Despite all the clamour, the proposed travel ban against Muslims from six Muslim-majority countries in the USA is a reality now. As soon as President Donald Trump had suggested the ban, Americans and people around the world rallied against it. They argued that the ban would affect many innocent and needy people, and would break families.
Now, as the country’s Supreme Court ruled that the travel ban could not be used against anyone from the six countries who has a “bona fide relationship” with the US, the Trump Administration watered it down with a few caveats. According to the revised ban, spouses are allowed, but not fiancés; parents, but not grandparents.
Many have questioned the rationale behind excluding ageing grandparents from the list of close relatives. The ban is shutting doors to many memories of love, pampering and sumptuous food made by grannies. So, people are sharing adorable pictures of their grandmas and asking “is this the face of terror?”
One Iranian-American Middle East analyst Holly Dagres started a social media campaign posting a candid photo with her grandmother with the hashtag #BannedGrandmas and #GrandparentsNotTerrorists. Her tweet went viral with several people retweeting and liking it, including Bernie Sanders’s wife, Jane.
— Holly Dagres (@hdagres) June 30, 2017
While many argued that the ban is temporary and only for 90 days, she rightly highlighted, “Some still don’t understand the #MuslimBan. Yes, it says 90-days, but for countries like #Iran it’s indefinite since there’s no US ties.”
— Elham Khatami (@ekhatami) June 29, 2017
— Maria Afsharian (@MariaAfsharian) June 29, 2017
Since then she started an Instagram account and has been sharing many pictures of mamanis (grandmas). “Let’s be real. Whose grandmother has ever committed a terrorist attack?” she told TIME.
Talking to Vogue about how her movement has given a human face to the travel ban and hit an emotional chord with zillions of people online, she said: “Grandfathers are really important, but I think it’s the grandmas that symbolise the nucleus of the family,” says Dagres. “The only thing grandmothers are really guilty of is giving too many hugs and kisses and feeding you too much. When has a senior citizen ever committed an act of terror?”
The pictures on the Instagram account too echo the same thoughts, with pictures of cute grannies showering innumerable kisses and smiles that would melt your heart instantly. In less than a fortnight since it was started, after the ban was implemented on June 29, it has created quite a buzz and has gained around 1500 followers.
“The travel ban is absurd and unjustified on so many levels,” she argues. “This concept of ‘bona fide relationship’ is bogus. Close family doesn’t actually apply to blood ties,” she was quoted by the Guardian.
Now many others have also taken to Twitter and Instagram to share their own stories and how their relationship with their grandma is precious, and how the ban that keeps them away from their close ones is painful and wrong.
Though the account is mostly filled with stories about grandmas from Iran, Dagres has also invited photos from other countries that have been affected by the ban. People from Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen are affected by this controversial ban.
The ban also has excluded grandchildren, aunts, uncles and cousins of people living in the US. In fact, “bona fide relationship” is quite ambiguous, and many activists raising questions about the future of refugees fleeing war and terror. Though the court has kept things quite open-ended, saying each case will be decided on its own merit, recently, an Iranian researcher was detained and later deported from Boston airport, even though he had valid visas much before the ban was put in place.