People from all over the globe recognized International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Friday. It is not a day that is celebrated. But it is a day that can never be forgotten.
If it were me, I’d change the name and insert “and Genocide” between “Holocaust” and “Remembrance.” The horror that was the Jewish experience in World War II must never be repeated, but neither can the slaughter of Cambodians, Armenians, Rwandans and millions more people from places near and far.
Man’s inhumanity to man has been demonstrated too many times in history. I believe the best way to overcome that hatred is with compassion. I’ll leave it for you to decide whether mine is a moral or weak-kneed statement.
In recent years, no country has dissolved into hell the way Syria has. I noted in a recent blog post that the estimated number of Syrians displaced because of the civil war almost equals the population of New York City.
During her address to students attending The Washington Center’s Inauguration ’17 seminar, Barbara Slavin, the acting director of the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council, laid out the horrors in Syria and the challenges President Trump will face in dealing with that country and others in the region. As I summarized her remarks, I couldn’t get one statement she made out of my head:
“We can’t give up on the region,” she continued’ “because if we don’t go there, then it comes to us.”
President Trump believes it won’t come here.
He’s confident he can prevent people who come from certain parts of the world — especially the Middle East — from entering the United States.
Earlier this week, he made clear he wanted a wall that would divide the U.S. from Mexico built as soon as possible. For now, at least, Americans will pay for it. The president’s long-standing intention to have Mexico fund it seems as unlikely now as it has each time he has made such a statement.
And then on Friday — on World Holocaust Remembrance Day — the president took another step that his critics will, and should, call immoral. The first couple of paragraphs from this ABC story tell you most of what you need to know:
President Donald Trump made good on his campaign promises for “extreme vetting” Friday afternoon, signing an executive memorandum that makes sweeping changes to U.S. refugee and immigration policy the White House says is designed to protect the nation from terrorists who want to enter the country.
The seven-page document calls for an immediate suspension of immigration from countries with ties to terror, including Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran and Libya, for a time period of 90 days. It also calls for the complete suspension of Syrian refugees for an indefinite period.
He’s told millions of people that America will not open her arms to them even though they are desperate. More specifically, he’s told millions of Muslims to stay away. Remember, every single one of those people are guilty of one thing: They are from a country where terrorism exists; they have not been responsible for any such acts.
If you carefully read that list of countries mentioned by ABC, you noticed that other Middle East nations weren’t on it. Bloomberg certainly did, stating:
His proposed list doesn’t include Muslim-majority countries where his Trump Organization has done business or pursued potential deals.
A coincidence? Could be. Intentional? Could be.
Trump’s decision to create barriers for people who are tired or poor or yearning to breathe free fulfills a campaign pledge. But as the nation enters its second weekend with him as its president, it also is not quite the beacon of freedom it claims to be.