Saturday November 25, 2017
Home Opinion Ignorance is ...

Ignorance is bliss? Not really

0
80
Hate crimes

New Delhi: A Sikh Gurdwara in Buena Park, Los Angeles was vandalized on Sunday with hateful graffiti against the ISIS which appears to be a case of mistaken identity. The parking lot of the Gurdwara and the temple was sprayed with anti-ISIS and anti-Islam remarks.

Sikhs in the western world have been the victim of several hate crimes because of the ignorance prevailing among the locals about the origin of the Sikhism. The similarity in the appearance as Sikh also keep long beards is a reason for the mistaken identity.

In September, a Sikh man was beaten and called Osama Bin Laden because of his appearance.

The Sikh community was asked to take extra caution in the wake of California shooting. It was said that hate crimes were expected to take place and Sikhs might be the wrong victims of this unjustified revenge.

Recently, Donald Trump with his venomous speeches sparked a fire in those ignorant minds who have a stereotypical fear about Islam.

This highlights two problems. First, how can a hate crime be justified? Even if a psychopathic couple shot 14 people dead, does that make the whole religion and its followers terrorists?

The second problem which is at the core of it is the ignorance. It is quite appalling how ignorant can people be. Imagine this scenario that you see a person and by the physical appearance of him, you come to a conclusion whether he is a danger or not. The height of ignorance is putting a tag on people who just happen to look like the ones you hate.

It’s like what Americans say about the difference between a Chinese and Japanese, ‘Same noodles, different sauce’.

It is a shame that a country that first achieved the freedom and a right to build a modern nation forgetting all the past baggage has turned into a nation which has created stereotypes about the rest of the world in its society that claims to be all inclusive and boasts of being a ‘melting pot’.

Indians and middle eastern people are same… all of the east Asians are same.

The struggle of 1776 was not to make the America that it has become. Nobody can deny this that the whole world appreciated how America was built from zero, how they have developed. People might criticize their means, but one has to praise the life standard they have created.

Noam Chomsky lives in the US and criticizes it. Soviet Russia collapsed because it did not allow the criticism of the state.

However, it appears that the fear has so much got into the minds of Americans that the country is no more same.

What the US is doing in Syria is hard to understand. They are against ISIS who are against Assad regime and the US is against Assad too and then Russia is bombing against IS also, but the US does not like Russia doing it. This whole sentence did not make any sense because what the US is doing does not make any sense.

How about informing people so that ignorance can be done away with? It makes more sense than bombing which is taking the lives.

Maybe Americans need Thomas Gray to come himself and say that this wasn’t the ignorance he thought to be bliss. Ask the innocent victims, for this is only creating hatred.

Next Story

Internet Firms Initiate Steps to Counter Online Hate speech and Incitements to Violence

Internet companies have increasingly found themselves in the crosshairs over hate speech and other volatile social issues

0
22
Daily Stormer
GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving joins the celebration during New York Stock Exchange opening bell ceremonies for his company's IPO, April 1, 2015. VOA
  • The internet domain registration of the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer was revoked twice in less than 24 hours
  • After GoDaddy revoked Daily Stormer’s registration, the website turned to Alphabet’s Google Domains
  • Twitter, Facebook, Google’s YouTube and other platforms have ramped up efforts to combat the social media efforts of Islamic militant groups, largely in response to pressure from European governments

The internet domain registration of the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer was revoked twice in less than 24 hours in the wake of the weekend violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, part of a broad move by the tech industry in recent months to take a stronger hand in policing online hate speech and incitements to violence.

GoDaddy, which manages internet names and registrations, disclosed late Sunday via Twitter that it had given Daily Stormer 24 hours to move its domain to another provider, saying it had violated GoDaddy’s terms of service.

The white supremacist website helped organize the weekend rally in Charlottesville where a 32-year-old woman was killed and 19 people were injured when a man plowed a car into a crowd protesting the white nationalist rally.

After GoDaddy revoked Daily Stormer’s registration, the website turned to Alphabet’s Google Domains. The Daily Stormer domain was registered with Google shortly before 8 a.m. Monday PDT (1500 GMT) and the company announced plans to revoke it at 10:56 a.m., according to a person familiar with the revocation.

As of late Monday, the site was still running on a Google-registered domain. Google issued a statement but did not say when the site would be taken down.

ALSO READ: People who use Internet a lot may experience increased Heart Rate and Blood Pressure when they go offline: Scientists

Caught in the middle

Internet companies have increasingly found themselves in the crosshairs over hate speech and other volatile social issues, with politicians and others calling on them to do more to police their networks while civil libertarians worry about the firms suppressing free speech.

