अमेरिका का असली चेहरा – जिसे कोई नहीं जानता

The Green Book - Humanity College
Source: BlackEnterprise.com

जातिवाद, ईशनिंदा और रंगभेद- जिन्हे भारत के निवासियों ने भी बड़ी जल्दी अपना लिया है

हाल ही में मैं ‘ ग्रीन बुक’ नामक एक अंग्रेजी फिल्म देखने गया था। कहानी इस प्रकार है :

डॉक्टर डॉन शर्ले एक अफ्रीकन-अमेरिकन क्लासिकल पियानिस्ट हैं, जिनके दोस्तों के लिस्ट में उस वक्त के मशहूर अटॉर्नी जनरल रॉबर्ट केनेडी जैसे लोग शामिल हैं। डॉक्टर शर्ले न्यू यॉर्क से अमेरिका के डीप साउथ में कॉन्सर्ट टूर पर जाना चाहते हैं और इस दौरान उनकी मुलाकात होती हैं इटली के एक श्वेत बार बाउंसर से जो बाद में एक ड्राइवर और अंगरक्षक बन जाता है। ये मुलाकात दोस्ती में बदल जाती हैं और वे वीनस के टूर पर निकल पड़ते हैं।

यह फिल्म एक श्वेत और अश्वेत, दो इंसानों के बीच रिश्ते की कहानी है। पर्दे पर अमेरिका के उस समय को दर्शाया गया है जब समाज में सामाजिक-आर्थिक भेदभाव और रंगभेद जैसी चीजें पनपी हुई थीं। प्रसिद्ध  संगीतकार होने के बावजूद, डॉक्टर शर्ले को केवल एक अश्वेत होने के कारण, उनके इंडिआना से केंटकी और लूईसीआना से मिसिसिपी  से गुज़रते हुए अलाबामा तक के सफर में कई कठिनाईओं का सामना करना पड़ा और इन्ही परिस्थितियों में दो भिन्न श्रेणी के लोग मिले और उनमें  दोस्ती हो गयी ।

मैं फिल्म देखते हुए दो बातें सोच रहा था।

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That Hate Killing in Kansas

hatecrimes

Wow!!

I never realized the extent of hate, ignorance and illiteracy in this “best country in the world” until I posted that NYT article on how a white man shot and killed an Indian engineer in a Kansas pub, shouting racist words, and how another white man took a bullet trying to save him.

Srinivas Kuchibhotla, the Hindu student from India, told his wife America was the best country to live in. He was killed by a racist in America. The man said he wanted to drive out all Middle-Eastern men. Of course, geography and history are not two subjects racists in America like or care about. Or, religion. Or, the world.

I forgot to change the privacy setting from public to friends, and boy oh boy, hate is spilling over the toilet seat. I mean, Trump has given a new meaning to America and the world.

This is what I wrote on Facebook.

Indian idiots (especially Modi fanatics) who voted for Trump will downplay this incident. But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Trump’s racism and hate have brought out the worst in America, and all immigrants — Muslim or not — are paying a heavy price.

An Indian engineer (a Hindu) was killed in Kansas City last night by a white racist, perhaps a supporter of Trump.

Silver lining of the story: another white man tried to save the victim, and took a bullet to his chest. That’s the side of America I want to know, and live for.

Here’s the original New York Times story with a short video. The link is at https://www.nytimes.com/video/us/100000004952609/kansas-shooting-survivor-were-all-humans.html?smid=fb-share

I want to thank Ian, the white American man, who said, “We are all humans.” That is the United States of America I know.

Not Trump’s hateful, racist America.

Sincerely,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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Hillary Clinton Lost to Trump…Simply Because of Hillary Clinton

This is the last and final segment of my three-part article “How New York Times Handed the Election Over to Trump.”

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usa-today-map

Map: USA Today. Map showing USA’s Rust Belt.

Donald Trump is now the president-elect, like it or not.

We may not like his hairdo, and we all know he is not someone who we would be proud of to see as America’s president. But guess what: we said the same thing about George W. Bush, and celebrities pledged they were going to leave America, if Bush became president. To my knowledge, no one left.

Why is Trump the next president of America? Because Hillary Clinton and her corporate Democratic Party and their New York Times and CNN didn’t have a clue how angry the ordinary Americans were. In fact, they took Americans’ votes for granted, projecting Hillary Clinton…oh, Hillary Clinton…who could beat her? She would be the next American president…and a woman first…history in the making!! Gloria Steinems and Rachel Maddows jumped up and down in joy.

And Hillary called Trump supporters “deplorable.” Hillary’s campaign advertisements focused on Trump’s character and his stupid remarks and ugly body gestures. Instead, the campaign should have told American voters what new measures Hillary was planning to take, to address their serious economic hardship, and their growing fears and frustrations. Obama and New York Times were busy churning out “rosy” employment numbers, until November 7. They would not admit that Obama’s global warfare and TPP, and Hillary’s Goldman Sachs and Wal-Mart, were sucking America dry.

New York Times and DNC from Day 1 excluded, ridiculed, and undermined Bernie Sanders’ countrywide, grassroots revolution that demanded real change — to help the ordinary men, women, and their families. War industries and global polluters and bank tycoons hated Sanders and his nonviolent revolution. They all rallied behind Hillary and DNC. Just the same way Koch Brothers rallied behind the Republicans.

New York Times columns and reports did not talk about Hillary Clinton’s dubious connections with Monsanto, Goldman Sachs, Wal-Mart, and Exxon. Or, her nexus with the private prison industry. The paper did not challenge her to made her Goldman Sachs speeches public.

From early on, poll after poll showed that a Bernie Sanders candidacy would easily beat Trump, and a Hillary candidacy would perhaps not. That public opinion poll was always shoved under the rug by New York Times, and also by MSNBC and CNN. If it was mentioned, it was cursory.

New York Times in particular did its best to undermine a Sanders candidacy. It was truly sad to see how the world-renowned paper stooped low — to promote its pro-war, anti-labor union, pro-1% status quo. It brushed aside any voice of dissent — either from the Republican side or from the progressive Democratic side.

It is definitely NOT only racism. It is definitely NOT only sexism. It’s definitely NOT Hillary’s mass-deleted emails. Of course, racists and sexists all voted for Trump. But all those who voted for Trump were not racists and sexists.

A large number of Trump’s voters were simply angry, disillusioned, working-class Americans who thought they were fooled and cheated by the Clinton-Obama-DNC leadership who kept outsourcing American jobs to Mexico, India, China, Africa, Pakistan…everywhere, who let the Wall Street criminals go scot-free, who failed to solve the global terrorism problem.

Obama voters in Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania — key swing states — voted for Trump. Do you think millions of Rust Belt voters were all racists and sexists? If you think so, you don’t know America very well. They may not have college degree, some may have guns, some maybe conservative Christians, and they may not have the political analysis correct, and they may have been brainwashed by right-wing media, supported by Heritage Foundation, and Koch Brothers.

But do not question their values, and do not question their intelligence. Do not question their normal, family-based, peaceful life — just like yours or mine.

Hillary Clinton lost to Trump — simply because of Hillary Clinton.

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Haider Rizvi, My Pakistani Brother

Haider RizviHaider Rizvi, a friend from Pakistan, suddenly passed away. He was visiting his family in Lahore.

I knew Haider since our student days at Columbia University’s Journalism School. Haider was a poet, an award-winning journalist, and a wonderful human being. In my thirty years in America, I have rarely seen a man who was so progressive, so secular, and so much in celebration of life. I have never seen him in a mood anything but happy and cheerful.

Haider and I both have always rejected the British partition of India, and condemned the global warfare and economic colonization. We have both worked against the anti-immigrant hate crimes that exploded in America after 9/11: in fact, Haider himself was a victim. We both hated the racists and bigots.

Both of us went through a lifelong trauma we carried deep inside — because of the partition, bloodshed and violence, and felt cheated by the rulers both in the subcontinent, and later in America, where we were forced to emigrate. Honestly, to call him Pakistani, or Pakistani-American, would be a grave injustice to his humanitarian philosophy, and an insult to his soul.

Just three days ago, I spoke with him on Facebook. And now, he is gone forever.

