Sorry for the delay in posts, check back for more , later today- but check out this story NOW.

After my doctor abruptly left the practice he was with, I have suddenly joined the legions of patients in the province who do not have a family doctor,and have been trying to locate one as as soon as possible. I’ve also been up all night with the smallest of my children, who is exhibiting symptoms of lyme disease two weeks after being bitten by a deer tick, and we are off to the local (shudder) clinic .

I did want to say, however briefly, congratulations to Dianne Watts for making the choice to boycott the Vaisakhi parade as a result of learning that Sikh militant supporters will again be hosting a controversial float and displaying graphic images to the general public.

Last year several politicians were embarressed after attending the parade and discovering that a banned international terrorist organization had hosted a float displaying the image of Air India mastermind, Talwinder Singh Parmar, as a martyr. The symbols for the International Sikh Youth Federation, and the Babbar Khalsa , were proudly displayed along with  graphic images in support of their cause.

This years organizers say they cannot prevent someone from having a display as long as it is legal. I say that they obviously are taking the easy way out. It’s their parade, and I’m sure they have the right to approve who can participate and who cannot- just as the city can deny a parade permit or approve one.

It alarms me that known terrorist organizations and their member still have rights that apparently must be acknowledged in the great country of Canada. More and more frequently, both vehicles and youth within Surrey can be seen proudly displaying the symbol of the terrorist federation, and the amount of support for this group appears to be growing rapidly among certain communities.

Dianne Watts, congratulations again for making a tough, but obvious choice. I will not be attending the parade, and I urge others to explore the issue and follow suit.

http://www.canada.com/theprovince/news/story.html?id=0b2a009c-62f4-4a89-9ff0-24ff64555bd8&k=69089

http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/punjab/terrorist_outfits/ISYF.htm

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37 Responses to Sorry for the delay in posts, check back for more , later today- but check out this story NOW.

  1. kpsingh says:

    Hi Laila,

    The Mayor has the right to her decision, however misinformed and ignorant.

    Please allow me to address some of the issues about which people are jumping to conclusions.

    1) There are no pictures in the Vaisakhi parade of any of the people alleged to have been involved in the Air India bombing. That said, those people who originally put up the picture of Talwinder Singh Parmar, believe that he was not involved in the Air India bombings and was killed in a “false encounter” by the Indian government in order to silence his activism for a free Khalistan. However “far-fetched” anyone thinks that point of view is, it remains a fact that the Vaisakhi parade organizers have respected the concerns of the RCMP, Air India victims, and Parmar’s family, and removed the pictures.

    2) The Sikh community never celebrated or felt vindication or revenge or “blood lust” (as one of your listeners said on air, so ignorantly) about the Air India bombings. Sikhs are one of the most “anti-violence” communities on the face of the earth. Historically, Sikhs have conducted some of the largest non-violent protests, peace keeping missions, and humanitarian projects in South Asia if not the world. Furthermore, it was Sikh non-violent activists that inspired Mohandas K. Gandhi to take on his mission of non-violent protest to British rule in India. Sikhs strongly believe in interfaith and intercultural peace, and never condone attacks on innocent people. The Sikh community mourns the deaths of the innocent victims of the Air India crash, as any community would mourn other innocent victims of any other senseless terrorist crime.

    3) When Sadam Hussein was tried in a court of law in Iraq and was sentenced to death, and was hung, and his execution was available all over the internet – nobody complained. You didn’t complain on your blog, did you? Most people saw this as an implementation of the state’s well-established laws in a democratic society. However, had Saddam been left in power, and had the US not invaded Iraq, would he have been executed at all? It is very possible that his atrocities against innocent civilians would have continued for many more years. This is the drawback of a society where there is no democracy. A society like India. India, especially the Indian of 1984, was a false democracy. On the front, you see people voting and elections being conducted. However, if you look closer you see the seperations in caste, the mass corruption, the oppression of minorities, and outright state-sponsored terrorism. From the 1970’s to the late 80’s, Indian police was regularly conducting unwarranted raids on Sikh homes, raping the women, arresting and later killing the men, and looting the homes. There are recordings and written accounts of Indira Gandhi’s direct instructions and involvement in the genocide of Sikhs in India. This time period was a war zone. Indira Gandhi was assassinated not in a democracy, but in a war zone. Please look more thoroughly in the history of the Sikh genocide in India, Laila, and you will see the gross inhumaine tortures that Indira Gandhi’s army and police officials conducted on Sikhs. You will see the mass burials, unwarranted arrests, false encounters, and false propaganda campaigns that were conducted in this false democracy. If you understand the context, you will understand that the assassins of Indira Gandhi actually saved thousands of Indian citizens from potential torture, rape or murder at the hands of the state. This is why they are celebrated as heroes.

    4) The display of pictures of martyrs is to bring attention to the current political situation confronted by Sikhs in India. A caller on your show said “a religion that uses politics is not a religion, it is a cult” and you agreed with him. First of all, the Sikh way of a life is not a religion in the conventional sense — it does not have dogmas, a heirarchy of “access to God” (like a pope and pastors), or the notions of “non-believer” or “infidels.” Secondly, the Sikh community is an active society of people who earn an honest living, share with those in need, meditate on and practice the truth, sing the praises of the Creator, and work for the betterment of all humanity. The latter duty, working for the betterment of everyone, includes using politics. Is the Dalai Lama not using politics right now by encouraging China to retreat from Tibet? Did Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. not use politics, despite being a devout Christian preacher, to fight against discrimination? There is a difference between petty politics, and real activist politics (struggle for power) for the benefit of humanity. Sikhs use politics for the benefit of humanity, for justice and defence of innocent people, not for profit or personal gain.

