When we lived in Sudan, we lived a couple of hundred metres from the mosque where Osama bin Laden used to go and worship.
In the 1990s.
He wasn’t actually there when we lived there.
In fact, I’m really hard-pressed to find anything that Sudan has actually done against the United States in – what? – the last 20 years. (Remember, when Osama bin Laden orchestrated the 9-11 attacks, he wasn’t actually living in Sudan and had only limited contact with his former home, his erstwhile sponsor Hassan al-Turabi, being something as a persona non grata with the Khartoum regime at the time.)
So why, then, this Sudan visa ban from the current megalomaniac in the White House?
I’m actually kind of hard-pressed to find any logical rationale to the current action from Donald Trump, other than shameless populism and a bloody-minded determination to live up to his electoral promises (which I had, unfortunately and a trifle naively, dismissed as simple electioneering; err… no, he is actually as crazy as he sounded).
Nothing really makes sense, and Donald Trump is acting far too hastily with his executive orders, and without proper guidance. You only have to look how quickly the courts overturned the visa ban – at least temporarily – to see this.
But anyone following Trump closely knows all of this – or if they don’t they are being disingenuous.
I want to make a point here that is slightly more nuanced.
There is a very good case to be made for an overhaul of immigration regimes in Europe and US. Even if you are not a right-wing fascist nutter, there is a case to be made here; and I have made it in previous entries.
But now is most definitely not the time to be making it. The likes of Donald Trump and UKIP leader Nigel Farrage have been riding on the tides of populism for two long, without the benefit of proper rational analysis.
This took the UK out of Europe – which may in fact turn out to be a good thing, but not for the reasons that the likes of Nigel Farrage so often espoused – but I now fear that populism is taking a far more sinister turn.
How did Donald Trump put it? “It’s time to fight fire with fire”.
Indeed it is. And that means being unreservedly pro-immigration. Irrespective of the consequences.
We have for a long time needed a proper immigration policy in place. And we still do.
But to argue for one now is to play into the hands of those privileged populists that seek to make political mileage out of the strife and suffering of others.
Just don’t plant a bomb, Dear Immigrant: that’s not very nice.