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Alia Al Hazami: The ‘Land of the Constrained’
February 05, 2017
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Exclusive to The Gulf Today

A couple of days ago, Trump stated that he was taking some new serious measures to prevent domestic terror attacks. Unfortunately, his measures managed to cause just that: terror. Trump joyfully signed an executive order than would ban people of certain races and beliefs from entering the United States. Ironically, the executive order was signed during the Holocaust Memorial Day. If anything, that unfortunate event in history should have prevented Trump from committing a heinous act that was bound to repeat history. Trump’s actions created unrest in the people of the world to the extent where being in social settings has become unsettling.

I recall the heartbreak everyone suffered the first day of class after Trump made his decision. Going to my university, I thought some studying would distract me from what’s going on in the world, but being an International Relations student did not help. My American professors would welcome students into the classroom by apologizing. They would go on to express how embarrassed they were by their own country. Students were sitting in corners panicking about their families and planned trips to attend conferences, among many other issues. I saw so many people cry either in disgrace or in pain of what might happen to their loved ones. Living thousands of miles apart from the States did not account for anything. Living in this globalized era only emphasizes the interdependence and connection between the world.

In explaining globalization, most theorists would resort to using flows to describe the liquid nature of it. Academics George Ritzer and Paul Dean stated that flows can trigger frictions that either cause malfunctions or unexpected cataclysms. Still, Ritzer and Dean believe flows provide a sense of increased liquidity and offer increasing porosity of global barriers. As such, it is very problematic to assume that a blockage of people, especially in a time of constant war, is a valid decision. It is now more than ever that people need the increased sense of liquidity in the world as we live in a time full of war and fragmentation. I am not claiming that it is a good idea to permit anyone to travel freely as terrorists do exist. However, depriving those who are truly in need of shelter of pursuing a better life is absolutely unfortunate.

Statistically speaking, the rate of immigrants to cause domestic terror is obsolete. More internal citizens in the States have caused acts of domestic terror than immigrants. As such, a ban comes from a place of privilege, ignorance and racism. It showcases fear of the other and an internalized hatred for anything that is different. It stems from a place that rejects self-education and believing anything by mainstream media. We live in an era where there is enough knowledge to reject racism, and present tolerance. Being globalized citizens only emphasizes that we can live together in peace, only if we strive to detach from the racism we have been taught and accept one another.

Therefore, seeing the nature of our reality in 2017, it is now imperative that we speak up and tolerate. Empathy and compassion will take us a long way. We have been socialized in group identities that shape our understanding of life. We cannot let manmade ideals separate us when in actuality, beyond the socially constructed supremacy of race and religion, we are all the same… As such, when the leader of the supposed free world constrains people, we fight for their liberation. Regardless of the distance between us, we must pray and support those that are suffering.

As H. G. Wells stated, “If we don’t end war, war will end us.” War does not have to be concentrated between or within nation-states; it can also be the war on people and thoughts. It is now, more than ever, time to use our voice. We are given platforms that were not available many years ago. We must choose to win this fight and not let it separate us. Intolerance and racism cannot simply win again.

The author is the writer of “Alatash,” a columnist,
and an International Studies and English Literature student at AUS.

Twitter: @aliaalhazami

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