    5) These displays (which are entirely justified) take up hardly 5% of the Vaisakhi parade, and most of the parade consists of spiritual hymn singing, martial arts demonstrations, meditation, and community celebrations. There are speeches, songs, hymns, free food, free handouts, and all of the other elements of a joyous celebratatory parade. The Sikh community is a movement of truth, righteousness and love and it is such a shame that such a unique community,despite having been part and parcel of Canadian society for over 100 years, is being mischaracterized as terrorists and troublemakers.

    Thank you very much for your patience. Please feel free to e-mail me back if you have any questions.

  2. lailayuile says:

    First of all, Let me clarify something for you, before anything.

    I don’t know who you think I am, because you have often referred to “callers on my show”, and “my listeners”, etc… several times. One can only assume you have confused myself with a radio host and show you listened to recently, and I shudder to think it might be Christy Clark…

    Let me assure you, I am a freelance writer, these are my thoughts and personal website, and I have no affiliation with CKNW or any other station.

    Now that I have cleared that up, I’d like to thank you for leaving your thoughts. It is a shame that often incorrect information and assumptions are the basis for controversial events such as this years parade, and yet this has been perpetuated by some within the Sikh faith in Surrey – in my opinion.

    Some of this years organizers sought to remain quiet in the face of media /public questions, rather than use the opportunity to clarify their positions clearly to the public who are not of the Sikh faith, which only served to enhance the entire controversy.
    And while many of the Sikh faith feel as you do, there are an unfortunate number who would rather encourage the terrorist aspect which only creates more uncertainty and fear among others. If the parade organizers and temple leaders stepped up and publically denounced the two terrorist organizations in question, and made clear that there was no association between them, I am sure none of this would have occurred.

    If one were to click on my feed, or my archives, they would find that I encourage those who wish to share their “truths” regarding the Sikh religion as well as other faiths, iin the spirit of informing the public. I have learned much about the Sikh faith as a result, and I agree that the religion is based on peace and love.

    As with any religion, there will be zealots who are able to twist the interpretation to suit their cause, and unfortunately in our civilization we tend to focus on the bad that is presented, rather than the good. The International Youth Sikh Federation has tainted the image as a whole to some extent, and that is why other Sikhs must speak up against it.

    I thank you for your patience as well, and I do hope you forward your comments to whomever you think you were listening to!! : )

  3. kpsingh says:

    Laila,

    I apologize for the confusion. I actually sent this comments to Christy Clark in response to her recent show. However, I was really busy today and I felt my comments to her were relevant to your post here. So I tried to adapt and personalize my message for your blog, but I missed out a few things.

    In any case, thank you for your reply. I agree with you, that the parade organizers could have spoken out more to the media. However, I don’t think that it would have made very much difference, because the mainstream media, especially CanWest (Global, Vancouver Sun, Province) has an anti-Sikh agenda. Yes, they have an agenda. They are not fair and balanced, their newspapers sell more if they put something aggressive and exaggerated about Sikhs on the homepage. The Province, for example, put “Surrey Mayor Boycotts Sikh Parade,” which is not what happened – she made a decision to not speak on stage because she is misinformed about the Sikh movement for autonomy in Punjab and the war zone that was created in Punjab in the 1980’s during which tens of thousands of Sikh youth were massacred and hundreds of Sikh youth had to defend their families. If you look at the history you will see that these people in Punjab, the Sikh militants, were just as much “terrorists” as the Indian nationalists that fought the British Empire for the independence of India. They were just as much “terrorists” as the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan monks. They were just as much “terrorists” as Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the leaders of the American Civil Rights Movement.

  4. kpsingh says:

    Hi Laila,

    Did you know this? How come the media didn’t include this in their reports?

    On Thursday, April 10th, Sudager Singh Sandhu, President, Dasmesh Darbar Gurdwara Sahib, sent this letter to all media outlets:

    Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar Surrey, B.C. cordially invites all members of the Canadian public and their representatives to the annual Vaisakhi Celebrations & Parade on April 12, 2008. In respecting the Vaisakhi Spirit and equally respecting Canadian values and traditions, the executive committee will enforce the following guidlines for the Vaisakhi Celebrations & Parade on April 12, 2008:

    1. Banned organizations will not be allowed to participate in any shape or form; nor will material containing a banned organizations logo or name be promoted.

    2. Those in attendance will be responsible for their own actions if they choose to wear anything depicting a banned organization; we will rely on the RCMP to take the lead on this issue.

    3. Pictures depicting violence or the outcome of violence will not be permitted.

    4. Pictures of Talwinder Singh Parmar will not be portrayed as per wishes of the Parmar family.

    5. No acts to promote hate and violence against any person or group will be permitted

    It is our hope this will clarify any misunderstandings that have been started by certain media and persons. We hope and will try to avoid any controversy that may deflect attention away from the Vaisakhi Celebrations 2008.

