Image: Evan Vucci/AP/Shutterstock

Why Saudi Arabia Isn’t Part of The Travel Ban

It was recently confirmed that the extended travel ban does include my home country of Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, and the epicenter of the continent’s economic prowess.

Since the news broke, Nigerians both at home and abroad have been scrambling to make sense of the stunning revelation.

There’s no doubt that this is a personal attack from a criminalized administration that runs deep enough to cause brutal ramifications.

Nigerians were never going to be spared the nightmare of adjusting to the newly-minted immigration laws, that will prevent our loved ones from acquiring visas for permanent status in a country that has benefitted enormously from the epic success stories of hard-working Nigerians in prominent industries.

It’s also poetically ironic to notice the disappointment and shock from Nigerians who deem Donald Trump worthy as the U.S. president, who was chosen by God to cleanse the earth of deviant behavior by limiting the functionality of vulnerable groups that pose a threat to Christianity.

This is the tragic residue of British colonialism, that tricked its way to a luscious land of majestic Blackness, bursting with wealth and abundance, and how those blessings were cursed by the lethality of white evangelism.

British invaders, masked as “missionaries” plotted to overthrow Black power for the wins of disabling the primal structures that interfered with the main objectives of white supremacy. The takeover was swift and violent and the weaponry was in the form of shaming Blackness for its brutishness, and sinful tendencies.

By the time British soldiers had conveniently made their exit after making nice with the Northerners, who were strategically positioned as sellouts through cooperation in the lifelong supply of our invaluable riches at the expense of rightful owners, Nigeria was abandoned in shambles.

Independence Day was the scam to cruelly coerce Nigerians into believing that we were capable of resurrecting the pillars of our dismantled government.

The thing about systemic abuse is that unless the wounds are adequately examined and prepared for healing, the worn out bandages that are meant to cover up the shit, will continue to produce infections that willfully spread without end.

Many Nigerians are adamant about the fact that the national tyranny of colonialism that still permeates though the valves of nonstop dysfunction and utter despair, shouldn’t be blamed for the decades of dire circumstances, that have been inflicted by authoritative dictators, who enrich themselves with steady income from oil exports.

When the Nigerian Civil War broke out in 1967, it lasted for three long, trying years. The battle was activated by a military hero of Igbo descent, Lieutenant-Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, who was determined to fight for the right of the Eastern region to part ways with Nigeria, and form its own thriving territory called Biafra.

I have a personal connection to the Biafran War because my own mother was a child when it was waging, and she recalls vivid memories of a frightful time that was somewhat bearable because her father was in England studying law, and was able to periodically send over provisions to sustain his endangered family.

My father was a young adult with big dreams that could’ve easily led him to the shores of former colonial masters, like most ambitious Nigerians during that notable period of unrest.

But he rejected Great Britain in favor of the United States of America, after gaining admission into a prestigious business school in Arizona, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

His risky departure from a war-torn territory, as an Igbo man who was a member of the proud tribe that was getting demolished by the Nigerian army and formidable allies, that unsurprisingly included the British, was proof of how badly my father wanted the opportunity to remove the constraints of his heritage.

Coming to America was a breath of fresh air. He discovered that he was one of many Nigerians who opted to move thousands of miles away to gain first-class education and invaluable exposure, that would be utilized for the betterment of an ailing country that desperately needed the infusion of industrious patriots.

By the time my mom joined my father in the States in the early seventies, there were thriving Nigerian communities spread all over the U.S., as evidence of the winning formula of a western country, that rewards a stellar work ethic and the ability to go above and beyond great expectations.

My parents completed their college years and garnered relevant work experience while tending to their two children; my younger brother and I. And once I turned 8-years-old, the beginning stages of our permanent return to Nigeria was initiated.

It was understood that as American citizens, we could cash in that lottery ticket when the time was right; preferably when we were ready to attend university. My parents were convinced that going back to the country they discarded for a loftier existence would be the chance to not just give back in a meaningful way, but also arm their children with the desirability of their culture, outside of their Americanness.

