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Assessing Victories – Arizona Governor Rightfully Vetoes Anti-Sikh Legislation

Guest blogged by Dilpreet Kaur

Mere days before Osama bin Ladens capture and death, the Arizona state legislature had set into motion legislative steps to remove a 9/11 hate crime victims name from the states memorial in Phoenix. At the time, the bills original sponsor, Rep. John Kavanaugh (R), claimed that Mr. Balbir Singh Sodhi was not a victim of 9/11. Adding insult to injury, along with stripping the late Mr. Sodhis name from the memorial, the legislation even enumerated that the removed plaque to be sold to a scrap metal dealer.

Like many others who stumbled across the news of this puzzling piece of legislation, I instantly wondered how and why something so insensitive and outrageous could pass. Four days after 9/11, on September 15, 2001, Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh American, was brutally murdered outside of his Chevron gas station in Mesa, Arizona by Frank Roque, a man who wanted to kill a Muslim in retaliation for the terrorist attacks. He had selected Mr. Sodhi simply because he had a beard and wore a turban in accordance with his Sikh faith. An Arizona jury later found Frank Roque guilty of first-degree murder for his hate crime murder of Mr. Sodhi, along with five other charges, including attempted murder and reckless endangerment related to drive-by shootings at other individuals he perceived to be Middle Eastern that same day in 2001.

Balbir Singh Sodhi was the first of hundreds of hate-crimes against Sikh Americans and other minorities related to post-9/11 hate violence. His death as a Sikh American brought national attention to the issue of anti-Muslim and anti-Arab violence following 9/11. At the time, many Arizona state representatives and citizens of all backgrounds rallied around the Sodhi family and the Sikh American community in support, with over 3,000 people attending Mr. Sodhis memorial service.

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Sarbat da Bhala in Action in Sacramento

As the Sikh community in Sacramento continues to grieve the losses of hate crime victims Surinder Singh and Gurmej Singh Atwal who were gunned down earlier this Spring (with no suspects still), the Sacramento Sikh Temple has truly embodied the Sikh spirit of sarbat da bhala this past week, extending a hand of solidarity to the gay community.

The Sacramento Sikh Temple is offering a reward of $1,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator of a violent hate attack on 26-year-old Seth Parker, who believes he was beaten because he is gay in the parking lot of the Strikes Family Entertainment Center in Elk Grove (the same area with Singh and Atwal were shot). Parker was punched in the face, suffering multiple facial fractures, while the attackers directed homophobic slurs at him.

A spokesperson for the gurdwara stated: “The Sikh Community condemns this disgusting attack motivated by ignorance and hate. In light of the recent murders of two Sikhs in Elk Grove and the hate crime conviction in Yolo County (of two men who attacked a Sikh taxi driver), we are especially sensitive to such crimes. We hope that our reward will help bring these criminals to justice.”

With homophobia rampant in the Sikh community, this action taken by the Sacramento Sikh community is truly courageous. They are setting a powerful example of how meaningful, lasting social change is made. Bigotry targeting our community will never truly end unless bigotry targeting all communities ends. The same hateful, ignorant logic that causes people to attack Sikhs causes others to attack our LGBT brothers and sisters. And our Muslim brothers and sisters.
Turban Warfare or Racist Warfare (courtesy of the NY Post)?

This past Sunday, violence erupted in an ongoing conflict between rival factions at the Gurdwara Baba Makhan Shah Lobana in Richmond Hill, Queens, the heart of New York’s Sikh community. Large kirpans as well as cricket bats and balls were used in the fighting. Dozens of community members and “leaders” were injured, and seven men were arrested.

Sunday was the escalation of an ongoing power struggle between leadership factions in the Richmond Hill Sikh community. There have been many violent incidents in the last several months at this Gurdwara (which itself was born out a violent conflict at the original Richmond Hill Gurdwara, the Sikh Cultural Society), resulting in a regular police presence there.

I don’t claim to understand the reasons behind the conflict at this Gurdwara, nor do I really care. This type of behavior is inexcusable and unjustifiable. And it is far too common in our community, and in particular, in our houses of worship. Much deeper discussions and interventions are needed about violence in our Gurdwaras than I will go into here.

