Jeever Madness
…Up in New York City’s Washington Heights, I saw white men with small U.S. flags make the rounds of the immigrant-owned small grocery stores. They banged these flags, which retailed at about $1 each, on counters and said things like “Aren’t you going to be a patriot and buy this flag?” The flags cost the immigrant workers $5 each, but they were far too scared to refuse. The test of loyalty provided a business opportunity for the young white men, and it forced the small shops to fly as many flags as possible. Patriotism is not, in this instance, the refuge of scoundrels. It is an act of desperation.

Vijay Prashad, Uncle Swami: South Asians in America Today

Prashad’s follow-up to The Karma of Brown Folk arrives at a hugely significant moment, as its subject matter is startlingly relevant to the recent shootings at the Oak Creek Gurdwara. The book also covers the post-9/11 rise of Islamophobia among American Hindus, as well as the political strategies adopted by the rising Hindutva lobby in the United States. For those interested in the South Asia diaspora, Prashad’s book is a must-read!

"We are not Muslims" hasn’t been so effective for our community, has it? Even if we do so in a positive way that does not condone attacks on Muslims, simply educating the public about the fact that we are a distinct community and that we in fact "are not Muslim" will not get to the root of the problem. As long as we live in a country (and world) where an entire community (in this case, Muslims) is targeted, spied on and vilified, we will not be safe, we will not be free.

This is an important article from earlier this year that clearly resonates with today’s tragic events. This is a significant point both for the media and South Asians responding to the horrifying violence in Oak Creek.