Story-ideas-1011172

Trump’s sledgehammer makes a villain of everyone

  • Taking Issue Geoff Sifrin Home
Wherever they live, most Jews have family memories of forebears arriving in a new country as immigrants or refugees after escaping from places such as Nazi Germany or Eastern Europe where they would be killed or persecuted if they stayed.
by GEOFF SIFRIN | Feb 02, 2017

The Jewish psyche instinctively understands a refugee’s feelings when a country’s doors are closed to him because of colour, culture or religion.

A famous South African incident is the Stuttgart, a ship which arrived in Cape Town in October 1936 with 537 German Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazis. It prompted displays of Afrikaner hatred for Jews by the anti-Semitic Greyshirts organisation who protested their arrival, saying Jews were unassimilable, of questionable morality and a threat to Afrikaners. Fortunately, the refugees managed to disembark.

Today’s flood of refugees fleeing war-torn Middle Eastern or African states poses dilemmas for countries, which fear granting them entry as Islamist terrorism shakes the world. Last week Friday US President Donald Trump signed an executive order barring refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries - Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen - from entering the United States, echoing populist sentiments among Americans.

Who are the refugees and the immigration officials implementing the order? The many human faces of the conundrum are portrayed powerfully in a play currently on at Johannesburg’s Market Theatre called “When Swallows Cry”, by playwright Mike van Graan.

In the opening vignette set in Somalia, the son of a white Canadian mining magnate, at whose mine near Mogadishu workers were killed when they went on strike, has gone there as a volunteer teacher to help heal the damage people such as his father have caused.

The father and others had used their money to ensure the country was run by a tyrant helpful to them. Civil war rages, with terrified people trying to flee. The teacher is held hostage and beaten by Muslim insurgents who threaten to turn him over to radical Islamist group Boko Haram to get a ransom to rebuild a devastated village.

The Canadian’s capturer films him with a cellphone and posts it on Facebook so that his friends and relatives back home will see him describing the devastation ruthless colonialists have wrought.

The second scene is an American immigration entry point, where a distraught Muslim Somalian with a valid visa is being interrogated. Officials find a Qur’an in his baggage and demand to know what he intends doing in America.

On their data-base they find his family name is identical to someone listed as a terrorist threat. He says he doesn’t know the man, pleading to be allowed admission, promising that all he wants is to make a safe new life away from his blood-soaked country. After they decide to put him on a plane back to Somalia, he grabs an official’s gun and shoots himself in the head, choosing to die rather than go back.

The third vignette, a harsh refugee detention camp in Australia, shows two black Zimbabweans who came on a leaky boat after walking from a devastated Zimbabwe to Kenya. Their family members died en route. A white Australian officer beats them mercilessly. They plead to be allowed in, but the assault becomes more ruthless.

The officer loses his restraint and screams about his family who had been white farmers in Zimbabwe and whose land had been violently seized, forcing them to flee. In uncontrollable rage he shoots the refugees.

Van Graan graphically depicts how there are villains, victims and untold stories on all sides. In art, as in life, people cannot be tarred haphazardly with the same brush like a homogeneous mob. The Greyshirts tried to do that with the Stuttgart’s Jews. Trump’s sledgehammer approach is doing it with Muslims and will only cause more hatred.

 

Read Geoff Sifrin’s regular columns on his blog sifrintakingissue.wordpress.com

 

 

 

5 Comments

  1. 5 nat cheiman 02 Feb
    Mr Sifrin, you again demonstrate your proximity to the left and particularly, people like Jeremy Corbyn, who ignore the fact that many Muslim countries do not allow people with Israeli passports to enter. Refugees are able to go to other Muslim countries. Why don't they? The answer is rhetorical. 
    Liberals and others against the "ban"on travel to the US fail to understand that the current wave of terror being waged globally, is all Islamic. It is difficult for authorities to ascertain immediately whether an immigrant is a radical or whether such individual will become radicalised. Have you ever heard of a radicalised Christian terrorist or Jewish terrorist or Hindu terrorist? Probably not.
    Islam and Christianity and Judaism are incompatible because of ideologies.
    Corbyn and company are well disposed toward the Muslim community, which the nationalists in Britain oppose for many reasons.
    I disagree with the comment "people cannot be haphazardly tarred with the same brush".  In so far as Islam is concerned, their quran makes it clear that anyone outside of Islam is an infidel. Theres the rub.
    You and I are both infidels. I dont like to be tarred with that brush as a Jew, but I have to accept that I cannot change the quran.
    Trumps sledgehammer approach is anything but. His pledges during his running for election were made clear. Now that the democrats have lost, they are behaving badly and throwing their toys.
    Trump will succeed in stalling the Islamic invasion into the US. Canada and Europe want more immigrants. Thats okay, but not for Americans who voted Trump in to office.Incidentally, the maudlin plea for Jews to get off the boat, Stuttgart, in Cape Town, echoes a plaintive cry of Jews throughout history, and to compare the afrikaners fear of a threat to the current events taking place globally, is injudicious and nefarious. Jews have no violent history, nor do they suicide bomb or chop off victims heads,and act like savages.
    But there will be adequate room in many other countries for the likes of you, Mr Sifrin, where you and the liberal minded will be able to disseminate asinine propaganda .
    I may forewarn you that sharia may be a diktat for all citizens living there.
    Lastly, there cannot be more hatred toward the west, than is the current phenomenon.  The terrorist are running over innocent people with trucks; blowing up nightclubs; beheading Christians; using their children as  suicide bombers; stabbing innocent people in the street. If there can be more hatred than that, I would be interested to learn precisely what?!!
  2. 4 Choni 02 Feb
    Sifrin, Why don't you mention that for the last 70 years 16 Muslim countries (including 6 you name) have banned Israelis from entering their countries.
  3. 3 Gary Selikow 02 Feb
    More nauseating loony left tripe from Siffrin

