On Jan. 21, my beloved aunt passed away after a long battle with multiple sclerosis. It was the worst day of my life because it was my first experience with the death of a relative and because, for the first time, I saw my father broken, something I hoped to never see again.
But I did, less than a week later. On Jan. 28, news of President Donald Trump’s executive order, concerning bans on citizens with visas and green cards from seven Muslim-majority countries, came through.
I spent the majority of my two-week winter break back home in the United Kingdom visiting my aunt in the hospital, watching her grow progressively weaker by the day. The day before I returned to the United States, I gave her what I knew, deep down, would be goodbye. She was too weak. I knew she did not have long left.
The moment my family found out about her passing, my family was met by a deluge of sadness. I spent my Sunday comforting my distraught father, containing my emotions as I held his head to my chest, told him to calm down and reassured him that she was in a better place. She was incredibly close to him, more of a mother than a sister, in truth.
The funeral was to be held this Wednesday on Feb. 1. Seeing as both my sister and I have school, we made the difficult decision to not go, as we could not run the risk of falling behind with work. My father, on the other hand, had booked a flight for the United Kingdom for 6:40 p.m.; news of Trump’s executive order arrived at 2:30 p.m.
We were not initially worried, as along with having U.S. visas, both my sister and I have full British citizenship, and my parents are both dual-nationals born in Iran and raised in England as children, thus, they have citizenship in both countries.
After some research, we found out that the executive order also applied to dual-nationals who have citizenship in any one of the seven countries Trump targeted. Thus, my father was faced with an unfair, gut-wrenching choice: Would he travel to England to attend his sister’s funeral, almost certainly guaranteeing that he would not be able to come back for at least three months, or would he stay with his family and have to miss the funeral?
Distraught and unable to leave our family for such a long period of time, he decided to stay.
I did not think I could experience a worse and more psychologically damaging day than Jan. 21. But, on Jan. 28, I did.
I spent the day weeping for my father, trying to calm him while wallowing at the prospect that a brother was denied the prospect of seeing his sister one last time, all as a result of Trump’s signature.
Trump’s action has affected millions around the world — decent people escaping trauma and hardship, trying to reunite with their families, looking for better lives or just trying to get home.
Never in my life have I experienced such a breach in humanity. To discriminate on such a vast level, and to have such a detrimental impact on the lives of so many, is something that I can only describe as inconceivable.
I’m not particularly religious, but on the evening of Jan. 29, something that I can only describe as a miracle happened. I was scrolling through BBC news and came across a piece of breaking news: The British foreign office had announced that the ban would not apply to British dual-national citizens. Individuals born in one of the seven countries, but with British citizenship, would not be stopped from entering the United States.
Despite this development, I continue to grieve. Tomorrow I will grieve. I will grieve for many days to come. I will grieve for my aunt’s passing, which will always stay with me. I will grieve for what my father experienced those two horrific days, something that has undoubtedly left an indelible mark in my heart.
But most of all, I will grieve for the millions of others affected by this measure, and for those who, around the world, are speaking out against recent events. I, ultimately, was lucky. Others, however, probably will not be.
As a community of Georgetown students, let us put the political dynamic to one side and focus on a much more important quality: our human nature. We are all citizens of the world, and it is our human duty to show solidarity with all, for the sake of today and for a better tomorrow.
Andisheh Kamyab is a freshman in the College.
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