That being said, as a follow up to Navdeep’s post about Sikhs and the Media yesterday, I want to focus on the news coverage of this incident in Richmond Hill. The New York Post* (one of NYC’s biggest newspapers with over 525,000 print copies sold daily) broke the story with this headline on Monday: Queens Turban Warfare: Sword-Wielding Sikhs attack praying rivals.

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RIP Gurmej Singh Atwal

While Sikhs around the world were celebrating Vaisakhi last week, 78-year-old Gurmej Singh Atwal, one of the two men who were shot in what was likely a hate attack in Elk Grove, California in March, died on Friday. The Sacramento Bee reports:

“He’s no more,” his son said. “First the kidneys went off, then the lungs and then brain. … He was shot in the upper right chest, one bullet went straight to his lungs and the other to his pancreas, liver and intestines.”

A grief-stricken Atwal said, “My dad was going to be a key witness” in the shooting. Also shot was Surinder Singh, 65, who died at the scene.

This tragic loss came two days after California’s “Sikh Solidarity Day,” initiated by State Senator Darrell Steinberg and California Sikhs to raise awareness about the Sikh identity in light of the horrific March 4th attack on Atwal and Singh in Elk Grove.

“Let us pick a day together when we are all Sikh Americans, we are all Californians and we all stand together,” state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said before several hundred members of the Sikh Temple of Sacramento in West Sacramento.

“Any attack on one of us is an attack on all of us,” the Sacramento Democrat said. He suggested that on a chosen day which was quickly decided as April 13 civic leaders and community members could wear either a man’s turban or a woman’s Punjabi suit with chunni, or headwear, as a symbol of support.

No arrests of suspects have been made thus far. The reward offered by the police department and Sikh and Muslim community groups for information leading to arrests is now $43,000.

Mourning the loss of Gurmej Singh Atwal and Surinder Singh (who died immediately after the shooting), we hope and pray for a day when the Sikh identity will no longer be under attack, when we can walk down the street with our dastars without fear.

People’s Party of Punjab

198207_155574971169597_155524257841335_330499_7913901_n.jpgAs we follow news onpro-democracy uprisings across the globe, Panjab has joined this conversation in it’s own way. On Sunday March 27th 2011, Manpreet Badal announced a brand new political party in preparation for February 2012 elections in Punjab. Thousands gathered atKhatkar Kalan village, the village of Shaheed Bhagat Singh,to hear the former Finance Minister of Punjab launch the agenda for The People’s Party of Punjab (PPP), promising a “better, progressive Punjab”. He asked supporters for their backing for the next 11 months as the party’s agenda reaches fruition. The party will be founded on the ideology of the martyrs.

Aspects of the PPP’s agenda include: police reform, stopping the domination by an individual or clan, an assembly to evaluate ministers’ performance, government expenditure to be cut down drastically, only one security officer provided and extensive security to be paid for individually, only necessary foreign trips for leaders, free electricity provision will not be provided to wealthy farmers, revenue will be hiked by checking tax evasion, a desire to restore Punjab’s primacy in agriculture, investments in new industries, an increase in investments that create jobs, promotion of religious tolerance, scholarships provided for excellence in sports, speciality hospitals in each district and zero tolerance for crime and corruption. [via gpunjab news]

In an interview, Manpreet Badal spoke about the need for leaders to be role models and for the government to be transparent and accountable. In addition, he stated that 50% of seats will be reserved for women and youth. For those Panjabis living in Panjab or in the diaspora, who are acutely aware of the issues impacting Punjab’s growth and prosperity, the idea of a new party that is committed to change is a promising thought. What do you think? Will this be the change we have been looking for in Punjab?

For more information, see PPP’sFacebook page. After the jump you can view videos of Manpreet Badal’s announcement.

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Class Tyranny in Wisconsin

By now you’ve probably heard about Wisconsin governor Scott Walker’s attack on working class people and labor unions in Wisconsin. This week, Walker’s bill, which undermines public sector workers’ right to collectively bargain and slashes their benefits, among other things, passed through the state Senate, without a single Democratic Senator present for the vote, and the Assembly, in the face of three weeks of massive protests, the largest demonstrations in Wisconsin since the Vietnam War.

The Washington Post reports:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker won his drive to strip the state’s government workers of nearly all of their collective-bargaining rights Thursday, after a three-week standoff that brought tens of thousands of protesters to the Capitol.