  5. lailayuile says:

    I agree that at times, mainstream media presents a view that is not only narrow, but also heated purposely to inflame reader/viewers. Like CKNW, controversy creates better “ratings” for a station.- or better sales and circulation for a paper. What readers and listeners do not realise is that by listening – or purchasing- they are inadvertantly creating a very profitable station, yourself included. Ratings are broken down into time periods that reflect on each hosts popularity, so if you want to really make a point as a group- dont listen,, dont tune in, or dont buy the paper.

    Take Basi/Virk , for example. What could be one of the biggest political stories with a capability to bring down many of the current government has been all but virtually ignored by almost all media outlets and journalists. Bill Tielemen is the exception, and his focused coverage has garnered both incredible respect and threats alike.

    Regardless, International Youth Sikh Federation, and the Babbar Khalsa are internationally recognized as terrorist factions. And my understanding -and please correct me if I am wrong – is that the former leader of the BC chapter of the International Sikh youth Federation, is very involved with a local Sikh Temple. This, if true, gives the impression that the temple “condones” associations of this sort. Perspective is everything.

    Do you agree with the designations of “terrorist groups” in referring to those above mentioned groups? Where do you draw the line? Personally, my family lines include relatives that survived the holocaust, and the massive kill of of jews and anyone else hitlers regime didnt feel was up to par. how many people were killed during that war? countless. I consider Hitler a terrorist.

    To me, there is a difference in people fighting for sovereignty, or freedom, in a manner that garners international support, and the radicals that will never get anywhere with their violent actions because they do not command support for the cause, only loathing and fear because of the methods they use to do so.

  6. lailayuile says:

    Lol.. looks like we are writing at the same time…

    Yes I did know that was released, although the press said it was issued Late Friday afternoon, not Thursday. And despite the release, the booth was still erected on site that showed assasins, murders, and violence. This is not at all in keeping with the above release.

    The mayor had tried for some time – per her statement- to have a guarantee that none of the above would appear. That did not occur. While organizers may not be able to control indivuduals that attend , on their own, they did feel that it was pertinant to display the booth during the festival.

    I think perhaps it would beneficial to have an interview with those Temple leaders involved and hear their reasonings, in an unbiased manner and medium. If some true understanding can be found along the way, it would be welcomed here. I, for one, do not enjoy living in a sometimes hostile community atmosphere.

  7. kpsingh says:

    Hi Laila,

    The murders (did you mean murderers?) shown were of Sikh people. Did you have a chance to visit the tent? If so, you would see that it had, on the walls, large signs about different aspects of the Sikh faith, including spirituality, the concept of reincarnation, the teachings, etc. Then on display boards in the center of the tent, there were (albeit gruesome) pictures of the real holocaust of Sikhs in India. These pictures were shown, with captions, explaining how the Indian government has systemically destroyed thousands of families in India of not just Sikh, but many other faith origins as well. The problem of state-sponsored terrorism is widespread in India and other countries, but the state covers it up through propaganda and diplomatic statements which press upon foreign governments. It is only through pressure of India upon the Canadian government, due to their trades and diplomatic concerns, that Sikhs have been given such a negative portrayal by CSIS, the RCMP, the mainstream media, and the politicians. This is the same reason why some countries are afraid to tell China to get out of Tibet because they feel the economic loss is more threatening than the loss of Tibetan lives. Although I am a Canadian born and raised, and I love my country of Canada – I am part of the fabric and soil of Canada – I still recognize that the Canadian government will believe the Indian government over the Sikh community. The Canadian government will not officially recognize the Sikh genocide and demand India for justice, as they have done for other cases. A lot of these issues are way over our heads and what is really happening is a systematic propaganda campaign of the Indian intelligence to defame the Sikh community due to their longstanding campaign for civil rights, humanitarian rights, and autonomy.

  8. lailayuile says:

    I hear you, KP, I do. I understand what you are saying.
    Throughout world history there have been- and continue to be- atrocities and deaths in the name of freedom.
    Freedom.
    Sometimes it takes government upheaval, sometimes it takes a revolution, yet the fights are no less important to those involved directly or to those living under oppression of any kind.
    But is terrorism the answer, is it the solution to these problems?

    Definition : Noun 1. terrorism – the calculated use of violence or the unlawful threatened use of force or violence against people or property to coerce or intimidate governments or societies, often to achieve political, religious, or ideological objectives.

    What did 9/11 achieve? Many think the US had it coming, but does it make it right nevertheless? Air india- did that one act further anyones cause? Did it change anything for those still living amidst conditions less than favourable? I think not. Some call it collateral damage, it was payback, it proved a point.
    I call it terrorism.

    You present your argument in an educated, concise and compelling manner- and all the while you have avoided the questions I am most curious about.

    Is the former leader of the BC chapter of the International Youth Sikh Federation involved in a local temple at a high level?

    Why will the Temple leaders not publically denounce these two groups and dis-associate themselves from them?

    What do you think about these two terrorist groups and their actions? Do you stand in support of them, or do you denounce them?

  9. lailayuile says:

    KP : your silence in the face of these questions is deafening.

