By Yaw Adjei-Mintah
@ YawMintYM on Twitter
Ghana and the United States are the Atlantic Ocean apart but have unique commonness between. For starters, political symbols of the leading parties in both countries are the same. Unlike the States two party democratic system, Ghana’s multi party system is better off adopting a two party approach not forgetting both countries share the same colonial master.
While Ghana’s change of power has not been as dramatic as that of the United States, the West African nation has witnessed quite a few glaring differences since December 7. Out with the incumbent, in with the new.
That’s the path the nation has chosen and that’s the way the US under Donald Trump, is going. Mere days after becoming the most powerful president in the world, Trump’s actions have been super fast. Trade dealings, political appointments and controversial laws have dominated the headlines close to a fortnight.
However, one directive that has caused a lot of feathers to ruffle has been the passage of a travel ban on seven Muslim dominated countries from entering the States. Citizens of Libya, Somalia, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Syria and Sudan cannot travel to the country due to this ban. In one of the world’s biggest melting pot, the world’s best basketball league aka the NBA, this directive has been taken with a lot of consternation and cringe worthy debates.
The emotional talk is centered on Los Angeles Lakers Forward Luol Deng and Milwaukee Bucks Center Thon Maker and this is where opinions including mine diverge from the norm which views this law as a potential danger to the aforementioned players. To be honest, the ban is unnecessary and harsh and the NBA has little to worry about the consequences of this directive at least for the remainder of the season. Reason being there is nothing to worry about because the players in question are not from any of the aforementioned countries. Yes you read correctly; Thon Maker and Deng are not from Sudan but from South Sudan.
Had the ban been in place prior to 2011, this would have been an issue because both players were born in territories in Sudan. However, those territories are now part of what is the world’s youngest country South Sudan since South Sudan gained independence in 2011 so neither player falls victim to the ban. In any case that has been put to the test and rightly so, nothing happened. The Bucks travelled with Maker northwards to play Toronto Raptors in Canada before the directive was issued but the seven foot tall Center had no problems getting through immigration.
Prior to that, the situation was of major concern to teammates and officials. Thanks to Vancouver Grizzlies relocation to Memphis, Canada has just one team, the Raptors, to mark its presence in the league so the frequency of border crossing is reduced likewise the frequency of the issue coming up again. The NBA’s global games are over too meaning teams will not travel to Mexico and England to play games.
There is also the need to know both players in question are technically not even Sudanese since Maker and Deng represent American allies in Australia and England. Due to a long fought Civil War, many Sudanese took up refuge in many countries particularly Europe and some, like Deng, have become citizens of such nations. Deng officially became an English citizen in 2006 and Maker is a dual citizen since he holds an Australian passport and a South Sudanese passport. And how official can your status get after Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turbull personally commented on the issue to clear any doubt that may linger regarding Maker’s situation.
Another reason, this issue shouldn’t be treated as a potential block to players from other regions is the temporary status of the Order in the first place. The Order is set to last 90 days whilst the situation on the ground is reviewed by the appropriate quarters. Should it hold and get extended, then we can revisit this situation sometime in the future since a host of players may pop up from such countries. Should it not last, then the situation should be treated as a temporary measure due for expiration.
To be honest, many people don’t like President Trump-just check the number of people demonstrating in cities in America and the world against his laws- and that is perhaps the main reason behind the heavy backlash meted out to him. However controversial Trump is, the NBA’s reaction to the travel ban is way over the top and unnecessary.