I am writing this essay as a built-in-response to address the belligerent questions that come, and they are coming from all directions, not just the ones mentioned as examples.
We are volunteers and are 100% inclusive, however, we request you to help us out. Kindly list all the genocides of the 20th Century, please remember, if you miss one, someone or the other will accuse you of ignoring “their” genocide.
By nature many of us are disgustingly selfish, nothing but our own interest matters to us. Do you recall standing in a food buffet line at a friend’s wedding reception? Someone said that the food may be short, but yet, the guy in front of you piled up his plate, or maybe you did it too, knowing well that there a lot of people behind you in the line and some will not get the food.
Standing in line to wait for your turn is one of the most human things to do. You accept equal rights of others, and others needs as much as yours. We have a list of about 50 genocides, and each year we will focus on a few, as no one will sit through the day to understand each one of them, most likely you will find yourselves guilty of not listening or paying attention to other’s tragedy but your own.Slap yourselves, if you do not think others's plight is not as important as your own.
No matter how thorough you are, you are going to miss some. Unless we have a fully funded organization where employees work full time, then we can expect a complete list and do a three day conference to address every issue. Please do not assume that we are excluding any human atrocities.
For example someone accused that “you are writing about the holocaust of Jews, you forgot what Stalin did?” My instant response would be, “did you forget the genocides of Gays?” In your note, you also forgot about the genocides of Native Americans, African Americans over the Atlantic… the list is a long one. Can I accuse you, that did you did not care about the others?
Please read on to understand the selfishness embedded in us, if we can stand up for others, for strangers, and then there is a greater self nurtured within us, making us a better human with peace inside us. We have to stand up for women's right and the rights of minorities as a part of fixing the future. Each one of us has to do our share of good to the world around us, for our own good at the end.
If I am guilty of anything, it would be not focusing on the Gujarat Genocide, however, I also would have felt a sense of guilt, if I had focused on what affects me and my community first. I believe in standing up for others, at the end we all should stand up for justice and the rights of others. A few of my Hindu friends have come forward to take up the Gujarat Genocide and I am glad they did. That is the spirit of standing up for others
Please consider the following situations;
If you have one single minute available, you can probably recite 30 Genocide names - and if you want to add the place to the name, you can do about 20, and if you want to name the parties involved in it, you can do utmost 10/minute, with normal intelligible delivery. Does that mean you did not care about the others?
If you have one hour, you cannot do justice to more than three or four Genocides. Should the other 46 think you don’t care about them?
We observed silent prayers and asked every one present to reflect upon the genocides and massacres that they were aware of, at least run them through their mind during the silence and honor each one of the Genocides and Holocaust. I hope collectively we do not miss any.
Way back in 2006, I was in a public meeting; one of the Muslims shouts at me in the public, “Why are you commemorating Holocaust of Jews, why don’t you commemorate the Holocaust of Palestinians?” I countered, all of this should be done, why don’t you do it? He was belligerent; he was one of the loose mouths and not a doer. I have reminded those guys a few times, not only they did not mean it, but they really do not care about it, as I had invited them to join in when we were addressing about Gaza.
Another Muslim knocked God out of his throne, and chose to declare, “If you don’t talk about Palestinians, you are not a Muslim.”
There is a lot more ignorance out there. Perhaps, other than Dallas Palestinians, no one else has done as much work for the Palestinian cause, as I have. Check out years of work in different forums, but certainly at this site www.IsraelPalestineDialouge.com
I have known the community closely through strong interactions, through conflicts, rather than superficial salaams and Shaloms. 25 hours of Radio programming in understanding Judaism (done on all religions too) was done during 2003-2004 here in Dallas, two workshops were conducted as well (2 for each faith over 2 years), and I write about the essence of major Jewish (and others too) festivals - so that we all can understand each other. I am not sure if any other Muslim has done this much work. We have to stand up for each other and every one. Check it out www.StandingupforOthers.com
A few years ago a Jewish speaker canceled his speech at the event in the last minute, because we were addressing the Gaza Massacre as one of the seven items; he considered it anti-Israel and did not participate. However, my Jewish friends attended the event, and called him back to let him know that it was not about Israel, but the human suffering and the brutal inhumanity in all of us. He did not want to face the truth, that someone from his tradition is capable of murdering and annihilating people.
No one should be ashamed of what fellow humans from your group do, what you should be ashamed of is your own attitude towards another human being regardless of who it is.
I was severely criticized and asked to remove the phrase “A Muslim initiative” by a few Jewish friends, instead of cheering the effort; they were bent on not giving credit to Muslims for extending the hand of understanding. Please remember, it was not the Jews, it is few individuals who wore the label Jews. Indeed, I have a whole book to write about Jewish Muslim relationship.
They are no different than any one, like most people; they love to shoot criticism without verifying anything. A friend writes another friend’s quote, “The question was why Mike forgot 2002 Gujarat Holocaust & Genocide that was lot bigger and wider than 1984 Sikh Holocaust & Genocide.” Mike did not forget, nor will he ever forget any Genocide. In April 2002, rallies were held for Gujarat in down town Dallas, when Shabnam Hashmi came to Dallas, she was hosted to show the documentaries of that genocide. I urge fellow Muslims to do something rather than talk. I stood up in a major meeting to include observing silence for Gujarat, and there is a lot more work done. If the event is dear to the people, they should express their love and commemorate it. We will do our share; each event is taking its turn. I have severely criticized Narendra Modi, and have become a hated person for a handful of Dallas Indians.
