Swedish-Iranian Oscar hopeful hit by Trump Muslim ban

The Swedish-Iranian actress tipped to share an Oscar for best foreign film fears she will be blocked by Donald Trump’s 'Muslim ban'.

Swedish-Iranian Oscar hopeful hit by Trump Muslim ban
Bahar Pars photographed at Stockholm's Royal Dramatic Theatre. Foto: Staffan Löwstedt / SvD / TT /
But Bahar Pars, who was born in Iran but came to Sweden as a child, said she intended to board the plane nonetheless. 
“I think I’d rather go there and take that place,”  the 37-year-old told the TT news agency. “I’ll probably get more out of being able to stand there and say, 'You know what? Now I’m standing here on your territory. Fuck off.'” 
Pars plays Parvaneh, the female lead in the Oscar-nominated film A Man Called Ove, which stars Rolf Lassgård and is directed by Hanne Holm. 
“It’s not at all certain that I’m going to get in,” Pars told TT.  “It wouldn’t surprise me if nobody born in Iran gets in.” 
US President Donald Trump on Friday signed an executive order banning people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen from entering the United States for 90 days, regardless of their visa status or permanent residency.
The order, named “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”, also suspended the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days. 
Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström on Sunday called the order “deeply regrettable”, joining a chorus of criticism from world leaders. 
“This decision increases distrust and tension between people. Not since World War II have so many people been displaced by war and conflict. It is all countries' joint responsibility to help them, including the United States'. “
Pars said that she had taken two months to get her visa to the US approved after applying using her Iranian passport, but she said that after Donald Trump's  “appallingly racist” executive order, she suspected she would not be allowed entry. 
“I’m very emotionally upset by this,” she said. “But on the other side, it would also be nice to go there and, if we win the prize, speak to the whole world and say this is wrong.” 
The Oscar-nominated director Asghar Farhadi confirmed on Saturday that the ban meant he would be unable to attend the ceremony, for which for his drama The Salesman is also in the running for best foreign film. 
Taraneh Alidoosti, the lead actress in Farhadi’s film, on Thursday said she would boycott the awards because of upcoming travel restrictions on Iranians. 
According to TT, thousands of Swedes risk being hit by the new law simply because they were born in one of the seven countries named. 


‘Propaganda of sodomy’: Georgian far-right protests against Swedish Oscar film

Hundreds of far-right activists burned a rainbow flag and cried "Shame!" during a protest in the Georgian capital against an Oscar-nominated Swedish-Georgian gay-themed film which premiered amid a heavy police presence.

'Propaganda of sodomy': Georgian far-right protests against Swedish Oscar film
Protesters massed outside the Amirani cinema in Tbilisi. Photo: Vano Shlamov / AFP
Set in Georgia, “And Then We Danced” — Sweden's official Oscar submission in the best international feature film category — is a love story about two male dancers in Georgia's national ballet company.
The drama has won worldwide critical acclaim but was denounced by the Caucasus country's influential Orthodox Church as an “affront to the traditional Georgian values”.
In front of the Amirani cinema in the capital Tbilisi, the anti-gay protesters chanted “Long live Georgia!” and “Shame!”. They burned the rainbow flag as an Orthodox priest recited a prayer.
The interior ministry said 11 protesters were arrested for “disobeying police”.
The cinema, which had earlier posted a video on Facebook of policemen checking the cinema's seats with sniffer dogs. let ticket holders inside for the evening premiere showing and then shut the doors.
“Georgian folk dance is an epitome of the Georgian spiritual values, we will not let them defile our national traditions,” said one of the far-right protesters, 35-year-old housewife Teona Gogava.
Maka Kiladze, a forty-year-old choreographer who was among the audience in the cinema, said: “There is huge interest towards the film in Georgia. It's anomaly that we have to face an angry mob to attend a film screening”.
'Dark times'
Earlier this week, Sandro Bregadze, a former junior minister in the ruling Georgian Dream party's government, said his nationalist Georgian March group would not allow the film to be screened in Tbilisi, calling it “propaganda of sodomy”.
Levan Vasadze, a Georgian businessman with links to Russia's anti-Western and far-right groups, said his supporters will “enter screening rooms in the six cinemas in Tbilisi and turn off the projectors,” also vowing to “shove back police if need be”.
“Some far right groups and the Church have basically condemned the film and are planning to stop people from entering the sold out screenings,” the film's director Levan Akin, a Swede with Georgian roots, wrote on his Facebook page
earlier Friday.
These are “dark times we live in,” he wrote, adding that it is important to “stand up against these shadowy forces in any way we can”.
Georgia's interior ministry issued a statement, promising to ensure “the protection of public safety and order, as well as the freedom of self-expression”.
“We address everyone: obey the law. Otherwise, police will use their lawful mandate and suppress unlawful acts immediately,” the statement said.   
Homosexuality is still highly stigmatised in Georgia, a socially conservative Black Sea nation where the immensely influential Orthodox Church has previously clashed with Western-leaning governments over social issues.
Homosexuality was banned in Georgia after the country was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1921.
After the Soviet Union's collapse, the ban was not enforced, but officially homosexuality was only decriminalised in 2000, with anti-discrimination laws adopted in 2006.
Critics of the ruling Georgian Dream party have accused the government of giving tacit support to homophobic and nationalist groups which traditionally support the party in elections and have staged protest rallies against pro-Western opposition parties.