VIEWPOINT: With Travel Ban, Hatred Trumps Humanity

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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3 Comments

  1. The Real SFS 2016 says:

    If you’re not an American citizen, you have no inherent right to be admitted to the U.S. for either tourist or immigration purposes, just as Americans don’t have an inherent right to be admitted to other countries.

    The duty of the U.S. government is to the citizens of America, first and foremost, and not foreigners. You should feel grateful you are here, and if you don’t like it, feel free to leave.

    Also, you don’t win any supporters with your demonizing of Trump and supporters of his EO as being filled with hatred, nor to do you win converts to your position with you overly dramatic sob story. Consider yourself lucky instead of playing the victim and thankful we Americans are giving you the opportunity to be here. A little appreciation would go along way, much farther than your complaining.

    The pause (and that’s exactly what it is, a pause) on admittance is no different than what Obama did during his term, and the fact is the countries Trump chose were based on the Obama administration’s own risk analysis. You don’t mention that and no one at Georgetown seemed to care when Obama did it.

    Why not?

    Finally, you write this: “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.”

    First, consider yourself lucky you’re here and not in one of the country’s affected, because I guarantee you would be treated much worse if you’ were a religious minority there. Second, if something as “immoral” has the immigration ban is so inconceivable to you, perhaps you should familiarize yourself with what happens to homosexuals in Iran or Christians and Yezidis in Iraq or anyone who isn’t a Muslim in the countries affected. Write and op-ed defending them and condemning terrorism.

    You would have a lot more sympathy if Muslims would strongly come out against terrorism. The fact is whenever terrorist attack happens in America, the first thing you and organizations like CAIR do is not express sympathy for the slaughtered, but blame it on Islamophobia and start worrying about blowback instead of showing solidarity with the victims. When you do that, it makes us not care about travel restrictions on people from countries where radical Islam hold sway.

    • The fake SFS 2016 says:

      @The Real SFS 2016

      You’re right!

      A government’s first and foremost priority should be its citizens (aka its constituents), not foreigners. And sure, he could downplay the melodramatic tone. But that’s about everything you got right.

      Here’s what you got wrong:

      1)
      “dramatic sob story”

      His aunt just dies, his family went through grief. For God sake, don’t be a d-bag and give him slack.

      2)
      “The pause on admittance is no different than what Obama did during his term”: oh it’s very different. The Obama’s administration based their rationale on specific threats (the arrest of 2 Iraqi refugees in Kentucky, still the only terrorism-related arrest so far of 130,000 Iraqis refugees admitted to the US). The 2011 so-called “ban” was not exactly a ban as it had a very small focus, on refugees and applicants of Special Immigrant Visas (SIV). Trump mentioned no specific threat, and did not even offer any information or intelligence forecast that could possibly justify this ban. His EO applied to every category of immigrants and blanketed 130 million people, including stringently vetted travelers with proper visas and green cards. The Obama’s “ban” was also carefully crafted, discussed, reviewed and most importantly, well executed. It was a product of joint-effort by deputy-level officials from DOS, DHS, DOJ and Intel community. Trump’s ban, on the other hand, looks like a product of unilateral and reckless policymaking (as if Trump had any policymaking experience), causing mass confusion and chaos. Please look this up, read the texts and understand the contexts of both EOs.

      3)
      You’re continuously reminding the author “considered yourself lucky, and telling him to be “grateful” and “thankful” that he is here. Please don’t do that. You don’t speak for the USA and its people. His family all have valid visas, they went through the necessary steps and procedures to “be here”. How do you know he is not thankful to be here? Have you done anything in particular to help him get here, nay, have you done anything that makes this country great enough that would enable him to come here? If he had not worked hard enough, he would not be at Georgetown, would he? A little appreciation and empathy would go a long way, much farther than your bickering and baseless assumptions.

      Make no mistake, he does not owe you anything.

      4)
      “You would have a lot more sympathy if Muslims would strongly come out against terrorism” Oh boy!

      First, at no point in the article did the author indicate he or his family practices Islam. You’re making an assumption that since his parents were born in Iran–a Muslim-majority country–and that he’s criticizing Trump’s EO, he must be a Muslim. If you are indeed an SFS student/grad, please be ashamed of yourself and drop out or return your diploma.

      Second, even if the author indeed practices Islam, he has no obligation to take responsibility for something someone else did, just as much as you’re not sending apology and condolences letters to Oklahoma bombings’ or Unabombers’ or Westboro Baptist Church’s victims. Surprise, when some imbecilic a-holes detonate themselves and claim it’s Allah, it’s not always Allah.

      Third, the Muslim communities across America and the world are vocal about these attacks. They do speak up, share condolences to the affected families, and condemn these attacks. But you don’t mention that and it seems you don’t really care. Please do everyone a favor and use Google!

      5)
      Lastly, and most importantly, this is America we’re talking. This is the country that stopped fascists on two fronts, led the technological revolution in the last century, and remains the oldest/greatest democracy in this world. It represents justice, equality, and freedom. It is a beacon of hope, and a symbol of prosperity.

