Supporters of all parties must act now
That President Trump signed an executive order indefinitely banning refugees from Syria and any visitors from another six Muslim countries on, of all days, Holocaust Memorial Day, causing misery for thousands, shows how insensitive and deaf to the lessons of the past President Trump is. Something we must not be.
The reasoning behind this executive order to ban nationals from seven countries President Trump gives is to stop foreigners from these countries from entering America and killing Americans through terrorist acts.
But in the last forty years, foreigners from these countries have committed no terrorist killings in the USA. Of those foreigners convicted of terrorist crimes more have come from the United Kingdom (3), Croatia (9) or Armenia (6) then from Iraq (2), Syria (0), Libya (0) and Yemen (1). Within this period Saudi Arabia nationals have committed 2,369 killings on American soil and had 19 people arrested for terrorism, but strangely stay off the list (this includes 9/11).
As can be seen from the above there is something arbitrary about the list of seven countries; it has already been commented that no countries President Trump has business interests in have been put on the list. What hasn’t been commented on is that they make up 70 per cent of the world’s Shi’ite Muslim world population – this would be a frightening move for the President to make, but the artibitriness of these countries makes it something we must consider.
Perhaps the most morally sickening aspect of the banning is those from Iraq. How can there be any moral justification for banning someone from a country whose nationals have has not committed a single terrorist killing for 40 years in the US, while the invasion of the same country by American forces and allies has, by conservative estimates, led to half a million deaths of Iraqis since 2003 in Iraq itself?
The moral outrage can only be multiplied by President Trump’s banning indefinitely of the refugees from Syria. The Syria tragedy is of a scale not seen since the second world war — with four out of ten Syrians (some 11 million) displaced from their homes and over 400,000 dead.
Seventy-five percent of the dead were not killed by ISIL but President Assad, who has the backing of President Putin. That this genocide has not been higher in death toll has been because of number that has been able to escape. most to neighbouring Middle Eastern countries. President Trump closing the door to these people is simply unhuman
If there were any doubts that Donald Trump executive order was race based this was dispelled with his interview with Christian Broadcast News on the day of these executive orders, in which he stated preference would be given to Christians refugees, something that is repeated in the order itelf.
To simply misunderstand that the victims of ISIL and President Assad are overwhelming Muslim, is either due to him beinging extremely naive to the well-documented facts or shows a desire of this President to be overtly racist. We must assume the later.
This order was passed on Holocaust Memorial Day, and now is as good a time as any other to remember the speech at the 70th year commemoration of Auschwitz, by Roman Kent, a survivor of the Holocaust, he talked about his fear that we again become bystanders to tragic events. With tears in his eyes, he said,
“When I think of the Holocaust as I often do …I think of the righteous gentiles who endangered their lives, and their families to save the life of a stranger…We must ALL be involved and stay involved, no one, no one ever should be a spectator, I feel so strongly about this point that if I had the power, I would add a 11th commandment to the universally accepted 10 commandments, you should never, never be a bystander.”
We need to make sure our government and our prime minister know that they must condemn these order without reserve, we must make sure we and our government do not become bystanders to this moment in history.
Ranjit Sidhu is is the founder of SiD, Statistics into Decisions. Follow him on Twitter.Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.