“Where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise.”
February 22, 2017 is another black (or is it brown) day in America’s long history of racism. An embarrassingly shameful murder case stemming out of blatant ignorance and arrogance under the preposterous garb of patriotism!
Some Americans, in recent times, seem to have taken the above verses from Thomas Gray’s poem, Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College tad too seriously. Some like Adam Purinton, the infamous 51-year-old murder suspect in the recent Kansas shooting.
He claimed the innocent life of an Indian software engineer, Srinivas Kuchibhotla and wounded two men in the same encounter, fellow Indian mate, Alok Madasani and 24-year-old American man, Ian Grillot who valiantly came to their rescue.
After the gruesome murder, Purinton checked into an Applebee’s restaurant where he confessed to the bartender there that he had killed two Iranians. He was quickly arrested after the bartender called 911 and turned him in to the police.
Hate Crime or Drunken Stupor?
FBI investigations are still going on to determine if the murder was the result of a hate crime or an unfortunate accident by a drunk or mentally unstable person. Increasing evidence, however, suggest it was a first-degree murder and first-degree murder attempt owing to hatred on account of race and skin colour.
“Terrorist! Get out of my country”, slurred Adam Purinton to the two Indian engineers, while inquiring about their visa status.
The blissfully ignorant American was under the false impression that the two men drinking in the bar were Iranians. Because, quite obviously, the two men were brown which automatically qualified them both to be evil radical Islamists, shameless illegal immigrants and most probably from Iran.
Prior to the Kansas shooting, another Indian man was targeted in Peyton on February 6, 2017 by a group of racists when his house and car was smeared and trashed with dog poop, eggs and hate messages such as ‘You brown Indian shouldn’t be here’!
Is this the outcome of Trump´s America?
The fundamental question everybody is asking is “Does the President have blood on his hands?”
Purinton’s “Get out of my country” could very well fit into many of Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign winning speeches and there after.
Well, it is too soon to jump to hasty conclusions. Donald Trump is doing what he promised during his election campaign – ‘Make America Great Again’ and ‘Americans First’.
In a fervent bid to ‘Make America Great Again’, Trump’s idea of regaining their old glory is by building a great big wall on the Mexican border, temporarily banning Muslim immigrants from seven Muslim countries, tightening the noose around Visa regulations with tougher immigration rules, acting as President of USA and not the world in reference to NATO and more.
To be honest and fair, Donald Trump doesn’t fail to challenge the existing norm and has kept his promises since he assumed office. He has been elected for a reason.
And no, the reason is not that the American people are stupid.
The reason is the failure of the previous government and the non-acceptance of their failures. You cannot be diplomatic and give rosy speeches and be blind to the plight of the common American people towards the end of the second Presidential term.
But the exact same people who voted for Obama have voted for a change in Trump.
Let us respect the intellect and choice of the common Americans who rightfully and lawfully elected Trump.
Official Condemnation of the Hate Crimes
There was strong condemnation of the Kansas attacks by both the White House representatives and President Donald Trump.
Sean Spicer, Trump’s press secretary represented The White House as he termed the recent Kansas shooting and vandalism of Jewish centres and synagogues as “disturbing”.
In his first Presidential address to the US Congress, Donald Trump condemned the ghastly Kansas shooting.
”We condemn hate in all its ugly forms, the threats targeting Jewish centres and the Kansas shooting.”
He also added that while he wants “all Americans to succeed”, the objective cannot be achieved if the country was not safe. Safety could only be achieved by enforcing strict rules against illegal immigration, building a strong wall along the Mexican border and fighting radical Islamic terrorism by destroying ISIS completely with the help of Muslim allies.
“We are also taking strong measures to protect our nation from radical Islamic terrorism. ISIS kills Muslims, Christians, people from all faiths. We vow to destroy it with help of our allies including in Muslim world.”
In the latest news, Trump removed Iraq from the list of countries mentioned in the temporary immigration ban, which by the way never got enforced, thanks to the Supreme Court’s intervention.
