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Monday, February 25, 2008

Obama the Turbanator, say it ain't so!!!

So in today’s US Political News today, The Drudge Report posted a picture on their website of Senator Barrack Obama in 2006 wearing a cultural headdress and clothing representing the people of Wajir on a visit to Kenya. Both the Obama and Clinton camps are going back and forth with the “he said/she said game,” with ultimately a sense of dirty politics being played.

What’s worse is that image is causing people to “question” Barrack as to why he donned this attire:

Is this a sign of loyalty to Kenya?
Is Barrack a Muslim?
Is he anti-American?
Is he already loosing the War on Terror by dressing like the “enemy?”
Hmmmm turbans scare me, so should I be afraid of Barrack Obama?

… and bingo Houston. We have identified the problem. Mr. Obama is seen wearing something that looks like a turban and everyone goes nuts. It’s sad to see that it just takes a man in a turban to cause fear in people as if the individual is crazy, a monster, or a terrorist.

So Mr. Obama, welcome to the club. Now you too know how it feels to be looked at differently in the modern world, and it is not because of your skin color but for what you have on your head.

It really does surprise me how shallow people can be to make a news item of something that is not… and that goes for the media and those who are eating this story up thinking that Senator Obama is suddenly different because he has a turban (gasp!) on his head.

Sometimes I feel people just need to realize that the world is diverse and due to the post 9/11 world, it has forced to recognize this diversity if we like it or not.

It just proves to me that those who wear head coverings, whether it is for religious purposes (like Sikhs) or not, there is a distinct need to continue to educate people that we are not weirdos or crazy people.

The freakin’ world is diverse and there is more to it than you think. So get over it and don’t let xenophobia take you back to 1952.

Hell, the world should look at Canada. They got a whole lot of Politicians who wear turbans, and their Sikhs too (Navdeep Bains, anyone?)!

Sorry for the rambling, but I really was pissed when I saw this news break. I’m not necessarily a Barack or Hillary supporter yet, but I do think either candidate would be a good Candidate for the Democratic ticket so it’s a win/win.

However my Father-in-Law likes to remind me that Mr. Obama did write that Senator of Punjab slanderous paper (link1, link2).

Hopefully his thoughts will truly change and can sympathize how it feels to wear a turban in today’s world.

Maybe I should just walk down the streets going “boooooooooo” like a ghost. I bet some people will shriek and run.

Hmmm, maybe a new video project idea coming….

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Blogger Gurumustuk Singh said...

*sigh* such is life in America. Sad but true. We sure have a lot of work to do :)

11:44 AM  
Anonymous Jagmeet Singh said...

Some things to consider in the Obama vs. Clinton debate as it pertains to the Sikhs.

1. Hillary Clinton is the founder of the India Caucus and will always have competing interests when it comes to the Sikhs.

2. Clinton's relationship with the Sikh community rests entirely on two Sikhs who continually support her. The first is the hotelier Sant Singh Chatwal (who has been convicted of tax evasion and has never done anything for the Sikh community given his significant resources), and the second one is Rajwant Singh of SCORE in Washington. The latter is well-known for his incestuous relationship with the Indian Embassy in Washington. When Sher Singh (after being arrested for carrying the kirpan on an Amtrak train) gave a press conference in 2001, Rajwant Singh as the organizer invited the Indian Consulate membership to the podium. They (like him) came for the photo-op but refused to support Sher Singh's wearing of the kirpan. Rajwant Singh himself has continually supported Bush Administration without any regard for its policies. Apart from Chatwal and Rajwant's cabal, there is no major Sikh group supporting Clinton that I know of.

3. If we compare the record, Obama opposed the Iraq war, he has sympathized with Palestinians and has attended their rallies in Chicago. Clinton, on the other hand, supported Israel unequivocally during the recent Lebanon way. Given this record, Obama is much more progressive and would be more beneficial to the underdogs than Clinton, should he be elected to office. Clinton has too much baggage to be a Sikh ally.

