Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban suspends the refugee program for 120 days and blocks people in seven countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) from entering the US for 90 days, affecting tens of thousands of people – including artists and cultural figures.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is concerned that exhibitions, archaeological surveys and excavations featuring the Middle East will have to be canceled or condensed. “Scholarly exchanges and international collaborations are key to our ongoing work, and we are very concerned that a number of programs we have in place could be threatened, just at a time when the world needs more, not less, exchange and mutual understanding,” says Thomas P. Campbell, the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Even an Oscar winner is affected by the travel ban. Asghar Farhadi won an Oscar for best foreign-language film in 2012 for the brilliant “A Separation” and says that even if he were to be granted a special visa, he’d turn it down and refuse to attend this year’s Oscars where his new film “The Salesman” is nominated. He condemns the ban, calling it “unjust” and hopes “that the current situation will not give rise to further divide between nations.”
Marcel Mettelsiefen is also nominated for an Oscar for his film “Watani: My Homeland.” The documentary follows a Syrian woman named Hala Kamil and her children as they seek asylum in Germany but unfortunately Ms. Kamil won’t be able to attend the Oscars due to the ban. “It is very sad she cannot come,” said Mr. Mettelsiefen. “She is the star of the movie.”
In a statement, Mr. Farhadi wrote: “I believe that the similarities among the human beings on this earth and its various lands, and among its cultures and its faiths, far outweigh their differences. I believe that the root cause of many of the hostilities among nations in the world today must be searched for in their reciprocal humiliation carried out in its past and no doubt the current humiliation of other nations are the seeds of tomorrow’s hostilities. To humiliate one nation with the pretext of guarding the security of another is not a new phenomenon in history and has always laid the groundwork for the creation of future divide and enmity. I hereby express my condemnation of the unjust conditions forced upon some of my compatriots and the citizens of the other six countries trying to legally enter the United States of America and hope that the current situation will not give rise to further divide between nations.”