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Silent No More: A Sikh Response to the Idle No More Movement

Guest blogged by Santbir Singh

I try to imagine the government coming to my house one morning and taking my five year old daughter and eight year old son away to a boarding school hundreds of kilometres away. I try to imagine that at this school, my children’s hair will be cut, their dastars and kakkars will be removed and they will be forcibly baptized as Christians. I try to imagine that they will be beaten for speaking Panjabi, reading Bani or trying to maintain their religious and cultural traditions. I try to imagine that even their basic health needs will not be looked after and they may well die from treatable infections and diseases. And then, I must admit, I am not able to imagine the rest; I can not bear to imagine them being abused, assaulted, beaten and raped.

That is what occurred in this country for one hundred years as the Canadian government, along with government sanctioned church groups, kidnapped First Nations children from their homes and took them to residential schools where unspeakable horrors were committed on them. Of course the history of colonization in the Americas does not begin with the Residential School system but is in fact a legacy going back centuries. It is estimated that 90 to 95% of all indigenous people living in the Americas were killed by smallpox within the first century after European first contact in the late 1400’s. It is difficult to fathom death at that scale. Those that remained had their land stolen and were forced onto reservations to live as non-citizens in their own lands.

As a nation, Sikhs are extremely proud of our own anti-colonial struggle against the British. Yet we have completely failed to acknowledge that in Canada we have succeeded due to the colonial oppression of other nations. This land where we build our homes and businesses was the land of nations that lived here for tens of thousands of years. Yes, one hundred and seventy years ago the British annexed Panjab and ended Khalsa Raj. But the British did not exile us from our own villages and towns. The British did not take our land and build new cities. The British did not migrate to Panjab and force us to live on inadequate reserves.

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SIKLIGAR: The Weapon Makers of the Khalsa Army

As a community, we have an incredibly rich history and yet we often know so little about it. The first time I learned about the Sikligar community was after watching Mandeep Sethi’s documentary at a local film festival, about this community of Sikhs known to be the weapon makers of the Khalsa army.Unfortunately, very little is known about the Sikligars by those living both within and outside of India and Mandeep’s film will be a first glimpse into the community for many. The Sikligars are found across India – displaced through years of colonization and government oppression. It is known that the community was given the name Sikligar by the 10th Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh Ji and yet even this honor has not prevented the community from struggling – Sikligars now live in extreme poverty in the slums of Rajasthan, Delhi and Agra. There are alsoencampmentsin Punjab. Although this community has been largelyilliteratefor the last 300 years (focusing on their trade and thus livelihood), the Sikligars are beginning to empower themselves through different means such as education.For the first time, the full length documentary is available online! Over the past few months, I’ve joined Mandeep at several film screenings of his documentary and I’ve asked him some questions about SIKLIGAR which you can find after the jump.

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Be Proud?

Guest blogged by Nina Chanpreet Kaur

August 5th, 2012. 1:33pm. A text message from my best friend: “hostage situation at sikh temple in wisconsin. on al jazeera right now.” We pulled over and exchanged glances, holding our breath it wasnt an attack perpetrated by someone within the Sikh community. Earlier that morning we rowed in unison, kayaking down the Hudson. Her voice coaching my every movement. Later, riding side by side, we biked to the tennis courts. The wind blowing in our faces and trailing behind our backs, sheer joy and pleasure breezed through me. We had been riding our bikes home when we pulled over. After we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways, I went to hit some tennis balls. The news hadnt yet sunk in. Once home, my entire being collapsed. I couldnt avoid the flood of emails, messages and calls. I kept replaying the last few hours. The extreme contrast of the deep pleasure of my morning and the tragedy of Oak Creek felt like some sort of betrayal.

