I’ve watched every episode of John Oliver’s new HBO show Last Week Tonight since it debuted a few months ago. Besides the quality of the information presented on the show, I think what’s drawn me in the most is that Oliver seems to go out of his way to cover stories people need to care more about. As opposed to the drivel often reported by the major cable news networks 24/7.
He spent the majority of Sunday’s show blasting our government for how they’re treating translators in Afghanistan and Iraq who are risking their own lives to save the lives of our brave men and women in uniform. A topic that’s rarely been covered anywhere.
And even though Oliver is often very colorful in his commentary (it’s HBO after all), I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen him as emotional or angry as I did during this segment.
He started out by bringing attention to the ridiculous process that translators who’ve been helping our military in Iraq and Afghanistan are having to endure just to get approved for a visa. They need these visas because most of them face almost certain death at the hands of radical Islamic terrorists due to their involvement in helping our military.
Perhaps the most impactful part came when he pulled out the massive stacks of paper these individuals are required to fill out, showcasing just how absurd this process is. He also went into detail on how few of these translators are actually getting approved due to the bureaucratic nonsense they have to endure just to obtain a visa. But it’s not just the hoops they’re having to jump through just to get approved for one of these things. Even if they happen to get approved, they’re required to pay completely out of pocket for things like their passport, medical exams and plane tickets.
Again, these are people who have risked their lives to save thousands of American troops deployed overseas. People who didn’t have to – but did anyway. These people should be honored by this country. They shouldn’t be subjected to near impossible odds just to obtain a visa so that they can avoid almost certain death because they chose to help our military combat terrorism.
It’s insane that we’re allowing these people to put their lives on the line to help us, then we’re treating them this way. It’s an absolute embarrassment and a disgrace.
Oliver ended the segment by bringing out one of the few translators, a man (and in my opinion a hero) named Mohammad, who actually managed to make it to the United States. And it “only” took him three years and four months to make it to America. During that wait he saw his father murdered and his 3-year-old brother kidnapped by the Taliban because of his actions helping U.S. troops. Currently the rest of his family is in hiding out of fear that they too will be targeted by Islamic radicals for his decision to help American troops in Afghanistan.
And to top it all off, when he finally did get here, they couldn’t even get his first name right so he’s “officially” known as FNU. Which stands for First Name Unknown. And as Oliver pointed out, “that’s not a f*cking name.”
If we want to consider ourselves the “greatest nation on Earth,” we sure as hell need to start acting like it.
But most people aren’t outraged. In fact, following Sunday’s show, I’ve hardly seen anything written about this segment. Instead, I’ve seen plenty of articles about his funny Supreme Court dog skit that really did nothing more than mock the fact that Supreme Court cases aren’t allowed to be recorded. Granted, he made some valid points during this segment, but it was ultimately just a lighthearted follow-up to the story that this week’s show was really about.
This isn’t a “sexy story” that people typically tend to care about. It involves brown people from the other side of the world. So, you know, who cares, right?
But if more people become outraged about how we’re treating these people, then we might finally be able to bring about real change to this process and save the lives of these heroes.
So, if you would, head over to John Oliver’s Twitter or the Last Week Tonight Facebook account, and thank him for taking the time this week to try to save the lives of those people who’ve risked theirs helping our military fight terrorism.
Watch the segment below via HBO: