Trump’s travel ban that prevents citizens of seven muslim countries from entering the United States as immigrants and refugees has found resistance within the country with Asghar Farhardi, an Iranian film director, choosing to send in a proxy to receive the Oscar for his Best Foreign Language film, "The Tourist". Anousheh Ansari, an Iranian- American who incidentally was the first female space tourist, rendered an apology on his behalf and then turned his absence into a political event. In a hard-hitting award-acceptance speech read by her, Asghar called Trump’s travel ban “inhumane” and one that divided the world as the United States and an ever-increasing “our enemies” list.

Travel Restrictions make peaceful US entry difficult

Trump’s immigration law first received a setback when a temporary restraining order was issued by a federal judge, but this latest episode of an internationally acclaimed director choosing to stay away will force a rethink on the ban. In his bold statement, Asghar Farhardi highlighted the plight of peace-loving citizens in countries facing human rights issues and called upon filmmakers to capture human qualities that transgressed religion and nationality on camera. His statement was a reflection on what six directors in the same Foreign Language Film category felt about fanaticism in the United States taking precedence over worthwhile issues like fostering understanding and unity in the world.

Is the US ready to face the world’s resentment?

The award-winning Iranian director’s absence from the Oscars is bound to evoke strong responses across the world. According to Aleksander Ceferin, president of Europe’s soccer-governing body UEFA, the United States has perhaps ruined its chances of hosting the prestigious 2026 Soccer World Cup with Trump's travel ban that generated fear and justified war and aggression.

Firouz Naderi, a former Iranian-born NASA director, accompanied Ansari as she read out Farhardi’s statement at the Oscars. It remains to be seen whether empathy, social justice, and a more humane immigration policy will take precedence over the law that randomly punishes peace-loving citizens for terrorist acts of a few.