A revised version of Trump’s travel ban is being put into effect today, after the Supreme Court allowed some parts of the ban to be re-asserted pending a hearing in the fall.
The US State Department has issued some clarifications as to who exactly is affected by the ban. As before, it affects travellers from countries that include Syria, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Yemen etc.
The list of people that are still allowed in includes green-card holders, those with short term visas, already-admitted refugees, dual nationals, workers offered employment, accepted university students, and nationals with a close living relative in the US.
Who’s excluded? In short, anyone not in the above who doesn’t have a “bona fide” relationship with an organisation or individual in the US.
Hotel reservations and other forms of recreational bookings don’t count, therefore. Refugees pending approval for US admission may also not be admitted, given the fact that this ban only seems to allow in those already given approval.
Also, if you have a “close” relative who doesn’t live in the US (grandparents, nieces, nephews, fiances etc), you’re not welcome. The most dangerous precedent that springs to mind is the following: foreign journalists and lecturers will only be considered on a case-by-case level, ostensibly being allowed in if their papers are ok.
Meaning? If you’re not academically “moderate” enough, or you espouse views that some reactionary suit in a high office may dislike, nothing doing.
In short, it risks the US ending up with a brain drain in which intellectual discussion is snuffed out and those not following the line of the government are not just made to feel unwelcome, but are legally unwelcome.
What do Muslims feel?
While some Muslims (including cultural and non-observant “Muslims) have been outraged, many more Muslims well-aware of the nature of US foreign policy around the world support the ban, including personal (Syrian) friends. But why?
In short, because they’re glad that Trump won. Not because they like Trump but because he tells the brutal truth about what he’s doing to their relatives at home.
For decades the US has bombed, raped, looted and destroyed Muslim countries under the guise of helping to bring “freedom and democracy”, either by direct intervention or the backing of tens of puppet regimes and artificially-created nations.
But now, America has a leader constantly going off-message to flaunt what the Muslim world already knows – that America is not massacring their children to bring democracy, but to destroy Islam and prevent true independence arising in Muslim nations.
Because Trump is so shameless about American imperialism (he loves to rant about how America should “take the oil” from Iraq, which it, of course, already has done) they welcome his victory for exposing America’s true nature to the world.
Trump’s vitriol will wake up (and already has woken up) at least a few people to the reality of US militarism, including those well-meaning souls who somehow genuinely thought it was all for the greater good.
Trump has talked about “taking out” families of those he deems terrorists, and has done it. Trump has talked about bombing “the sh*t” out of us, and has done so.
All this hate only serve to foster a greater sense of outrage among Muslims and non-Muslims alike, along with more resistance to the constant aggression of the United States.
Trump isn’t an Obama, fist-bumping Muslim children as he drones them abroad. He’s a sneering rabble-rouser relishing in his desire to see Muslims bow or be annihilated.
Little has changed. But the rhetoric used to conceal US ambitions has, perversely, for the better. Here’s an extract from my November column on this issue:
Bombings, killings and occupations of other countries continue unabated. FBI spying programs that ensnare and entrap the mentally ill (especially vulnerable Muslims) increased dramatically.
Obama’s administration (supposedly much better than the Bush administration) rushed to rehabilitate as many tyrants as possible, from Ilham Aliyev to the Castros.
The White House changing hands will not stop (and has not stopped) the crimes of the United States, including joining forces with Assad. Now Trump will openly state the malicious intent that US politicians have painstakingly sought to hide. He will expose the crumbling empire for what it really is.
Some Muslims have gone further, saying American Muslims would do well to not fight such policies and let Trump enact them. Why? In the words of one young Syrian, Trump is helping to “eliminate the grey zone” and stop some Muslims in the west Muslims fence-sitting in comfort.
Their reasoning is surprisingly clear. The US has killed some 6-8 million of their co-religionists; allowing the US to turn in on itself and keep imploding can only be good for Muslims. What do they have to lose?