If Donald Trump wanted to steal pride of place in the headlines after his first week in the Presidency, he certainly managed it. He probably predicted the howls of derision reverberating around a world in which imperialism, colonialism and globalization opened the floodgates to migration, a world in which the term immigration cannot by definition be illegal.
Since 1975 UN directives have been urging interlocutors not to use the term "illegal" when speaking about immigrants and immigration, replacing it with "irregular" or "undocumented" whereby the immigrant did not possess the requirements or papers to satify the norms of the country (s)he wished to emigrate to.
This approach was taken up by the International Labor Organization, XCII Session (2004), The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (2006), the European Parliament (2009), the UNHCR (2009), the European Commission (2010) and the international media in 2013.
In banning entry visas to persons from seven mainly Moslem countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria Yemen), Donald Trump has thrown rocks at a hornets' nest, with people claiming he has insulted American values, with a petition of over one million signatures calling for a suspension of his State Visit to Poodle-in-Chief the United Kingdom, whose Prime Minister was the first to rush to Washington to get a pat on the head and a biscuit before cooing in public about the Special Relationship.
However, putting President Trump's measures into context, they neither violate the law, nor are they intended to be discriminatory, nor are they of a permanent nature. They are a temporary measure to halt immigration procedure for a few months while the vetting process is improved.
Obviously, inside the legislation there should be provision for the unification of families, this being a basic tenet of international customary law.
Rightly, the measure has to be placed in the context into which it is inserted. How many of those complaining on the streets today were out screaming and waving flags as the United States of America and its poodles in Europe were committing war crimes, committing mass murder and destroying States with terrorist attacks? And how many of these victims were precisely the countries on the ban list? The United States of America has interfered in each and every one of them.
One could argue "no interference, less terrorism" which although it is true, is less significant an argument than the fact that in January 2017, and by midnight on January 29, there had been no less than 104 terrorist incidents around the world, occasioning 854 deaths and thousands of injured, most of these also in the seven countries referred to above. That is over three attacks per day and these are not less terrifying or horrific because they are perpetrated in Baghdad or Mogadishu or Idlib than if they are carried out on the streets of London, Paris or Washington DC.
That does not mean that the citizens of these countries are terrorists, because anyway many of the terrorists operating in them were flown in by agencies close to the West to carry out their demonic deeds with a nod, a wad of banknotes and an arsenal of weapons provided by one such agency. It also does not mean that the citizens of these nations cannot obtain a false passport from another.
A passport is meaningless in today's world, being simply an anachronism from imperialist times when lines were drawn on maps and people were classified according to which side of the line they were born on. An Ovimbundu born on the western side of the line is classified as a Portuguese-speaking Angolan, while one born a few meters away on the eastern side is classified as an English-speaking Zambian. Neither speak Portuguese or English, both speak Umbundu. Neither has a passport.
Conclusion: terrorist attacks are not hatched in eastern Angola but the map places a lot of red spots around the Middle East, increasingly since American intervention in the region. The hornets' nest is not Trump or his executive orders, it is the western policy of deployment over development.
When this is reversed, when money is invested in taking out the arms traffickers (which includes western agencies), in building peace and reconciliation programs, in restructuring the education system for the thousands of children affected by western countries sticking their unwanted noses into complex socio-political mosaics just because a country lies on an oil route or because the Lobbies have decided President X. must go, just because they have... perhaps then, and only then, will we see the Middle East calm down.
A nice gesture might indeed be to place the US Embassy in Jerusalem, and now we speak of it, the United Nations Building as well, in an international city that belongs to everybody and to nobody. Following this, a serious dialog about Israeli construction on illegally occupied land, culminating in a phased withdrawal of Israeli assets from these territories and a rental paid until the process is finished and compensation for the stealing of Palestinian properties in Israel itself.
In this broader context, a temporary measure at a time of international crisis does indeed appear to be a storm in a teacup, although such measures, even if permanent, would be totally ineffective. If I were a terrorist and wanted to carry out an event, I would hire someone from another country, such as Albania, would fly to Canada and simply walk across the border or else get a travel visa to the States and overstay.
To every action there are many possible reactions. What matters is finding root causes, nurturing growth and harmony and sinply ceasing acts which provoke vitriol. If until now the American people have failed to see this, maybe they should give Trump a chance and see what he can do. After all, they will have plenty of time to complain in four years' time if they don't like what they see. Until then, it's the D-word, Dddddddddddddddemocracy!
*Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey has worked as a correspondent, journalist, deputy editor, editor, chief editor, director, project manager, executive director, partner and owner of printed and online daily, weekly, monthly and yearly publications, TV stations and media groups printed, aired and distributed in Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Portugal, Mozambique and São Tomé and Principe Isles; the Russian Foreign Ministry publication Dialog and the Cuban Foreign Ministry Official Publications. He has spent the last two decades in humanitarian projects, connecting communities, working to document and catalog disappearing languages, cultures, traditions, working to network with the LGBT communities helping to set up shelters for abused or frightened victims and as Media Partner with UN Women, working to foster the UN Women project to fight against gender violence and to strive for an end to sexism, racism and homophobia. A Vegan, he is also a Media Partner of Humane Society International, fighting for animal rights. He is Director and Chief Editor of the Portuguese version of Pravda.Ru.
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