As the shock lifted and the news sunk in, I laid my forehead against the naked floor of my Manhattan apartment and wept. I wept for children, little bare feet hitting cement pavement running for safety. I wept for women crammed into a closet, gunshots threatening to penetrate their bodies. I wept for the pain of separation. I wanted to be there, I wanted to hold each of the bleeding victims in my arms. I wanted to sit next to Wade Michael Page. Make him stop. Have a conversation, maybe a cup of tea. I wept for the memories of the safe gurdwara that cradled me with kirtan as a child. Such a place no longer existed.

News from Wisconsin consumed me. Guilt. Grief. Why wasnt I there? How does the universe exist in such extremes? At sunset, I picked myself up and started to write. I wrote emails. Long emails. I asked for a vigil. I planned a vigil. I wrote poems. I published them. I lost my appetite and any desire to eat, sleep or cook. I stayed awake through the night to organize. There was no such thing as comfort or rest for me in the weeks following Oak Creek. Heartbroken, the sadness cut through my very center. Organizing was my only way out.

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Sikh Solidarity with Gaza

At least 21 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed and hundreds more injured in the last week by the Israeli “Defense” Forces. Three Israelis have also been killed in this latest escalation of violence in the region. The situation is dire, as Israel is now ramping up for a full on ground invasion of Gaza, an area of only 141 square miles inhabited by 1.7 million residents. One of the most densely populated areas in the world, it has also been called the largest open air prison in the world. (Read Ten things you need to know about Gaza for more).

Let us be clear: Israel is not defending its citizens. It is on an aggressive, offensive, politically-charged rampage. We must read beyond the deceiving mainstream media coverage to get the to reality of the situation (see this timeline of recent events). This isn’t about Hamas rockets or any dangers to the existence of the state of Israel. Phyllis Bennis wrote in the Nation:

So why the escalation? Israeli military and political leaders have long made clear that regular military attacks to cleanse Palestinian territories (the term was used by Israeli soldiers to describe their role in the 2008-09 Israeli assault on Gaza) is part of their long-term strategic plan. Earlier this year, on the third anniversary of the Gaza assault, Israeli army Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz told Army Radio that Israel will need to attack Gaza again soon, to restore what he called its power of deterrence. He said the assault must be swift and painful, concluding, we will act when the conditions are right. Perhaps this was his chosen moment…

This is primarily about Netanyanu shoring up the right wing of his base. And once again it is Palestinians, this time Gazans, who will pay the price. The question that remains is whether the US-assured impunity that Israels leadership has so long counted on will continue, or whether there will be enough pressure on the Obama administration and Congress so that this time, the United States will finally be forced to allow the international community to hold Israel accountable for this latest round of violations of international law.

If you pay taxes in the United States, you are helping fund Israel’s invasion. Just a few months ago, President Obama announced the addition of $70 million in military aid to Israel. We Americans are literally funding the atrocities being committed against our brothers and sisters in Gaza right now.

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Decade of Dissapearances: Addressing Human Rights Through Art

Following the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984, the Indian government employed orchestrated pogroms against Sikhs. Mobs, equipped with weapons, kerosene, and the addresses of Sikh homes, chanted khoon ka badla khoon se lenge! (Blood for blood) as they hunted innocent Sikhs, and those protecting Sikhs, throughout Delhi. Suddenly, Sikh Indian citizens were left stranded in their homeland with no protection and no exercise of control by the Indian government.

Murderous gangs of 200 or 300 people led by leaders, with policemen looking on, began to swarm into Sikh houses, hacking the occupants to pieces, chopping off the heads of children, raping women, tying Sikh men to tires set aflame with kerosene, burning down the houses and shops after ransacking them. Mobs stopped buses and trains, in and out of Delhi, pulling out Sikh passengers to be lynched to death or doused with kerosene and burnt alive. In some areas, the Sikh families grouped together for self-defense. The police officials then arrived to disperse them, by force when the persuasion did not work. In other areas, the police searched the houses for weapons including ceremonial daggers, and confiscated them before the mobs came. Over the next five days, nearly 3,000 Sikhs were killed. -Reduced to Ashes, pg. 42

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How SikhISM became a peaceful Religion

brar.jpegYesterdays news about the attack on KS Brar has excited, angered, inspired, and agitated many Sikhs throughout the world.