      Please don’t ever stoop this great nation and people to the practices performed by repressive autocracies. Comparing America to these countries is just outright incongruous, inappropriate, and embarrassing. Just because we’re already the best does not mean we cannot continue getting even better. Don’t be complacent with where you are in the world.

      • The Real SFS 2016 says:

        You seem pretty drama-filled, not unlike the author. Here are my answers to your points . . .

        1) He’s using his family’s story for political purposes (appeal to emotion . . . btw, a sob story isn’t an argument) and in addition to distorting the facts about the Trump’s pause in immigration from conflict countries he demonizes those who disagree with him by calling them haters. Worse, he does so not to promote what’s in the best interest of the U.S. and national security or American citizens, but his fellow foreigners, many of whom are hostile to us. Just look at any poll about the number of Muslims worldwide who think Sharia law, jihad, and suicide bombings are okay. He isn’t owed any slack by anybody. He could have used other arguments to make his case, but he cynically tried to make people cry and not think logically by using a death in the family. If he can’t base his argument on the facts and use logic then he’ll get no sympathy or respect from me.

        2) Trump’s immigration pause is exactly what Obama did: use Executive authority to halt immigration by a certain group of people for a temporary period. Doesn’t matter why either did it, the fact is both did the same EXACT thing when it comes down to the basics. You’re just trying to justify the utter silence of Democrats and the media (and Muslims) when Obama did it. I get it. You’re playing a political game because you don’t like Trump. Keep lying to yourself that you’re being honest or that the rest of us can’t see through your obfuscations. Do some basic research and you’ll learn immigrants from the affected countries have in the past committed terrorist attacks in the U.S. an elsewhere (Berlin, Paris, Nice), and that ISIS and other Muslim terrorist groups use refugee status as cover to insert terrorists into countries. Our intelligence agencies have information on this fact and every sane person knows it. It’s a good tactic for them. They would be stupid not to do so. And we all know that even if Trump had gone through a longer policy development process you describe you would still be complaining, because . . . wait for it . . . Trump. But Trump had a very good reason not to let the information about what he was doing be widespread, because when you announce a plan, some people opposed to the plan will come up with ways to bypass it, meaning terrorists and others would have tried to funnel more of their people in the same way illegals from Latin America do whenever there are changes to immigration policy which incentivizes them to get in before a deadline.

        3) He is lucky, and he should be grateful and thankful. I can say it because it’s true and is good advice. Instead of immigrants coming here and complaining or telling us Americans how stupid or racist or bigoted or immoral we are a little appreciation would go a long way. No one “speaks” for the American people and I never said I did. And it’s not my job to help him get here. But the country allows him to be here and benefit, so he should be thankful. Also, talk about assumptions, you assume he worked hard to get here. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. Maybe like many international students he got in because his parents can pay full tuition and he filled a diversity quota. You’re assuming he didn’t. And while he doesn’t owe me personally anything, he (and all immigrants, particularly illegals) does owe this country a little appreciation.

        4) First, you’re right, I don’t know if he is Muslim or not, but it’s a fair assumption considering all the fake news and left-wing lies saying this is a Muslim ban and his noting in his piece it affects some Muslim-majority countries. And if he were not a Muslim from one of the affected countries, he would likely be for the temporary pause because he would know the terrorist threat from Muslims in these countries and how oppressive Muslims are to non-Muslim minorities (religious and otherwise) in these countries making him less likely to go so far as to write an op-ed. And if he really cared about human rights, how about writing about what Iranians do to gay people or what ISIS is doing to the Yezidis? There are far more pressing issues where he is from than a temporary halt on immigrants from countries with a history of Islamic terrorism.

        Second, I never said he has an obligation to take responsibility for Islamic terror, simply that instead of complaining all the time it would do him and other Muslims well to loudly condemn it when it happens because most of what we hear from Muslims in the aftermath of attacks is not sympathy for the victims but claims the attack will lead to Islamophobia which apparently is a far great crime than murdering a bunch of gay people at a nightclub in Orlando. And you’re lying by not using comparable events. Oklahoma was about federal government overreach. The Unabomber was an environmentalist. And the Westboro fools haven’t blown up anybody. Educate yourself.

        Third, Muslims are simply not vocal in the way they need to be in response to Islamic terror. They play the victim game like other minority groups to serve their own interests and when these attacks happen they immediately mobilize to play it whatever way is best for them, usually by saying not all Muslims are like that and LOOKOUT! ISLAMOPHOBIA! Sympathy for the victims seems to always come third. And people are tired of it. Nor are they vocal about the oppression of religious minority groups in their own countries. Please do everyone a favor and use Google! You’ll learn a few things. Fact is if people like Andisheh really cared about human rights he would address the issues in the Muslim world before some temporary travel pause. Because those are far worse.

        5) In closing, you should really rethink what it is you’re saying. Hopefully you have some more time left at Georgetown so you can further educate yourself, because you’re sounding awfully ignorant. Perhaps you should spend more time studying. I already have my degree and you sound in danger of not finishing yours, so please, hit the books.

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