The new legislation represents a major setback for organized labor, but the political battle over public employees and their rights to bargain is likely to continue – not only in Madison.

The state Assembly passed Walker’s proposal a day after Republican senators outmaneuvered the 14 Democratic senators who had fled Wisconsin to deny a quorum needed for passing a budget measure. By stripping the bill of its spending language, they were able to pass it with only Republicans present.

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The What, Why, and Who of Hondh Chillar and Pataudi

Guest blogged by Preserve Architectural Heritage

hondh_chillar.jpgWhat: discovery of two sites linked to 1984: (1) Hondh Chillar, discovered January 2011. (2) Pataudi, discovered Februrary 2011. Both are in Haryana. Excerpts from Press Releases from Sikhs for Justice reveal that 32 men, women, and children were brutally tortured and killed in Hondh Chillar and 17 in Pataudi.

Why is this discovery important: So far all the investigation into the violence of 1984 has been done via interviews, eyewitness accounts, judicial commissions, and lawsuits. For the first time, we have living evidence of the genocide: the buildings speak for themselves. Though there are thousands of names on the ever-growing list of those killed in 1984, many of us have very little connection to those names since we don’t personally know the families. Even if some of us know or are related to survivors of the violence, it’s difficult and painful to have those individuals recollect and narrate their memories and experience.

Those of us with no familial connection to Operation Bluestar, those of us who were too young to remember, or were not born when this genocide tookplace now have a physical, tangible, alive, and direct relationship to this significant period of Sikh history through these sites. Since memory of any tragic event is intrinsically linked to physical location[s], it is absolutely crucial that we realize the value of Hondh Chillar and Pataudi as sites that provide us with a direct link to the memory of 1984. They are living sites, open for everyone to access and connect with. They are silent victims, that, just like the human victims of 1984, represent a crucial moment from the recent Sikh past.

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Sikh men gunned down in possible hate crime in Sacramento

The Sacramento Bee is reporting that two elderly Sikh men were shot while going on an afternoon walk in their suburban neighborhood on Friday. One of the men, 67-year-old Surinder Singh died from the attack on Friday, and 78-year-old Gurmej Atwal is in critical condition, suffering from two gunshot wounds in his chest. The Bee article states:

Relatives and friends in the tightknit Sikh community to which the two men belong were not as hesitant to call the shooting a hate crime.

Singh and Atwal, like many Sikh men, had thick beards and wore turbans traditions that have made Sikhs the target of bigotry and violent attacks since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

“The turban is a big problem for us,” said Gurjatinder Singh Randhawa, chief editor of the Sikh newspaper Punjab Mail USA. “We look the same as Afghan Taliban but we are not Taliban.”

Randhawa recalled the beating of a Sikh cab driver four months ago in West Sacramento.

The driver told authorities that two passengers had uttered anti-Islamic slurs as they attacked him and then beat a female passenger who tried to stop them. Police have since arrested two men on charges of felony assault with a deadly weapon and commission of a hate crime in connection with the attack.

While we don’t know why this happened, it’s hard to imagine that this could have been anything but an attack motivated by racism and hatred. Just a few days after the horrific display of anti-Muslim bigotry in Southern California that Navdeep posted on, we have Sikh lives being lost to senseless violence….yet again. Our thoughts and prayers are with Singh and Atwal and their families. May Waheguru give them and the Sacramento sangat the strength to remain in the chardi kala spirit in the face of this hateful violence.
Prayers for Libya

The massive pro-democracy uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East have gained tremendous momentum since the successful ouster of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak two weeks ago. My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Libya this week, as their calls for the end of Moammar Gaddafi’s 42-year reign have been met with brutal repression. Gaddafi’s forces (including mercenary soldiers) have killed an estimated 640 to 1,000 protesters so far in just one week. The world is watching as the people of Libya sacrifice their lives for freedom and self-determination. May Waheguru bless them in their righteous struggle against tyranny.

Check out the below report from ABC News, but note that the message at the end about US-Libya relations is highly misleading. Though the US government has a complicated history with Gaddafi, he has been a strategic ally of the US in the region for over a decade. Until Obama’s statement on Libya just yesterday (after almost a week of brutal repression), the US has turned a blind eye to any human rights concerns in Libya. While his statement strongly condemned Gaddafi’s use of violence against the protesters, Obama stopped short of calling on Gaddafi to step down.

