Victims of Xenophobia

Donald Trump’s election campaign was addressed not to the educated, comparatively well-off middle class Americans but to the poorly educated blue-collar people who were either low-paid or had lost their jobs or were job-seekers. Trump told them that ‘outsiders’ had usurped their jobs and, if voted to power, he would drive out the ‘outsiders’ and give them jobs. He immediately struck a chord with this section of people who believed trump would bring in better days for them. His campaigning also created a hatred for ‘outsiders’ who were supposedly snatching away their jobs. His promise to end outsourcing was in line with his policy of ‘America first’. His propaganda paid off and for the first time a man whose sanity and rationality was doubted by many, walked into the White House. His dislike for the media and using choicest abuses against them became the talk of the town.
One of the first things he did was to sign three executive orders which threatened the rights of immigrants and refugees. The xenophobia he whipped up has caught on and ‘outsiders’ are being regularly targeted. Among them are Indians living in the United States. The first Indian victim was Srinivas Kuchibhotla, an engineer, who was shot dead in a bar-cum-restaurant in Kansas by an ex-navy man, for no apparent reason. Kuchibhotla’s colleague was also shot at and injured. Then it was Harnish Patel, an Indian origin businessman in South Carolina who was gunned down. Now another Indian, Deepak Rai of Seattle, has been shot at. He escaped with injuries. On each occasion the assailants yelled “get out of my country” or other phrases to convey the same meaning.
What these xenophobes do not realize is that thousands of Americans also live in other countries. If such attacks continue then these Americans would be in danger. Hatred begets hatred. Intolerance begets intolerance. Violence begets violence. It would be stupid for anyone to think that such selective killings of ‘outsiders’ will not create repercussions in other lands. Anti-American hatred can be worked up elsewhere, too, and innocent Americans would be victims. What is true of the United States is true of every country. Creating hatred against any section of people on any pretext or asking them to get out of ‘my’ country can have a chain reaction. Unfortunately, India is also not free from intolerance. People criticizing or differing with those in power are often dubbed as deshdrohis or traitors and asked to go to Pakistan. Indians cannot claim the moral right to criticize others if even a minuscule minority in India behaves in the same way.

Tuesday, 7 March, 2017