202 Views

Should controversial personalities be muted by petitions? A lesson for Trump and Roosh V

Over the past few years online petitions have gained great popularity within the UK. The scheme of collecting signatures in order to achieve change and justice has proven successful on several occasions. For example, in the case of Sudanese Meriam Ibrahim, who escaped a death penalty with the help of over one million signatures.

Whereas such petitions highlight injustice and give a voice to the unheard, some collections of signatures can be seen as rather controversial.

Recently, two petitions have incited an uproar concerning US presidential candidate Donald Trump and American pick-up artist Daryush Valizadeh, better known as Roosh V. The petitions seek to ban the personalities from entering the UK, in light of both Trump and Valizadeh’s highly concerning and racist statements.

Should controversial public figures be banned from the UK, or are we invading the right of freedom of expression through such petitions?

Current issues regarding the wave of refugees coming to Europe and the ongoing war in Syria concern politicians worldwide. Unsurprisingly, these topics are highly discussed in the 2016 US presidential elections, and each opponent uses the so-called crisis in their favour.

Many Americans find their man in Donald Trump, the embodiment of a narrow-minded and fearful culture. Trump began his campaign as a laughing stock, being smiled at by his opponents and frankly, by the rest of the world.

But a few months into the election campaign Trump has gained popularity. A man who shamelessly voices that Muslims should be banned from entering the US, who dares to suggest special identification cards for Muslims, has turned into a leading candidate for the Republicans.

No longer is the billionaire with visions a laughing stock but a potential threat to America and the rest of the world.

Undoubtedly, a petition that bans him from coming to the United Kingdom will not interfere with his election campaign, nor will it stop him from making racist and irrational statements. Even less will it hold him back from entering the UK.

In fact, the UK government replied to the Donald Trump petition by saying that it will not comment on individual exclusion decisions. However, the statement also stresses that the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary disagree with Trump and view his comments on Muslims as ‘divisive, unhelpful and wrong’.

If the petition failed, are our hands tied against the hate speech of men like Donald Trump and Daryush Valizadeh? Valizadeh calls himself a ‘neo-masculinist’ and enters the stage with the same egomania as Trump.

He calls out for legalising rape on private property and views men as superior to women. Hard-earned progress gets destroyed within seconds by such men who suffer from an inferiority complex.

Alarmingly, both men have an increasing network of supporters who glorify the personalities – and their wrongful thinking. Their offensive statements are too shocking to let lie; they demand action.

A single voice who speaks up won’t harm either of them. A collection of voices however, puts a public figure under pressure.

Nevertheless, petitions which urge to ban controversial figures from a country should not be understood too literally.

Rather, they can be seen as a symbol of unity and resistance against wrong-thinking members of society. In the case of Donald Trump the petition is a sarcastic answer to his plan of banning Muslims from US entry.

Statements of racism and hatred do not justify a ban from entering a democratic state. However, both petitions state that the true message behind their demands is to spread awareness on controversial figures who publicly promote racism and hate speech.

Although the government did not ban the personalities from entering the UK, both petitions collected so many signatures that the issues got addressed in the UK parliament. The petition against Roosh V exercised such pressure on the artist that he eventually cancelled all his events in the UK.

The public successfully pointed at two personalities that had to be reprimanded. We have to understand the deeper meaning of such petitions: the voice of citizens, the call for justice and democracy. Donald Trump and Daryush Valizadeh might still come to the UK and promote their views, but they now know that they aren’t welcome. Petition succeeded.

 

Theresa Rappold

Image: Peter Stevens

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
958 views1
Campus News
958 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series
Arts
274 views
Arts
274 views

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - June 17, 2018

Pictured: Zac Black At Proud Cabaret audiences were spellbound as if at night at the circus, yet this was not like Angela Carter’s magical realist novel; Verve…

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review
Arts
284 views
Arts
284 views

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review

Florence Dutton - June 11, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Last Monday at 8pm at Brighton’s The Old Market, I sat myself down in my theatre seat eagerly awaiting…

Fleabag preview
Arts
264 views
Arts
264 views

Fleabag preview

Florence Dutton - June 2, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Following the mass success of the Bafta award-winning BBC Series, DryWrite and Soho Theatre are about to hit the…

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome
Arts
322 views
Arts
322 views