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Arab Sovereignty, Sikh Solidarity

Kicked off by Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution last month, the massive uprisings against U.S.-backed authoritarian regimes throughout the Arab world have grown into an undeniable and unprecedented force for real democracy.

Since the dictators being targeted have close ties to Washington, the leaders of our government are finding themselves in a rather uncomfortable position. Senator John McCain was a little more blunt than the Obama adminstration when, on Fox News last week, he called the rise of democratic movements a “virus…spreading throughout the Middle East,” referring to this as “the most dangerous period of history…of our entire involvement in the Middle East, at least in modern times.” Obama and Clinton talk a smoother, more diplomatic talk, but the take home message is the same: “Change” in the Middle East must be on our terms.

In a column in the Guardian on Friday, Noam Chomsky wrote, “Washington and its allies keep to the well-established principle that democracy is acceptable only insofar as it conforms to strategic and economic objectives: fine in enemy territory (up to a point), but not in our backyard, please, unless properly tamed.”

Indeed, while the Obama administration pays lip service to supporting “democracy” in Egypt (after backing and funding Mubarak for the last 30 years), it has lined up long-time Mubarak aide Omar Suleiman to lead the so-called transition to a new government. The New Yorker reported that Suleiman “has served for years as the main conduit between the United States and Mubarak… [H]e was the C.I.A.s point man in Egypt for renditionsthe covert program in which the C.I.A. snatched terror suspects from around the world and returned them to Egypt and elsewhere for interrogation, often under brutal circumstances.”

That’s democracy for you, American style.

For Sikhs in the United States today, what does it mean for us to pay taxes to a government that actively works against the freedom, self-determination, and sovereignty of millions of people around the world, including our brothers and sisters in Egypt whose relentless protests have been met with violent, state-sponsored repression?

This is of course a question that I would ask all citizens of the United States, but for us Sikhs, I don’t think it is simply a political question, but also spiritual one.

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NYPD diversity training with a sinister twist

Since 9/11, Sikh advocates and community members have been proactive about providing training for law enforcement officers to educate them about our religion and articles of faith and to foster positive relations between local police and Sikhs. My feelings about the role of the police in our communities aside, the Village Voice is reporting that New York City cops have been doing some learning about the Muslim community lately. But not the kind of learning that SALDEF and other Sikh organizations have been facilitating across the country.

At a recent counter-terrorism training, NYPD officers were shown a full-length, Muslim-bashing film called The Third Jihad. According to the Village Voice, the film “is 72 minutes of gruesome footage of bombing carnage, frenzied crowds, burning American flags, flaming churches, and seething mullahs. All of this is sandwiched between a collection of somber talking heads informing us that, while we were sleeping, the international Islamist Jihad that wrought these horrors has set up shop here and is quietly going about its deadly business.”

During the film, the narrator says, “Americans are being told that most of the mainstream Muslim groups are moderate when in fact, if you look a little closer, youll see a very different reality. One of their primary tactics is deception.”

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Will Obama give into bigotry?

By now, most of you have likely heard about the controversy surrounding Obama’s potential visit to Darbar Sahib (aka the Golden Temple) in Amritsar. The Sikh Coalition reported this week that the President’s travel plans in India are still not finalized and is encouraging community members to write to the White House to urge President Obama to include Darbar Sahib in his schedule. You can send a message by clicking here.

SALDEF and United Sikhs representatives were quoted in yesterday’s New York Times article about Sikhs’ frustration with Obama for canceling the visit out of fear of being perceived as Muslim (which according to the Times, one in five Americans perceive him as such).

Theres a xenophobic trend in this country, where some people are calling him Muslim, said Jasjit Singh, associate director of the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, a Washington-based civil rights group. If he gives in to this trend then effectively hes emboldening them.

Apparently, the White House fears the right wing’s ever-increasing Islamophobic backlash. Indeed, pundits on Fox News would likely have a field day with photographs of President Barack Hussein Obama with his head covered surrounded by brown, bearded men in turbans. While this concern is understandable, Jasjit from SALDEF’s point gets to the heart of the matter: canceling the trip to Darbar Sahib only emboldens the Anti-Muslim bigots and in fact perpetuates anti-Muslim and anti-Sikh bigotry.

