We spoke to a Warwick student who can’t go to America because of Trump’s new policy
‘Being from Iran, it is just a fact of life that you face suspicion’
Following the protest on Warwick Campus, we spoke to Sam Arman, an Iranian national and second year Sociology student at Warwick, who has been studying in the UK for three years.
Following Donald Trump’s declaration of a 90-day ban on travel to the USA from seven Middle Eastern/Muslim countries. The ban has received widespread condemnation and protest, so we asked a man who has been personally affected, for his opinion on current affairs.
How does the Travel ban affect you?
I was thinking about moving to the USA to further my education by going for research purposes and was considering traveling there to consider my options when this ban came into effect.
It makes me concerned about my future and what my options are, as it means that for now at least, something I have always thought about doing is no longer open to me and a country I want to visit is hostile about even allowing me or my family entrance.
Do you feel like this trend is being replicated worldwide?
I have always felt like Islamophobia has been a part of my life. My family have been atheists for generations, hence I am not even Muslim born. Even looking as far back as colonialism, prejudice towards Muslims has always been present. Trump’s ban is not a new thing, it is, however, worsening the situation.
People’s mindset and the way they view Muslims, on the whole, is being warped by the propaganda surrounding his rise to power, and it’s of course always alarming when a world leader, uses his power to legally prejudice against groups of people. I do find it hypocritical, however, considering the list of other Muslim countries who aren’t included in this ban, such as Saudi Arabia.
Do you think there is a similarity between the rise of Trump and Brexit?
It’s part racism and sexism but a significant part is about the failure of globalisation and the concentration of wealth in a few hands, which means people’s standard of living has dropped.
Do you feel prejudiced against at Warwick?
I think that being from Iran in the UK, it is just a fact of life that you face suspicion, every time I enter or leave the country, or change my address, I have to notify the police and register it with them.
It leads to what feels like a very militarised existence. But even beyond the formalities of living in the UK, I do feel uncomfortable when I go to the pub with my friends and see that people are watching me and making judgments.
UK’s policies are as racist as America’s but no one really covers it. Theresa May’s Home Office deported 50,000 international students.
What do your Iranian family make of the situation in the US?
My family who lives in Iran are scared, especially following the Trump administration putting the country ‘on notice’, the ambiguity of that statement alone, means that no one can be certain what the future will bring. It could mean war for all we know, but it is simply symptomatic of the aggression the USA is showing.
I completely understand that both here and in the US, if people don’t have jobs or feel insecure in their lifestyle it’s likely they will revert to their less liberal views, fears and prejudices, especially when it comes to immigration. Many people voted for Clinton and not for Trump, though, and the swell of support for immigrants and protest following this announcement, give us hope that this hatred won’t be a permanent addition to world politics.
What did you think of the protest that happened at Warwick?
I think that it was a really good way to show support, and it made me feel like I wasn’t alone in this. People from all sorts of backgrounds coming together, and even if it won’t have any direct impact on Trump, it shows solidarity towards the cause.
It also shows that the current British people do still care about what is right. I also hope the protest educated people about the situation and that if anyone was unsure about where they stood, the speakers on Monday could sway their opinion and show why xenophobia that must be fought.