Über Desi

Keeping it real, desi ishtyle

Wisconsin Sikh Temple shootings

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News first started trickling in, mostly via Twitter, around noon East Coast time about a shooting incident in a Sikh temple in Milwaukee, WI. My first reaction, unfortunately tempered from years such attacks directed at Sikhs, was that this was one of those post 9/11 incidents, where the perpetrator attacks Sikhs thinking they belong to the Taliban or Mujahideen. Based on current report, this may very well turn out to be the case.

Initial reports were of multiple gunmen taking hostages at the temple. But when the dust settled, it turned out to be a lone gunman, Wade Michael Page, ex-Army and alleged skinhead. The first responding cops exchanged fire with the gunman; one was hurt and the other killed the gunman, but not before Page killed 6 others on the temple premises. These cops, “prevented a tragic situation from becoming even worse”. Satwant Kaleka, the temple’s president succumbed to injuries he sustained while trying to restrain the attacker, perhaps saving more lives.

Now on to the (American) media coverage of the situation, CNN had some decent updates about the situation itself but the reporters and anchors showed an appalling lack of knowledge about Sikhs, the worlds 5th largest religious group. For some reason, the CNN reporters and anchors were strangely defensive, almost hostile, to the victims’ and their families’ suggestions that this could be one of those typical post 9/11 hate incidents directed towards Sikhs. Additionally, CNN anchors and reporters, played thought police, insisting that this incident should not be classified as a terrorist incident (the FBI later classified it as domestic terrorism) and CNN anchors also were quite emphatic that this was not the time for debate on issues like gun control and hate crimes (the two major issues that most likely led up to this carnage). Having said that among cable news outlets, CNN was the one with the most coverage of the incident.

Fox News, when they were not discussing topics like “Liberal Media attacks against Mitt Romney”, had intermittent coverage of the incident. Even with lesser coverage, Fox still managed to commit a faux pas as one the reporters asked a member of the Sikh temple if there had been any “anti-Semitic acts in the past against the Sikh community”. MSNBC, the other media outlet, was busy covering the Olympics and had breaking updates now and then, but largely failed in it’s mission as a “news channel”.

The other troubling fact on the media coverage was the fact they kept mentioning that this was “misdirected hate” aka “hate directed towards Muslims but incorrectly targeting Sikhs” which leads one to believe that targeting Muslims would be “normal”, which speaks to the sad state of affairs in this country.

As of this posting, Wade Michael Page has been identified as ex-Army, 1992-98, (Toma)Hawk Missile repairman, and “psychological operations specialist”. Reports are also starting to flow in that he legally owned the guns he used in this massacre and was the leader of a neo-Nazi band called End Apathy.

Largely, the media coverage and outrage among Americans has been miniscule compared to the ones we witnessed after the movie shooting incidents in Colorado. Call me jaded by post 9/11 America but none of this comes as a shock.

For updates, please follow our Twitter account http://twitter.com/uberdesi

Goodbye to the world of men ?

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The Times of India has done it again. Having long abandoned any pretense of journalistic integrity, here is the latest rubbish from our favorite go – to desi paper.

Under the cringe inducing headline “ Study links lesbianism to career” ,   the TOI quotes a dubious study from un-named NGOs in Chandigarh that : ( I am not making this shit up – this is a direct quote!)

A study by two NGOs to understand the nature of lesbian behaviour in the city has found that most women take to this alternative sexuality while staying in hostels of educational institutions or working at call centres and marketing companies

Apart from personal choice, the reasons for these women’s (sic) turning lesbian were found to be an abusive childhood or being widowed or divorced.

There is zero mention of genetic predisposition and makes the whole issue of homosexuality sound like a lifestyle choice as opposed to a congenital orientation.

This sounds like it was dictated by the far right – defense of marriage act types in the US …

Anyways, I matched their “checklist” against my personal history and:

- Stayed at hostel of educational institution : Check

- Working at call centers or marketing companies : Check

- Abusive childhood : No

- Widowed or Divorced : No

Does this mean there is a 50 % chance I am going to play for the other team ? But, but …I love Bruce Willis ..so that can’t be true? Can it ? Can it?

Who writes this crap?