Let’s hope that Sikh and Muslim Americans alike can work together, along with our supporters, to convince the President to not back down to bigotry. Tell the White House what you think.

Stupid or Evil?

As the debate over the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” wages on in the media with plenty of misinformation and a whole lot of fear-mongering, we finally get some worthwhile news from The Daily Show on the subject.

The Parent Company Trap
www.thedailyshow.com

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Save The Gurdwara

SaveGurdwara.jpgIll admit…when I first saw emails and facebook posts titled Save The Gurdwara, I immediately dismissed it, thinking it was yet another mismanaged Gurdwara falling in to bankruptcy or one group trying to overthrow another. But after I read the website and confirmed some of the details with contacts in Austin, I was shocked by what had occurred.

By now most of you know that in 2007, the city of Austin, Texas approved the building of a permanent Gurdwara on land the Sikh community had purchased back in 2003 and where theyve since been having regular weekly services in a makeshift home. Shortly after construction began, a couple who recently moved nearby the Gurdwara (the Bolliers), filed an injunction to block construction on the grounds that it would be an eye-sore, increase traffic, and lower property value. In March 2009, a district court denied the couples injunction in favor of the Austin Sikh community and construction of the Gurdwara was allowed to proceed. Unfortunately, this victory would be short-lived. Sixteen months after the original victory and construction now complete, an appeals court has overturned the lower courts ruling and has ordered the entire structure to be torn down needless to say, the Austin Sikh community is devastated!

As many of us would, I immediately thought this was a blatant act of racism, but as I read the website several times, I noticed there is no accusation of this being racially-motivated. I applaud the Austin sangat for taking the high road and not pulling the race card until there is clear evidence of racism or bigotry, but I must say…it sure does smell like it! I mean, Lower their propertys value?…really?

Somewhere in all the disappointment and frustration of this situation, I amstill impressed with how Sikhs manage to come together in a time of need. Emails are circulating through all the networks, people are dedicating their facebook pictures and statuses to the Save the Gurdwara movement, and some of our talented MCs have written songs to help rally and inspire the community.

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Liberation or Racism?

The French government is at it again. France’s lower house just passed a law that would make it illegal for women to wear the full Islamic veil (burqa or niqab) in public. It would fine women 150 euros for not complying. Sundari posted on this issue back in February, and now this attack on religious freedom has come one step closer to being the law of the land as the bill passed 335 to 1 in the National Assembly this week. The bill would have to be ratified in September by the Senate to become law.

Proponents of the law say the National Assembly vote is a victory for democracy and French Values. Justice Minister Michele Alliot-Marie stated it was a victory for, “Values of freedom against all the oppressions which try to humiliate individuals; values of equality between men and women, against those who push for inequality and injustice.”

What about the value to practice your religion freely and express your identity (religious or otherwise) through what you wear? Madeline Bunting, in a great column in the UK’s Guardian today, stated: “Women wearing the skimpiest of mini-skirts sit down on buses next to other women in saris, business suits, salwar kameez. None of these cultural codes expressed in dress are regarded as the business of the state. Nor should they be.”

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Turban Phobia

The Washington Times printed this photo of Elena Kagan yesterday with the caption “Elena Kagan and Sharia”:

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The fear continues.

Take Our Jobs

There are two issues facing our nation–high unemployment and undocumented people in the workforce–that many Americans believe are related. Missing from the debate on both issues is an honest recognition that the food we all eat – at home, in restaurants and workplace cafeterias (including those in the Capitol) – comes to us from the labor of undocumented farm workers. [link]

yubaupdate_1130.gifTired of beingblamed for stealing jobs from unemployed Americans, and hoping to spark realistic discussion of immigration reform, United Farm Workers is teaming up with Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert for a cheeky campaign called Take Our Jobs.

The union has created a website where you can sign yourself up for fieldwork. Experienced field hands will train legal residents and hook them up with the many seasonal harvest openings in California, Florida, and elsewhere.

Farm workers are tired of being blamed by politicians and anti-immigrant activists for taking work that should go to Americans and dragging down the economy, said Arturo Rodriguez, the president of the United Farm Workers of America.

