About a month ago I was asked to host/anchor a special show on how a lady was disrespected whilst casually driving her mother about town. The officers should have known better, especially as they have been trained and had over 10 years of service. Maybe they were just being mischievous! This is unacceptable in a country where Sikhs have resided and connected with for over 150 years!
I’ve been thinking a lot about the Kony 2012 video posted on YouTube.
Like many around the world I watched it and was impressed with the heart-felt narrative style and suggestion that to make a lasting change we have the power to make it happen – aka – if people are united around the world we can make a change, in this case to Uganda.
Interestingly, the video is free and has gone crazy on Twitter. Does this mean that we enjoyed watching and talking about it? Or, do we believe that it is something that we have both the time and motivation to follow through. I’ve said this previously: Our apathy and the survialist nature of our daily lives prevents us from taking action!
There are parallels between the Kony initiative and how after 27.5 years Sikhs are still aiming for justice.
As per the film maker, do we not have the tools in our generation to harness change?
Let us take a look at some of the ideas:
- A fund raising kit that includes two braclets. One to wear and keep and one to give away
- The kit is free if you sign-up to giving a few dollars away per month
- An initiative to ‘paint’/ cover major cities around the world on April 20th 2012
- Use of some brilliant multi-media
- The use of social media channels to communicate the issue on a sustained viral level
- Cute kids that simplify the issue
- Achievements and motivational statements, combined with a link to celebs & policy makers
- A consistency of messaging for example, strap-lines and images that represent momentum
- Focusing people on a single date or event(s)
- Involving politicians & decision makers through simplying biting them & not letting go!
However, the video hides the possible struggle of the film maker to survive. I’m assuming this as he too has a family and responsibilities. He is incredibly brave to sacrifice his life in the pursuit of justice. How many of us would be passionate enough to do the same? He is also either lucky in terms of penetrating points of power or does he have a special connection to Celbs & policy makers. Better still, his message is strong enough to motivate who care and have existing connections.
The premise of the video is also about harnessing talent. It also cites that politicans will stand-up and listen if people post enough mail or communication about an issue of concern.
I want to be like that film-maker but can I motivate change?
In the case of the homeless in Southall, I attempted to harness Facebookers. I suggested that we post the urgent need for a resolution on politicans walls. However, it fell on deaf ears. SWAT continue to use Facebook to update us on the stories that they ’see’ and resolve on the ground every night – their work is truly inspiring. Maybe part of the problem is that try as we like, our voices are silenced by our fear to want to make a difference. Many will post ‘likes’ and statements like, ‘hey you look good in that outfit’, further endorsing our mutual appreciation society. Our apathy stops us from speaking up. Our apathy keeps our life styles safe. If there is one thing we can take away from the video, its this:
Wake-up, someone will listen, else the dark forces of facisim will be the new light and before you know it you will be part of the killing fields.
The tools are there, we need to harness our talents around campaigns and good people who are already out there trying to make a difference. So join them or join something that will deliver good.
It is now over 24 hours since Gordon made that comment in Rochdale. Obviously, the transcript from both the outside broadcast and Radio 2′s face-to-face playback have been analysed by the majority of the media.
Interestingly, it amazes me about how quick the press were to jump, form a scrum and ‘go for the jugular’!
Looking up the term ‘bigot’ from Wikipedia, it is publicly defined as:
A person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices.
The correct use of the term requires the elements of obstinacy, irrationality, and animosity toward those of differing devotion. The origin of the word bigot and bigotry in English dates back to at least 1598, via Middle French, and started with the sense of “religious hypocrite”. Forms of bigotry may have a related ideology or world views.
That is enough of the history lesson, let us focus on the issue.
If Gordon used the word it at a point of frustration, then it can be considered as ‘throw-away’. It is hard to be a politician. Just imagine your every moment being recorded and played back in front of you.
Gordon is very highly educated and a few years ago he really revealed his depth of intellectual capacity when he spoke about some of his other interests.