Fast forward to the present, and we’re all much older and thankfully wiser.

My parents are now more aware of how their white caregivers may have been using them to advance agendas that weren’t selfless and God-driven. The purposed narrative that sought to create and maintain divisions between Black Americans and African immigrants were spearheaded by the supremacy of whiteness, and the traitorousness that flourished in the seventies and early eighties is still an active threat.

My siblings and I have definitely evolved into the stage of adulthood where the blinders are ripped off to reveal the glaring truth.

America was good to my family, and the honorable statutes that Lady Liberty dictates played a vital role in authoring my destiny as an American-born Nigerian, who had the best of both worlds.

And now that I have officially spent more years in my birth country, there’s been the occasional flirting with the idea of moving back to my home country, especially since the predicted tragedy of a Trump presidency has spitefully been realized.

The travel ban that has finally been unleashed on Nigeria was cemented back when Trump expressed his disdain for “shithole countries” and swore to limit the entry of Black and Brown visitors who call those places home.

Having a white nationalist as our president doesn’t just dramatically increase white terrorism, it also reduces the influx of non-whites to a country that’s being defaced by a roguish regime, that depends heavily on the framework of white power.

Interesting that the oil-sleek veneer of Saudi Arabia, a Muslim-majority country that produced the notorious mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the U.S., Osama bin Laden, has managed to evade the overt bigotry and Islamophobia that have inspired revised immigration laws and the controversial Muslim ban.

Despite the damning history of human rights violations that have been boldly condemned by various arms of monitoring organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, Saudi Arabia has been successful in the mission of remaining immune to the obligations of sustaining a civilized platform that doesn’t adhere to crimes against humanity.

As a country that abides to the rules of an absolute monarch, the Saudi royal family are drunk with power, which is a trait that strongly appeals to Donald Trump in ways that are illustrated with his impeachment trial, and the victory of being able beat his “high crimes and misdemeanors” due to the cultish and dangerous worship of cowardly Republicans.

We got the potent view of the omnipotence of the Crown Prince and his royal court when Washington Post columnist, Jamal Khashoggi, an American-based Saudi, who was passionately outspoken about the injustices of the Saudi government was gruesomely slaughtered in 2018, at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Trump, his son-in-law and “senior adviser,” Jared Kushner secretary of state, and Mike Pompeo, were vocally supportive of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, as the grisly details of Khashoggi’s murder was unfolding.

The “millions and millions” of dollars at stake couldn’t be sacrificed for the dignified recognition of a human life. There was also the attached description of a relentless truth-teller, who was committed to his duty of exposing bribery and corruption at the highest levels.

As an egomaniacal doofus, who refers to media organizations that don’t follow the rulebook of Fox News as “enemy of the people,” Trump was absolutely not empathetic to the plight of an honored member of the media, who worked for one of the reputable outlets he loathes.

Trump endorsed the official statement from the Saudi royal family that denied any involvement in the crime, and the temporary tensions between the two countries were transformed into more durable bonds.

Why isn’t Saudi Arabia part of the travel ban?

Money, Money, Money.

The love affair between The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the most powerful and wealthiest country in the world has been sustained by the fuel of global greed.

The labeled countries that have succumbed to the wrath of a racist and Islamophobic American president are easy targets, based on track records that reflect the unrecoverable elements of poverty, domestic conflicts and being hotspots for Islamic militancy.

Since the United States is no longer a welcoming refuge for Black and Brown immigrants positioned in trouble areas around the world, families will be callously torn apart by the new laws taking effect on Feb. 22.

None of the countries on the shitty list can rival the glitzy business deals that Saudi Arabia bequeaths the U.S. government, which explains the comfortable expendability.

Only time will tell how Nigeria’s inclusion in the extended ban will affect relations that are murky at best. But on a personal level, this new reality forces an internal reflection that matches the status of my revamped disposition.

Being a Nigerian-American used to be the ideal combo, but one thing Trump’s presidency achieved is the high visibility of why I can’t ever escape the deadly jaws of white supremacy, no matter where I go or what I choose.

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