Lack of Education And The Hostile Imagination= Hate And Violence

It’s true.   Confusing Sikhs with Muslims has perpetuated a swell of extreme violence since 9-11.   In reality, though, that’s really not the point, is it? Discussing this confusion is like discussing why people love their dogs. Does it matter? They just do.   As a woman who was raised a Sikh, the issue   of being confused for a Muslim doesn’t bother me. I don’t really care who prays to what God. Allah, Jesus or WhaheGuru. What I care about is the arrogant assumptions and obsessions about the "other" that seem to be leading this country to cannibalize itself.

If you do a quick search, you can find a trail of tragic hate crimes   supposedly intended to denounce the   unjust acts of 9-11. Criticisms and collaborations by a range of ordinary citizens and “regular Americans” who hate the tarnish left by of 9-11. These “regular Americans” hate so much that some are willing become suicidal. Case   in point - pathetic, 40-year-old, Neo-Nazi Wade Michael Page. His lack of education and fear of the other not only took him to an entirely wrong group of people but also got him killed. He walked into a place of worship looking for Muslims, not knowing that Muslims pray in a Mosque while Sikhs pray in a Temple. He opened his hate with a spray of bullets killing seven people. Why? Simply because he thought things that were not true. Since hate speech is allowed in this country, one can go on spewing untrue hateful empty talk until someone decides to take matters into their own hands and ‘solve’ the problem.

The fervent drama coming from these extreme right-wing believers needs to be tackled before they run towards martyrdom. Yes, I am talking about the Neo-Nazi skinheads and not the Taliban. Without a real education system aimed at integrating cultural differences and social tolerance, hate crimes that demonize a religious people   are going to become a norm. For some Americans who are a minority -- it is the norm. They live in a country that tells them they are not good enough to be there, they don’t belong and the religion of the country doesn’t fit who they are. A little education would expose the fact that pretty much everyone in this country is a transplant from somewhere else. The original owners of this land are Native Americans. Shocking. Isn’t it?

I can’t help but wonder what type of propaganda is creating a disillusioned rhetoric that is rooted in paranoia, projection and hatred. Is it films? Conversations? Politics?   At the end of the day, we are not doing enough to shape the psyche of a society that should find its place in love and kindness. Instead, the voices of conflict are rewarded with positions in government, C-level positions, entertainment and so on.

I believe this shooting may never have happened had there been some education and differentiation about what a terrorist is, what the Taliban is and why most American Muslim and Sikhs have no relationship to the horrific acts of 9-11. It’s like blaming every Caucasian for being a member of the KKK. Really? Think about it for just a second. Doesn’t make sense does it?

And as St. Augustine once said, “Never fight evil as if it were something that arose totally outside yourself.” So in reality, we are all responsible for that shooting in the Temple and the theatre that happened two weeks prior as well because what happens to one of us happens to all of us.

Love and Peace
Mira.