Donald Trump Better Watch Out!
Protestors at the Portland International Airport on Sunday
Monday, 1/30/2017 12:06 PM
Over the weekend, thousands took to the airports, to the streets and to the White House to protest against Donald Trump's anti-Muslim policies. Thousands streamed on Saturday night to Terminal 4 at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport, where they held up signs like "No Wall!" ir "Let Them In!" Similar images could be seen in other cities across the country, including Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C.
The crowds are growing and they are getting louder.
In recent months, it often seemed as though Donald Trump could no longer outdo himself when it came to demonstrating his lunacy. But the decision to ban people from seven Muslim countries from entering into the United States is just one further absurdity on the part of the new U.S. president. It is indeed un-American because it places a question mark over the United States' very identity as a nation of immigrants. It is more dangerous than any other action he has taken since his inauguration.
With the ban, Trump is fulfilling a promise he made during his campaign -- namely that he wants to make the United States safer by protecting it from Islamist terrorism. The desire for greater protection is a theme currently being felt in all Western societies. It's one that politicians cannot escape.
And this argument is one that applies more in the U.S. than in most other countries. The effects of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington still color the country today. More than a dozen perpetrators were involved in the attacks. They came from Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.
A number of celebrities, athletes and prominent intellectuals have also been hit by Donald Trump's order banning entry into the United States by citizens of seven largely Muslim countries. Nuruddin Farah of Somalia is one of Africa's most important novelists and has even been considered for the Nobel Prize in literature. He also teaches in a number of European countries. Under the new rules, he is no longer permitted to enter the U.S.
Actress Jasmin Tabatabai, although less known internationally, is a prominent figure in Germany. She possesses dual German and Iranian citizenship. Here she is seen attending the Berlin International Film Festival.
German rapper Azad, has also been hit by the U.S. travel ban. He came to Germany as a Kurdish refugee from Iran as a child and is considered one of the most influential figures in the German rap scene.
"A Slap in the Face" is the title of the latest book by German-Iraqi novelist Abbas Khider, the recipient of multiple literary awards in Germany. The book's title is probably what the travel ban feels like for Khider.
Danish-Iraqi actor Dar Salim was a cast member of the first season of "Game of Thrones," in which he played Qotho.
The travel ban is also worrying the NBA. In addition to his Australian passport, Thon Maker of the Milwaukee Bucks is also a citizen of South Sudan.
Also hit by the travel ban is Iranian weightlifter Kianoush Rostami, who won the gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Iranian-German novelist and poet SAID has won numerous literary awards, including Germany's highest civilian honor, the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Activist Napuli Langa occupied a tree in Berlin for four days in order to raise awareness about the plight of refugees. The action attracted so much attention that a film was made about her in Germany. The entry ban likewise applies to the Sudanese activist.
Omid Nouripour, a German-Iranian member of the German federal parliament, is also banned from entering the United States under President Trump's order. In fact, the presidential order applies to tens of thousands of Germans who have dual citizenship. Although Nouripour has praised Chancellor Angela Merkel's criticism of Trump's action, he says she didn't go far enough.
German-Iranian author and journalist Navid Kermani recently won Germany's top literary prize. He has traveled extensively in the United States in the past. Trump's order also applies to this much-respected intellectual figure.
Poetry slammer and journalist Michel Abdollahi has been awarded a number of prizes in Germany. In response to Trump's travel ban order, he wrote to the German goverment: "Have the balls to say this will not be accepted. I am doing my part to protect our constitution. Now it is also time for you to defend all of us against this insanity."
Iranian director Asghar Farhadi is currently nominated for the Oscar for best foreign film for "The Salesman." He has issued a statement that even if he is allowed an exception to enter the US for the ceremony, he will not attend.
Discus-thrower Ehsan Hadadi of Iran after winning the silver medal at the London Olympic Games in 2012.
Iraqi-Egyptian cellist Karim Wasfi is the conductor of the Baghdad Symphony. Here, he is seen playing inWashington, D.C., on Jan. 25 during a protest against Trump's immigration policies.
NBA basketball star Luol Deng of the Los Angeles Lakers posseses both British and South Sudanese citizenship.
And that gets right to the catch in his new policy: Not a single one of these countries is included in Trump's travel ban. None of these attacks would have been prevented, even if the order had been issued years ago.
Trump himself should know that the travel ban bypasses the problem. The worst terrorist attack committed in the country since Sept. 11 happened early last summer in the middle of the election campaign at Orlando's Pulse nightclub. The attacker, Omar Mateen, came from New York -- a young, lost American who shot and killed more than 50 people in the name of the Islamic State. A terrorist who had grown up and radicalized in his own country.
The world is complicated and terrorism, unfortunately, is as well. With his simplistic answers, Trump isn't making the U.S. any safer. It could already be considered a success if he didn't take any steps to make it less safe. But his crude decree will merely fuel new prejudices against the United States in the Muslim world. It will create new anger. Anger among the film directors, artists and athletes who have been turned away at the country's airports or were not permitted to travel to the U.S. in the first place. Among their relatives back in their home countries and among people not immediately affected by the ban. Among the many moderate Muslims all around the world.
A Gift for I.S.
The travel ban is a gift for a terrorist Islamic State that is currently losing ground in Syria and Iraq and is under pressure to find new arguments for why joining the holy war against the West is still a worthy endeavor.
The travel ban provides just the narrative the terrorists need. Donald Trump may have given a few new reasons to susceptible people this weekend.
And it is the president himself who carries full political responsibility for this. Running the White House isn't idle play or a reality show. It's a job that can influence both the situation in the United States and ultimately, the entire world. That's something Trump is going to have to learn. Unfortunately, though, it will come at the expense of others.
His advisers should understand this. Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan as well as White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus are veteran politicians. They should know the kinds of consequences the president's moods can have. As such, they are also equally responsible.
Politics under Donald Trump have taken on a speed that has made it difficult for even experienced observers to constantly register effects the president's often impulsive words and actions will have. The fact that this has happened is also a product of the social networks which Trump, to an extent not seen in any president before him, has made a decisive tool in his political leadership.
It was by harnessing the power of these networks that Trump became president. He understood how to exploit public sentiment to his advantage with his unscrupulous use of rumors, half-truths and lies.
But it is also a power which cannot be tamed -- not even by Trump. This weekend, after only a few hours, social networks brought together tens of thousands of people who protested in the cold on Saturday night against Trump and again on Sunday. They were the second mass protests to take place against Trump in the United States in the course of a single week. The virtual is becoming real and is striking back.
Donald Trump had better watch out.
The very social media that helped Donald Trump become president is being tapped by those who oppose him.