At the 89th annual Academy Awards Sunday night, a director from a dictatorial Islamist country set on destroying the West slammed the policies of the Trump administration as “inhumane” and threatening to world peace. It is the division of the world “into the us and our enemies categories,” he said, that is a “deceitful justification for aggression and war.”
Asghar Farhadi, the Iranian director of The Salesman, the film that took home the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, chose not to attend the ceremony Sunday night in protest of Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily barring immigrants from seven countries first flagged by the Obama administration as being high terror-risks. Though the ban is only temporary and designed to give immigration authorities time to tighten vetting procedures in order to better protect American citizens from future terror attacks, Farhadi decried the order as “inhumane” and its divisiveness as a dangerous prelude to “aggression.”
Farhadi’s criticism came in the form of a written speech read by Iranian-American Anousheh Ansari, an engineer and former CEO who became famous for being the first-ever female space tourist.
“I’m sorry I’m not with you tonight,” wrote Farhadi, who had publicly announced his boycott prior to the event. “My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of the other six nations whom have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the U.S.”
After pausing for applause from the celebrity-packed theater, Ansari continued with Farhadi’s critique of the new administration.
“Dividing the world into the us and our enemies categories creates fear. A deceitful justification for aggression and war,” said Farhadi. “These wars prevent democracy and human rights in countries which have themselves been victims of aggression. Filmmakers can turn their cameras to capture shared human qualities and break stereotypes of various nationalities and religions. They create empathy between us and others. An empathy which we need today more than ever.”
Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, one of the reasons it was listed on Trump’s 90-day pause on immigration from the country. The other terror-plagued countries included in the ban, which has been halted for now by the courts, are Iraq, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen. As the Daily Wire pointed out, the Obama administration first designated those seven countries as posing terror risks in 2015 and 2016. Strangely, there was no outrage from Hollywood then or in 2011, when Obama cut off immigration from Iraq for six months.
Partial transcript via Mediaite.