Cultural organizations around the nation, including a museum in Los Angeles, concert promoters and Oscar contenders are expressing fears that projects involving the Middle East will have to be curtailed or scrapped in the aftermath of President Donald Trump’s executive order regarding visits by Muslims.
“Scholarly exchanges and international collaborations are key to our ongoing work, and we are very concerned that a number of programs we have in place could be threatened, just at a time when the world needs more, not less, exchange and mutual understanding,” Thomas P. Campbell, the director of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, told the New York Times.
In one of the most high-profile cases arising from the ban, Iranian film director Asghar Farhadi, who directed “The Salesman,” said in a statement to the Times that he would not attend the Oscars ceremony in Hollywood even if he were granted an exception to the visa ban. He had planned to attend the Feb. 26 ceremony but new regulations announced Friday presented “ifs and buts which are in no way acceptable to me even if exceptions were to be made for my trip,” he said.
Farhadi, whose film “A separation” won an Oscar for best foreign- language film in 2012, said he hopes ” that the current situation will not give rise to further divide between nations.”
Marcel Mettelsiefen, the director of “Watani: My Homeland,” an Oscar- nominated documentary, said his film’s Syrian protagonist, Hala Kamil, would not be able to travel to the Oscars ceremony because she has a Syrian and a German refugee passport. Kamil has been a frequent visitor to the United States, even giving a speech on the plight of refugees at the United Nations in August.
And Hussein Hassan, the Kurdish director of the feature “Reseba — The Dark Wind,” which was to have its North American premiere at the Miami Film Festival next month, said he had withdrawn his visa application to protest Trump’s policy.
The ban is also expected to affect museums.
“We have no idea yet how this might affect us, but we do have at least one important exhibition of art mostly from Iran that would be impacted by travel restrictions that would make it difficult to do research and work with artists and authors, as well as borrow works of art that would require couriers from collections in Iran,” a spokeswoman from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art told the Times.
Shari Rezai, a concert promoter in Los Angeles who specializes in contemporary Persian music and brings artists from Iran and elsewhere to the United States, said she had six shows planned through June and canceled all of them three days ago, when she heard about the impending ban. She worried that her seven-year-old business was now at risk and that a concert she staged Sunday night would be her last.
Trump’s executive order, which was signed Friday, blocks entry into the United States for 90 days for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. It also suspends entry of all refugees for 120 days and bars Syrian refugees indefinitely. Artists and citizens from the affected countries legally residing in the United States said they do not dare leave for fear of being denied re-entry.
—City News Service
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