Amid Trump Ban Actress Arta Dobroshi Opens Up About Plight of Refugees: "You Only Leave Because You Feel Death Is Near"
Once a refugee from Kosovo herself, Dobroshi told THR that she thinks people misunderstand why refugees are fleeing war-torn countries in search of a new home.
Arta Dobroshi, an actress from Kosovo who received critical acclaim for her role in Lorna's Silence, was once a refugee, and she spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about the current refugee crisis in the wake of President Trump's recent immigration ban. A San Francisco federal appeals court is hearing arguments Tuesday about restoring the ban, which has been temporarily suspended.
Dobroshi explained that she doesn't think people understand that refugees often don't want to leave their home but feel forced.
"As a former refugee, I've lived in a war zone for half of my life," said Dobroshi, speaking with THR from Kosovo, where she now resides. "What people don't know is when you're living in a war zone, the last thing you want to do is leave your country." She continued, "You only leave because you feel that death is near, not because you want to go to another country."
Dobroshi lived in a refugee camp in Macedonia and could not wait to return to her native country. She said she hoped for peace every day and signed up to be a translator for NATO so that she could return as soon as possible. She has family members who fled to the United States at the time and were "super welcomed, loved and accepted" in America, and they all eventually returned to live in Kosovo.
The actress said that people misunderstanding why refugees leave their countries is the first thing she thought of when she heard about Trump's executive orders banning refugees from entering the U.S. for 120 days and banning Syrian refugees indefinitely.
"Countries living in freedom, the least they can do is open their doors," she said emphatically. "What I would ask people all around the world is: If your child or your friend or someone you care about is just outside the door and they are fighting for their life, would you open the door or would you close it?"
"I think with politicians, not just with Trump, but many politicians — they try to control their people while inducing fear and then it's very easy for them to control you," said Dobroshi. "We live in a big city called Earth, it's much better when we are in harmony than in conflict. It's a blessing to be free."
The actress said that she looks on the bright side by focusing on the one thing politicians can't legislate — people's emotions. "People can make laws about banning things, but they cannot stop people from feeling. That's what they don't realize," said Dobroshi. "When we were living in war, even though we were being literally killed, nobody could stop us from feeling the desire for unity and peace and love. This thing is inducing more love and more unity than ever not only in America but all over the world. People are feeling for each other."
And she had an optimistic message for refugees and those living in war zones, "We are born worthy and equal and people shouldn't forget this. When you're a refugee or you live in a war zone, you become even stronger."
On Tuesday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco is hearing arguments from Justice Department lawyers and attorneys from Minnesota and Washington to determine whether or not to restore the ban. This is following U.S. District Judge James Robart's suspension of Trump's ban. Robart's order essentially halted the effects of Trump's executive order, which affected people from seven predominantly Muslim countries as well as refugees. Refugees with the correct paperwork who had previously been granted asylum should be able to enter the United States as long as Robart's suspension is in place.