By Federico Marchiolli
The U.S. presidential elections of 2016 brought an unexpected event. The election of Donald Trump is a surprise for everybody and a shock for the world. All the worst scenarios are coming true. Racism, sexism, populism, intolerance and boorish capitalism are now living in the White House – representing the United States and influencing foreign policies; thus, having a direct impact on diplomatic relationships all over the world. One of the first executive orders issued by President Trump is “Executive Order 13780 – Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”, also known as the “Muslim ban”. The order places limits on travel to the U.S. from seven predominantly Muslim countries and it includes refugees. Mr. Trump said “this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting. This is not about religion – this is about terror and keeping our country safe”.
What Trump did not say is that hundreds of those banned were living in the United States and have American citizenship, but once out of the country they would not be able to come back. Moreover, the executive order does not allow any person/refugee from the selected countries to enter the American soil. This is like to say: “If you come from one of the countries listed in the ban, then I will automatically consider you as a potential terrorist and I will not let you in”. According to Amnesty International and other human rights organisations the order is unconstitutional – raising religious freedom concerns – and against international law and treaties previously ratified by the United States – the United Nations Refugee Convention requires that the U.S. provide protection and safe haven to those facing persecution.
Unfortunately, this executive order is a mere consequence of a well-structured plan to spread terror among western people and justify the “war on terror” with the purpose of covering huge economic interests deriving from oil extraction and sale of weapons.
The mainstream media – the majority owned by big corporations – are playing an important role in this war against terrorism and is succeeding in making people fearful, letting division and discrimination win over solidarity. European and American citizens are becoming intolerant and frightened. Governments have started building walls. Hungary has built a barrier on its border with Serbia with the aim of ensuring border security, by preventing immigrants from entering illegally. Refugees are being rejected and sent back. According to The Guardian, Britain used EU rules to send asylum seekers from Syria to eastern European states where they have been beaten; the EU-Turkey refugee deal, aimed to address the massive flow of migrants and Syrian refugees travelling across the Aegean from Turkey to Greek islands, allows Greece to return to Turkey all new irregular migrants.
The aim is to prevent unchecked arrivals into European soil. Yet, the media is able to create barriers in people’s minds. We fear and exclude those who flee their countries rather than being welcoming and helping with their integration. Therefore, apart from the U.S. executive order, a “mediatic Muslim ban” is in act in itself. Western people’s minds are bombed with fake news every day and when they are exposed to the reality they just refuse to believe it. It is well documented that the U.S. Government funded ISIL to destabilise even more the political situation in the Middle East, justifying in this way every military intervention. However, regardless of the evidence, people prefer to close their eyes and see these facts as conspiracy theories, thinking that Muslims are a threat to democracy and to western values.
The mainstream media win whenever we are scared, and our national governments use this fear and our following blindness to cover up their dirty foreign policies, making us believe that Islam is a threat. That is why it is important to seek for different sources of information and possibly independent ones. A complete understanding of a different culture requires openness, criticism towards what newspapers say and independent thinking, rather than the acceptance of the everyday lies passed on in the news.