Toronto Sun: Bloodbath hits a nerve: Batra

Wisconsin shooting triggers painful memories of racism aimed at Sikhs

By Adrienne Batra

TORONTO – When news broke last week of the horrific shooting at the Sikh Gurdwara (which means gateway to the `Guru’) in Oak Creek, Wis., my mother had phoned me within minutes insisting I turn on the TV to see how `these idiots in the media are talking about our people.’

She was specifically referring to CNN’s coverage, which felt it necessary to constantly interrupt its commentary about the massacre to remind the audience that Sikhs aren’t Muslims.

Admittedly it was annoying, because, to me, it seems obvious since I’m Sikh and am therefore acutely aware of the difference.

However, it really bothered my mother. When probed as to why, she summarily said that, in this day and age, she couldn’t believe people don’t know how to differentiate the two.

It doesn’t, though, surprise me.

After the terrorist attacks on 9/11, pictures of Osama bin Laden were running on network television 24/7. In the picture most often showed of him, he was attired in a white turban and had a long beard. This could explain why some just assume anyone with a turban is Muslim. A turban and beard, of course, are two of the most distinguishing features of a Sikh man.

The white supremacist trash who murdered six people and injured police officers (the cops who gunned him down should be given medals) at the Gurdwara last week probably fell into this category of people who live their lives blissfully ignorant.

And since 9/11, Sikhs in Canada and the U.S. have spoken out against increased `hate crimes’ perpetrated against the community. The Sikh Coalition, which has kept track of such incidences, reported in the months after 9/11 `300 cases of violence and discrimination against Sikh Americans throughout the United States.’

In November 2001, some teens in New York burned down Gobind Sadan Gurdwara `because they thought it was named for Osama bin Laden.’ A Sikh family in New Mexico had their car defaced with images of genitals and profanities about Allah. There were numerous other brutal attacks on elderly Sikh men and young boys, many of which were motivated by hatred against Muslims. The Huffington Post’s Religion section has done an excellent job of putting together an unfortunately lengthy list of these acts of violence.

When my parents moved to Canada, my father cut his hair and chose to no longer wear a turban. That choice had consequences for him as his uncle, an over-educated doctor living in England, ostensibly disowned him.

But I know why my father did it – the same reason why our parents gave my brother, two sisters and I `Canadian’ names. He knew it would be tough enough growing up in Saskatchewan in the 1970s – not a lot of `brown’ people around, already looking different, and people having difficulty pronouncing your name – without compounding the issue of racism.

We didn’t experience such things as our cousins who grew up in Vancouver – they had their turbans kicked off, were called `towel heads,’ and told to `go back where you came from’ (even though they were born in Canada).

Despite my parent’s best efforts, I had my own brush with racism, but it pales in comparison to what others endured. I distinctly remember one incident when I was growing up in Saskatoon. At a friend’s house party, her father looked straight at me and said he didn’t want `Pakis’ in his house. I told him to go f— himself. At the time it, didn’t dawn on me that his pejorative reference was because he thought I was from Pakistan.

`My parents are from India you twit,’ kept running through my head.

Continue reading Toronto Sun: Bloodbath hits a nerve: Batra

The missing link to renewable energy

What’s the key to using alternative energy, like solar and wind? Storage — so we can have power on tap even when the sun’s not out and the wind’s not blowing. In this accessible, inspiring talk, Donald Sadoway takes to the blackboard to show us the future of large-scale batteries that store renewable energy. As he says: “We need to think about the problem differently. We need to think big.

Courtesy: Ted.com » YouTube

Greece: Amnesty International slams migrant roundups, says detained face ‘inhumane’ conditions

By Associated Press

ATHENS, Greece — Human rights group Amnesty International is calling on Greek authorities to stop mass roundups of suspected illegal immigrants, arguing that police are treating law-abiding foreigners like criminals and subjecting thousands of detained persons to “degrading and inhumane” conditions.

The London-based group said Wednesday that legitimate asylum seekers were being denied proper assistance and that police were stopping and detaining suspects based on skin color. ….

