The Herd

A KHS Alum’s View on the New Presidency

Liesl Quigley, Staff Writer

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The residents of Kennebunk and Kennebunkport look onto the Trump presidency with either excitement or skepticism. For one former KHS exchange student, her view from the other side of the world is hesitantly optimistic.

Duaa Zehra, 17, lives in Karachi, Pakistan. She came as a sophomore to Kennebunk during the summer of 2015 as a part of a Youth Ambassador exchange program. Zehra gave numerous speeches and presentations to many of the schools in the RSU 21 area.

“The thing that really shocked me was that people were very eager to learn about Pakistan”, Zehra said, “I was expecting to hear some weird comments from people about Pakistan”.

As soon as Duaa came to KHS, she quickly became an integral part of the student body. She often looks back on her times in Maine, “…giving presentations in Ms Moy’s classroom, cooking cultural food for friends, family and even for my presentation, and seeing people appreciate it was sweet of them! [The] Phipps Costins, my family, whose support and love made me learn so much about American culture!”

Duaa’s year in exchange came at a turbulent time in America. Her stay in 2015-16 covered most of the US election. As a Muslim, Duaa was very concerned about then-candidate Trump’s call for a ban on Muslims. “To be very honest, when I was there, there were campaigns and all the hype all across US that time, and I had a hope that Americans might vote for Bernie and not a person who might impose laws which will make it impossible for me to visit back.”.

The election, however, did not go as most expected.  “I was shocked and devastated for real…I had a plan of applying to American Universities, but after this outcome of the election, I had to give a second thought because I saw my dreams of studying and visiting my family and friends in America being shattered.”

One of Trump’s recent moves as POTUS was an executive order attempting to ban immigration from several Muslim-majority countries. “The first thing I did when I heard this news was checking whether he banned Pakistan or not. And though I wasn’t happy with the list of countries being banned, I was a little satisfied that Pakistan’s name wasn’t on the list. But for a country like Pakistan, anyone from that place would have to go through special checking and screening if he or she wishes to visit the States.”

Throughout the school year, anti-Islamic sentiments personified by Trump’s emphasis on saying “anti-Islamic terrorism” have personally affected Zehra, “I remember saying in every presentation I gave in the United States, that terrorism has no religion, so we need to stop linking it with specifically Islam or any other religion. If we want to be safe, we need to have better security and different strategies, and not what Trump has been doing.” Zehra said, “Terrorism is a threat, a rapidly increasing threat, but there are and could be many other ways to tackle it instead of just blocking everything that comes right in front of you like Muslim countries.”

Despite everything that is coming with of Trump’s presidency, Zehra still looks onward with optimism. “I still hope that things will get better, one way or the other they will, if not now, they eventually will. Because I am not backing out of the plan of visiting my family and friends in the USA. And I know it might not be right away, it still would be when things get better”

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