With a sizeable 15% Indian representation in the American tech startups, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella spoke for many Indian tech immigrants when he said,
“There’s no place for senseless violence & bigotry in our society. My heart is with the victims & families of the horrific shooting in Kansas.”
The Myths, Misconceptions and Fears – Do We Belong Here?
In a heartbreaking video of Sunayana Dumala, wife of the Hyderabad techie, Srinivas Kochi, she voiced out expressively the fear concerns of the entire Indian diaspora when she questioned the Trump administration – Do We Belong Here?
Donald Trump could get away with a lot of uncalled for and unsavoury remarks while campaigning for Presidential polls. However, with him at the helm of the nation’s affairs today, it would be advisable for him to tone down his loose, brash statements. Lest he fans the fires of ignorance of many more Purintons.
I remember during my stay in America, there were so much ignorance amongst the Americans regarding the rest of the world. The average American has little to no clue about the world that exists beyond their borders. Which is quite shocking considering they are considered as a world leader.
It baffled them how a brown skinned Indian could be Christian or have a Western name. All brown skinned people had to be either Hindu or Muslim.
They were shocked at how well Indians could speak in English or how ‘smart’ we all are. They were even more surprised that Indians could also be as white as an American or like some Mexicans.
They were surprised how drastically different Muslims in different regions of the world were, in language, dressing, look or skin colour, features etc. Palestine Muslims vs Pakistani or Indian Muslims.
In her elementary school, my daughter was questioned by one of the boys in her class if she was a Hawaiian owing to her different features and skin color from the rest of the class.
There is so much fear and insecurity that has crept into the psyche of Indians, thanks to the ignorance of some Americans about the rest of the world.
After Kansas, All are Muslim Terrorists
Kuchibhotla’s parents, Madhusudhan Rao and Parvatha Vardhini, wept as his body was cremated, recollecting how their deceased elder son felt safe in America. With his unfortunate death, his mother feared for the life of his brother and wanted him to return to India.
To ensure the safety of Indian Americans, the Telangana American Telugu Association has come up with a handy precautionary list of “safety tips”.
Jaganmohan, Father of Alok Madasani, who was injured in the Kansas attack made an earnest appeal to fellow Indian parents to not send their children to the US.
Indian students and professionals who had big ‘American Dreams’ are now scared for their lives and future. They are looking at other prospective options in UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc.
The Silver Lining in the Sky
The present situation does indeed seem grim like the dark, grey clouds. But, there is still hope left in the goodness of the ordinary American people, who rise up to the occasion, turning into real heroes.
Like Ian Grillot, the 24-year-old construction worker who didn’t think twice about risking his life to save the two Indian software engineers. He swiftly stepped in when the shooting started in the bar during a University of Kansas basketball game.
But what was heartening in both the cases was that the Indian victims were quickly received with compassion and warmth by fellow Americans.
Post the Kansas shooting case, Sunayana Dumala posted a lengthy Facebook post thanking her fellow Americans for their love and support – especially Ian Grillot for risking his life to save her husband and his friend, the CEOs of Garmin and Intouch Solutions where both the husband and wife worked, the detectives and the city mayors, Mark Zuckerberg, Satya Nadella, Sundar Pichai, Kamala Harris amongst several others.
The United States is no stranger to stray and random shooting incidents. Innocent school children have lost their lives to mindless gun violence in the past. It would be safe to assume that most American people are in fact, not anti-Muslim or racist.
Dispensing Mass Ignorance is the Solution
America – A land which is considered to be beautiful all over the world and the most sought after destination to settle stands at the tipping point of losing all respect owing to its mass ignorance and misplaced bigotry.
It would not be a bad idea for our Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make a peace offering to President Donald Trump on his next US trip – Rabindranath Tagore’s book The Gitanjali. It would immensely benefit the American President to read, absorb and inspire his ignorant mass following with the below enlightening truth –
“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.”