|President Trump and the architect of the refugee ban, Steve Bannon|
I don't know how to put into words how I felt about watching the news over the past few days- but unfortunately words seem to be the only form of power and protest that I have. I have never felt so disgusted, angry and emotional in the face of politics before: I always try to look at everything with an analytical eye, consider multiple viewpoints, and try and find a balance between my heart and my head. Right now, my heart and my head are in complete unanimity: the actions of President Trump are a violation of democracy, of justice, and of humanity.
To many that will seem extreme, an overreaction; I think it is completely justified. The politics of the past in which division and discrimination were actively encouraged is being reignited through a series of executive orders, none more sickening than Trump’s ban on immigration and travel for everyone from certain (mainly Muslim) countries. I feel sad, I feel powerless, and I wonder how we have come to a stage where this injustice has been allowed to happen.
I strongly believe that if there are people exposed to undue suffering in the world, if pain and war, famine and hunger, persecution and disaster are abundant, then our common humanity should overcome any national barriers and national interests. This is considered an idealistic view (naive, even), but what is the point in being involved in politics if not to try and change the world a little- or a lot?
Politics is the only way that we can take steps towards reaching a global goal of safety and everyone having a life worth living. Now is the time for big claims and statements such as these, because without idealistic, naive views like that, negativity will overcome positivity, and the progress we make will slow down and stop.
I was gutted when Donald Trump came into power, and I am still gutted now- I refuse to ‘get over it’, I refuse to accept it, because I believe that normalising his way of running the world is damaging for everyone involved, even those who are under the illusion they will benefit from it. I knew I would disagree with everything his administration would implement, and I knew I would remain opposed to him throughout his term, but the actions of the past couple of days have exceeded all my expectations in the worst sense.
Trump’s talk of banning Muslims from America was one of his most contentious claims throughout the election campaign (and that really is saying something). The fact that he has started to put up these barriers so quickly, so strongly, and with so little consideration for those affected should not surprise me, but it has. It has epitomised everything he stands for and suddenly made me realise that this is happening- it is not a television drama, it is not a dystopian future- people are being rejected from the Land of Opportunity on the basis of their country of birth.
|Protests in support of those detained under the ban|
Trump’s ‘travel ban’ affects people from Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Iraq, and the order runs alongside a 120 day suspension of the USA’s refugee system- all in the name of keeping “radical Islamic terrorists out of the US”. Refugees are fleeing for their lives. People from these deprived and less fortunate countries need help, support, and open doors, not rejection and selfishness. In 2015, Trump justified his extreme views on Muslim immigration by claiming he does not want his country open to people who “have no respect for human life”. The hypocrisy both disgusts and terrifies me. He has no respect for human life. He has no respect for the needs of people fleeing war and terror. He claims to be prioritising America, but a man with so little respect for anyone who is not a white male can hardly make a claim to be protecting such a diverse country.
Orders like this blatantly demonstrate an ignorance towards the people of the countries affected. Mo Farah, the celebrated Olympic athlete born in Somalia, has taken to social media to express his fears about potentially not being able to return home to America. The ban has affected prominent names and faces worldwide. These stories are all important and highlight the seriousness of Trump’s actions, but let's not forget that people do not have to be a huge success, or a great achiever, or outstandingly productive to be worthy of a free and happy life. A refugee with no material things or skills to offer is just as worthy of shelter and help as a refugee who is a trained doctor. Anyone who belongs to the human race and experiences the level of suffering that refugees have deserves the decency of being allowed entry into a country where they can live and breathe in peace and safety. Trump disintegrates that human contract we all owe each other: or at least he is trying to. The outrage and protest worldwide gives me hope for the future.
I know I have not considered all the complexities of immigration policy, the intricacies of international relations and power distribution worldwide, the economics of world movement. I know terrorism is a threat and I know radicalisation is an extremely complicated issue that needs to be dealt with. But I also know that division and rejection is not the way to tackle the issues that the world faces today. Trump’s actions will only make the situation worse and the order should be (and is being) condemned worldwide.
|Theresa May and Donald Trump|
Theresa May’s refusal to condemn the action in anything more than a lukewarm Downing Street statement further horrifies me, and I hope that the politics of the U.K. doesn't drift towards that of the USA. I am choosing to look at this issue from a global, humanitarian viewpoint, and I know that this viewpoint is being taken up by millions of people across the world. The backlash against this action is strong, hopefully strong enough to make a change. Even if it is not, I will still be vocal in my opposition to not just this order but this man in general, and the way he is shaping the political climate of the 21st century.
Rampant right-wing populism hasn't worked well in the past, and there is no reason it will work well now. I will not apologise for letting my emotions cloud this political issue, because they have not clouded it: they have only clarified it. My anger is justified, and the anger of millions across the globe is justified. I am determined to make naive and idealistic views realistic and respected, capable of real change. Trump is temporary, but let's ensure that his politics, his personality and his ignorance are temporary too.