The press are suggesting that the ‘I’ word (Immigration) is avoided as an issue due to political correctness. I believe that there is no need for the ‘I’ word any more. Even on BBC Breakfast this morning, a Conservative MP was using one of Maggie’s old term’s, ‘Swamped’.
The public appear to have forgotten that ‘immigrants’ have made the UK economically better off and stable. New arrivals yield new opportunities, have passion, drive and a sense to better their situations. This all ‘rubs off’ on the general community.
On BBC Radio4 the BNP leader said that, ‘the country is full-up’! Generating fear Griffin, never helped anyone!
If we consider for a few moments that the World Wars were fought with a multi-national force, many from Commonwealth countries and the British occupied India for 200 years, we should be able to see that the UK represents an example of multiculturalism where there is strength through diversity and mutual respect. Churchill encouraged migration, suggesting that the UK needed to be rebuilt after the war and needed help from the ex-Empire.
Coming back Mrs Duffy’s comments about immigration. She reportedly said:
“All these eastern Europeans that are coming in – where are they flocking from?”
Did she not realise that her expected answer was already within her question!
Gordon ended the conversation with her with a sense of care, asking about her family. He has to do the best he can given the time he can physically allocate.
In terms of his sense of genuineness, do his comments suggest a hypocritical stance?
I suggest that Gordon may have attempted to match his passion for Labour’s belief of fairness and equality verse someone who was specifically challenging him about her views on immigration – NB Gordon may have seen a conflict situation between someone who in theory should believe in the same values as the Labour party, especially as she proclaimed herself as a life-long and loyal member of Labour.
A balance of Immigration!
Maybe the lack of statistics is the issue. People from all walks of life in the UK have not fully understood the balance of immigration figures.
If there are 1M new people, people should realise that 1M have also left. We probably need more data published to settle the FUD factor – fear, uncertainly and doubt.
The motive of the Eastern Europeans coming to the UK is likely to be driven on their desire to improve their own countries and like many others seek a better life. By accepting them into a multicultural environment we will be collectively helping our own community and helping others too. For example, a Polish person sending money to their homeland helps to fuel / develop both economies.
In summary, if personal passion doesn’t match what you thought someone also believed in, then accidental frustration can result.
In the run up to last night’s BBC1 documentary on the unfortunate events of 1984, I like many friends had received texts and emails suggesting it was an essential watch. As per normal, the BBC broadcasted the programme at a late hour!? I do feel that the BBC need to understand that there are lots of ethnics in the UK and we deserve a better service, especially as the programme was supposed to be educational with universal appeal.
In my view the programme title was a wrong starting point, `1984: A Sikh Story’ became clouded with identity issues rather than explore the historical context of the troubles. If it was about Sonia’s (not her real name, she later declared) journey of self-discovery then it was a bit disjointed, for example: There is no deep reference to her own family – If she wanted to explore her identity then maybe she should have been featured on a full BBC genealogy episode of ‘Who do you think you are’.
I have written to the BBC before about skimming issues. For example, in Michael Woods ‘The Story of India’. He forgot to mention the invaluable contribution of Sikhs to free India from the tyrannical reign and ethnic cleansing practices of the Mogul empire. For example, Guru Gobind Singh Ji the 10th Guru of the Sikhs lost his entire family to ensure religious freedom, human rights and equality for all.
Back to the programme. As Sonia traced what happened during the unfortunate desecrating of the Golden Temple known as Operation Bluestar (June 1984), she forgot to mention the essential historic context of the core issues dating back to the early part of 20th Century. For example, water rights, broken promises about greater autonomy for the region by Nehru and the economic policies of India’s central government at the time. Interviewing one person selling T-Shirts is simply not enough to explore the real issues.
General Brar’s comments hinted a slight remorse but no evidence was produced about the assessment of his decisions at the time. Why did he allow so many innocent people within the Golden Temple on a religious day to be killed? Why was the force so devastating that it damaged the architecture, religious books, historic records, art and relics? Why were people shot at point blank range with their hands tied behind their backs? Why were no available human right violation reports communicated during the documentary?