    It appears that Mr. Singh no longer wishes to comment on this topic, although the questions I ask are both prudent and relevant to the discussion. It is quite unfortunate.

  10. kpsingh says:

    Hi Laila,

    Please don’t jump to conclusions – I was preoccupied with some things and was unable to reply at the time.

    Alright, first and foremost:

    1) 9/11 and Air India bombing were both terrorism, yes. But you come from a prejudice that Air India was conducted by Sikhs. The only “proof” to base this on is the media, the RCMP and CSIS. Despite the fact that the three of these agencies (the media is also an agency whether we like it or not) have failed in the past, and continue to show failures in communication, judgment, and clarity. The fact that CSIS destroyed hundreds of hours of taped police interviews and investigative materials; the fact that Indian consulate members cancelled their tickets on the same Air India flight just shortly before the flight left from Toronto; and the fact that a spy mentioned in David Kilgour’s book was hired to bomb an Air India plane to cause damage to the Sikh community’s move for autonomy (http://www.david-kilgour.com/betrayal/chap09.htm) — these are telling facts! These tell that it could not have been a few upset Sikhs. As “valid” as you think it is to assume that it was Sikhs, it is more valid to assume it was the Indian intelligence agencies working together to shut down the Khalistan movement. This would not be the first (or last) time the Indian government killed its own citizens to keep power and oppress minorities.

    2) Terrorism and oppression anywhere is wrong. I condemn it and denounce it. I do not support any type of terrorism or oppression in any way, shape, or form.

    3) I respect the laws of Canada. I was born and raised in Canada. I am a Canadian as much as any other Canadian. However I can criticize and challenge my government’s policies and question their motives. I question why they chose the Babbar Khalsa International and ISYF to be called terrorist organizations. Was it because of diplomatic relations with India? Was it because India’s trade relations are more important to them than the communities that India oppresses (which doesn’t only include Sikhs, but also Dalits, Naga people, and many others). If the Canadian government has banned these two organizations, I respect the Canadian government and our laws and I stand by our laws. However I question their motives. Was it due to real security reasons, or was it due to sucking up to India? In reality, India is a fake democracy which has a human rights record as bad, if not worse, as China. Nonetheless as I said before, until these issues are researched further, I fully respect and honour my country, Canada, and its laws.

    4) The former BC chapter head of the ISYF does not have a position at Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar and I don’t think he is currently in any Gurdwara committee. He might be a community activist, but I don’t know anything more about his involvement in the Gurdwaras.

    5) The Gurdwara Dasmesh Darbar committee – in the statement I posted above – has said “Banned organizations will not be allowed to participate in any shape or form; nor will material containing a banned organizations logo or name be promoted.” If this is not denouncing then what is?

    6) Using 9/11 to link it to Sikh activism is very irresponsible and illogical. Sikhs do not support hurting or killing innocent civilians or any type of terrorist activity.

    Please try to look outside of the shelter of the mainstream media. Read the alternative news. Read Amnesty International’s reports about human rights violations in India. Read websites that are NOT published by the Canadian or Indian government, but by peer-reviewed journals, scientists, human rights agencies, etc. You will see that the truth about India is much darker than the media tells you, and the truth about the Sikh community is much brighter. You will see that the Sikh community is a spiritual revolution of love, cast under a shadow of doubt due to some select agencies.

  11. lailayuile says:

    I’m glad to see that you have returned to post! My experience with some who comment has shown that often when uncomfortable questions are asked, or someone is put on the spot- they run or change tactics.

    Please, I do not think I am lumping all Sikhs in the same category! I learned quite a bit about Sikhism during a recent, ongoing discussion here on the blog surrounding female inequality, and female infanticide. There is much to be learned,still, although I find not everyone to be as open as you are in discussing issues as we are. One thing you must realise as well, is that if more Sikhs were open to discussion with people like myself, that perhaps the air of mystery that surrounds the entire culture could be shrugged off- although the same can be said about caucasians…lol. Some Sikhs within my community have just as many misconceptions about people like me, and I guess all of this curiousity on my part stems from a need to understand why it all happens.

    Mainstream media are reporting that the local temple is a “hotbed of seperatist activities…”

  12. kpsingh says:

    Thank you very much for your reply Laila. Please forgive me if in my comments I have made any prejudiced comments about Caucasians in general. I really appreciate your openness and understanding.

    If Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar is a hotbed of separatist activities, then so be it! What is wrong with separatist activities? Simon Fraser University is a hotbed of separatist activities because the Students for a Free Tibet group is active there. What the media is really trying to insinuate is that the Gurdwara is a hotbed of terrorism – which IT IS NOT.

    In any case, actually you separate something that is already united, but India is not united! It was formed from a political maneuvre in 1947, which cheated the Sikhs out of their autonomy and eventually lead to the split of the nation of Punjab into several separate states. That’s separatism right there – breaking Punjab into a bunch of states! If anything, Sikhs are working on reunification activities, trying to bring Punjab back together as one nation, outside of India. There are dozens of “separatist” movements in India right now, because the government oppresses minorities and steals autonomy from previously autonomous communities.

  13. GetReal says:

    Violence is violence no matter who commits it, nor does it matter why. You either oppose violence or you do not. Soft couching terms do little to mask the truth as you see it. Assassinations, slaughterings, all give berth to more of the same.

