Best Foreign Film Oscar Winner Gives Powerful Immigration Speech
The Salesman, directed by Asghar Farhadi, won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film at the 2017 Oscars. Farhadi did not attend the ceremony, choosing to boycott the event to protest President Donald Trump's controversial immigration policies, which aim to restrict entry to the United States for people in seven Muslim-majority countries. Farhadi is from Iran, one of the nations on that list.
Farhadi sent two Iranian-Americans and space explorers, Anousheh Ansari and Firouz Naderi, to attend the Oscars in his place. Ansari read a prepared statement to the audience:
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 who 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. It is a deceitful justification for aggression and war. These wars prevent democracy and human rights in countries which have 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.
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