Several of my friends have jumped on me for not including the plight of Kashmiri Pundits, they, like all others are so obsessed with their own, that others don’t matter to them. We have mentioned this at least 3 out of five years, those who criticize don’t come to the event, unless it is “about them”, but loosely run their mouths. We need to stand up for everyone, and certainly stand up for others before you do for your own.
I have dealt with most communities in Dallas from Atheists to Zoroastrian and every one in between. I must confess that in every community, through our silence we are disgustingly selfish. We are so obsessed with our own that we don’t see others pain, it is me, me and me. My event is more important than others… my pain is deeper than others…
There is a shameless cruelty in our societies, either we shy away or refuse to acknowledge the sufferings of others, worrying that it will devalue our own, and or it amounts to infidelity to our own cause. Shame on us that we justifying massacres by pretending and propagating that the victims deserved it or asked for it, they had it coming, or we simply turn the face the other way.
STANDING UP FOR OTHERS:
Standing up for others is the right thing to do, every human goes through a period of invincibility to vulnerability, if we don't stand up for those who are vulnerable, then who will stand up for us when we are vulnerable? www.Standingupforothers.com The world becomes a better place when we all stand up for each one.
Indians and Pakistanis, Hindus and Muslims are worked up
A few Pakistanis think that talking about 1971 Bangladesh Genocide is a conspiracy to defame Pakistan, whereas a few Indians do the same; they think talking about Sikh Genocides amounts to defaming India. This was the essence of a few emails about the event we are holding; the 6th Annual reflection on Holocaust and Genocides, on Sunday, January 27, 2013. Details of the event are at: www.HolocaustandGenocides.com
it is always a few who have the passion to propagate conspiracies, while a few buy their gossip without questioning, most of them reject it. However, I thank those who made the inquiry to clarify, rather than manufacture conspiracy theories and live in misery.
It’s a human thing, a fraction of a percent of each group of people, tend to think in those terms, be it Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, Buddhist or other. It is the same story with Americans, Italians, Chinese, Arabs or Mexicans as it is with Indians and Pakistanis.
Those few may be followers of Rush Limbaugh, to whom a good Republican is one who says bad things about Democrats, and a bad Republican is one who praises Obama - said around John Huntsman exit from candidacy when he refused to balk at Obama, and when Chris Christie praised Obama at the Sandy disaster.
The same mindset believes that questioning George Bush for all the disaster his wars caused overseas and the consequent messing up of America is unpatriotic. Indeed, questioning the government is the most patriotic thing to do.
Let me assure you, this event is not about condemning a nation or a group of people, it is about understanding the human suffering and the beastly attitudes among us.
A few years ago a Jewish speaker canceled his speech, because we were addressing the Gaza Massacre as one of the seven items; he considered it anti-Israel and did not participate and some did not. However, my Jewish friends attended the event, and called him back to let him know that it is not about Israel, but the human suffering and the brutal inhumanity in all of us. The speaker became friendly after he learned about it. However, he did not want to face the truth, that someone from his tradition is capable of murdering and annihilating people.
A few Muslims had the audacity to call me names in public, one said, if you don’t talk about Palestine, you are not a Muslim. A few Hindus said "shame on you for not talking about the plight of Hindus in Kashmir "… and these men did not even attend, but kept talking, without verification. Given the time, two hours per event, we can address only about 5, and not all the genocides.
The Reflections on Holocaust and Genocides is a comprehensive event about humanity, with no exclusions, also remember in one breath you can say only so many words, and in one hour you can say only so many words.
“There is a shameless cruelty in our societies, we either shy away or refuse to acknowledge the sufferings of others, worrying that it will devalue our own, and or it amounts to infidelity to our own cause.” Some of us are so selfish and stuck in our own pain that we do not see others pain, we want others just to think and talk about us.
Condemning drone attacks does not amount to shaming America,
Condemning Sikh genocides does not amount to shaming India,
Condemning Bangladeshi genocide does not amount to shaming Pakistan.
Condemning the ugliness at Abu-Graib prison does not amount to shaming America
Condemning Shia and Ahmadiyya killings does not amount to shaming Pakistan
Condemning the Massacre of Muslims in Gujarat does not amount to shaming Gujarat
Condemning Aurangzeb or Ghazni does not amount to shaming Indian Muslims
Condemning is an expression against a disgusting act, of which we are all a part of, some by doing the wrong, and some by remaining silent and some by turning a blind eye.
As an Indian, I am embarrassed about what fellow Indians have heaped on each other, and as an American I am embarassed about the destruction we have caused in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq overseas, and in our recent past of the slavery and treatment of Native Americans.
My father gave a sane advise during the Jabalpur (India) communal clashes, don’t blame the acts of the idiots on a community, religion or a nation. Get the bad guys, do the justice, faith in the society gets restored…blaming intangibles is as effective as the dogs barking at the wrong tree in a desert.
We have to learn to differentiate between abuse of human rights and patriotism. Patriotism is not justifying the wrongs, but speaking about it, and preventing the wrongs from happening again.
Here is the part of the press release
Every year we have reflected on our failings, massacres, Genocides and Holocaust, this year, we will focus on the Sikh Genocide of 1984, a Sikh speaker will deliver the key note address on the topic. Mr. Hasan Mahmud will share about the Bangladesh Genocide of 1971, Dr. Petra Weldes will talk about the effects of Stereotyping on the societies, and Kelly Obazee will reflect on current massacres around the world. Mike Ghouse will speak about the need to take stand against oppression of others, and Holocaust continues to be our anchor event.
Unless one attends the event, they will live in eternal conspiracies.
Full Press Release: http://holocaustandgenocides.blogspot.com/2013/01/6th-annual-holocaust-and-genocides-sikh_18.html