So the group is encouraging the unemployed and any Washington pundits or anti-immigrant activists who want to join them to apply for the some of thousands of agricultural jobs being posted with state agencies as harvest season begins.

All applicants need to do is fill out an online form under the banner “I want to be a farm worker” at http://www.takeourjobs.org, and experienced field hands will train them and connect them to farms. [link]

Take Our Jobs will be featured on the Colbert Report on July 8. Many members of the Punjabi Sikh community are farmworkers and some would even be impacted by potential policies surrounding immigration so what are your thoughts on this discussion?

A Tragic Loss

Here on TLH, we’ve recognized accomplished Sikhs who have excelled in their field, and by doing so - presented a positive image of Sikhs and the Sikh way of life – academics, athletes, politicians, artists, the list goes on and on. Often unnoticed though are everyday people, who build individual relationships with those in their community, and spread a spirit of goodwill through their kindness and generosity. Unfortunately I learned of this gentle soul, Prabhjot Singh, too late. May Waheguru always be with him and strengthen his family while overcoming this terrible loss.

Post-9/11 hatred rages on near Ground Zero

Guestblogged by Brooklynwala

Yesterday morning I was reading the ubiquitous, free AM New York newspaper on the subway on the way to a cordoba_house.jpgmeeting and was disturbed and saddened to learn about a protest of 1,000 people in lower Manhattan against an Islamic Center being built near Ground Zero, the site of the 9/11 attacks. Holding signs with slogans like, No 9/11 Mega Mosque and Dont dishonor my sons grave, these protestors represent the growing backlash against the 13-story community center and mosque being built by the Cordoba Initiative.

According to their website, Cordoba aims to achieve a tipping point in Muslim-West relations within the next decade, bringing back the atmosphere of interfaith tolerance and respect that we have longed for since Muslims, Christians and Jews lived together in harmony and prosperity eight hundred years ago. The Cordoba Initiatives proposed Cordoba House located two blocks from Ground Zero is about promoting integration, tolerance of difference and community cohesion through arts and culture. Cordoba House will provide a place where individuals, regardless of their backgrounds, will find a center of learning, art and culture; and most importantly, a center guided by universal values in their truest form – compassion, generosity, and respect for all.

A few weeks ago, Tea Party leader Mark Williams, a frequent guest on CNN, stated that the monument would consist of a Mosque for the worship of the terrorists’ monkey-god.

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Sikhs’ Reactions to the Israeli Government Terrorism

The story splashed all over the newspapers. An event that had been purposefully ignored by the US news could no longer be avoided when a number of humanitarian activists were killed (still no official number or names of those murdered??) by Israeli forces on Monday.

Activists from all over the world gathered and collected humanitarian items for Gaza (Palestine) that has been under an illegal siege since June 2007 by Israel and Egypt – a form of collective punishment against the entire people of Gaza.

The BBC has put together an informational site specifically about the blockade and its effects.

I have sampled some snippets of the report:

no specific list of what is and is not allowed in has been published, and items gaining entry vary over time.

The UN relief agency for Palestinian refugees Unrwa’s list of household items that have been refused entry at various times includes light bulbs, candles, matches, books, musical instruments, crayons, clothing, shoes, mattresses, sheets, blankets, pasta, tea, coffee, chocolate, nuts, shampoo and conditioner.

the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation says 61% of Gazans are “food insecure”.

According to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, Unrwa, 80% of Gazan households rely on some kind of food aid.

UNRWA says the number of Gazan that it helps who are unable to buy basic items such as soap, stationary and safe drinking water has tripled since 2007.

A UN survey in 2008 found more than half Gaza’s households had sold their disposable assets and were relying on credit to buy food, three-quarters of Gazans were buying less food than in the past, and almost all were eating less fresh fruit, vegetables and animal protein to save money.

Overall, the UN says the blockade has caused the economy “irreversible damage”. Unemployment has soared from 30% in 2007 to 40% in 2008, according to the World Bank, though it dropped slightly in early 2010. The UN says that when aid is discounted, 70% of Gazan families live on less than a dollar a day per person.

It was against these conditions that a Freedom Flotilla, led not by states and governments, but rather by citizenry, including statesmen and Nobel Laureates, set off the coast of Cypress to attempt to break the blockade.

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