Twitter, Facebook, Google’s YouTube and other platforms have ramped up efforts to combat the social media efforts of Islamic militant groups, largely in response to pressure from European governments. Now they are facing similar pressures in the United States over white supremacist and neo-Nazi content.

Facebook confirmed Monday that it took down the event page that was used to promote and organize the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville.

Facebook allows people to organize peaceful protests or rallies, but the social network said it would remove such pages when a threat of real-world harm and affiliation with hate organizations becomes clear.

“Facebook does not allow hate speech or praise of terrorist acts or hate crimes, and we are actively removing any posts that glorify the horrendous act committed in Charlottesville,” the company said in a statement.

Several companies acted

Several other companies also took action. Canadian internet company Tucows stopped hiding the domain registration information of Andrew Anglin, the founder of Daily Stormer. Tucows, which was previously providing the website with services masking Anglin’s phone number and email address, said Daily Stormer had breached its terms of service.

“They are inciting violence,” said Michael Goldstein, vice president for sales and marketing at Tucows, a Toronto-based company. “It’s a dangerous site and people should know who it is coming from.”

Anglin did not respond to a request for comment.

Discord, a 70-person San Francisco company that allows video gamers to communicate across the internet, did not mince words in its decision to shut down the server of Altright.com, an alt-right news website, and the accounts of other white nationalists.

“We will continue to take action against white supremacy, Nazi ideology, and all forms of hate,” the company said in a tweet Monday. Altright.com did not respond to a request for comment.

Meanwhile, Twilio Chief Executive Jeff Lawson tweeted Sunday that the company would update its use policy to prohibit hate speech. Twilio’s services allow companies and organizations, such as political groups or campaigns, to send text messages to their communities.

Arbiters of acceptable speech

Internet companies, which enjoy broad protections under U.S. law for the activities of people using their services, have mostly tried to avoid being arbiters of what is acceptable speech.

But the ground is now shifting, said one executive at a major Silicon Valley firm. Twitter, for one, has moved sharply against harassment and hate speech after enduring years of criticism for not doing enough.

Facebook is beefing up its content monitoring teams. Google is pushing hard on new technology to help it monitor and delete YouTube videos that celebrate violence.

All this comes as an influential bloc of senators, including Republican Senator Rob Portman and Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, is pushing legislation that would make it easier to penalize operators of websites that facilitate online sex trafficking of women and children.

That measure, despite the noncontroversial nature of its espoused goal, was met with swift and coordinated opposition from tech firms and internet freedom groups, who fear that being legally liable for the postings of users would be a devastating blow to the internet industry. (VOA)

Next Story

Five Years of Massacre: Sikh Community in US Continue to Hail Act Of Kindness

Devout male followers of the Sikh faith, a monotheistic religion that originated in Northern India, keep long beards and wear turbans, and often are confused with Muslims

0
51
sikh
Six people were killed when a white supremacist attacked the Gurdwara or Sikh Temple of Wisconsin five years ago. VOA

Aug 06, 2017: Over the past year, minorities across the United States have increased their outreach to the public and efforts to make their voices heard amid fears of a White Supremacy movement.

The Sikhs of Oak Creek, however, were working to raise awareness of their faith and uplift their community long before 2016.

On August 5, 2012, a white supremacist named Wade Michael Page killed six believers of the Sikh faith in their house of worship, a Gurdwara, outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

sikh
Mourners attend the funeral and memorial service for the six victims of the Sikh temple of Wisconsin mass shooting in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, Aug. 10, 2012. VOA

In the five years since, members of the Gurdwara have organized scholarships, blood drives, 6K walks and runs, and presentations on understanding the Sikh faith in local schools.

“My outreach is also a coping mechanism,” Pardeep Kaleka, whose father was one of the six victims, told VOA. “Processing my own pain and hurt… I’d rather just go into the community and make it better for everybody else.”

sikh
Members of the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, prepare a communal meal for the community. VOA

Immediately after the shooting, the Sikh community increased its efforts to invite people of all faiths to come to the temple and learn about Sikhism.

But Navdeep Gill, who co-founded the temple’s outreach program, “Serve to Unite,” with Kaleka, says they soon realized they also needed to spread awareness outside the temple after members of the community said they were uncomfortable attending Sikh services.

sikh
“Peacekeepers” at a Montessori school made this mural after a workshop with “Serve to Unite” – the organization started by the son of one of the victims of the 2012 shooting. VOA

“Whatever faith you practice, whatever community you come from, you should feel comfortable attending an event,” said Gill, who was tasked with organizing events commemorating the 5th anniversary of the shooting. “Whether that’s in schools, churches, telling other people who Sikhs are, as well as trying to learn about other people and see where the commonalities exist.”

