World-famous women’s rights activist Malala Yousafzai took to Facebook today to issue a painfully powerful statement condemning President Trump’s ban on Syrian refugees and blocking immigration from eight Muslim-majority nations.
“I am heartbroken that today President Trump is closing the door on children, mothers and fathers fleeing violence and war. I am heartbroken that America is turning its back on a proud history of welcoming refugees and immigrants — the people who helped build your country, ready to work hard in exchange for a fair chance at a new life.
I am heartbroken that Syrian refugee children, who have suffered through six years of war by no fault of their own, are singled-out for discrimination.
I am heartbroken for girls like my friend Zaynab, who fled wars in three countries — Somalia, Yemen and Egypt — before she was even 17. Two years ago she received a visa to come to the United States. She learned English, graduated high school and is now in college studying to be a human rights lawyer.
Zaynab was separated from her little sister when she fled unrest in Egypt. Today her hope of being reunited with her precious sister dims.
In this time of uncertainty and unrest around the world, I ask President Trump not to turn his back on the world’s most defenseless children and families.”
Donald Trump has unloaded a wave of heinous anti-immigration and religious discrimination executive orders over the past week that would have our founding fathers rolling in their graves. In one week, Trump has announced a border wall paid for by the American people, an end to the Syrian refugee resettlement program, a vast expansion of the powers of the immigration police, a registry of Muslims entering and exiting the United States, and a weekly announcement of “crimes” committed by what are now referred to as “removable aliens.”
It is a horrifying implementation of a white supremacist agenda by tyrannical edict. Today is the day when we remember the Holocaust and the eleven million Jews, Slavs, Poles, Communists, Roma, homosexuals, and other undesirables that perished at the hands of the German Nazi Party during the Second World War. The United States, following a policy of “America First” advocated by pro-Hitler conservatives, closed our doors and turned our backs to the plight of European Jews, consigning them to the gas chambers and complicit in their murders.
Seventy years later, American conservatives advocating for an “America First” policy are forcing our doors closed and turning away the victims of genocide in Syria, consigning them to death by barrel bomb, chlorine gas, MiG missile, torture chamber, bullet, or starvation. Their deaths are just as final and our complicity just as disgraceful.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.