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome

Georgia Grace - June 1, 2018

Having completed my final semester of university with modules on punk history and queer arts, it was fitting that I rounded off my end-of-assessment celebrations by attending…

Arts
340 views

The Tempest review

Georgia Grace - May 30, 2018

As the sun begins to set over Hove Green, tinnies of Red Stripe are cracked open, tartan blankets are strewn, and families tuck into their picnic hampers.…

A Glass Half Empty review
Arts
301 views
Arts
301 views

A Glass Half Empty review

Georgia Grace - May 27, 2018

For those of us coming to the end of another year of university study, the prospect of careers, marriages and babies may seem a long way off.…

DollyWould at The Old Market review
Arts
283 views
Arts
283 views

DollyWould at The Old Market review

Alex Hutson - May 27, 2018

Sh!t Theatre’s DollyWould is a hilarious, thoughtful and experimental performance piece. The award winning show has the Sh!t Theatre duo integrating comedy, storytelling, personal experience and music.…

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex
Campus News
431 views
Campus News
431 views

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex

Billie-Jean Johnson - May 26, 2018

The Sussex branch of the University and College Union (UCU) has launched a petition calling for Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell to end the 'hostile environment' at Sussex. The…

Arts
229 views

Shakespeare in the sun – The Tempest preview

Georgia Grace - May 24, 2018

In a world of dystopian King Lears and female Hamlets, Shakespeare’s classics are constantly being reimagined for the modern day. There’s something oddly refreshing then about the…

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
725 views
Arts
725 views

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 23, 2018

What a phenomenal contrast these two films present when watched side-by-side. In essence, together they are capable of tracing inner and outer metamorphoses of their subjects. The…

Dollywould at The Old Market preview
Arts
290 views
Arts
290 views

Dollywould at The Old Market preview

Alex Hutson - May 22, 2018

From the 22nd May - 25th May 2018 DollyWould will be showing at The Old Market. An exciting new show, presented by Sh!t Theatre, who won the…

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu
Artist Focus
375 views
Artist Focus
375 views

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - May 16, 2018

Last week artist Fedilou made her debut exhibition in the downstairs space of Morelli Zorelli, a quaint vegan Italian restaurant in Hove, featuring a collection of intimate…

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley
Interview
297 views
Interview
297 views

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley

Nikolaos Manesis - May 15, 2018

Ron Chrisley is a Reader in Philosophy, on the faculty of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, and is the director of COGS (Centre for Cognitive Science).…

Adam review
Arts
361 views
Arts
361 views

Adam review

Ketan Jha - May 13, 2018

If you have been a stranger to the stage this spring and decide to see one contemporary show, let it be Adam. This reviewer went in entirely…

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
420 views
Arts
420 views

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 13, 2018

In celebration of iconic Brighton local, legendary alt-rock musician (and episodic actor) Nick Cave, TOM’s Film Club are hosting a double-bill screening of his films at The…

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review
Arts
437 views
Arts
437 views

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review

Georgia Grace - May 11, 2018

Meta-theatricality and interactivity are becoming all the more vogue in contemporary theatre, and in a world where the arts are becoming increasingly open and democratised, I find…

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks
Artist Focus
342 views
Artist Focus
342 views

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks

Alex Leissle - May 9, 2018

  [gallery type="slideshow" ids="35385,35386,35387,35388,35389,35390,35391,35392,35393,35394,35395,35396,35397,35398,35399,35400,35401,35402,35403,35404,35405,35406,35407,35408,35409,35410,35411"]

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival
Books
373 views
Books
373 views

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival

William Singh - May 9, 2018

Afua Hirsch’s 2018 book - part memoir, part polemic - provokes mixed feelings. So too did her discussion of the topic at this year’s Brighton Festival. Don’t…

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality
Science
479 views
Science
479 views

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality

Luke Richards - May 8, 2018

Bioweapons exist, while ethnic-bioweapons are whispered conspiracies. Pandemics can fairly hazardous to human life, the 1918 Flu Pandemic killed 20-50 million people. A man made pandemic could…

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced
News
398 views
News
398 views

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced

Jessica Hubbard - May 4, 2018

Students have voted to support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, reject Prevent and adopt new Gender Equality policies. Results for the Students' Union referenda were…