It’s an honor to be here. Thank you Sufi. I was very pleased when we met Sufi Sindhi and when he talked about his organization I thought it was very impressive because we need people like him that encourage helping others. I think that it was for us, very important to be here. I wanted to come and talk to you about my documentary because it relates a lot to the Sindhi community in the sense that I grew up in Mexico and we experienced poverty and there was an increase in the lack of jobs and women didn’t have rights. So as a kid I would keep track of all my experiences and I wanted to do something when I got older, either a documentary or a book or a movie. I thought when I’m older I’ll be able to do that. So I’m going to show you the documentary and when I’m done I can continue talking about that.
I grew up in Washington State. We moved from Mexico and we crossed the border. Now we are all citizens. I was a citizen, but I couldn’t cross the border by myself. I know that this is something that is happening in the Sindhi community. They are migrating to India because they want a better future. I can relate to this organization and the community. So let’s show the video and then we can continue.
Savage: The sound isn’t working, but just look at the visuals for this short little promo that she did for the real film.
Basically it’s about a child who suffered. And she was a girl. She was a child who struggled. I know some people
who have survived the desert across Mexico to America, but some people didn’t.
The three children that came over with Blanca survived. They had to retrieve one because the shoe got lost and they went back to try and get the shoe. They
would have been abandoned and left to die by the coyotes.
They came here and they were held in a small room for several weeks with other people with just a pot in the
corner for everyone. No one was allowed to speak or say anything or look out the window. Then once the people were all paid for by coyotes they were shipped
off to different places.; the state of Washington was one of them where they were allowed to work for very little money, picking apples. And in the winter there is no apples. And in the little garage where they lived there was no heat in the winter in the state of Washington. There was no plumbing, no water. Yet, they managed to care for each other as a family. Very little outside help. Her father was shot three times while trying to work in Mexico and eventually ended up supporting the family with his wife by picking the crops up there in the state of Washington. The few crops; it was mostly just apples.
They all managed to get a college education. My girlfriend has a masters degree. She got the masters degree through the support of scholarships in this country. And the difficulty with young people of course like this woman in the film at the moment is language,
number one. Number two, is submitting to possible changes in their life style.
That women can get an education and they can work and still have a family. It’s difficult. As a matter of fact it is very hard.
But in this country, with the help of community they can do that, even if they are poor, if they have that focus.
That is one of the difficulties in this country is encouragement for young people to stay in school. That’s what her struggle was because how do you stay
in school when people don’t have any food at home? Your priorities are very difficult when you have children that don’t have anyone to care for them in the house and the might just be a box or a garage. What are your priorities? How do you find that strength? Many people in this room have experienced that struggle
fighting oppression from other communities and the poverty that results in the struggle to survive. It takes a lot chutzpah, excuse the expression.
But we have a community in this country that suffered like that for years, the Jewish community. I’m proud as
an American to say that we have a state of Israel that we support in that part of the world. I get goose bumps because it’s still a fight. We’re still trying
to figure out how that works. People don’t understand it’s a whole part of the world that is fighting. It’s whole communities and millions of people in small
nations that are struggling. After the retreat of the Soviet Union, many people had no water, no electricity anymore in those communities east of Uzbekistan.
Large communities, millions of people. Different states, different names. Like the province, Baluchistan.
The human sacrifice and struggle that young people face, sometimes alone. It’s where this country came from. A
group of idealistic young people that fought in that Revolutionary War. Most people who has settled in this country didn’t want to fight. They had what they
needed. It was a spirit that carried them. Same thing in our Civil War. How many people died in that Civil War, does anyone know? More people than all the
wars this country fought added up died in that Civil War in this country. For ideals, for hope, for future, they fought for. They disagreed. Now we have a great country, going through it’s trials again. Continually a process.
There is no such country as Pakistan, let’s start there. There was no such country as Yugoslavia. Even with
our relationship with Mexico, I have my questions. We’re on one continent. We have industry that we share and when are we going to get over this build a wall stuff. I still kind of choke at that. We have issues that we share. We have issues that we have to work at together.
And the same thing is going on with this country and the rest of the world today. Whether it’s working in
negotiating with Russia, the former Soviet Union and there former satellites.
North African nations and the Middle East. The relationship of Israel with its surrounding territories. Does anyone realize how long terrorism has been going
on over the border into Lebanon from Syria? Where people have been kidnapped, raped, families have been destroyed. For years this has been going on. And there’s an element in that society that need to be faced. We’re facing it now.
For eleven years. It’s tough. How do we explain this to people? Is it just for
Israel? No, it’s for the future of the whole world. It’s for the future of children who will struggle with dreams just to survive.
I saw a movie that we helped bring to Kazakhstan, a Euro Asian film. It was about a ten or twelve year old girl
who’s taken by a 75 or 80 year-old man because of his faith. Just taken.
Married forcibly and pretty much treated like a slave. And that’s what’s going on; slavery of young girls, young women. A lot of that in Islamist communities.
A lot of moderate Muslims are being killed. Moderate Muslims want a future for their children. They don’t want bomb strapped to their bodies. That’s a sickness. That’s a mental disorder. You know, war it nuts too.
What do we do? We’re talking about peaceful people here. The Mexicans are peaceful people. We hear about Mafias
and this, that, and everything else. No, the people of Mexico are peaceful people. They are loving, they are family oriented. They care about each other.
They struggle, most of the people. And they are lovely people. They can grow up to be beautiful women, with a career, with an education. I’m looking around
this room right now. The amount of intellect in this room, I can feel it. The individuality of each person, every woman, man. I’ve been moved to tears by
some of the emotion that’s had to be kept in when people talk of their situation.
Like the one girl I finally met in Kazakhstan who was rescued and her calmness and being able to express herself.
And her goals and dreams. The same dreams that I talk about when I meet young American who’ve lost a limb from a war. They had dreams too. They fought for a reason. There is elements of hope and spirit in this country that are here in this room right now. People have hope in this country because of documents that were written and supported by members of just about every community, of every faith.
This little film is just a promo that exhibits hope for me, for one community within this American society. We
don’t have just a culture. We have a society of many different people. Most of them have agreed to be Americans and live in this country, but many of us have
homes or family roots all over the world. It’s brilliant when we get to share those experiences with each other. When I was a little boy, it was all about
that for me because I was hospitalized for most of my childhood.
(Pointing to documentary) She got accepted. Her family is coming over. That was the goal with the work that she
was doing. The family is coming to America. She achieved that goal. Takes years. That spirit, I feel, is why we’re here tonight. We have people that are
Americans in this room and they could be dead right now if they hadn’t struggled to get out of that area that is oppressed by fanatics and a corrupt military. We’re doing that too much all over the world—supporting the
corruption. For what purpose? To keep things secure? It doesn’t work. There’s different people in those countries. They need respect. They want a future,
they want an education. Whether it’s Iraq, Iran. There’s different cultures, there’s different people. And there is a lot of very sick leaders and people like we saw today in that terrorism that struck two embassies and a consulate.
Courtesy: [(SAPAC) + Colleen Kelly] & Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, 20 Oct 2012.