Trump’s ban in stark contrast to India’s warmth: Welsh authors

Kolkata, Feb 4 (IANS) A team of Welsh writers and poets, touring India, said US President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban was horrific and seems like a “world away” jutting out in stark contrast to the warmth experienced by them in this South Asian nation.

They said painting all people with the same brush would only create more walls.

“It is absolutely horrific. We didn’t follow it initially as we were travelling here and last week when we saw on Twitter, it seems another world away from the welcome and the warmth that we have received all over India, from New Delhi to Varanasi to Kolkata. It is so small minded and detrimental to any form of sharing,” Sion Tomos Owen told IANS here.

Owen and writers Natalie Ann Holborrow, Gary Raymond and Sophie Mckeand are in the city for the Kolkata International Book Fair and for the launch of the Wales-India season showcasing 11 projects spanning various Indian cities.

Authors and poets Holborrow and Owen are engaged in taking pictures, writing poetry, collecting experiences and blogging for the collaborative publishing project ‘Through The Valley, The City, The Village’.

The initiative as part of the UK-India Year of Culture 2017 involves Welsh and Bengali writers in a series of residencies in both countries and live performances and will result in a trilingual publication of new writing in Bengali, English and Welsh through Parthian Books and Bee Books. British Council India is partnering with Wales Arts International to celebrate the year of culture.

Holborrow said their collaboration “opens up to new cultures”. However, this runs in sharp contrast to Trump’s ban, she said.

“The project is about opening up to new cultures and visiting new places. A lot of Welsh literature is about where we live so this just opens up a whole new door for us and letting people in on something which is as private as writing,” she said.

“Creating these barriers is looking backwards not forwards. It is prejudice… blocking out a whole group of people and painting them with the same brush. If more and more people start doing that then that just creates walls all over,” Holborrow asserted.

In the same vein, Owen ventured that the judgement shows ignorance.

“We found similarities from a tiny country to a huge country all across the world. If you close yourself off to it, just shows your ignorance. More Americans were killed from babies with guns last year than from terrorists all over the world. By blocking others off, America will be just filled with Americans and that is more dangerous,” he added.