Iranian movie The Salesman won the award for the Best Foreign Film at the 89th Academy Awards. The award however was accepted by Iranian-American engineer and CEO of Telecom Technologies Anousheh Ansari on behalf of director Asghar Farhadi, who decided not to attend the ceremony in protest of the immigration ban imposed by President of the United States Donald Trump on seven Muslim nations including Iran, Iraq, Syria and Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.
Farhadi sent a written statement accepting the award. “I’m sorry I’m not with you tonight. My absence is out of respect for the people of my country and those of other six nations who have been disrespected by the inhumane law that bans entry of immigrants to the US,” Ansari said as she read Farhadi’s note.
Farhadi wrote that dividing the world into ‘us and our enemies’ would create fear and a ‘deceitful justification for aggression and war’. He further added that these wars prevent democracy in the countries that have been victims of aggression themselves.
“Filmmakers can turn their cameras to create and capture human qualities and break stereotypes of various nationalities and religions. They create empathy between us and others. An empathy that we need today more than ever,” Ansari read.
The Salesman’s Oscar victory comes amid the decrepitating relations between the US and Iran. While the Obama administration took a step forward in normalising the ties between the two nations by signing the nuclear deal, Trump administration has taken a step back by banning the Iranian nationals including those with US visa and green card from entering America. The decision has been criticised by people across the globe including the US citizens who believe that the order is against the American principles of inclusivity.