    If you choose to change countries, do not import your struggles along with your other baggage. I really could care less about who is right or wrong, who started what and when. Violence condoned is violence done. Leave it somewhere else.

  14. lailayuile says:

    KP,

    My information tells me that former members of both terrorist organizations sit on the committee at the Dasmesh Darbar Temple. It is something that is talked about within the community of Surrey, among some who will not speak out openly for fear of retribution- as relayed to myself.

    Temple leaders have not denounced these organizations-

    “Banned organizations will not be allowed to participate in any shape or form; nor will material containing a banned organizations logo or name be promoted.” They didnt allow the open participation, or promotion of these organzations, but they certainly didnt denounce them or say that they have no affiliation with them currently.

    There is nothing wrong with civil moments, seperatism, or fighting against real injustices. There is nothing wrong with protest. I agree with Get, Violence is violence, terrorism cannot be justified under any method.

    Two wrongs do not make a right, and great victories have been achieved without terrorist tactics. You question why international agencies have banned the Babbar Khalsa and ISYF as terrorist ? See my definition above.

    You cannot play both sides of the table KP, or straddle the fence. If former members of those terrorist organzitions are active in the temple, that speaks volumes.

  15. kpsingh says:

    If you choose to change countries, do not import your struggles along with your other baggage.

    GetReal, as I mentioned above – I was not born in another country, I was born in this country and I am as Canadian as any other Canadian.

    Hmm, other baggage? What did the British do when they brought the monarchy to Canada? The Native peoples of Canada never asked for Queen Victoria or Queen Elizabeth to come here. What is loyalty to the monarchy but simply “baggage” of British immigrants to Canada in the 18th and 19th centuries? If you equate the Queen being our formal head of state as “baggage” then maybe you can call the struggles of todays immigrants as baggage. Otherwise don’t have a double standard.

    Laila, if a country commits violence during a war, is it known as a terrorist country? Canada right now is committing violence in Afghanistan. England is committing violence in Iraq & Afghanistan. Are they considered “terrorist” nations?

    As I said before, Sikhs are a non-violent people by nature. They do not condone oppression, terrorism, or violence against innocent people. They do not believe in violence as a first resort, and they have been responsible for some of the largest non-violent movements in the history of South Asia, if not the world.

    However, if some individuals committed violence during a war time, during a genocide, to fight against an oppressive regime, and that regime had diplomatic relations with Canada and put pressure on Canada to declare those individuals “terrorists,” where is the justice?

    Let me clarify – if anybody in either of those organizations conducted terrorism, or terror against innocent people in a civilian environment, then of course I denounce them and the whole Sikh community denounces them.

    However, if they conducted defensive violence during a war time against the government that was conducting a genocide of their people, how can you call them terrorists? Then all of the Afghani soldiers who are helping our Canadian forces fight the Taliban would fall in the same boat. Does it make sense??

  16. kpsingh says:

    Hi Laila,

    You haven’t responded for a few days. If you want to end this topic here, feel free to do so, but I just wanted to confirm that you understand my explanation of your most recent questions. thanks.

  17. lailayuile says:

    Well, KP, with a family and a career, life happens on the weekends. I like to devote as much time to my husband and kids as I can !

    I dont know what else I can say.

    I dont think anyone can denounce terrorists in one sentence and yet still be sympathetic to the motivation or cause behind it. Yet it appears that this is what you are doing.

    You either support the violence ,or you do not.

    No excuses,no justifications.
    I don’t believe the majority of Sikhs in our community support it either, but those who do, are free to discuss it among themselves as much as they like. Just dont make a family celebration a conduit for promotion and glorification.

  18. kpsingh says:

    I do denounce terrorists, and I think you have inappropriately defined the Sikh activists of the 1980’s as terrorists, when in fact they were defending against the genocide of their peoples. They are equal to the Tibetans protesting around the world. If you do not support the Tibetan movement, or other movements of peoples to be freed from oppression, then I understand you would not support the Sikh activists.

  19. lailayuile says:

    KP, the difference between activism and terrorism is as stark as night and day.I have not defined any activists as terrorists, except for those within desginated and recognized terrorist groups.

    I have no problem with activists, as long as their activities stay within the boundries of the laws of the country they reside.

    Homelessness “activists” who ransack offices, start fires, and commit crimes in the name of the cause they are championing defeat the efforts of those truly working on solutions. The point being, that those “activists” who cross the line into terrorism, are doing more harm than good. it does not matter what the cause is- freedom, animal rights, homelessness, female infanticide, genital mutilation……no cause can be furthered by extremists who take such violent actions on their own. In doing do, they reduce themselves to the same level as those they claim to be protesting.

    As far as I am aware, there have been no acts of terrorism committed by Tibetan activists. Would I die for freedom? In some circumstances, yes- but would I kill, maim or terrorize an innocent person/persons to prove the point of how passionately I desire to be free? No, never.

  20. kpsingh says:

    Laila, I assure you that Sikhs have not killed, maimed or terrorized innocent persons. The Indian government are the ones who killed, maimed and terrorized innocent persons. The Sikh activists of the 1980’s only defended against a genocide of their people.