Many have questioned the Indian medias initial assumption, before even the facts had arrived. Still others are wondering if the news is even factual. I have seen numerous postings on social media, believing that the attack was just a fabrication in order to make Sikhs appear violent and extreme, especially after the recent goodwill expressed by some channels in the US and abroad after the recent Wisconsin Massacre. Finally, our brothers and sisters at Naujawani have written an intriguing articleasking larger questions about a more sinister timing of all events (though not sure if I agree, well worth a read!).

I believe that the case of Kulbir Singh Barapind and Daljit Singh Bittu is extremely important, but that warrants a separate post. I will return to that issue at a future time.

Personally I am quite surprised that no names have appeared yet, as I figure someone would probably take credit and I wouldnt imagine the names could be held a secret for too long within the community, especially if those that confronted him were young, as the claim is being made. Still I think that I want to take this conversation in a different direction. How do we present SikhISM and its implicationsi?

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How Sikhs Can Help Change Law in California

This election year is a reminder that Sikh Americans need to participate moreactivelyin civic and political life. In order for the government and the media to pay attention to issues affecting our community, we need to have a seat at the table where decisions are being made and ensure that our voice is included in any policy changes.

The following are two ways that individuals can take action to change law that would impact the lives of Sikh Americans in California. These actions are for individuals living in California, but similar actions can and will take place in other states at various times. California is the 8th largest economy in the world, so if these changes become law – then these actions are even more meaningful for the Sikh community. It will go down in history that Sikh Americans helped create change for not just our own community but other marginalized communities too.

The following two bills have already successfully passed through both the California Assembly and Senate. Much of the hard work has been accomplished thanks to advocates within the Sikh community, sangat members across the state and Sikh organizations such as The Sikh Coalition. The final step in this process is for Governor Brown to sign these bills into law. You can help by taking one small step for each bill – by simply contacting the Governor’s office. While Governor Brown has until September 30th to sign these bills into law, he can decide on the bills any day. We encourage you to take action today! Please leave a comment in the section below letting us know if you have taken action.

206039_10151002440702003_1197484710_n.jpgAB1964 – Workplace Religious Freedom Act: SIGN THE PETITION

If this bill moves forward and becomes law, it will sharply reduce job discrimination against Sikhs and other religious minorities and guarantee equal employment opportunity to all workers in California.

 

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SB1540 – Revised Curriculum Framework: History-Social Science:SIGN THE PETITION

This bill would authorize the State Board of Education to complete the revision process of the History-Social Science Framework for California schools. When completed, this framework will ensure that California students learn about Sikhism and Sikh contributions, thereby increasing appreciation for diversity and reducing ignorance of the sort that leads to bullying and bias.

 

As a community we mourn, but together we will lead

SikhLEAD_w_Subtext_300x79.jpgDuring this past week following the tragic events in Wisconsin, our community has changed substantially. We have grown as a people and identified even more with Sikhi, standing up in a time of crisis, and responding in a positive and effective way, battling apathy with activism and suffering with solidarity.

SALDEFsSikhLEADLeadership Development Program will ensure that our youth remain engaged with the issues that continue to affect our community today and will provide them with the tools they need to enact real change. Although it may be a dark time for many of us, it is now more than ever that we need leaders and young activists leading the struggle against oppression. It is now more than ever that we need the younger generation to step up to the podium and speak out and act against injustice. Its not enough to feel for our Sikh brothers and sisters anymore. The time is now for the youth to rise up and become leaders, especially in the wake of the Wisconsin shooting tragedy.

The Leadership Development Program brings together approximately 15 young Sikh American leaders from across the country to participate in six days of training spread over Columbus Day and Memorial Day weekends. Attendees will participate in a series of workshops aimed to challenge, inspire and support a group of intelligent and motivated Sikh leaders. The purpose of the program is to empower the Sikh American youth to be confident, aware and resourceful individuals, equipped with all the tools they need to fulfill both their personal potential but also that of the Sikh American community. For more details please visit www.sikhlead.org.

