A single policy measure, a so-called Executive Order, has affected a great many people from seven “Muslim” countries. Excluded are Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Tunisia, countries whose citizens, a handful, were in fact involved in terrorist attacks in Europe and in the United States. Still, added up, these countries have a combined population of more than 200 million, so the number of those who were involved is a tiny fraction.
Citizens of the “banned list” especially from Syria and Iraq are victims of a protracted war imposed on them. Should they be awarded refugee status or banned altogether?
In fact, according to the Cato Institute, between 1975 and 2015, no citizens from any of the countries listed in Trump’s ban have ever been involved in any acts of terrorism on American soil.
Iran is perhaps the oddest country to be on the list. In the U.S., not a single Iranian or Iranian-American has ever been involved in any terrorist activity against Americans.
But let’s face it, the policy to isolate Iran didn’t start yesterday or today with this so-called Executive Order.
There is no question that one single country has been in the forefront of this isolation crusade. Israel, under Netanyahu, has relentlessly tried to influence the different U.S. administrations in order to cut all ties with the Islamic Republic, which Israel considers to be its number one enemy. At various times, Netanyahu spoke at the UN showing his ridiculously made-up charts, indicating when and how Iran might acquire the bomb.
He lied as blatantly as his friend in the White House is doing these days.
The Obama administration tried to find a balance by pursuing the nuclear deal. That is one of the reasons why Obama and Netanyahu never got along. Among the other issues were of course the question of settlements, which is now a fait accompli.
With a Trump administration, Netanyahu has become even more emboldened to grab land.
Recently Mr. Netanyahu sent a message to the Iranian people speaking of the great Persian nation, having a rich history and culture.
But beyond listening to the message which sounded all too rosy and complimentary to the Iranian people, it is important to realize who the messenger is.
Obviously, Mr. Netanyahu who addressed the U.S. Congress while snubbing President Obama, feels more resolute with his newly found friend in the White House. Having the backing of Donald J. Trump, a clueless person who has become the President of this great nation, he has found a new way to zero in on Iran and Iranians as members of this new “axis of evil.”
Trump’s foreign and domestic policies are upon isolationism. “Make America Great” again would not work because we live in a globalized world. His advisors have no background or experience in foreign policy. And if they do, it is racist, xenophobic and conspiratorial.
By signing executive orders, Trump thinks he can bully his way as he has done so in his various bankrupt businesses and undermine the Constitution of the United States. A Constitution, as so eloquently said by Imran Khan who lost his son in the Iraq war, he probably has never read!
Showing off every order that he signs, is all but manifestations of the White House showman who loves the attention, without realizing the ramifications of his orders. Chaos it has created. His way is take it or leave it, as he said recently in a memo to the employees of the State Department, “Get with the program or leave!”
Iranian Americans have been a very strong and dedicated community in this country. Many have held public and private office. Their contributions have enhanced the quality of the American society. From NASA, to E-bay, from judges to lawyers, the community of Iranian-Americans counts some of the best doctors, some of the most distinguished professors in every field of study to philanthropists and highly educated students among its ranks.
Many have come from Iran, escaping unemployment and oppressive conditions. Yet, in the midst of this brain drain, there are academic exchanges which have now been halted with a single stroke of the pen.
This executive order is as detrimental as some of the others, such as building a wall, opening the field to extract oil from Indian land and the pipeline from Canada.
The U.S. Has been involved in wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen, the last one initiated by Saudi Arabia where hundreds of children have been ripped to pieces.
Yet, the moralistic Republicans like Pence are against abortion which shows their absolute retrograde thinking: To kill a child is ok but to kill a fetus is sinful!
On the other hand, the Islamic Republic has its own agenda. It has been involved in various conflicts in the Middle East and it has been a thorn in the side of many leaders especially Bibi Netanyahu and the Saudis.
But to brand all Iranians as potential terrorists is absolutely preposterous and will only antagonize the whole nation.
Obviously, the next step is to undermine and eradicate the nuclear deal.
What Trump and his cronies have in mind for the future is still vague but if they have the Russians on their side, it will become a very complicated situation. Iran may look towards China and leave its onetime partner, Russia, to do her deed of destabilizing the U.S.
It is a mad mad world out there. A world according to Trump. But as the great Bertolt Brecht said some fifty years ago:
“In the dark times
Will there also be singing?
Yes, there will also be singing.
About the dark times.”
In the streets of major cities in America and now at its airports, people are beginning to sing the song of resistance. The drums are beating. Fast and furious.