Also Read: California Sikh community Raises Money to keep City’s Fireworks Show Alive

 Saturday’s 6K run is the 5th instance of the annual event. The blood drive was added three years ago to the August 5 activities.
sikh
A man completes the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin’s 6k “Chardhi Kala” Run with a high five. VOA

This year, members of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin had their first float in the 4th of July parade. Though organizers were initially skeptical, Gill said it was well received and prompted non-Indian neighbors to strike up conversations with participating Sikhs.

Devout male followers of the Sikh faith, a monotheistic religion that originated in Northern India, keep long beards and wear turbans, and often are confused with Muslims.

And while some minorities across the country have expressed feeling less safe since U.S. President Donald Trump’s election, Oak Creek Sikhs say the political climate hasn’t affected their community.

“Honestly, nothing has changed,” Navdeesh Toor, an Oak Creek resident and member of the Gurdwara for the past eight years, told VOA.

sikh
People gather in Lafayette near the White House, Aug. 8, 2012 to participate in a candlelight vigil against hate violence. VOA

Toor said that although hate crimes have received more media attention in the past year, which some attribute partly to divisive rhetoric heard during President Trump’s campaign and first few months in office, she doesn’t see any impact on her community.

“A vast majority of Wisconsinites voted for Trump, including minorities and a lot of desis [South Asians] I know,” she said, adding that she didn’t fault her neighbors for voting for “the lesser of two evils” in 2016.

[sociallocker][/sociallocker]

Regardless of politics in Washington, survivors of the 2012 shooting, along with their friends, family, and fellow members of the Gurdwara, have not lost momentum in their pursuit of engaging the community.

“It’s not just about organizing 5Ks, it’s about… what we’re really being asked to do spiritually,” Kaleka said.

“I think there’s a reason [the shooting] happened, a reason those people who stood up made that sacrifice. This community has really stood up.” (VOA)

Next Story

Yazidi Woman who Survived Genocide Equates the Current Situation to Jewish Holocausts

Yazidi woman Nadia Murad Basee survived the atrocities committed by ISIS and explains how the situation is similar to Jewish Holocausts

0
26
Yazidi Woman
Nadia Murad Basee with the Pope. Twitter
  • Nadia Murad Basee, a Yazidi woman, shared her experience of the atrocities that she underwent because of ISIS
  • Having escaped from ISIS’ captivity, the brave woman is now urging for retributive justice
  • She equates the experience of Yazidi people to the Jewish Holocaust in Germany 

July 25, 2017: Nadia Murad Basee is a Yazidi woman who was captured by ISIS from her village Kocho, Iraq in August 2014. The terrorist organization sold her as a sex slave. Nadia’s life was shattered. Six of her brothers were killed during the ISIS raid on her house.

Nadia, who dreamt of becoming a teacher, had her life destroyed by the extremists. After months of captivity, however, she was able to escape from the hands of her kidnappers. The room where she was held was left unlocked by one of the men. Grabbing the opportunity, Nadia ran off.

[sociallocker][/sociallocker]

Today, Nadia Murad Basee is part of the refugee asylum program in Germany amongst thousands of people. Her remarkable bravery is exhibited as she shares her story around the world.

The Yazidi woman was chosen by United Nations as the Goodwill Ambassador in 2016. She advocates for the rights and justice of Yazidi people and urges strong action against the men who committed the crimes.

Yazidis are seen as non-believers by the extremist organization ISIS. Over 5,200 Yazidis have been abducted by ISIS in Iraq.

Nadia equates the current situation to the Jewish Holocaust in Germany. As she claims, there are striking similarities. She has received assistance from IsraAID and Yazda which are non-profit organizations set up to help victims of such crimes. As Nadia puts it, these organizations have been more helpful than “any government”.

Yazidis are seen as non-believers by the extremist organization ISIS. Over 5,200 Yazidis have been abducted by ISIS in Iraq. Click To Tweet

Speaking with The Jerusalem Post in Israel, Nadia said “We think our case is relevant to what they have been through in the Holocaust. It’s the thing we are going through. We think they’ll understand our case more than anybody else. We have been in many countries, meeting with governments for help for the Yazidi communities. I always wanted to come here to Israel, a lot of victims wanted to come and ask for help from the government and people of Israel.”

In the memory of Jewish genocide victims, Israel’s parliament Knesset is holding a conference where Nadia is supposed to speak on the same. Just as Hitler’s forces committed hate crimes against the Jews, ISIS has been doing the same with the Yazidi people.

Also Read: Yazidi Woman who Suffered 10 months as Sex Slave under Islamic State (ISIS) comes to Washington for Help

Nadia acknowledges the courage of the Jews to pick themselves up after the brutal crimes committed against them. She hopes that her community learns and does the same.

The mass murder of Yazidi community by ISIS constitutes a hate crime. Murad’s objective is to highlight this crime against the members of her community and punish the perpetrators.

– Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394