Let us take on the Gurus seva together and become the pioneers of our own future, a future that has no place for events such as the Wisconsin shootings. The deadline to apply for the SikhLEAD LDP has been extended until August 19, 2012 at 11:59 EST.

Sikh Shooting in Wisconsin | Information and Resources

ap_sihk_temple_shooting_wisconsin_reax_080512_20120805183641_640_480.jpegOver the past 12 hours#templeshootinghas been covering thetwittersphere. It is a reference to the tragedy that occurred early this morning in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, where a gunman entered a Gurdwara during Sunday divan and killed six sangat members, wounding many more. Sikhs around the country reacted almost immediately to this event – posting updates on Facebook and Twitter, speaking to news outlets, filling in gaps of misinfomation, supporting Sikh organizations who have been working diligently with local officials and government agencies and community members who started up a fund for the families of the victims. While this has been an incredibly traumatic experience for the Sikh American community, we are inspired by the actions of the police officer who came to the aid of the sangat members – potentially preventing a larger massacre. We are comforted by the support of our friends and colleagues who have reached out to the Sikh community offering their solidarity.

Here we have started a running list of articles, resources and community gatherings. We hope this will be a way for you to learn about the events and about ways for you to stay engaged.

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Tom Mulcair Responds: Tells India he wont be bullied and stands firm on 1984 Statement

Guest blogged by ResistSingh

amneet_620x270.pngEvery June and November, Sikhs in Canada (and globally) are curious to see what Canadian politicians will say about the tragedies of 1984.

Will they align themselves with the community and provide support and solidarity with the Sikhs as they come together to remember both the invasion and massacre of innocents inside the Darbar Sahib complex during the hot month of June; and then the senseless targeting, butchering, killing and raping of Sikhs during the November Sikh Genocide?

Although the answer is a no brainer to human rights activists, like many social justice issues they seem to be tough political decisions that attract countless discussions and debates amongst politicians and political parties about vote banks, international cooperation, trade relations, development, foreign policy and much more. That is why we have seen sporadic statements from the Liberals and Conservatives for November, rarely if ever for June and a lack of consistency.

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Akal Takht, Caste Gurdwaras, and Pledging Begampura

My last post on the issue of Building Begampura: Confronting Caste raised much concerns and a host of opinions. I am personally committed to raise the voice against apartheid, discrimination, and humiliation that continues to occur in our community due to caste.

Since my last post, jathedar Gurbachan Singh and others have spoken out against the issue of caste-based Gurdwaras. While naming of the Gurdwaras is problematic and may be an important move, much more important is to criticize and shake-up the casteism that led many of these “historically-discriminated” groups to move in this direction after facing abuse at the hands of the “privileged” groups. To deny the context and believe that the root is merely ‘naming’ is on one level merely ‘lip-service’ and on other hand is to take a position against the already-victimized groups. It is not ‘naming’ that is the problem – it’s the casteism, stupid.

Again, while the voice of jathedar Gurbachan Singh and others may be notable, as we have seen with hukamnamas against sex-selective abortion, in and of themselves they will not stop the deeper issues. What is needed are social movements by civic groups. One such initiative is the Pledge Begampura initiative by the Jakara Movement. Read the shabad; learn about the issue; and take the pledge!

Also critical is the growing discussion around the subject in Punjab. Day and Night Television had a recent forum on the subject of caste-based Gurdwaras (pagh salute Pukhraj Singh!). Denial of casteism is not the solution. As the recent issue of the inhumane abuses and attempt to create wage slaves by the landlords of village Mahan Singh Wala, the issue of caste is pertinent and tears at the social fabric of Punjab. Change will come; I hope Sikhs reading this will embrace that change and challenge the inhumanity of casteism.

Aamir Khan’s social sensation “Satyamev Jayate” has highlighted the issue of casteism on a national level. See the episode here.

