There is something sublime about an act of defiance. It is an act of bravery that inspires others and strengthens their resolve. Bit by bit, it builds up — and ultimately, your sacrifice is not in vain. This piece is a personal expression of gratitude to my newest hero, Sally Yates. Yates was appointed the acting attorney general of the United States when the Barack Obama administration wrapped up and handed over charge to Donald Trump’s team.
But when Trump pulled the brakes on Muslim immigrants, it was Yates who stood up to him. Yates defied the order and directed her team not to follow the directive that put a hold on entry of people from seven Muslim majority countries like Iran, Iraq, Libiya, Somaliya, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. This simple act of defiance cost Yates her job. After firing Yates, the White House issued a statement justifying the termination of her employment stating Yates had “betrayed” the department by refusing to enforce a legal order that was “designed to protect citizens of the United States”.
Yates may have lost her job, but ended up inspiring millions of people not just in America, but also around the world. I have become her biggest fan-boy! The message Yates sent out was that Americans wanted to uphold the honour of the American way of life. That America has always been a nation of immigrants and would embrace anyone wanting to start over. Yates showed us that basic human decency was still alive in the USA.
What was also truly heartening though, was how ordinary Americans turned up to support those who had landed in America before the ban, but were being denied entry and were therefore stuck at airports. Many of these people included American citizens who were originally from one of the seven countries mentioned in the ban. Lawyers turned up at airports armed with their laptops to help many such people and immigrants file appeals. Protestors got together and brought with them some of the most hilarious placards along with important messages about humanity and equality. There were also several people who came out to support the protestors by offering free food. Have a look at this video to see what happened at New York’s JFK airport:
Not to be left out, European countries got together and trolled Donald Trump with videos introducing him to their culture using words and language that The Donald would understand. These include “huge”, “bigly” and “it’s great”. The Netherlands took the lead and then Germany, Denmark, Portugal, Belgium and others followed. You can catch the Dutch video here:
And while Britain will always hang its head in shame for the calamity called Brexit, even they could not accept what Trump did. Over a million British people signed a petition to cancel Trump’s official visit to England that is likely to take place later this year. But it didn’t just end at that. Protests took place across 40 British cities. You can catch some of it here:
Luckily a lower court had temporarily suspended the travel ban, but the Trump administration challenged it in the Ninth Circuit Court of appeals. Even here, basic human decency prevailed and a federal judge struck down the appeal to reinstate the ban. The Department of Homeland Security meanwhile suspended all actions to implement the immigration order. While Trump will continue to fight tooth and nail to have his ban reinstated, this was a small yet significant victory.
All this reminds me a bit of Sridevi. You may know about my obsession with Sridevi. Watching Sridevi’s fight scenes was a coping mechanism for me when I was repeatedly sexually abused as a child. Watching her fight the good fight gave me courage and hope. I like Sridevi’s fight scenes more than those of Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra put together! I loved how she stood up to bullies and goons in her movies. You can catch her defying the authority of pados ka gundas in this scene.
And as you begin the first day of the rest of your life, I just want you to remember, you are not insignificant. Fight the good fight and your voice will be heard.
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Updated Date: Feb 11, 2017 10:59:36 IST