A Moroccan-born Canadian women and her family were refused entry into the United States — a country where she has shopped for 20 years — by border patrol agents who demanded to see the family’s phone, detained them for four hours on the border and then told them to go back to Canada. She left without buying a toy for her child who just had cancer treatment or meeting with her elderly parents in Chicago.
A young boy suffering from serious burns was left stranded and awaiting surgery in the United States after his father had to rush back to Iraq, his home country, because his wife was soon going to give birth to a baby — and then was not allowed back into the country.
A Chicago-based Syrian doctor was stranded in limbo after his U.S. visa was revoked as he was returning from Dubai, U.A.E., after he got married. The resident of internal medicine was expected to resume work the very next day, otherwise he was in danger of losing his residency, be thrown out of U.A.E. and sent back to Syria.
A 5-year-old boy son of an Iranian woman, who was traveling with another family, was detained at a Virginia airport overnight without food or water because the security apparently wanted to determine whether he was a potential terrorist.
These are just a few instances of the impact of President Donald Trump’s immigration ban.
When we think about people who carry out merciless, brutal acts, we think about Nazi Germany or the atrocities during segregated America, and believe such things are things of the past. People believe such things are only carried out by terrorists and tyrants.
In fact, such atrocities are very much alive even now and the vast majority of them require the cooperation of regular people to bring them to fruition. It requires the silent majority — people who have no opinions of their own, are content to blindly follow or do not express their thoughts for fear of oppression.
Adolf Eichmann, according to a story in Guardian, the man who helped carry out the Jewish genocide on Hitler’s behalf, was not a “vicious or menacing monster.” In fact, according to a testimony of a half-dozen psychiatrists, he was a pretty average man who had no personal ill will against the Jews. Despite that, he oversaw the systemic state-ordained execution of the Jews with no hesitation.
Hitler’s regime was a tyrannical one. Yet, the same kind of people can be found in this day and age when people willingly obey orders from an authority figure (like the highly unconstitutional immigration ban), even when those instructions may result in harming other people.
Are the ICE and border patrol agents, who detained immigrants at airports and borders, inherently evil people who hold a grudge against foreigners for no reason and plot for their destruction? No, they are just normal people who choose not to think don’t think too deeply into their actions or simply too afraid to go against the government.
The American government is a democratic one and it can only implement inhumane measures if its people, at least theoretically, allow it to happen — despite their rights to free speech and expression. Yet, not many of us are brave enough to oppose it.
As Beyonce said in her impassioned Grammy speech, “I feel it's vital that we learn from the past and recognize our tendencies to repeat our mistakes.”
If we don’t do so, we are inviting history to repeat itself.
Banner/Thumbnail credit: Reuters