  21. kpsingh says:

    If the Sikhs killed, they killed corrupt criminal government officials who were responsible for mass-murders or rapes. And these people were killed according to the martial laws of the time, because it was a war zone.

  22. GetReal says:

    So the assassination of Ghandi was ok? Murder and violence solve nothing. Did anybody there learn the lessons of Mohandas Ghandi? Israel and the Palestinians in the middle east, Protestants and Catholics in Ireland, Hutus and Tutsis in Africa, Darfur, all violence, all attempt to justify violence, and all unsolved except for Ireland where violence did not end violence, talk did. That is what violence gets you, more violence.

    Defensive violence? Nice oxymoronic term. Where is Satyagraha? Who determines the culpability of the corrupt officials? Vigilantes by your account. Unacceptable justification by ‘war zone’ and ‘martial laws of the time’ is inexcusable. self serving, and trite.

    Who was it that tried to assassinate the Indian government official that visited Vancouver in the 1980’s? Baggage? If you don’t bring it, then don’t import it. The original settlers of Canada were from varied backgrounds, religions, cultures, and countries. Seems society has gotten this far without sectarian violence. I do not wish to see a society devolve into the never ending cycle of violence.

  23. Sundeep Gill says:

    Politics and religion are inseparable in Sikh teachings.

    I recommend you read the Gallant Defender written by AR Darshi, a Hindu who was a magistrate and Joint Secretary to the Punjab.
    Darshi lays the blame for the events of 1984 squarely at the feet of the Indian Government. The same government that even now refuses to acknowledge or give remedy for its human rights abuses.

    I see nothing wrong with pictures at a parade or students wearing t-shirts to promote awareness of the human rights abuses and injustices Sikhs suffer while living in India. However, the pictures should have some sort of explanation accompanying them so people know what’s going on.

    This issue will not go away until the Indian government tries to honestly deal with it instead of sweep it under the carpet. Seeing as how the corrupt government simply will not be honest where atrocities against Sikhs are concerned, the issue will clearly not go away.
    -Sundeep Gill

  24. GetReal says:

    Maybe that is not such a good idea?

    Religion and the state are separate in Canada and the US for good reason. It is how the countries were built. The state has no room for religious pressure. It is impossible to account to the many if you kowtow to the few.

    You have to maintain the separation of civil and religious authority. Forcing people to accept some particular idea or adhere to behavioral standards from someone else’s religion means that their religious freedom is being infringed upon. You are also free FROM religion if you choose in a society that separates church and state.

    “Pictures” and “explanations” are a subtle form of indoctrination as nobody explains the ‘other’ side. If people are interested in the subject they should be encouraged to do their own research and reach their own conclusions without any form of pressure.

  25. lailayuile says:

    Excellent posts, Get. My husband says “Hear, Hear!!” to your post from yesterday.

    Students wearing t-shirts depicting AK-47’s etc, in school, for any reason, are ridiculous, and lets not fool anyone by saying it is a political matter for them. It was done to create controversy, nothing more. Teenage testing of another kind.

    In my son’s high school, in Surrey, no student may wear clothing depicting obscenitites, religious sayings, or graphic images. No beer or drug shirts, no nude pics on tshirts ,etc.

    However, some students have been known to wear tshirts that say ” Sikh Power”. These particular students have not been approached because the administration does not want to be accused of racism, or any other accusation that might pop up. so they continue to wear them. Sikhism is a religion is it not?

    That being said, I dont think for one minute adminstration would allow any student to wear a T-shirt that read ” White Power”, and rightly so. But we have reached a point that makes people in general fearful to speak up in the event they are then labelled racist. The charter of rights and freedoms has been used to defile the every reason it was created. There must be limits in some cases.

    In Surrey, it is a well-known fact of life that there is disharmony among the Sikh community about the matters we speak of.
    It is important that those who post here defending seperatist actions recognize that as well, and avoid lumping all Sikhs in one boat. I wish those who do not support the methods of violence would find their voices to speak up and post, because I know they do exist.

    I too support a country where religion and state are seperate. I dont care for anyone telling me what and where to worship if I choose, or that I must at all. Religious teachings have no place in Canadian politics, schools ,or any other facility open to the general public. In a country with so many cultures and backgrounds, it is the only way to maintain order.

  26. paulmct says:

    “First of all, the Sikh way of a life is not a religion in the conventional sense — it does not have dogmas, a heirarchy of “access to God” (like a pope and pastors), or the notions of “non-believer” or “infidels.” Secondly, the Sikh community is an active society of people who earn an honest living, share with those in need, meditate on and practice the truth, sing the praises of the Creator, and work for the betterment of all humanity.”

    No dogma? Really? MUST where turbans. MUST where kirpans. If they don’t, they’re not good Sikhs. If that’s not dogma, what is?

    No notion of “non-believer”? But they sing the praises of the Creator. What do you call someone who doesn’t believe in a creator?