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Below the fold, I have linked a few more recent media discussions on the topic.

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Dreadlocks, Turbans, and Rollercoaster Racism

Living in Brooklyn, New York City as a turban-wearing Sikh, I attract plenty of negative attention from random strangers as well as the cops, which I’ve written about at length. Fortunately, I also get some love and respect from time to time as I walk or ride my bike in my neighborhood in central Brooklyn — especially from Rastafarian men who don uncut dreadlocks, often wrapped up not so differently than the gol pagh I wear, albeit usually much taller.

I don’t mean to make broad generalizations about a whole community, but it is worth mentioning that nearly every time I cross paths with a man who appears to be Rastafarian, without fail I get a shout out. ”Respect, brother,” or “Blessings, brother,” usually accompanied by a hand or fist on his heart. Living in a neighborhood with a large Caribbean population, I encounter this regularly (and reciprocate), which is a breath of fresh air in my day-to-day life, which involves no shortage of street harassment, dirty looks, and sometimes worse. I’m grateful for this genuine, simple act of human connection and solidarity.

I’ve talked to friends about this phenomenon as well as my brother who has had similar interactions with Rastafarians in Atlanta, GA where he lives. The consensus is that the connection might stem from a recognition of a mutual prioritizing of our spirituality, and in particular, our shared spiritual connection to our hair. Indeed, Rastafarians believe in keeping hair in its natural state, and many wrap up and cover their dreadlocks. Without overstating any similarities between two very different spiritual traditions, our shared commitment to keeping our hair (not to mention a shared commitment in fighting for justice) is striking.

Our respective commitments to our hair have been similarly met with discrimination— discrimination that threatens our right to practice our religions or express our identities freely, based on racist notions of what a “professional” hairstyle is.

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Bhujangi Youth Academy 2012 – REGISTER NOW!

Bhujangi_Jakara___Tshirt.JPGLast year the Jakara Movement held the first ever Bhujangi Youth Academy camp, aimed at young at-risk Sikh males, ages 13-17. It was a HUGE success. You can see the previous description and reflections write-up from last year.

This year the camp is happening again.

WHEN: July 15-24, 2012
WHERE: Camp Sierra (central California)
HOW TO REGISTER: Visit www.bhujangi.org
WHO TO CALL: For more information, call 1-408-905-7454 (English and Punjabi)

There will be fun activities such as paintballing, horseback riding, and sports. There will also be classes to instill a sense of pride in our collective Sikh past, but also an opportunity for reflection, emotional growth, and anger management.

The Jakara Movement is willing to work with all families of any means. As the deadline is soon approaching, we need your help and encouragement. Recommend a family member or talk to a friend if they have a young son, nephew, cousin, or brother that may be able to benefit from such an experience.

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Sikhs challenging racial profiling

Photo courtesy of the Sikh Coalition

My Facebook news feed and email inbox have been buzzing with discussion and calls to action to challenge racial profiling and, in particular, the NYPD’s infamous “stop and frisk” policy. I was happy to receive multiple emails today on the issue from Sikh American civil rights organizations, namely SALDEF and the Sikh Coalition. I’ve previously written about my own experiences with racial/religious profiling in NYC and the importance for us Sikhs to make the connection between the profiling we face post-9/11 and the profiling young black and Latinos have been enduring for decades.

Encouraging the NY Sikh community to attend a massive silent march this Sunday (father’s day, not coincidentally), the Sikh Coalition’s email alert stated:

In the post 9/11 era, Sikhs know all too well the consequences of racial profiling. We have felt the violence of profiling at airports; it is humiliating. It is a violation of our civil rights and it severely undermines our liberty and our safety.

As Sikhs, we have an obligation to stand for the human rights of all people. It is important that we uphold this sacred commitment as African American and Latino communities endure the type of unfair scrutiny that leads to hate crimes, workplace discrimination, school bullying, and profiling.