The programme then moved on to the genocide of Sikhs in November 1984, post the assignation of Indra Gandhi. The events of those dark days of free reign by looters and murderers have been described as riots. They were in fact pogroms, an attack directed against a particular group, in this case one religious group – the Sikhs. A pogrom is characterised by the killing and destruction of their homes, businesses, and religious centres. The term was originally used to denote extensive violence against Jews – either spontaneous or premeditated. The programme then skimmed over key facts, for example – documented evidence and eye-witness reports of certain government MPs directing the attacks, the use of kerosene sourced from the same warehouse to burn victims. Why have the 9 investigations over the years revealed very little in terms of justice or revealing the truth. In the taxi Sonia made an excellent point about the assignation of Mahtma Gandhi – when he died mobs did not go after the religious group the assassin was part of !
The programme concluded with a loose link back to identity, consisting of confusing narrative about directing pain and Sonia’s thoughts about her own spiritual journey. The programme was left open ended with so many questions: What about the problems encountered by the region today? Where is the accountability for what happened? What about the post 9/11 situation and international mistaken identity issues? What about people who are still awaiting a court hearing, who have been locked away for so long? Why is this situation not treated the same as the Jewish Genocide, both involved persecution and innocent lives being lost.
Although the programme was an attempt to educate, it did to a certain extent. However, it used tired footage and chats from the same old spokespeople. Apart from Sir Indrajeet Singh’s comments, He is to be appluded as he provided a sensitive and welcome perspective. At least last nights programme highlighted that many innocent people attending a religious event inside the Golden temple during Operation Bluestar were killed – the actual number killed runs into the thousands.
What we really needed was a ray of hope to communicate that Sikhs still need justice. I recommend that people watch, ‘The Widow Colony’ – it is a film that really delves into the lives affected by the Delhi genocide. Many people say that Sikhs should forget! Do we forget our loved ones when they leave the world? One of the most profound statements made by a widow of ’84 is that every year Sonia Gandhi lays a reef to remember her husband. As Sikhs we need to recognise our holocaust must never be repeated and steps must be taken to assure this, else the lives of the innocent will be forgotten.
In 1984 a news blackout prevented us from gaining access to the truth – this truth is still hidden. We must continue to retrieve more information from human rights organisations active with their data and we must record more media to assure that the true Sikh Story is told.
On 5th December innocent people were killed in an attempt to stop blasphemy against Sikhs. Full details are available from:
What gets to me every time I hear the news of innocent deaths is how quickly conditions get out of control. Whether it is the risk of communal violence or agitation by political elements, there appears to be no proactive measures to prevent escalation. I am certainly not suggesting that there are societies or countries that are better than others but the sheer lack of respect for life is evident when you see the video below. People are been lashed at and herded. It is true that control tactics are prehistoric but is there no sense of foresight or understanding that clearly volatility can happen when extremist cults are allowed to exercise insults in the name of free-speech! Apparently, in this case the cult in question wanted to perform a parade, causing immediate offence.
Politicians need to wake up and understand that allowing a police force to shoot into a crowd is not the way to control a situation.
In the second video you see one police officer justifying free speech. However, free speech does not equal abuse and as I said before blasphemy!
There is one view that suggests that there is a conspiracy against the Sikhs. That there are extremist elements within other religions that are attempting to undermine the Sikhs in terms of their values, heritage, sacrifices, ethics, defending the defenceless and self-less service. If this is the case then Sikhs should not rise to the bait. Instead, they should ensure that the media exposes who the real agitators are. Let us see the evidence that is available on public channels. In an era where we can quickly record and submit video, images and text based content, Sikhs need to rally together to expose the real culprits, cults and mischievous elements.
Sikhs need to create media that exposes truth – For it is truth and the good who will win, not those who insult in the name of free speech and in shadow of hate.