    Practice the truth – in whose opinion? Their own. They sing the praises of a Creator there is absolutely no evidence of. That doesn’t sound like the truth to me. It’s an opinion, at best, and it doesn’t necessarily make anyone a good person, as I discuss here:

    http://paulmct.wordpress.com/2008/01/28/religion-does-not-provide-morality/

    The commenter kpsingh seems to be in denial as to who was behind the Air India bombing. One Sikh was convicted and others got off scot free due to police bungling, interagency competition for jurisdiction, and intimidation of potential witnesses by those responsible. He doesn’t seem to care that a prominent member of the Sikh community, who was critical of one of the organisations in question, was murdered. He seems to prefer to make up or feed conspiracy theories, just stopping short of saying the Indian government blew up the plane so they could blame Sikhs.

    I agree with the last paragraph of Laila’s last comment, completely, and also with GetReal.

  27. Sundeep Gill says:

    I must say I’m very surprised to read some of these comments.

    “Students wearing t-shirts depicting AK-47’s etc, in school, for any reason, are ridiculous, and lets not fool anyone by saying it is a political matter for them. It was done to create controversy, nothing more. Teenage testing of another kind.”

    Actually, they were making a political statement. Although I think they should have chosen a more tasteful way to express their opinion. The Voice newspaper interviewed them, and later they were interviewed by RedFM. They knew what they were talking about.

    “However, some students have been known to wear tshirts that say ” Sikh Power”. These particular students have not been approached because the administration does not want to be accused of racism, or any other accusation that might pop up. so they continue to wear them. Sikhism is a religion is it not?
    That being said, I dont think for one minute adminstration would allow any student to wear a T-shirt that read ” White Power”, and rightly so. But we have reached a point that makes people in general fearful to speak up in the event they are then labelled racist. The charter of rights and freedoms has been used to defile the every reason it was created. There must be limits in some cases.”

    The Sikh power t-shirts simply express pride in one’s faith and culture. Nothing wrong with that, there is and has never been any hate associated with that. It is not associated with khalistan in any way, although you probably know that, others may not. White power, however, is a slogan of hate used to oppress other races.

    People have the right to peacefully express themselves. This is completely different than the far more contentious khalistan issue. Expressing khalistan type issues in school I feel is inappropriate.

    “In Surrey, it is a well-known fact of life that there is disharmony among the Sikh community about the matters we speak of.
    It is important that those who post here defending seperatist actions recognize that as well, and avoid lumping all Sikhs in one boat.”

    Agreed. However, the majority do support Khalistan.

    “I too support a country where religion and state are seperate. I dont care for anyone telling me what and where to worship if I choose, or that I must at all. Religious teachings have no place in Canadian politics, schools ,or any other facility open to the general public. In a country with so many cultures and backgrounds, it is the only way to maintain order.”

    The inseparability of politics and religion is a fact of life. Can you name me one major world religion that makes major religious decisions that are also not political ones? Human rights is a sphere of religious concern, and is also one of political concern.

    Also, the Sikh religion does not in any way, shape, or form promote imposing one’s religious beliefs on another religion. The Sikh kingdom that existed before the British Raj ruled India was actually fairly secular in nature. There were Christian captains in the armies, and Hindus as administraters of provinces.

    Another example, the 9th Guru was approached by Kashmir Hindus who asked for help b/c they were being forcefully converted. The Guru challenged the Moghul emperor, saying if I convert all will convert, if you cannot convert me you must leave them alone. The moghul emperor agreed, the Guru was tortured severely and made shaheed (martyr) for the right to freedom of religion of another religion. It seems that when people think of politics and religion they think of Islam or the Christian church, these examples are so very alien to Sikhism that they don’t really apply.

    Also, when I talk about inseparability, I’m referring to everyday life. I’m not talking about the composition of a state. Just how religion influences politics and politics influences religion. It’s a simple fact.

    Although I do agree with the Sikh right to establish a theocratic state.

    —-
    ” “Pictures” and “explanations” are a subtle form of indoctrination as nobody explains the ‘other’ side. If people are interested in the subject they should be encouraged to do their own research and reach their own conclusions without any form of pressure.”

    The media tells an incredibly bias and one-sided story. They are guilty of this.
    However, as a Sikh, who started out totally against the idea of Khalistan, I can honestly say I’ve never felt pressure to believe in it.

  28. GetReal says:

    There are a lot of Texans who will tell you they are from the “sovereign state of Texas”. There are some who think they should be separate from the rest of the US in terms of government. There are a lot of Quebecers who feel they should be separate from the rest of Canada. However, what I do not see is the snowbirds in Florida espousing separation and holding protests / parades etc., in the US to further the cause in Canada. Likewise with Texans. “Kiss me I’m Irish” always makes me smile, however, I do not recall any t-shirts calling for the “New Republic of Ireland” or “support your local IRA guerrillas”.

    I am not sure what people think they can gain from trying to have Khalistan or any other state formed by a rally in Canada. Travel to the country you think needs to listen and give it your all there. I have neither the time nor the inclination to support such movements in my home turf. A quick review of history does not support much hope that Canada will interfere in the affairs of another country to foster separation or anything else.

    White power has garnered a negative connotation and could probably not be salvaged to express any part of white North American culture. I guess I will have to go farther back than my 7th generation and start wearing a t-shirt in support of that heritage.

    We have seen theocracies in history, and I am not impressed. It always makes for interesting discussion when your children, no matter the age, wish to explore the many religions and the attendant philosophies. Who’s right Daddy? Who’s right indeed.

