Donald Trump and Olympics and Oscars**
Gabriel C Banda
DONALD Trump, newly in office as United States 45th President, signed orders to implement the human divisions he had promised in his campaign. He, by decree, restricted persons of seven countries from entering the USA.
As during the campaign for presidency, for days, we have continued to wonder about practical aspects and effects on the world, and the implementers themselves.
There was confusion as some aspects and effects seemed not to have been considered by Trump and company. But the Trump enterprise is determined to implement controversial things it had said it would.
Some aspects were happening as intended by the Trump spirit and were being defended while some things were bringing about critical questions about human relations.
There was confusion at airports, border points, and in the travel process. There was fear and apprehension. And there were protests in the United States and many other parts of the world.
One aspect that came to mind was sports and the international interaction that it involves within societies and during international events. I then wondered whether United States cities and government will bid for some international tournaments.
These include the Olympics. United States cities have since 1904 hosted many Olympic games, summer and winter. After the St Louis games in 1904, winter ones were held at Lake Placid in 1932, with the Los Angeles summer games taking place again in 1932.
Lake Placid again hosted the games, in 1980. Los Angeles hosted the summer ones in 1984. Atlanta, in Georgia, hosted in 1996. The 2002 winter games were held at Salt Lake City.
For now, Los Angeles is amongst cities bidding for the 2014 summer Olympics that will follow the 2020 games in Tokyo, which has previously hosted them, October 1964. Los Angeles wants to go on to host for the third time.
There is expectation that some US cities may compete for future Olympics in collaboration with other USA cities and with some cities of Canada in the north. But a question right now is the effect of the Trump entry rules.
President Trump also signed the ban on some refugees coming to the USA. This ban has implications for Olympic games being held in the USA. In Rio de Janeiro in 2016, there was excitement as an international team of refugees was assembled and took part.
As Trump’s term in office is scheduled to be four years, the Olympic movement should be considering the effect of the Trump entry ban.
Olympics cannot take place with citizens of some seven member countries not allowed to enter a host country. The seven countries are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, and Yemen.
Of these, the US government military intervention, in team with other regimes, for regime change in Iraq, Libya, and Syria contributed to instability, displacement, and refugees in these societies.
Sadly, the Trump factor may act as a card against the Los Angeles Olympics 2024 bid.
And the United States is expected to be among those that bid for World Cup soccer tournaments. There are also other sports events that involve international participation. Some will involve persons from the seven societies banned entry into the USA.
Sport is not the only field affected by the Trump spirit. Trump has sought isolation and exclusion in other fields, including trade and economy. For instance, we wonder if under the Trump spirit the USA will continue to be members of the World Trade Organisation.
Of course, actions against others will not always go without reaction from the others. Some governments and societies may react through counter-actions that will greatly affect the United States.
There will be prolonged reaction to the Trump isolationism and apartness. As in the times of apartheid, Afrikaans for “apartness,” in South Africa, some persons will protest international events taking place in the US in sport, film and arts, education, research, and various fields. Some persons, due to conscientious positions, will decline attendance.
Oscars and Farhadi
Already, I hear that in reaction to the Trump entry decree, a film director from Iran, Asghar Farhadi, and whose film was being considered for the 2017 Academy Awards, has said he will not travel to the Oscars this weekend.
And reports have followed that Khaled Khateeb, filmmaker of Syria, has been denied entry to attend the Oscar Awards his documentary is contesting in.
While I was wondering about the Olympics in view of the Trump entry ban, I learnt of some great concern in the USA basketball fraternity.
“I do have concern on the travel ban,” Adam Silver, NBA Commissioner, told the BBC. “We are a business based on global mobility,” he added. “25 per cent of our players were born outside the United States. We do a tremendous amount of business on a global basis…”
Adam Silver said the NBA stands for “…the best in the world all coming together to perform at the highest level.”
“So, government restrictions on travel, I am concerned about. It goes against the fundamental values, and the fundamental ingredients of what makes for a great NBA, and that is: the very best of the world coming here.”
Yes, like other Trump decrees and measures, the entry ban will have some predictable and unpredictable reversed effects that will be unfavourable both to the USA and others in the world. Some measures are working against the development of healthy human relations.
With government policy contributing to an enabling environment seized by them, some vigilantes will take it upon themselves to search for migrants and even to punish and harm them.
It appeared to me that through wholesome banning of entry into the United States of members of some whole nations, Trump was banning the United States from hosting major international sports tournaments, and events from other fields.
Citizens of the United States are not special isolated species but are also members of one humanity and one life, all interdependent for various things and for the continuity of the whole.
And it is known that some advances were made in the United States because of migrants, from other parts of the world, that contributed greatly in various fields. In past times, persons of Africa were forcibly taken to the United States to toil as enslaved persons.
Life continues on in the United States because of the contribution of others from other places and across all fields.
Now, courts have put aside the entry ban but Trump is trying other ways to achieve the intention.
If Los Angeles does not get the 2024 Olympics, it might be that the Trump card might be a factor.
(**The title has been slightly expanded to include the Oscars focus that this writing already includes. All content is exactly the same. Thank You).
Based in Lusaka, Zambia, the author is involved in writing, social development work, and observation of peace issues.
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GCB, February 2017, LUSAKA.