Although I said to someone bts the other day that I shall abstain from political comment on my blog in the future, I just cannot keep quiet on the recent/current developments in the US, i.e. the Muslim Ban. Disclosure 1: I am *not* a US citizen, but I believe that world politics are significantly shaped and influenced by the US, which in turn shapes and influences my world as a non-US citizen. Disclosure 2: I am an immigrant in a foreign country. I know what it is like to live far away from my own country. It is immaterial whether anyone leaves their home for political or economic reasons, all immigrants are united in their hope for a better future for themselves and their family. Disclosure 3: My country of origin and nationality is Germany – where the Holocaust was “invented” and mass discrimination was implemented on a never-before-seen scale. My own (Jewish) great-grandfather was killed in Theresienstadt, my (half-Jewish) grandfather survived internment in a labour camp. Hence I have an opinion – and an obligation to prevent history repeating itself.
The recent developments are reminding me of the well-known poem by Pastor Niemöller.
First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the Social Democrats, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Social Democrat.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
For me, that poem explains why it is essential that *everyone* speaks up and voice opinion, directly affected by what is happening, or not. Because if we don’t, we may end up in the same position as Niemöller, with no one left to take a stand. And thus I was glad to hear this morning that RA had voiced an opinion. Time difference prevented me from seeing the tweet that was posted by Mr A overnight. Thanks to other people’s record-keeping, I have seen it now. And let me say that I was really glad that I did. The point made by other bloggers, that in this case, maybe the wishes of the tweep in question ought to be respected, and the tweet ought not to be re-posted as a picture, is valid. So I am not going to do so. I do not want to criticise RA for taking down his tweet because I understand that it can be unwise to expose oneself like that. I am simply glad that it was up, even if only for a short while. And my respect for him has grown a good bit, despite the delete. This little manip, a collaboration by @tannni3 and myself, comes to mind:
No criticism, but a thought experiment: Who can counter a populist such as Trump if not pop culture with its concentration on celebrities, with the former greedily consumed, and the latter eagerly followed? Just imagine, if RA’s celebrity friends had taken his lead, posted their own immigration status, or their experience with being an immigrant/a foreigner, working in another country, like so many of them have in their film careers. It could have snowballed, and it could have made an important point – that so many of us nowadays either are living an immigrant life, or are depending on being harboured by a country (initially) not our own, to work and live to our full potential ourselves, or that we follow a celebrity for whom that is true. It might make the supporters of such a ban think again. I find it important to remember that, because a ban based on religion affects us all. It’s an infringement of human rights, discrimination on the basis of religion. Something that I never, ever wanted to see as blatantly, again. RA’s tweet created awareness, and for that reason I applaud him, yet regret the tweet is gone. But as I said – I do understand.
The reports from US airports where massive protests are taking place, are heartening. Lawyers are volunteering to help those who are being detained or denied entry in the US. My hope is that what is happening right now, is going to politicize people.
I can’t join the protests there, but I join in spirit and I make my voice heard here. I believe that I owe that to my great-grandfather who was banned and murdered because of his religion. I am a legal permanent resident in Ireland.