America’s lurch to the far right

Two snowshoers from Kashmir, Abid Khan and Tanveer Hussain, have  been denied visa to the US due to “current (US) policy”. The denial follows shortly  after the new US president Donald Trump signed an executive order which blocked the entry of refugees from war-torn Syria and suspended the entry of  immigrants from Muslim-majority Middle Eastern and African countries Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Yemen. Khan and Hussain were to take part in the 2017 World Snowshoe Championships in New York from February 24-25. According to them, the lady officer at US embassy in New Delhi after checking all documents went inside  another room and after returning told them that no visa could be issued to them.

Kashmir has thus been unlikely victim of the US immigration ban, despite India not being on the list. And it is clear the two were denied visa because they are Muslims and hail from Kashmir. If anything, it tells us that the US immigration ban is more sinister. While on paper it is against some predominantly Muslim countries, but its implementation will cover Muslims from all over the world. And as it is,  it has little to do with a particular Muslim man’s personal credentials, but his religion. This is such a sad state of affairs. More so, considering this Muslim ban  has been implemented by US, a country which has ironically so far been the lynchpin of the global liberal order. And a country which has far defined its identity in opposition to the  rigid and regimented systems from around the world.

And America took pride in its democracy, open-mindedness and its concern for civil liberties and human rights.  In 2008, the country spectacularly re-affirmed its commitment to these values by electing Barack Obama, a black leader, as its president and then re-electing him in 2012. This too just seven years after the attack on the twin towers in New York.

But who would have thought that the same country  would now become a mirror image of all it has scorned and stood against since its  liberation from the Britain. Who would have imagined that despite being a great democracy, we would witness this stunning closing of the American mind. Who would have thought that in the fight against the ideology of ISIS and the other global Muslim extremist networks, the US would espouse the sinister aspects of the self-same ideologies. This is a tragic state of affairs. However, it will be premature to abandon the hope yet. Tens of thousands of people have rallied in U.S. cities and at airports to voice outrage over President Trump’s anti-immigration order. The protesters said the president’s order was un-American and ran counter to the country’s core values. Similarly, there is hope that America’s institutions will stand up to this war on the country’s entrenched liberal order. Already the media has declared its opposition to the Trump’s divisive agenda.  We hope this resistance picks up and succeeds. America’s rightwing lurch is too fraught a development for the world to be allowed to go uncontested.


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