Haider Rizvi…Pakistani? He left so suddenly that I wonder if he is still around, looking for such major errors in my writing, only to admonish me in his warm, smiling way. He would perhaps say, laughing, “Partha…Partha…I love you man…but Pakistan? India? Cummon…gimme a break! No Pakistan…no India…only the world, bro…only the universe!” I can hear his deep, sombre voice, and his thunderous laugh…

“No Pakistan…no India…man, we are all equal. We are all one.”

In America as new immigrants, we do not have too many relatives or close friends we can call our family. This is an excruciating isolation few talk about, or care to know about. Over the years, we have rebuilt a society of our own — from zero, and especially for emotional and extrovert people like me, it is truly a lifeline. Without it, we die. I believe death is a part of life, and having come from a rough background and gone through many untimely and violent deaths, Lord Yama does not scare me anymore. He has failed. It is not the death that hurts me and saps my energy; rather, it is the loss of a precious society that I try to cling on to in this un-united states of alienation that does it.

This week, back to back, two precious members of this society were taken away by Yama: my Ph.D. advisor Walt Sundberg who was once like a father or a big brother (old-fashioned Indian mentality, I know), and my journalist-poet friend and colleague Haider. In a week, I have lost two members of my small American society.

Yama knows he can’t have the last laugh, and I will pull through. But he has done what he does the best: take some precious people away from life, untimely, without notice, and without any compassion for small people’s small happiness. He is no different from a hurricane, tsunami, bank robbery, war, riot, or rigged election. He knows he cannot win over our spirit and desire to live, for long.

Three days ago, Haider and I had this Facebook conversation.

Me: Bernie believers have misplaced their anger. They should have raided DNC and media from Day 1. Bernie is too modest.
October 27 at 4:56pm

Haider: Remember 2008? Dont worry.
October 27 at 5:00pm

Me: Rizabhi, you too? So naive!
October 27 at 5:14pm

Haider: Dear Partha, tell me what is the virtue in being smart?
October 27 at 5:15pm

Me: Nothing. We are eternal idiots, bro. Or, why would we hope for anything in the first place?
October 27 at 5:16pm

Haider: *****So we must celebrate our ability to celebrate life. No?*****

October 27 at 7:17pm

That was the last words he said to me.

Throughout his life, he has shown me how to celebrate life. No pain, no trauma, no violence, no war, no oppression, no lies, no cheating, and no failure could stop him from celebrating life.

I am sure, wherever he is now, he is making everyone around him cheerful, with his deep, thunderous laugh. A glass of whiskey…rum…vodka…red wine…well…we can’t imagine him laughing and chatting…without it, no?

“Love you…love you…love you…” Haider would say to everybody he knew.

We love you too, man. We love you dearly.

We shall celebrate your life.

Brotherly,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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Courtesy: Sophie de Bellemaniére
Courtesy: Sophie de Bellemaniére. Her article is here.

Ferguson Is Not An Isolated Incident

Ferguson 1I originally wrote this article for Ananda Bazar Patrika, Calcutta’s leading daily newspaper. You can read the published Bengali oped here.

In 1964, America passed the historic Civil Rights Act. Fifty years later, in 2014, the Ferguson incident proved that this country did not move much.

Bronx, New York, black immigrant student Amadou Diallo was taking his wallet out of his pocket at his doorstep. Police officers thought he was taking out a gun. Forty-one bullets riddled his body. Judgement: all the policemen were acquitted.

Sean Bell, Queens, New York, a black man on the night before his wedding was coming out of a wild bachelor party. His car hit a police vehicle. What an audacity! More police cars came in no time. Pumped fifty bullets in him. Judgement: all policemen acquitted.

A report from the last seven years shows that on an average two black Americans are killed every week in the hands of white policemen. Huffington Post reports that 99 per cent of the country’s police brutality is not investigated in the state of New Jersey. (And New Jersey is one of the “liberal” Democratic state.)

The Ferguson incident, therefore, is not isolated. White police officer Darren Wilson is not brought under charges for the murder of Michael Brown. Wilson is acquitted. With the acquittal came an outbreak of violence, cars were burned, petrol bombs hurled, ammunitions were fired: all well-known images. Known story. Recognized injustice. There is not too much of a difference between the riots on the streets of America and the riots in India.

