By VERONICA SPAGNA
London decides to show the world that, as a city, it does not just tolerates diversity, it celebrates it.
In Central London last Sunday, on the night of the Oscars, thousands of people attended the screening of the award-winning movie “The Salesman” to show support to its Iranian director, Asghar Farhadi. Farhadi had announced that he would boycott the ceremony in response to Donald Trump’s travel ban.
We should all be at least a little familiar with Donald Trump’s travel ban, which was announced in January. The president signed an executive order temporarily banning the entry of citizens and immigrants from Iran, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Tahardi.
In response to this travel ban, the Iranian director Asghar Farhadi told The New York Times in January that he would not attend the Oscars even if granted exception to enter the country, and stayed true to his words.
Asghar Farhardi’s movie, “The Salesman,” was nominated for best Foreign-Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards and won the Oscar hours after the screening in London.
To show unity and support for Asghar Fahardi, some well known actors and producers organized a premiere of the movie and collaborated with Sadie Khan, the mayor of London to premiere the nominated film for free in Trafalgar Square, one of London’s most important destinations.
This event was a peaceful protest, that showed that London did not agree with what Donald Trump believed in, how the focus should be on welcoming people and not banning them. I think it is beautiful how people are uniting together to share the message of acceptance, and not in violent protests or holding signs criticizing whats wrong.
Around 10,000 people showed up at the premiere of the “The Salesman,” which was occurring a few hours before the Oscars.
The Iranian director was not present at the screening, but spoke to the crowd through a recorded video of him. In the video, he apologized for not being there and said he was there in spirit. He additionally made a speech about how we are all citizens of the world and that we need to stay united.
Fahardi was not present at the Oscars, so he sent two Iranian-Americans to claim his award. Anousheh Ansari, the first female Iranian to go into space, claimed the award for Fahardi and read a speech written by him. Fahardi criticized the travel ban and called it inhumane. He apologized for not being at the ceremony, but how it was out of respect for the people of his country.
In his speech he also stated that “Dividing the world into the “us “ and “our enemies” categories creates fear, a deceitful justification for aggression and war.” Which I think is a very eye opening statement and was quoted on numerous articles on the event.
Many Journalists covered this event, highlighting and focusing on the speeches given by at the screening and the Oscars. The focus of these peaceful and powerful words puts into good light the event. Although I do feel like journalists should also focus on covering the reactions of Americans, focus on covering on how America has reacted to this peaceful and powerful protest.
I think that the extent to which London and its citizens have gone to prove a point is very inspirational. By being united together in fighting for their rights and the rights of people in other countries is quite admirable.
This protest gave a stronger message in the simplicity of attending a movie screening than in protests that could lead to disturbance with the use of negativity. I think the world is slowly progressing to stronger unification by the day and protests like these show the importance of respect in humanity.