(Content warning for the Holocaust, antisemitism, ethnic cleansing, xenophobia, and islamophobia)
January 27th 2017. Holocaust Remembrance Day. Released by one Mr Trump on behalf of the White House, this statement: “It is with a heavy heart and sombre mind that we remember and honour the victims, survivors, heroes of the Holocaust. It is impossible to fully fathom the depravity and horror inflicted on innocent people by Nazi terror (…) Together we will make love and tolerance prevalent around the world.”
Is this statement missing something? Ah, yes, perhaps a specific and explicit mention of the six million Jewish people who were the victims of Hitler’s final solution.
When asked why Jewish people were not specifically and explicitly mentioned, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said “I don’t regret the words, I mean, everyone’s suffering in the Holocaust, including, obviously, all of the Jewish people.” As Trump continues to refuse to apologise, publications such as the Atlantic have labelled the move “soft-core Holocaust denial.” Whilst the statement does not deny the existence of the Holocaust, it is true that it is silently ignoring the reality of its antisemitic purpose.
Amidst his Holocaust Denial controversy, and on the same day, Mr Trump wrote an executive order banning green card holders, refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days. The countries affected are Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. Interestingly, Muslim-majority countries such as Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, where Trump runs businesses, have not been banned. This order came into effect immediately and affected even those already in the air.
Following the news, ex-grand wizard of the KKK David Duke has tweeted “Best. Year. Ever. #MuslimBan.” Over the past ten days of a Trump presidency, Counselor Kellyanne Conway has urged us to believe in “alternative facts,” while “alt-right” antisemitic Brietbart media mogul advisor asked the media to “keep its mouth shut and just listen,” and Trump himself has called protesters “unfair.” Trump is fighting all resistance, and last night fired his Attorney General Sally Yates for her refusal to support the ban. With its attacks on free speech and the media, and its limitation of human rights including reproductive rights and both freedom of movement and freedom to practise religion, the USA has been downgraded from a full democracy to a flawed democracy.
The White House, ignoring the protest, preferred to spend their Sunday watching a screening of Finding Dory. This is ironic considering that the film is about someone trying to find her family after being separated from them, much like the many affected by the ban. Even green card holders, who have gone through all the administrative hoops to get legal rights to live and work in the US, saw their green cards removed and were sent back to the country they were flying in from. One such example is Nazanin Zinouri, a data scientist who has lived in the US for 7 years. In a Facebook post she wrote the following: “‘For security reasons your boarding is denied.’ Yes, after almost 7 years of living the US, I got deported. No one warned me when I was leaving, no one cared what would happen to my dog or job or my life there.”
Pouya Ghadirian, a 15-year old schoolboy with dual Australian-Iranian citizenship, was denied entry to go on a summer space camp in Alabama. As of today, Malcolm Turnbull has state dual citizens will be allowed entry but it is still unsure whether or not he will be affected.
British four-time Olympic marathon champion, Sir Mo Farah, fled Somalia for the UK at the age of 8. Currently training in Ethiopia, he resides with his family in the USA. On Facebook, he shared, “On 1 January this year, Her Majesty The Queen made me a Knight of the Realm. On 27 January, President Donald Trump seems to have made me an alien.” Whilst he has now been informed that the ban will not apply to him, Sir Mo Farah is only one example of the strength of immigration.
WHAT WE CAN DO
Breaking a taxi strike at JFK Airport, Uber informed people through Twitter that they would not have surge pricing—this shows Uber saw an opportunity to make more money off political strikes rather than holding to principles of equality. The CEO of Uber, Travis Kalanick, is part of Trump’s tech business advisory board and has said: “We’ll partner with anyone in the world as long as they’re about making transportation in cities better.” The subtext here is, they’ll partner with you as long as Kalanick can make more money. To show your resistance, consider deleting the Uber app.
Trump has been invited by PM Theresa May on the behalf of the Queen of England, for a banquet and meeting later this summer. Over the space of a few days, over 1,660,000 people have signed a petition to have the visit called off. Theresa May, saying that uninviting Trump will undo the work of her meeting with him last week, continues to refuse to withdraw her invitation. If you would like to sign, the petition is here.
There are currently “No Ban No Wall” protests happening in airports across the USA, marches in Washington and all over the world. Keep an eye out on Facebook for upcoming marches and protests. In Leeds last night, hundreds of people gathered to chant “Say It Loud, Say It Clear, Refugees Are Welcome Here”, and “You Can’t Build A Wall, Your Hands Are Too Small”, “Silence is Compliance.” Keep an eye out on Facebook for upcoming protests.
81 green card holders received waivers. A Federal Judge in New York granted a temporary reprieve, and the American Civil Liberties Union has successfully allowed some detained travellers to stay in US. Attorney are emailing emergency waivers across US airports. To support the work of ACLU and smaller charities, consider donating money. Vice and Platform London have released extensive lists of how to fight from abroad.
As of Monday, 375 travellers have been affected by the order, and 109 in transit were denied entry. 173 stopped abroad from boarding airplane en route to the USA. At The Norwich Radical, we represent the borderless future. We march for a future without walls and borders, without discrimination against Muslims. Now is not the time to remain silent.
Featured image credit: Lorie Shaull