On August 9 at noon on the outskirts of St. Louis in the predominantly black-inhabited Ferguson, an eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was running away after stealing a box of cigars. Officer Darren Wilson was dispatched by wireless to catch Brown. Later it came out, that none of the store employees called police. Nobody watched the surveillance video in the shop before Brown was killed. As a result, there are pertinent doubts about the authenticity of the official statement.

The official statement says, Wilson, on a different case, was on patrol in the area in his car. Following the message from his department and GPS he saw Michael Brown and his companions on the street and asked them to stop. No one knows what happened thereafter. According to Wilson’s statement, Brown disobeyed the police, and not only that, rushed in and punched Wilson in the face. As a result, Wilson was forced to fire his gun from within his car, and Brown died was killed. Other witnesses said, however, that Brown was quite far away when Wilson shot and killed him.

No comments.
No comments. I do not support racism or violence of any kind. But facts are facts.

At the end of November came the judgment. Twelve members of the grand jury based on evidence, statements, assorted physical examination, autopsy, post-mortem etc. declared Wilson innocent.

The country erupted with turbulent protests and violence. On one hand, the police and the military came down with machine guns, tear gas; on the other, Amnesty International taking note of the gross human rights violation sent their team down to Ferguson. Obama and his Attorney General Eric Holder asked the nation to restore peace. Obama and Holder are both black.

Question is, why this happens again and again? The reason is not unknown: extreme poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, sky-high economic inequality, and consequent frustration. But on U.S. media, any such discussions are absent. No discussion on the fact that out of the developed nations, USA now is the worst place. The much talked-about “American Dream” has ended long ago.

Noam Chomsky mentioned in a recent conversation with me that what started as a tarnished chapter by exterminating native Indians continued in the next chapter by brutalizing the black folks. Half a century before the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964, and the immigration reform act came soon after. But where is equality? One million black people in America are spending their time in jail, many without trial. Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson said that more blacks in America are in prison than blacks in college. Noam Chomsky has spoken about this internal violence in USA as well as America’s global violence. Big media have ostracized him.

No social mobility in USA. What American Dream?
No social mobility in USA. What American Dream?

Ferguson. New York. Trayvon Martin was killed in Florida. Los Angeles police tortured Rodney King. Here in New York, police pushed a broom handle in the anus of Haitian immigrant Abnar Louima. American Civil Liberties Union, or the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and such groups have kept track of these brutalities. But there are more events that are hardly reflected anywhere. They remain invisible to the eye. Yes, school, college, stores, markets, bus, train or plane have whites and blacks together. No one is thrown out of a white-only bathroom anymore. On Wall Street and the stock market, black people are at high places, and black faces are visible in the world of art, music, and theater. But a large number of Americans still carry on with this discrimination, especially in the so-called Bible Belt: Texas, Mississippi, the Carolinas, Indiana, Wyoming, the Dakotas. Blacks and new immigrants live here with constant fear.

According to Noam Chomsky, a large number of White Americans are perpetually frightened. They believe that blacks and immigrants from Mexico and other countries are destroying this what some conservatives call “God’s Nation.” This justifies the storing of guns and ammunitions in their homes, which are easily available in Wal-Mart and many local gun shops.  And we all know their consequences.

If Barrack Obama can happen in this country, it also has Tea Party gaining support.  Even the notorious Ku Klux Clan is much active, supported by Tea Party demagogues and far right-wing Republicans.

It is perhaps normal to think that the Indian immigrant Diaspora will be supportive of the equality and justice cause. But oddly surprising is the thoughts of equality preserved by the Indian Immigrants. There is an anomalous attitude of being nonchalant on issues of discrimination and hatred for blacks; same mindset regarding immigrants from other countries. I have never heard non-discriminating or sympathetic views about them. Almost everyone tends to settle out of black neighborhoods. When they come to visit us in Brooklyn, many are alarmed at the presence of blacks.

The American saga of racism, discrimination and violence on the poor goes on.

Two Men are Lynched in Marion, Indiana

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English Translation: J. Bagchi.

