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Tibetans participate in a candlelight vigil following news of the self immolation protest by a 24 yr old Tibetan named Pema Gyaltsen in Nyarong, Kham, on March 18, 2017. McLeod Ganj, March 19, 2017 Phayul Photo:Kunsang Gashon
His Holiness the Dalai Lama gazes at devotees as he visits the Mahabodhi temple near the Kalachakra venue, a day after the conclusion of 34th Kalachakra. Jan. 15, 2016 Phayul Photo: Kunsang Gashon
Three weeks after Indian PM announced Demonetization of 500 and 1000 notes residents including Tibetans queue outside State Bank of India and on-site ATMs to withdraw daily limit of 2000 Rs per account, Dharamshala, Nov. 28, 2016, Phayul Photo
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Anguished Fear
[Tuesday, February 07, 2017 18:35]
By Ugyen Gyalpo

Just as the wintry breeze whipped past our gentle face and despite our efforts to cover, the chill still gets you on your face. That's the Trump effect that raised every bent fiber of our hair since he infamously took office. Such is the unstoppable predicament that has gripped this recent Divided states of America, ever since Trump became our unlikeliest of president in our recent memory.

On the eve of the executive order that Trump signed, banning all Muslims and refugees, I was flying unaware on a wingspan half the football size soaring above 35000 ft and when I had landed at the JFK airport after I had attended the Kalachakra teachings, initiated by His Holiness for world peace in the holy soils of Bodh Gaya,India, I was but welcomed surprisingly by a huge galvanized protest at the airport, that had my cabbie I had bargained for to take me home, hastily scurry out of the airport unnervingly before a possible clash that he said would erupt with the police, the force I had seen on the other side stand guarded for a forcible quench just incase if it turns unruly.

Born a refugee myself to a refugee parents, this one executive order, out of many that he had signed hit close at home and turned things personal on a burning scale. A barrage of executive orders that Trump unleashed was a little surprise, given his campaign rhetorics and since, he was now walking the talk that won him the elections the first place. But someone without any humanely forethought, to actually rub your wounds with salt that was inflicted upon decades of destruction, death, destitution and displacement and to close door for the once most sought after safest haven with his executive order in banning muslims was like blowing out the last glimmer of light that consistently shone through the darkest tunnels of hope. A tunnel my race and all races subjugated to endure misfortune like that of brutal invasion, totalitarianism and dictatorship coiled through decades of oppression, injustice and dehumanization refugees had to suffer.

Passing every morning with distasteful surprises since President Trump's post electoral win and the paradigm shifting momentum that had engulfed the political air on the Western Hemisphere, from Brexit to growing ideology of protectionism, anti establishment and populism gaining ground.

I could slowly swallow with the settling of the dust the forced facts as they were pebbles through our throats, weighing through the pros and cons of globalization and the efficacy of the leveling of economic playing field, where few played foul such as China as a massive currency Manipulator. And, the myriad outdated trade agreements that once aspired to provide a support base for the underdeveloped world to stake in towards prosperity. I could slowly understand the urge to build walls on the Mexican borders, since it's unlike the Berlin Wall, and knowing that Mexicans would drill tunnels anyways to get in. I could understand the logic of repositioning of US armies worldwide on our taxpayers expense to protect nations from rogue states such as North Korea, a protectorate state in South Korea that has flourished so well off the boons of Silicon Valley that would actually feed us with their newfound wealth. I could understand the efforts in draining the Washington Swamp and then laugh about the futility of his efforts by injecting the same greasy, thicker and corrupted souls for political correctness that blocked the pipe at the first place.

But one thing I failed to understand at the cost of almost losing my sanity, is the idea, the essence, the fabric and the crux of our nation that was built upon the toils of hardworking immigrants like Steve Jobs's immigrant Syrian dad to abruptly change its course, to ban and discriminate the very people who contributed so much to make this country great. A nation where lady liberty welcomed all, bearing a torch to guide the war torn refugee, famine struck victims, for safe haven from imminent death, famine and darkness. A nation that eighteen years ago, I had embraced with the touch of liberty, compassion, opportunity and justice for all, coming from the insecurity of being a stateless and my country razed to ground by the Chinese.

While at work, as impactful as this ban was, I came around a Bangladeshi family, who had planned to visit their ailing parents, whom they had not seen for over eight years and their aged parents, probably from the softness of their memory filled pillows, waiting for one last glimpse of their sons and daughters return through that door they saw them last leave many years ago, now probably would have to wait a longtime, only if they could gather enough air to survive through their failing lungs. Amidst growing fear of deportation of even the Green Card holders, this family with a bursting heart decided with anguished fear in abandoning their long planned trip to see their ailing parents.

This fear of possibly refusing to let in at the brunt of being a Muslim stereotyped as Porential terrorist couldn't be vivid, when my people, the Tibetan refugee crossed the biggest natural Himalayan wall only to be arrested by the Nepalese border police, of-course from their conscience being sold, deported back countless Tibetans to face imminent death and endure lifelong torture in the Chinese gulags. This is as personal as it gets over arching everything else Trump rampaged with his executive orders.

He can built wall to protect his country from illegal immigrations but to burn every bridges of embracing inclusiveness and seeds of diversity, this country a crucible on its own, long prided on, over its symbolic diverse star spangled banners. Barring refugees and limiting one with cases of extreme vetting literally closes every avenue and to imagine war torn countries like Syria, where cities like Aleppo that once was a thriving cosmopolitan world and to see it reduced to obliterating rubble by the barbarism of ISIL.

And to close door for refugees such as these that are collecting every courage to rise from the ashes of destruction is simply outrageous and contradictory to the humanitarian values that this country upholds. It's discriminatory, blatantly unconstitutional and plainly UnAmerican. It's a recipe for division, separation and isolationism that will puncture the moral ethics of this country for a longtime and its effect will be deadlier than a nuclear attack, because this would be an attack on people's minds and sentiments and minds matter a lot. Trump cannot trump over morality for long at least that's what we can hope for. But for now, it seems the only person that can stop Trump is Trump himself and that is as uncertain as his midnight tweets and erratic leadership


The author lives in Woodside, New York, and works as an insurance agent for United Health Group, New York.


The views expressed in this piece are that of the author and the publication of the piece on this website does not necessarily reflect their endorsement by the website.
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