  29. lailayuile says:

    Just as a matter of interest, you may be interested to read this piece from The Sun, by a writer who has had her life threatened from talking about and covering the same issues we have been talking about. This is an important aspect to these discussions, because it could be argued that by supporting these extremists- rather than simply supporting Khalistan – you are in fact condoning these kind of tactics.

    http://communities.canada.com/vancouversun/blogs/realscoop/archive/2008/05/03/world-press-freedom-day-is-today.aspx

    How ,and why, is it appropriate to threaten those who either cover these ongoing stories, or those discussing them? Although no one has publically posted threats regarding this directly on my site, there have been emails received via my contact page that are both abusive and harassing.

    Terror works in many ways. This is no way to behave, using intimidation and fear to shut people up. There is no place for this in Canada.

  30. GetReal says:

    Very disturbing. This sort of thuggery should not be tolerated. There is a line between freedom of speech, hate mongering, and outright threatening. I certainly hope the newspaper and the authorities are taking the issue very seriously.

    My second reaction would be to begin a series of in depth articles on the topic, leaving no stone unturned. The media can and sometimes brings to bear a level of scrutiny that can be quite revealing. There is recourse in law for such actions and I would encourage the reporter(s) to utilize their option in this respect. Usually the genetically deficient miscreants who engage in this kind of activity shrivel in the light of discovery. Let us hope that the newspaper takes heed.

    With regard to your harassing or abusive emails, I would encourage you to follow up with the authorities, find out who they are and take them to task. It is one thing to disagree with your views, but quite another to attempt make you feel threatened or intimidated.

  31. Sundeep Gill says:

    It is disturbing to me as well that people resort to this kind of behaviour. I and many many other supporters of Khalistan in no way condone it. If anybody does talk like that around me I certainly do set them straight.

  32. lailayuile says:

    Sundeep, I am sure you can see now, why some people feel the way they do. When your life is threatened, and people sneer at you on the street for what and how you write, it is hard to seperate the two groups. Those who feel like you, are never heard from.

    See the following post.

    http://lailayuile.wordpress.com/2008/05/05/going-where-angels-fear-to-tread/#comment-1641

  33. Sundeep Gill says:

    I do understand, although that doesn’t justify the attempts to shut down our free speech that some people are doing.
    Also Kim Bolan has no credibility and often lies and twists her stories. She’s the worst of the deceitful propagandists about the Sikh community. She deserves to be sneered at for the utter garbage that comes from that manipulative ”journalist”. Not threatened though.

  34. lailayuile says:

    The term free speech, in Canada, does not truly reflect the reality of how we govern ourselves.

    Your opinion of Kim Bolan as a journalist is yours to own. However, she has uncovered and exposed stories that other journalists fear to write about, because of the same repercussions she has dealt with. Not just regarding Sikh seperatism, but concerning gang activity and criminal activity in BC as well.

    Sundeep, If you sneer at her, you must also be sneering at myself for trying to find some truth in all the contradictions that surround us. My experience is that those who want to shut others up, are trying to prevent the truth from being known.

    Kim Bolan doesnt make the Sikh community look bad, it is those who react to her stories with venom and threats that are doing all the work in that respect. Do those who threaten to kill anyone who writes about these issues do anything to help further the cause? No. Never.

    Violence begets violence, as ignorance begets ignorance. Anyone who follows here regularly know that I fear not to venture into “dangerous” territory. Occasionally it has resulted in threats, hate mail and venomous attacks, but those reactions betray the mentality behind writer. I’ve talked frankly about the racial problems in Surrey, and the hateful things some Sikh men have done to me while I’m out. Being called white bitch by a complete stranger who is Sikh, for absolutely no reason, while I’m jogging. Being prevented from passing on the sidewalk. Racial slurs against me for being white. Being prevented from being friends with a Sikh woman by her husband.

    Do I think all Sikhs are this way?

    Absolutely not- I have Sikh friends who are embarressed by those in the community that do this. The vast majority are giving,loving and compassionate people.
    I have taken a lot of flack for talking about these things, but the truth remains the truth. I’m not perpetuating an image or a generalization of all Sikhs by discussing the actions of a few – just as Sikhs should not generalize against all whites because of the actions of a few.

    Kim Bolan is no more spouting propaganda against Sikhs, than I am.

  35. lailayuile says:

    By the way Sundeep, my stats show a link from a private thread, on a private forum at bcsikhs.com to my site, that keeps sending visitors to these posts.

    I am curious. Perhaps you could inform me of the nature of the discussion that resulted in a link to my website.

  36. Sundeep Gill says:

    Somebody had posted that link (and others to other websites) as they felt the article was inaccurate and misrepresented Sikhs. There was no discussion about your website. The traffic is probably due to me using that link to check back to see if there were replies to my comments.

    It’s unfortunate (and yes even embarassing) that some Sikhs and East Indians behave in that manner. Also, many punjabi people are not Sikhs.

    Also, I disagree about Kim Bolan. She most definitely puts a negative spin on her stories where Sikhs are concerned. If a reporter needs to call a spade a spade, that’s fine. But she goes beyond that.

  37. I’ve just discovered this blog and enjoy reading it; i have particularly found this thread of great interest and commend the dicussion. My article about air india and my family’s involvement in it was published this june in the Georgia Straight. Thanks again.

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