    I'm getting heartily sick of people comparing Jewish refugees from the Holocaust with Muslim migrants. Jewish refugees did not blow people up, rape woman, pimp children or try force Judaism on the host populations. 90% of 'refugees' trying to enter England from Calais were males over the AGE OF 14.

    Are these people who make this despicable comparison aware of how many terror attacks have been carried out in Europe by Muslim so called 'refugees' from Syria and elsewhere in the last year????

    In Sweden/ Denmark/ Belgium and Germany, there are thousands of incidents, like rape molestations etc taking place at swimming pools/ movies etc. These incidents go unreported.

    In the United Kingdom Veterans sleep on the streets and British families go hungry while new migrants are given comfortable council houses and have their medical and educational needs and comforts immediately seen to.People are scared in some heavily Muslim populated areas to come out of their houses and Muslims declare sharia zones in some areas where people are not even allowed to walk their dogs because Muslims dislike dogs.Swedish rape figures have increased from around 450 a year to around 6 500 a year since their open door immigration policy. Importing thousands of men from countries where the culture and religion is totally at odds with that of the West, is always going to cause problems at the very least and chaos in reality.

    There are regular reports of Muslim immigrants attacking Jewish communities in Europe, such as in the Toulouse school killings of 2012 in France and the attacks on a Jewish delicatessen after the attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine in 2015.

    And Jewish refugees did not have a Jewish state to take in Jewish refugees during the Holocaust.Why don't oil rich Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States take in these 'refugees'?
  4. 2 Gary Selikow 02 Feb
    More nauseating loony left tripe from Siffrin

    I'm getting heartily sick of people comparing Jewish refugees from the Holocaust with Muslim migrants. Jewish refugees did not blow people up, rape woman, pimp children or try force Judaism on the host populations.
    90% of 'refugees' trying to enter England from Calais were males over the AGE OF 14.

    Are these people who make this despicable comparison aware of how many terror attacks have been carried out in Europe by Muslim so called 'refugees' from Syria and elsewhere in the last year????
    In Sweden/ Denmark/ Belgium and Germany, there are thousands of incidents, like rape molestations etc taking place at swimming pools/ movies etc. These incidents go unreported.

    In the United Kingdom Veterans sleep on the streets and British families go hungry while new migrants are given comfortable council houses and have their medical and educational needs and comforts immediately seen to.People are scared in some heavily Muslim populated areas to come out of their houses and Muslims declare sharia zones in some areas where people are not even allowed to walk their dogs because Muslims dislike dogs.Swedish rape figures have increased from around 450 a year to around 6 500 a year since their open door immigration policy. Importing thousands of men from countries where the culture and religion is totally at odds with that of the West, is always going to cause problems at the very least and chaos in reality.
    There are regular reports of Muslim immigrants attacking Jewish communities in Europe, such as in the Toulouse school killings of 2012 in France and the attacks on a Jewish delicatessen after the attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine in 2015.
    And Jewish refugees did not have a Jewish state to take in Jewish refugees during the Holocaust.Why don't oil rich Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States take in these 'refugees'?
  5. 1 Mervyn S Skuy 11 Feb
    I would like to applaud the wisdom of Geoff Sifrin, and his brilliant articles. Before rushing to support Trump and his team, we Jews should recognize that prejudice, bigotry, and discrimination are anathema and dangerous, irrespective of who happens to be the current target.  May I remind you of the immortal words of Pastor Niemoller, a Protestant in Nazi Germany who spent years in a concentration camp for his opposition to Hitler:

    "First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist.Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— 
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew.Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

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