Read more » The Washington Post

For sure, as a family member Justice Chaudhry cannot elude such questions

Ward of the Court

By Saroop Ijaz

Finally, all of us can go to sleep in peace with the newly acquired knowledge that My Lord, the Chief Justice remains vigilant as ever to ensure that no vulgarity slips through the cracks on our television channels on his watch and the Pemra chief can no longer slack in his duties. My Lord, with customary wisdom, has observed that there are certain programmes and advertisements that one finds unbearable to watch alongside with the family. This exercise of the “paternal” jurisdiction of the court and the fact that the Chief Justice is a “family man” is infinitely comforting. It might be interesting to mention that My Lord is not always the brilliant, stoic, sober statesmanlike, paragon of justice and has a human, lighter side to his personality as well as indicated by his remarks in court that the parodies of politicians are in “good humour” and “are enjoyed”.

As we swoon in relief on the consolation of being under the eternal, paternal gaze of My Lord, one is also conscious of a slight unease. Dr Arsalan Iftikhar is hard to banish from the mind. The latest, although unconfirmed news report about Dr Arsalan using the address of the Chief Justice House for commercial purposes is unnerving to say the least. One sincerely hopes that the unconfirmed report is a complete fabrication. Nevertheless, many other questions still remain regarding the Young Doctor. What serious person has not indulged in some juvenile frolics behind their parents’ back at one time or another, however, Master Arsalan seems to have taken this mischievous streak of youthfulness well into his adulthood.

Continue reading For sure, as a family member Justice Chaudhry cannot elude such questions

Should the US support an independent Balochistan? – Aljazeera

A handful of US congressmen support creating an independent Balochistan, carved out of mostly Pakistani land.

By: Eddie Walsh

Some US congressmen support Baloch nationalists in Pakistan and Afghanistan

Washington, DC – Over the last few months, a small faction of congressmen, minority Afghan groups, Baloch nationalists, and their supporters have laid out the framework for an alternative US policy approach for Southwest Asia.

This alternative policy centres on backing remnants of the Northern Alliance and Baloch insurgents, who seek to carve out semi-autonomous territories or independent states from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran.

While supporters of this new approach are motivated by a variety of interests, they appear unified in their rejection of what they see as three cornerstones of the Obama administration’s current regional policy approach: 1) Normalising relations with Pakistan’s government and military; 2) Incorporating the Taliban into the current Afghan political system; 3) Overly accommodating an emerging Iran.

In one broad stroke, this new approach would attempt to advance US national interests by redrawing the political borders of Southwest Asia – contrary to the the sovereignty and territorial integrity of three existing states.

While its advocates clearly do not yet have broad support for their initiative, the campaign for an alternative Southwest Asian policy approach is maturing and garnering increased attention in Congress and beyond, especially as a result of three recent high-profile events: a Balochistan National Front strategy session in Berlin, a US congressional hearing on Balochistan, and the introduction of a Baloch self-determination bill before the US Congress.

Regardless of whether you agree or disagree, it’s nevertheless critical to understand how this alternative policy approach framework has evolved over the past few months.

The ‘Berlin Mandate’ as a loose framework

Continue reading Should the US support an independent Balochistan? – Aljazeera

Thank you Honorable Congressman Brad Sherman for your efforts for Sindhi language

By: Dr. Ahmed Makhdoom

Credit must be given where credit is due. Indeed, the work, statements and support of US Congressman for the Nation of Sindh is certainly creditable, highly commendable, truly admirable and most humbly appreciable.

The gregarious and generous sons and daughters of Motherland, Sindh, do whole-heartedly appreciate, applaud and laud the worthy efforts of the Congressman towards highlighting the Sindhi Nation.

None in the higher echelons of US and even in other Western States – their Lawmakers, People and Government including – have had a heart, decency and courage to voice their concerns for the over fifty million people of Sindh and their slave-like treatment, genocide and ethnic cleansing in this country. Thus, the sincere and noble endeavours at voicing Sindh’s concern by Congressman Brad Sherman are a breath of fresh air in the desert of gloom and doom.

We also express our appreciation and admiration for SAPAC and its indomitable leadership for their selfless and sincere, capable and competent advocacy for Sindhi Nation.

Note- Writer is an Educationist, Human Rights Activist, Writer, Researcher, Inter-Faith Dialogue Leader.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, August 4, 2012.