Last night’s Screen Actors Guild Awards was full of impassioned, political speeches defying the despotic new President of the United States and the havoc he has wreaked the past week. Just watch the amazing clip above where the Stranger Things cast have gathered to accept the award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series. Co-star David Harbour is on fire as he rallies “freaks and outcasts” to battle this new threat against America. Considering the pain Donald Trump has brought to his nation in a week, and the anger he has stirred, just imagine what the Oscars will be like come February 26th.
In fact, the Oscars outrage has already begun. President Trump’s illogical, cruel, racist and clumsily conceived ban against Muslims from seven countries a few days ago has caused widespread protests all over the country and abroad. More damage has been done to America’s standing in shorter time than even George W. Bush thought was possible and the morale of ISIS fighters and homegrown terrorists has likely been boosted.
One of the countries that Trump or whoever runs America these days selected was Iran, meaning that the distinguished filmmaker Asghar Farhadi ran the risk of not being let into the United States to attend the Oscars where his film The Salesman is nominated for Best Foreign Language Film. Farhadi has now told the Academy that he won’t come even if the Trump regime would let him. In the interview above, Farhadi talks about what it’s like to work as a director in Iran.
In a statement to The New York Times, Farhadi refused to bow to hardliners – in Iran and the United States:
Hard-liners, despite their nationalities, political arguments and wars, regard and understand the world in very much the same way. In order to understand the world, they have no choice but to regard it via an “us and them” mentality, which they use to create a fearful image of “them” and inflict fear in the people of their own countries. This is not just limited to the United States; in my country hardliners are the same.
He’s a brave man, especially in the way he opposes the dark forces in Iran. But he’s correct to point out the danger of Trump. Iranians know authoritarianism when they see it.
Of course, others are significantly more hurt by Trump’s policies than Farhadi. But he is famous around the world, has already won an Oscar (for A Separation (2011)), and this should be embarrassing to the regime in Washington D.C. I’m not sure they understand, they are after all immune to facts, but this crisis certainly rallies not just liberal forces but Hollywood in particular – as well as the powerful tech sector in Silicon Valley that sees its businesses already hurt by the megalomaniacal president. It’s all very bad PR.
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At the same time, Shia LaBeouf, bless his heart, has turned his art projects into a massive protest against Donald Trump, as always inviting controversy along the way. A few days ago, CNN reported that the actor was arrested after getting in a scuffle in front of the Museum of the Moving Image in New York. At least people are getting actively involved against this regime.
Everything moves frighteningly fast now, but we see resistance all over the place. Trump has united Mexicans who rally behind their President against the border wall. More than one million Brits have signed a petition against Trump’s coming state visit, guaranteeing Prime Minister Theresa May a lot of well-deserved headache to come. In the BBC clip above, former Labour leader Ed Miliband go after both May and Trump with great fervour. The President’s attacks against the independent media, The New York Times in particular, keep securing new subscriptions for them (I bought one yesterday), grassroots activism is on the rise and many Republicans are secretly embarrassed and worried about where their country is headed. It’s only been one week, but Trump’s disapproval rating is already over 50 per cent according to Gallup, which is historic for a fresh presidency.
So much damage has been done – but probably not enough for clueless Trump voters to notice. Most of it has been done to America’s security; the economy hasn’t been affected yet. All in due time, I guess.