Being banned is not so bad

This image is claimed as fair dealing under Australian copyright law. It is relevant to the piece and I liked it as soon as I saw it. This ban is a form of apartheid, there is no denying it. I also respect Nelson Mandela for the hardship he endured and the cause he symbolises.

Being Muslim in the world today is becoming more and more restrictive. And if you hadn’t heard, the new US regime has banned travel to the United States from 7 Muslim majority countries. One of those countries is where I’m from, Iran. And it turns out that even though I’m an Australian and carry an Australian passport, I may not be able to visit family & friends in America. But that’s okay. Why is being banned okay to me?

When you’ve studied history like me you have a long-term view of things like these. History allows you to see the long term impact for the oppressor and the oppressed. If you have an interest in history I strongly recommend it, but I digress. It is safe to say being Muslim in the world today is tantamount to being a second-class citizen. Some might say Muslims brought this on themselves as if every single one of us is responsible for the actions of all other Muslims! This always makes me pause when I hear someone make this point. By this logic all whites are responsible for the slavery of blacks, indigenous and brown people. We know that’s not true and that white people would be offended and rightfully disagree with that statement.

The Muslim experience is the experience of the oppressed because the systems of power and their instruments of power are tightly wound to treat Muslims as foreign and novel. Somewhat like quaint antiques I suppose. This ban is clearly about bigotry and division and has nothing to do with preventing terrorism.

Back to why the ban is not so bad. Maybe it’s just me but I think that, over time, it will hurt American political influence in the world more than it will hurt people on the ground. Now, I initially believed that it would require more time before we saw any repercussions however we are already seeing the situation unravel with some of the banned countries reciprocating the ban on US citizens. Iran was the first to respond with a retaliatory ban which certainly wouldn’t have made much of a stir in the new US regime, since they don’t have much at stake there besides the occasional tourist or spy missing out. The real zinger was tonight when I read a report that the Iraqi government has followed Iran’s example to vote to ban US citizens from the country.

This will get some very concerned attention since roughly 5000 US troops & personnel are stationed in Iraq to assist with the fight against ISIS, not to mention the American contractors and journalists working in Iraq. They will all have to leave. Not so good for the United States. Somehow, I feel that this new leader of the United States does not care about the repercussions since his psychology reveals a childlike will to topple all and renew as he pleases, carelessly so.

Finally, the ban is most likely just the beginning of planned humiliations and restrictions to be imposed on people from my background. If history tells us anything it has told us that the oppressed in history have won for justice and always held the highest ground morally. The early Christians and Nero’s Rome, the Israelites and Egypt’s Pharaoh, the early Muslims and Arabia’s pagan elites, Africans and South African apartheid, Gandhi and British India, European Jewry and Fascist Germany/Europe. The list is long, I only have so much space but I think I’ve made my point here.

The future looks bleak not for the oppressed but for those that impose injustice on innocence. It’s time to remain forthright in our belief that we the people, on the ground, are on the right side of history. We stand for the good of all regardless of nationality, religion, colour or creed.

This blog was written with contributions from Paymon Jebeli.