Tonight, Iranian director Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar in the category of best foreign language film for “The Salesman”, but this time he was not present to accept his award. In a statement read by Anousheh Ansari, Farhadi explained that he was not traveling to America in solidarity with his fellow Iranians and citizens of the other six countries targeted by President Donald Trump’s ‘Muslim-ban’:
— Omid Memarian (@Omid_M) February 27, 2017
It’s a great honor to be receiving this valuable award for the second time. I would like to thank the Academy, my crew in Iran, my producer Alexandre Mallet-Guy, Cohen Media, Amazon, and my fellow nominees in the foreign film category.
I’m sorry I’m not with you tonight, 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. Dividing the world into the “us” and “our enemies” categories creates fear, a deceitful justification for aggression and war, these wars prevent democracy and human rights in countries which gave 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. Thank you.
The Muslim-ban is currently in a state of limbo, having been suspended by the courts until its legality is further examined. However, the Trump Administration’s lawyers have been furiously working to write a new version that will avoid some of the legal commotion that the first ban did. If anything, the courts’ decision to stand up for the fundamental human dignity of refugees and visa holding travelers from the seven majority-Muslim nations inspired Trump to push his agenda even harder.
Farhadi used his position as an internationally respected artist to make a statement about the unfair treatment millions of people living near him are receiving at the hands of Trump. We commend his bravery and his commitment to human dignity. And, of course, we congratulate him on his well-deserved award.