i am

"Who could be so lucky? Who comes to a lake for water and sees the reflection of the moon." Rumi


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Disappointed at Mr. P

Mr. P is a man in his 60s I grew fond of. Back in the summer of 2008, I pinched my sciatic nerve. I was unaware of that fact for two or three months. I work sitting down in front of a computer for eight hours, which makes my situation worse. One morning, the pain became so excruciating. I bawled like a baby and had to ask my bosses for help. They immediately called Mr. P.

Mr. P is their friend and client. He rushed over, and as a sciatica sufferer himself, Mr. P taught me some stretches that ease sciatic pain.  He told me his story. He said with daily stretches and caution, he’s been able to diminish these sciatic ‘episodes’. He walks every where, is always in a good mood and likes to talk a lot. That was the beginning of a wonderful friendship.

After that incident, every time Mr. P came to visit us at the office, he’d sit on the couch and chat with me. There were times we’d hold conversations about spirituality, nutrition and life in general. For most of 2011 I hadn’t heard from him. This year, I finally saw him again during tax season. Oh how I missed him and his energy! He always bares a smile.

At the office, my bosses always debate about politics and the economy – that or having endless conversations about golf. Recently, the three were having some debate about the presidential candidates. Mr. P’s name came up. They said Mr. P was going to vote for anyone as long as it wasn’t Obama, even if the alternate candidate had nothing better to offer and may in fact be a worse option. I was a bit surprised to hear that Mr. P would rationalize in that way, but shrugged it off.

This morning, one of my bosses and I were reading the news together about a man who shot  an ex co-worker in front of the Empire State Building early this morning. According to the reports, the man who was later shot dead by Police was a disgruntled employee. My boss then said, “Ha, I bet Mr. P would say it’s Obama’s fault because of our economy.” And I asked him why he would say something like that. And he replied, “ Didn’t you know? Mr. P is the biggest racist and has no shame about it. He’s a tough one! And he hates Obama. He even calls Michelle Obama ‘______’” (some derogatory name having to do with chimps.)

Say what??

I felt a sharp pain in my chest. This weird feeling just came over me. Mr. P? My Mr. P? A racist? I’m completely disappointed and hurt. I don’t know how else to feel. I’m not angry, and I don’t resent him. But really, Mr. P?

See, I never saw him display that side of him. This comes as a shock to me. Would my boss be exaggerating? How do I know if what he’s saying is true? But why would my boss lie about something like that? I hold all three of my bosses with high regard. These five years that I’ve worked for them, they’ve become like uncles to me.

So what now? Is it understandable if my feelings toward Mr. P change? I mean, he’s been the kindest, most loving person to me and I truly hold him dear to my heart. I don’t love him any less, let me make that clear. Love doesn’t wither. But as far as respect or admiration goes, I don’t know… I can’t respect a person who has hate in his heart, one who judges based on color and culture. I know what’s right in my heart, I stand for truth; but I can’t help but feel confused.

*sigh* 

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Basic human rights for all

Media outlets have failed to properly cover the terrorist attack on a Sikh Community in Milwaukee, Wisconsin some days ago. There isn’t enough coverage, yet its main purpose is to differentiate the Sikhs from Muslims, as if making a distinction between the two somehow made this massacre more atrocious than it would have been were the victims Muslim. I’ve read many posts about the irrelevancy of such differentiation, and I fully agree with the disgust expressed at such attempts. I’ve barely heard any coverage of this incident, but from the bit that I have heard, the media automatically makes mentions of what separates these two religions.

How about being concerned that White Supremacists, a.k.a terrorists, are free to lash out with hatred against innocent lives? How about focusing the attention on the real issues at hand? Issues being that White Supremacists have no hidden agendas and are not, by any means, scared of expressing their disdain through hate crimes because it seems to be acceptable in this country. The media only covers these cases ever so often, insinuating that these acts occur sparingly and for reasons other than hate. For reasons such as traumas, medication abuse, depression, lunacy, etc…

We live in a country that prides itself for its freedom of speech. When The Black Panthers were expressing their right of speech back in their day, they were killed, beaten or threatened for their views and actions. White supremacists have existed long before and are still going strong, with public displays of hatred through lyrics, vandalism of minority properties, acts of violence and verbal slander. Authorities and the Government see it as their right to practice freedom of speech, until, of course, a massacre takes place and the media covers it, and are then forced to speak out against them.

We live in a country that prides itself for its freedom of religion. Apparently for so many South Asian communities, it doesn’t seem to be the case. And these incidences haven’t been occurring only after 9/11, although they have been more frequently. We live in a place that anyone can practice the religion they choose or not practice at all. But how can society express acceptance of all religions if our own leaders disrespect and publicly abhor certain beliefs. For example, when Pres. Obama began running for office, he was attacked from all sides because they claimed him to be Muslim. Should it even matter? As an American Citizen, is it not his right to practice whatever religion he so desires? Middle Eastern religions who fit the characteristics of Muslims and Sikhs, among other religions, are disrespected and insulted for being who they are. They are perceived as inferior beings. They are automatically classified as terrorists, as being a hateful community who practices an evil religion.

American ignorance is repulsive. This country often speaks out against terrorism in other countries, predominantly in the Middle East, yet we have our own to eradicate, and nothing is being done. Terrorist acts in this country are seen as random acts of violence, not for what they truly are. And that is more repulsive than ignorance itself. There is tactic for that though. This country wants to be considered THE superior country by all means, and if it means that South Asian communities will continue to live in fear for being who they are because White Supremacists will never be classified as terrorists, then so be it. If it means that superficially, this country is protecting the rights of all people although in reality it is facilitating such hateful crimes through loopholes and turning a blind eye, then so be it.

Something ain’t right here. And until the real issues at hand are not properly addressed, these massacres will continue to happen. Justice and respect for all is overdue. We are all brothers and sister, citizens of this world. No one is superior or inferior to another. And until that is understood within the whole spectrum of beings will we truly reap the benefits of peace and love.

I leave you with this…

“Until the philosophy which hold one race superior
And another
Inferior
Is finally
And permanently
Discredited
And abandoned –
Everywhere is war –
Me say war.

That until there no longer
First class and second class citizens of any nation
Until the colour of a man’s skin
Is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes –
Me say war.

That until the basic human rights
Are equally guaranteed to all,
Without regard to race –
Dis a war…”