This is What America Looks Like

By now we have all heard about the #MuslimBan. The un-American Executive Order signed by President Trump (or #NotMyPresident Trump, as many refer to him) over the weekend bars citizens of seven Muslim countries from entering the Unites States. As what has now become expected and the norm, this action sparked a number of spontaneous protests bringing together thousands of Americans to protest the clear racism and absurdity of the ban. Like the marches of last weekend, people took to the streets in downtown DC and New York City, but this time also rushed to the airports to stand in solidarity with arriving passengers who were suddenly unable to legally enter the country. It broke my heart to see the news breaking out over the weekend. Members of families unable to rejoin the rest. Men, women, children – detained and deported. They didn’t come to America for this! WE didn’t come to America for this!

 

Sometimes, I am speechless when there is an act of hate. Not today. This country is known around the world for freedom, opportunity, hope, “the American Dream.” It is a country built by immigrants, refugees, slaves. I know many families who wouldn’t be here if American hadn’t welcomed immigrants or refugees. I wouldn’t be here.

 

I know I do not stand alone with these emotions. This ban is bad. Worse than bad. It’s disgusting. We will be feeling repercussions of this act for the days, months and possibly years to come – in the US and globally.

 

Part of the problem – with the administration, with the country, with the world – is the complete disconnect from the personal sides of these issues. Completely dehumanized. So, rather than go into further detail about the ban, or my reaction, or the world’s continued reactions, I’m going to share some stories. Real people affected by the ban. True effects of a hasty decision.

 

 

 

 

  • Featured on a number of different articles, Nazanin Zinouri, Clemson University professor, was physically removed from her flight and not allowed back into the US. She had been in Iran visiting family. “During her holiday, she started to hear disturbing rumours that a ban was about to happen. ‘Even though I didn’t want to leave my family, I quickly booked a ticket to get on the next flight back,’ she posted on Facebook. ‘Only a few hours after the order was signed, I got to the airport, got on a plane and made it to Dubai. After waiting in the line to get my documents checked and after 40 minutes of questions and answers, I boarded the plane to Washington, only to have two TSA officers getting in and ask me to disembark the plane!!! Yes after almost 7 years of living the the United States, I got deported!! No one warned me when I was leaving, no one cared what will happen to my dog or my job or my life there. No one told me what I should do with my car that is still parked at the airport parking. Or what to do with my house and all my belongings. They didn’t say it with words but with their actions, that my life doesn’t matter. Everything I worked for all these years doesn’t matter.’”

 

 

  • The story of a Syrian refugee married to an American and living in Irbil, Iraq: In November 2016, before he married, Mohammed tried to smuggle himself to Sweden in the hope of a better life. On the way, he was on a boat that sank. Eleven people drowned, including five children. “I was in the water for four hours. I lost hope. I thought everything was finished. I saw the coastguards try to give CPR to a five-year-old child who had already drowned. His mother was crying and the entire scene was the most devastating thing I’ve ever seen. If I go back to Syria I have to join the army and I would have to shoot or be shot. I want to go to America to have a decent, safe life for my family, and be somewhere I can continue my studies and have a future. Now I feel offended because [Trump’s] decision is specifically targeting Muslims. I used to think America was an open-minded country with an open-minded government; but now I’ve seen it’s a racist government, and I can’t raise my children in a racist society so I’m rethinking my decision. Trump’s order must be challenged.”

 

 

 

  • Excerpt from a photojournalist from Palestine who lives in the US. “It’s like waking to a nightmare coming true, something so scary to imagine, yet my family is dragged to live through it. We are living under the threat of [our lives] all vanishing, [it’s] not safe inside and we are not able to go outside [the US] without risking not being able to come back. In an open prison you at least know where you stand; we don’t even know that. Of course I’m terrified, everything that seemed [too] insane to be happening is actually happening on the very first weeks of Trump’s presidency. I’m afraid now we will have the registration for real as Muslims and Middle Easterners. We will be tattooed with numbers and will be taken to camps like they did to the Japanese. To those who will say that’s insane or impossible, I would say we thought Trump winning was impossible, and we thought the Muslim ban is impossible.”

 

 

More stories and context:

 

http://metro.co.uk/2017/01/29/these-people-are-all-affected-by-donald-trumps-muslim-ban-6413033/

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/29/trump-travel-ban-peoples-stories-from-us-and-around-the-world

http://www.complex.com/life/2017/01/heartbreaking-stories-individuals-being-detained-as-a-result-trumps-executive-order

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/01/protests-grow-trump-immigrant-ban-order-170129194912379.html

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