By Travis Martin
It appears that Donald Trump‘s recent executive order to ban Muslim immigrants from entering the United States have affected the entertainment world. Iranian director Asghar Farhadi will not be able to attend the 89th Academy Award ceremony because of the ban. Farhadi currently has a film, “The Salesman,“ nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film category in the Oscars.
Because of this, Farhadi has decided not to attend. Farhadi reasoning was, in part of a statement made to the New York Times, is, “it now seems that the possibility of this presence is being accompanied by ifs and buts which are in no way acceptable to me even if exceptions were to be made for my trip. I would therefore like to convey via this statement what I would have expressed to the press were I to travel to the United States. Hard-liners, despite their nationalities, political arguments and wars, regard and understand the world in very much the same way. In order to understand the world, they have no choice but to regard it via an “us and them” mentality, which they use to create a fearful image of “them” and inflict fear in the people of their own countries.”
He goes on to say that, “However, 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.” To read full statement, click here.
Now, I can accept that a director may not want to attend an Oscar ceremony. After all, Farhadi had previously won an Oscar for “A Separation.“ What I cannot fathom is that a director is unable to attend a ceremony that celebrates his art just because of his nationality and ethnicity. As artists, which I hope that I can be among, we revere the numerous points-of-view and opinions that allow not only film, but art itself to develop and refine. Not only do I despise the subjugation of censorship, but I am also ashamed that this censorship comes from America. Our founding principle, our lifeblood, as Americans has been freedom, specifically on freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to assemble, and freedom of religion. Weather you like Farhadi’s work or not, or have no clue who this guy is, this ban towards Middle Eastern immigrants not only impede’s America’s artistic growth but also defiles the principle of America.
On a final note, if you do not support this ban of Muslim or Middle Eastern art and artists, go see Farhadi’s film. It’s about a couple whose reenactment of Arthur Miller‘s “Death of a Salesman” puts strain on their relationship. Currently, “The Salesman” is out in limited theater release.