Photo credit: Alessio Lin on Unsplash

Day 235 in the age of Trump

Day 235 in the Age of T: The new #MuslimBan3 puts new restrictions on many of us – for Iranians it means no family members can get visas to visit their US based relatives. No grannies or grampas, no cousins or aunties or brothers, sisters, children or parents, lovers or spouses.

I sit here remembering how joyful my father was in 2008 when Obama won; how down the phone line so many miles away, he said “Only in America can that happen”. He was an anglophile with healthy skepticism of the US, but he knew the UK well enough to know that the possibility of a second generation immigrant becoming Prime Minister was still impossible. But in America that could happen and it did. Tonight, I sit here and think of him, and for a moment  I feel relieved that he is no longer with us to witness this despicable act, and the venal man in the White House.

He came to visit us once in 2003. He applied for his visa in Switzerland. When asked by the US consulate what he did in Iran, and what he hoped to do in the US, my father, then aged 75, and long retired (barred by the revolutionaries after being appointed as the youngest person to serve) from the Board of the National Iranian Oil Company, replied ‘Not much of anything these days.’He never came to the US again. The Bush wars pained him, and by the time Obama came to power, he was just too tired.

But since 2015 when he passed away, he comes to visit me quite often, in my dreams, in my imagination. His voice echoes in my mind. My eyes still see every detail of his wonderful face. So tonight as I imagine other Persians wondering if they’ll see the people they love most, my heart breaks for them. For close to forty years, the politics of our homeland and our adopted lands have ripped our families apart, and it is happening yet again.

But to that man and those around him who let this ban through, I say, it is you who has lost. It is you losing your humanity day by day. You will never succeed in banning our profound and intimate family ties regardless of the distance between us. You cannot ban our love and our memories, our thoughts and our imagination. Your ban is a symbol of fear and failure. And your bans just strengthen the bonds that unite us.