1:55 PM  
Blogger sartaj said...

When it comes to a highly publicized events, such as the Presidential elections, almost all the Candidates bidding for the seat are highly qualified individuals who could do well if elected.

However, much of the Candidates resume and credentials are over looked at this level and it comes down to two items... speaking abilities and likability of the audience.

For the Democratic ticket, both Obama and Clinton have the speaking ability, but I believe Obama's surge comes down to his charm. And his charm comes down to good speeches and not being a Politician.

Much of Obama's speaking style is of big picture strategy but without much substance. His word "change" caused every other Candidate after Iowa to use that world left and right... which has left me a bit pissed over all with all the Candidates.

But what I'll give Obama is that he does not appear to be a Politician in debates or speeches. He speaks straight, which causes other true Politicians (like Clinton) to stumble as they are not use to their fellow Candidates using this tactic.

I've noticed this twice when Obama has openly come out saying that he "would" (in his illusive terms) meet with foreign enemy leaders of Iran and Cuba. Clinton did not know how to respond as I observed in the Texas debate last week.

Another down point is that Clinton is speaking as if she already lost, as seen at the end of the Texas debate and over the weekend before her tirade of health care items in Ohio.

As far as your thoughts Jagmeet as far as why Clinton is favored by Sikhs, it goes far beyond the relationship she has had with both Dr. Rajwant Singh and Chatwal. Other than Chatwal having relations with the Clitons (any many other US political leaders) due to his deep pockets, Dr. Rajwant Singh actually started a good relation with the Clintons when Bill Clinton was in power.

Furthermore, Dr. Singh arranged for Hillary Clinton to speak and recognize Sikh issues immediately after the 9/11 tragedy at a dinner hosted on Capitol Hill which you can see in "Divided We Fall." Also he did arrange for a fund raiser for her about two years ago in her home that was well attended by many affluent Sikhs within the US.

Out of these events, it kind of set the stage for Hilary and her likeness by the Sikh community in the US. Recently it was attempted to bring Sen. Clinton to the Yuba City Nagar Kirtan, but it failed due to poor planning.

Aside from what our Candidates plan for the US as a whole, sometimes it is good to consider their viewpoint to your home community (Sikhs for us).

My Father-in-Law was so upset at John Kerry for his anti-Sikhs remarks during the 04 Elections tha t he refused to vote for him even though their were great differences between him and Bush. Bush on the other hand, did sit down with a Sikh delegation after 9/11 (a week after I believe) that was covered by the media.

So in the same feeling, my Father-in-Law is right over the Punjab-gate that occurred over the negative remarks given to Sikhs in the Obama paper even though he did apologize.

The only difference is that for the Democratic ticket, it is a win-win as both candidates are good. Obama is the voice of the youth, while Clinton gets the elder vote.

As far as your negative thoughts of Chatwal and Dr. Singh, that had nothing to do with my original post. However when you are in the limelight (such as Chatwal or Dr. Singh), people will always look to bring out negative items. I don't know about Chatwal, but I do know Dr. Singh has done good items for the Sikh community and representing it in a good light. I do agree with your photo-op thoughts, but that will be the difficulty of any minority community to get stuck in this and not moving forward. But nonetheless, it is a start to get positive items moving although it is a very slow process.

10:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Sartaj

I went through your blog and u pointed out very correctly that why people make a hype about wearing turbans...

For other faiths wearing turban i dont know but as far Sikhs are concerned, we are relinquishing the turbans at an exponentially high rate, worst is this rate is more in India i believe...

The Sikhs, SARDARS are meant to be leaders but now why we are on a following mode?

Why dont we plan some project for such a revival.

what are your views and suggestions for this...

12:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have a look at this..


11:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the other anonymous person, are you saying that you want to start a revival for Sikhs to wear turbans? Why?

12:38 PM  

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