Love in the time of Internet-era

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Starting the New Year off with some good ole fashioned narrow-mindedness and prejudice, a family “catches” their daughter hanging out with a long-haired dude, who allegedly, is from a different community*. The parents are worried and a nosy younger dude suggests CommunityMatrimony.com because forcing their daughter to marry from the same community ensures a virtuous, reliable, good-character life mate, right? [video link @desinole via Twitter]

* Community in this instance, could stand for caste, sub-caste, “gothra”, clan, other sub-categories or combination thereof.

Who hauuun Williams?

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The media and now infrequently haunted blogosphere seems to be ablaze with news on Juan Williams firing from NPR for his remarks on Muslims. [NPR]

NPR has terminated its contract with Juan Williams, one of its senior news analysts, after he made comments about Muslims on the Fox News Channel.
NPR said in a statement that it gave Mr. Williams notice of his termination on Wednesday night.
The move came after Mr. Williams, who is also a Fox News political analyst, appeared on the “The O’Reilly Factor” on Monday.
He continued: “I mean, look, Bill, I’m not a bigot. You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.”

**** time off for #facepalm moment ****

My question to the decision makers at NPR is how did they hire Juan Williams in the first place or why was he not terminated (for ignorance/stupidity) after confusing Indian-Americans with Native-Americans (which we tweeted about here). [WSJ Blog]

Nikki Haley ran far ahead of all other contenders for South Carolina’s Republican gubernatorial nomination, though the official returns give her 48.9%, just shy of a majority, which sets up a runoff against Rep. Gresham Barrett, who got 21.8%. Haley is a woman. She is 38. She is Indian-American, which by some lights makes her nonwhite (although South Asians are “Caucasian” in the traditional racial taxonomy.) We witnessed an amusing moment on Fox News Channel last night when Juan Williams observed that Haley would be “the first native American governor.” It was left to host Bret Baier to explain the difference between Indian-Americans and American Indians, and also to point out that Louisiana’s Gov. Bobby Jindal (also a 38-year-old Republican, albeit a man–hey nobody’s perfect) is in fact the first Indian-American governor.

Who hauuun Williams is now full time with Faux News. We wait with bated breath for Who hauuun Williams to confuse Nikki Haley’r origins, for Muslim instead of Sikh.

The invisible 51 %

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Two articles I read this morning stayed with me the entire day.
The first was this uplifting ( sarcasm) headline “India at bottom in man-woman equality index: World Economic Forum” in the Times of India. India ranked a shameful 114 out of 134 developing countries , indexed in terms of man-woman equality. The gender gap is increasing – not the least because of an estimated 25 Million ” missing women ” in India.Missing because of female foeticide or abortion. On the list , India ranks behind Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka in South Asia! Meanwhile, “Incredible India” woos foreign tourists with exotic shots of spices, dancers and masks. Malls sprout unrestricted in Indian metros.`Disposable incomes in the cities are up and Bollywood is celebrated at the Oscars. Sonia Gandhi is defacto Prime Minister. Welcome to the madness that is India!

The second was when I saw NOW’s press release on the much vaunted , so -called historical health care reform bill. The Dems agreed to the “Stupak amendment” which if incorporated in the final version that passes through the senate will:

* Prevent women receiving tax subsidies from using their own money to purchase private insurance that covers abortion;
* Prevent women participating in the public health insurance exchange, administered by private insurance companies, from using 100 percent of their own money to purchase private insurance that covers abortion;
* Prevent low-income women from accessing abortion entirely, in many cases.

In other words our democratically elected government has just thrown women under the bus in an all out attempt to get healthcare reform passed. What the Stupak amendment does is what the conservatives have wanted all along : reducing access to abortion almost completely , especially for low income women – those who need it the most. The amendment effectively will result in no coverage of any kind for abortion. Our female speaker of the house has just sold all of us out. Meanwhile, we celebrate “hope”, “change” and unbelievable Nobel Prize and the fact that this country is a beacon of liberty in an increasingly fundamentalist world. Welcome to the madness that is America!

Two democracies : one developing , the other developed.

One constituency that no one gives a shit cares about.

There is an old Chinese proverb that “Women hold up half the sky”. I don’t know about that – I’ll settle for dignity on earth.

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