International and local media, as well as social networks, circulated the executive order issued by US president Donald Trump which banned people from numerous Muslim-majority countries to enter the US. Many tried to analyse the decision and came up with different results, while no one has bothered to read the decision itself or analyse it objectively away from political polarisation.
In the following lines, I will discuss the decision from my point of view.
First: is Trump racist? The answer would be yes. In my opinion, he is racist against non-US citizens and foreigners in general. He is racist against people of colour and sexist towards women, including American women. Trump’s racism has been readily apparent starting from his presidential election campaign until his inauguration.
Secondly, I do not defend Trump or anyone else. In my opinion, there is no one worse than Trump, except Hillary Clinton.
Now, let us discuss the decision.
In 2015, former president Barack Obama’s administration issued a decision that banned the travel of “terrorists” and labelled Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Sudan, and Iran as “Countries of Particular Concern” based on CIA and FBI reports at the time. Trump has just reactivated this previous decision, although he has retroactively expanded the application of the ban.
The decision did not ban Muslims particularly from entering the US, as the Democratic party and its media claimed, notably the CNN satellite channel. Actually, the decision postponed the entry of citizens from the seven Muslim-majority countries to the US for a 90-day period and 120-day period for refugees, so as to examine each case carefully, with the exception of Syria which has no specific limit on the ban. The decision aims to create an integrated database for all visa applicants from these countries in accordance with the third item of the resolution. The decision also provided some exceptions, including diplomats who hold diplomatic passports, NATO employees, politicians, and state officials, as well as all employees in international organisations who hold the G1, G2, G3, G4, and G5 visas.
There are many Muslim-majority countries such as Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey, Nigeria, and others which were not listed in the decision. Actually, Trump’s decision did not name any country specifically other than Syria. It only made mention of the countries of particular concern set by the Obama administration in 2015.
How did we not hear of this resolution from the previous administration?
It is because of two main reasons; the first is the global media that supported the policies of the Obama administration at the time. The second reason is that the Obama administration did not apply the resolution to those who received permanent residence; it targeted people who were applying after the resolution was issued in 2015.
Trump decided to apply the resolution retroactively even to those who already received their visas and permanent residences before the issuance of the resolution and even expanded it to those who have dual nationalities. While US citizens with dual nationalities were spared, it has nevertheless created a crisis for a lot of families, and even for international airports in the US.
The federal court’s decision to partially ignore this resolution was mainly due to the retroactive application, as the resolution violates the fifth amendment of the US constitution. The federal court is scheduled to hold a hearing session later this month.
The media reported German chancellor Angela Merkel’s request to president Trump to respect the Geneva Convention, and here I must clarify a legal point. The concept of state sovereignty in accordance with the rules of international law states that the state has the absolute right to accept or refuse the entry of any foreigner to its territory without giving reasons. No international treaty or agreement is contrary to this concept. The Geneva Convention includes the need to treat war-zone refugees humanely and to provide possible assistance without addressing any way to force any state to accept their entry into its territory against its will.
Merkel’s policies have been met with fierce opposition because her decision to open German borders to a large number of refugees has been met with hate crimes and peculiar behaviours in German society.
Finally, before criticising Trump’s racism and the rights of refugees, we must ask ourselves an important question: who made these people refugees and why do we shape the vast majority of refugees in the world while we are the sons of the richest area on the globe? The answer lies in our racism, our wars, and our unwillingness to accept each other as we are, to live together or have the minimum amount of tolerance for one another.
The Democratic party’s policies and the rule of Obama over the last eight years has brought the entire region to where we are now.