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Sikhs in the White House

Co-blogged by Sundari and American Turban

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Courtesy: The Sikh Coalition

Likely unbeknownst to many Sikhs, last Friday marked a historic moment for America’s Sikh community.

Around 7:30am on that day, about 50 people representing Sikh communities from across the country – California, Texas, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Georgia, New York, New Jersey – gathered at the East Wing for a special tour of the White House. These members of the community walked through the historic center of the country, seeing with their own eyes notable places such as the room in which President Thomas Jefferson first held cabinet meetings and the Blue Room which remains the reception room of the White House. Following the tour, community members joined White House administrators for the first-ever White House briefing on Sikh civil rights issues.

For those of us in the audience, it was a deeply moving moment – particularly when the briefing started out with Bole So Nihaal, Sat Sri Akal. Yes, a jakara in the White House!

There was something symbolic in that moment. Once, a long time ago, Sikhs would have made the jakara call while raising their flag at the Red Fort in Delhi, the symbolic capital of India, as Jassa Singh Ahluwalia was proclaimed Sultan-e-Quam (‘king of the nation’) – a gesture in which Sikhs laid claim to their sovereignty as a people in 19th century India. Now, under certainly different circumstances in a land separated by time and distance, Sikhs were making a similar call to claim to their legitimacy as Americans.

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Building Begampura: Confronting Caste

Caste is one of those dark secrets in our community. Some defend it as culture, others downplay its discriminatory effects, and some go even as far as to blame the victims of the violence itself.

Many have documented the ongoing apartheid that exists in our villages and in our minds.

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Some scholars have recently looked at the issue in light of the commitment to equality bequeathed by our Gurus, but the continued existence of discriminatory practices by many Sikhs. Professor Natasha Behl sheds some light on this topic in her dissertation, titled The Politics of Equality: Caste and Gender Paradoxes in the Sikh Community. She began her research asking the simple questions: How do ordinary Sikhs maintain a belief in equality while also participating in caste- and gender-based discrimination? How do Scheduled Caste Sikhs and Sikh women take political action in a community that engages in discrimination, yet denies its very existence?

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#10DaysofTerror

Guest blogged by@NSYF (National Sikh Youth Federation)

1984.jpgThe Sikh community in the UK is once again preparing to mark the anniversary of the June 1984 Indian army invasion of their holiest place of worship. Harmandir Sahib, also known as the Golden Temple located in Amritsar, was invaded in an unprecedented Indian army action against the civilian population that resulted in massive casualties and wide spread human rights violations.

Every year for the past 27 years the UK Sikhs have been gathering in Hyde Park London for a protest march that ends with a rally in Trafalgar Square. This year is no exception with the rally taking place on the 10th of June. The rally makes vocal the Sikh demands for justice and has been seen as a show of solidarity and remembrance.

As times have changed and the Sikh diaspora have become more educated and media savvy, their methods of protest have also evolved. Young Sikhs have come together to found a charitable NGO and Think Tank called the National Sikh Youth Federation (NSYF). This organisation, whose motto is ‘To Educate, Inspire and Unite’ has become the platform for an innovative media campaign to highlight the events of June 1984. Utilising both social and physical media NSYF are attempting to create mass awareness. From the 1st to the 10th of June NSYF will be uploading one picture everyday at 0700 GMT via their twitter account @theNSYF centred around the hashtag #10DaysofTerror.

NSYF will be telling the story of June 1984 by recreating the major events of each day with a historic newsfeed, culminating in the release of a video to tie the campaign together.

May Day 2012: Why We Should Take to the Streets

Tomorrow, May 1st, is International Workers Day and may very well be one of the largest days of mass action and protest we’ve seen in the North America in some time. Also known as May Day, the day has a long and rich history of working people courageously fighting for dignity and justice.

