Beowulf Sheehan. www.beowulfsheehan.com Support letters to Sheila and Michael Forbes in their fight against Donald Trump, Balmedie, Scotland.  Photographs © Beowulf Sheehan. www.beowulfsheehan.com Support letters to Sheila and Michael Forbes in their fight against Donald Trump, Balmedie, Scotland.  Photographs © Beowulf Sheehan. www.beowulfsheehan.com Support letters to Sheila and Michael Forbes in their fight against Donald Trump, Balmedie, Scotland.  Photographs © Beowulf Sheehan. www.beowulfsheehan.com Support letters to Sheila and Michael Forbes in their fight against Donald Trump, Balmedie, Scotland.  Photographs © Beowulf Sheehan. www.beowulfsheehan.com Support letters to Sheila and Michael Forbes in their fight against Donald Trump, Balmedie, Scotland.  Photographs © Beowulf Sheehan. www.beowulfsheehan.com Support letters to Sheila and Michael Forbes in their fight against Donald Trump, Balmedie, Scotland.  Photographs © Beowulf Sheehan. www.beowulfsheehan.com Support letters to Sheila and Michael Forbes in their fight against Donald Trump, Balmedie, Scotland.  Photographs © Beowulf Sheehan. www.beowulfsheehan.com Support letters to Sheila and Michael Forbes in their fight against Donald Trump, Balmedie, Scotland.  Photographs © Beowulf Sheehan. www.beowulfsheehan.com Support letters to Sheila and Michael Forbes in their fight against Donald Trump, Balmedie, Scotland.  Photographs © Beowulf Sheehan. www.beowulfsheehan.com Support letters to Sheila and Michael Forbes in their fight against Donald Trump, Balmedie, Scotland.  Photographs © Beowulf Sheehan. www.beowulfsheehan.com Support letters to Sheila and Michael Forbes in their fight against Donald Trump, Balmedie, Scotland.  Photographs © Beowulf Sheehan. www.beowulfsheehan.com
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Support letters to Sheila and Michael Forbes in their fight against Donald Trump, Balmedie, Scotland. Photographs © Beowulf Sheehan. www.beowulfsheehan.com

 

 

Rebecca Donner

Rebecca Donner is the author of the novel Sunset Terrace, the graphic novel Burnout, and two forthcoming works of fiction and narrative nonfiction. Educated at the University of California at Berkeley and Columbia University, she has published essays and criticism in the New York Times, The Believer, Guernica, The Rumpus, and Bookforum. Visit her at rebeccadonner.com.

Beowulf Sheehan

Beowulf Sheehan is a portrait photographer working in the arts, entertainment, and humanities. His work has been published in Esquire, The New Yorker, Stern, Vanity Fair, and others and been exhibited internationally. Visit him at beowulfsheehan.com.

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