Ferguson, Ebola, and Such Bad Blacks

I feel for the poor, vulnerable and disempowered — blacks, whites or browns, Americans, Indians or Africans. Sometimes I write with a subdued anger and use twisted language, to drive home my point. I hope you read my other articles too. Thank you.

So what he was a high school graduate? What's the big deal?
So what he was a high school graduate? What’s the big deal? We are all high school graduates.

[Read it twice before you judge. Maybe, thrice. That’s three times.]

_____________________

Blacks are really a problem, you know? I mean, just look at them around the world.

Look at small-town Ferguson near St. Louis here in Amrikka. Mighty, mighty Amrikka. The best country in the world.

A black man named Michael Brown was accidentally shot to death by law enforcement officials who were trying to enforce laws. And the whole world fell apart. Well, at least the small town of Ferguson near the big city of St. Louis where I lived for some time fell apart.

Protests, rallies, rowdy demonstrations, candle-light vigils, and then those blacks started throwing bottles, rocks and stuff. I mean, can you believe it? They’re talking nonsense. Like, Trayvon Martin. Like, Rodney King. Like, Amadou Diallo.

I mean, what does Ferguson have to do with L.A., New York, or Florida? They are far apart!

Didn’t Ferguson law enforcement tell us they didn’t mean to do it, and that they were sorry it happened? I mean, let us just give them a break. They’re only trying to do their job. Sure, the family of this Michael Brown kid suffered. So, give them some money to compensate for their loss, and let’s move on.

Enough is enough!

Let the world move on. Already for this one small lapse and curfew and all, the small town of Ferguson near the big city of St. Louis where I lived for some time suffered big loss in business and city revenues. Now, even the federal government with its justice department and this Eric Holder guy (who is also black) and even the black president Obama (who never speaks up) spoke up. 

We all know what’s happening. It’s ganging up of those blacks across the country, and nothing else.

I am so sad the way America God’s chosen country in the world is falling apart.

I am heartbroken.

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Why spend so much to save those who are not to be saved? It's God's wish, don't we all know?
Why spend so much to save those who are not to be saved? It’s God’s wish, don’t we all know?

And then, this Ebola thing.

Again, just look at the mess these Blacks created. Some God-forsaken country in Africa Nigeria, Liberia or Damneria got this horrible disease — and I hear it’s even deadlier than AIDS or cancer I don’t know which one is badder like you vomit blood to death or something — and then Amrikka the best country in the world must get involved? I mean, like, why??

Don’t we have enough problems of our own? Why us? If they can’t fix their own mess, then why create it?

And, most of all, don’t we all understand it’s nothing but God’s final curse? Isn’t this sure indication that the world is coming to an end, only for Dear God to send His Son to destroy it all and save the sinners like us?

I mean, it’s all too clear to me. Ain’t it to you? The Second Coming is coming. And that’s the first thing we need to understand.

I mean, look around. Did you ever see any bad germs happening out of God’s chosen countries? Like, Amrikka, Israel, or Germany or U.K.? No! Cancer, AIDS, Ebola, Sfeebola — all from Africa. Get the facts straight!

Even look at this. St. Louis virus they tried to name it. It was a conspiracy against our country. Now we all know it’s East Nile virus. East Nile. Where is East Nile? It’s in Africa, Goddamnit!

__________

Blacks have always been a problem. We always had to deal with it. We live in Amerikka. We know. 

Even ask Indians. Like, India Indians where I came from. They all know blacks are big problem. 

Don’t fool us. And don’t pull our precious resources off to help those who don’t want to be helped. Like, Ferguson. Don’t spend an unnecessary amount of money. We know how to deal with such big mess. And it’s not Gandhi that can do it. We need guns. And we need the military. We need our own citizens, just the same way they’re guarding the borders to fight back against those Mexican invaders. Those illegal aliens who are about to take over this chosen country.

And we definitely don’t need no black man in the White House no more. Although, this Obama guy has mellowed down. He don’t talk nonsense no more. He finally got it.

But, still…

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Look at them. They have no respect for law. You judge. I'm speechless to see the vulgarity.
Look at them. They have no respect for the law. You judge. I’m speechless to see the vulgarity.