May 1st is the original “Labor Day” in the US. On May 1, 1886, 100,000 workers went on strike in Chicago demanding an eight-hour work day. They were met with violent repression from the police who killed four and injured many more. A massive rally against police brutality was organized in the coming days at Haymarket Square where violence escalated. Martial law was declared in Chicago, and police arrested hundreds of activists. The “Chicago Eight” were arrested and convicted solely because of their political beliefs. Seven were sentenced to death, and four were eventually hanged. Hanged for being freedom-fighters. Sound familiar?

In more recent years, May Day has become a mass day of action for immigrant workers rights here in the United States as well. In 2006, literally millions of immigrants and allies took to the streets in the midst of draconian anti-immigrant legislation working its way through the halls of Congress in the first “Day Without Immigrants.”

90 percent of truckers did not show up for work at the Port of Los Angeles, 27 percent of students did not show up for school. In the Central and Imperial Valleys, farm tools lay idle in the biggest agricultural work stoppage in Californias history. Corporations like Perdue, Cargill, and Swift preemptively gave workers the day off in an effort to save face and minimize production losses. In New York, whole neighborhoods closed as Korean and Latino business shuttered their windows. (see: http://maydaynyc.org/history)

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UPDATED: Echoes of New Phases and some Updates

UPDATED: All of a sudden I remembered a video from KPS Gill. Readers on this site are aware of this murderous sadist, but maybe it is still worthwhile to juxtapose his lies with the findings announced this week.

All of our attention shifted towards Punjab last week. There was some interesting developments early this week. One is that Voices for Freedom, a non-government organization, based out of Punjab filed a public interest litigation (PIL) petition against the Sukhbir Badal’s appointee for Director General of Police (DGP) Sumedh Saini. Saini is a well-known human rights abusers and was involved in the many murders, “disappearances”, and torture during the 1980s and 1990s. From the media reports, while the petition may not go far, hopefully it does center some more attention on just the type of thugs that the the Badal Mafia appoints.

Another note from Punjab came yesterday when the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India announced that they would pay Rs. 175,000 (about $3,500) to 1,500 families in the Amritsar district for the murder of their sons. Of course there is no culpability, just an attempt to buy silence. Well-known human rights lawyer Navkiran Singh of Chandigarh has rightly state:

It is too little too late and why only from Amritsar District? Khalra gave example of Amritsar district, but wanted an inquiry for the whole of Punjab. Imagine we had to pursue the matter in the NHRC for 17 years for this little justice.

UPDATE: I just wanted again to stress the lies that KPS Gill has restated for years. See this interview with an Australian journalist, when asked point-blank about the case of illegal cremations, KPS Gill lies without hesitation. Contrast this where the NHRC admits it occurred and even pays out money to families, though without casting any blame or responsibility. I have yet to see a true Indian journalist expose KPS Gill for his lies. Unfortunately they continue to lionize him, assuring that impunity continues – whether in Punjab, Delhi, Gujarat, Kashmir, and many other regions of South Asia.

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Zindabaad

Guest blogged by Preeti Kaur

For Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana

For everyone who flies the kesri jhaanda today

 

ZINDABAAD TO THE KESRI FLAG WAVING ACROSS MY HEART

ZINDABAAD TO MARCH 31, 2012

ZINDABAAD TO THE EYES

ZINDABAAD TO THE LUNGS

ZINDABAAD TO THE WRIST WHICH WEARS THE KARA TO REMAIN SHACKLED TO THE SKY

ZINDABAAD TO THE ROPE

ZINDABAAD TO THE TATI TAVI

ZINDABAAD TO THE BELLS RINGING

ZINDABAAD TO THE BRIDGE

ZINDABAAD TO THE LAMP

ZINDABAAD TO THE KIRPAN DIPPED IN INK

ZINDABAAD TO THE CHILDREN OF THE FIELDS RUNNING AWAY RUNNING TOWARD

ZINDABAAD TO THE DISAPPEARED WE REMEMBER

ZINDABAAD TO THE DISAPPEARED WE FORGOT

ZINDABAAD TO THE ASHES WHICH COULD NOT TRAVEL TO KIRATPUR SAHIB

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