By Armand Butera
With President Trump’s insistence on an immigration ban on several countries, everyone, especially those who immigrated to the United States, have been walking on eggshells. Although a nationwide halt on the ban was ordered by Seattle federal judge James Robart on Jan. 29 the idea still does not sit well with immigrants of the Muslim countries being targeted. In the past two weeks, numerous American citizens have been harassed during travel. Even with Robart’s orders, the act is only temporary.
One particular artist who has been affected by the travel ban is Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi. The filmmaker had received accolades in the past, with his 2011 movie A Separation winning an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language film, and has been nominated this year for another one with his most recent work The Salesman. However, with talks of barring Muslim people from entering the country, Farhadi may not be able to attend the ceremony.
Farhadi seemed undeterred by the actions of President Trump, as he discussed the ban with The New York Times last month.
“Over the course of the past few days and despite the unjust circumstances which have risen for the immigrants and travelers of several countries to the United States,” Farhadi saud, “my decision has remained the same: to attend this ceremony and to express my opinions about these circumstances in the press surrounding the event. I neither had the intention to not attend nor did I want to boycott the event as a show of objection.”
However, the recent events being addressed in the news, such as Muslim citizens being detained at the airports and even forcibly removed, appears to have changed the mindset of the filmmaker.
Farhadi noted the “us and them’ mentality” being displayed by certain Americans and felt as though it would be too much of a risk to even attend the award ceremony, and offered a quick statement to the public.
“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,” Farhadi said.
Although Farhadi stated that he would not protest the Oscars, the star of his film Taraneh Alidoosti announced that she would boycott in response to the executive order from Trump. The actress voiced her opinion on Twitter.
“Trump’s visa ban for Iranians is racist. Whether this will include a cultural event or not, I won’t attend the #AcademyAwards 2017 in protest,” Alidoosti said.
The actress was not alone in expressing her opinion on the topic, as the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences commented on the issue as well. The organization spoke of how the art of filmmaking did not have borders and was all encompassing.
“As supporters of filmmakers — and the human rights of all people — around the globe, we find it extremely troubling that Asghar Farhadi, the director of the Oscar-winning film from Iran A Separation, along with the cast and crew of this year’s Oscar-nominated film ‘The Salesman,’ could be barred from entering the country because of their religion or country of origin,” said the organization.
Even with the current turmoil in the nation, Farhadi remains somewhat optimistic. Farhadi noted the similarities between Trump’s proposal, previous actions from other countries, and what it resulted in, yet he stated that there is a strong sense of unity amongst everyone in the world.
“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,” Farhadi said.