On the morning of Nov. 12, the deadliest earthquake of 2017 hit the border of Iran and Iraq with as a 7.3 magnitude. It left 530 dead and more than 7,000 people injured. When natural disasters like this happen, leaders from around the world should put aside all the political differences and come to rescue, regardless of political differences.
This natural disaster left thousands of people homeless and hopeless. The earthquake damaged the main hospital in the town of Sarpol-e Zahab that is being used to treat the thousands of wounded victims which made the tragedy worse. Temperatures dropped to below the freezing point at midnight while rescuers were digging through the rubble in an attempt to find any missing people. The earthquake was so strong that it was felt as far away as Israel, Turkey and Kuwait.
Natural disasters can happen anywhere at any time in this world. It is only natural and humane that other countries start sending their prayers, condolences and even aid to the country in need. In this case, many countries like Turkey, Pakistan and several European nations have sent help to all of the victims in this devastating natural disaster.
One of Iran’s main enemies on the political platform is Israel, which has been in conflict with the Iranian regime for almost 35 years. However, even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered words of sympathy in a video address.
When two major enemies can come together and offer help in such hard times, there is no reason that Donald Trump, the president of a country that claims itself to be a leader of the free world, should turn a blind eye on this disaster despite all the ongoing conflicts that have been going for 35 years between the United States and Iran. It is at times like these that President Trump should put his phone down, take a break from tweeting, and follow the example of the presidents who preceded him.
A couple of days ago, Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont called on President Trump to put aside his hardline politics and offer assistance to Iran after the country was hit by this disastrous earthquake.
“The devastation from the earthquake in Iran last night is horrific. My thoughts are with the victims, their loved ones and the communities that must cope with this catastrophe,” Sanders tweeted. “I hope and expect that the United States will assist in disaster relief efforts for Iran, as we did in 2003 and 2012. At a time of growing tension between our two countries, this would be an important act of friendship.”
However, Trump’s actions so far are not very surprising. He took almost a week to mention anything about Hurricane Maria, which ravaged Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the United States, before flying there and stirring up more controversy in a wake of the disaster.
Trump must come to his senses when it comes to standing in solidarity with other allied or non-allied countries in the midst of disasters, regardless of the political hard lines. To earn the respect of the global community, he must start to act like a respectful and presidential gentleman similar to the likes of the man from whom he took over the office.
Written by Ali Zarekeivan