Tuesday, April 10, 2012


After reading this, I hope you will be motivated to understand why we should act for judicial justice and some very simple examples (inform yourself, stand up and be counted, donate your time or money) of what you can do.

I do NOT endorse the original appeal! I am including it for completeness, so people can see the original appeal and I can explain why it bothered me: 
1) Utter triviality of this individual case (which doesn't mean that DR shouldn't get a fair trial, but that there are 100,000 others who should, which means we have to reform the system).
2) Dissipation of energy and political capital on isolated case of otherwise privileged Indian-American whose parents can probably afford a decent lawyer. If it shouldn't depend on being able to buy a good lawyer then reform the system and in the meantime contribute to the SouthernPovertyLawCenter.
3) Anti-"activist" attitude, that only serves to display the political ignorance and conservatism of the Indian-American community. Case in point, the most name-recognizable Indian-Americans are Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal!
4) Lack of meaningful action on any other "justice" issue indicates motivation from narrow, parochial, communitarian interest.
5) I don't understand what "tough decision" (one that is tough on us) we are making, nor showing "compassion, understanding and sympathy" for anyone in less privileged situations than we are in, other than for a straight, Indian, brown, Hindu, child of privilege, apolitical, male, "fool when young" like us.

Contrast: We need your help to get charges dropped against Dharun Ravi and his 400 fellow-citizens who were wrongfully arrested by the Oakland Police during a peaceful (non-violent until the cops showed up in battle gear) exercise of free speech. The marchers were attempting to take over an underused public building paid for with tax dollars so they could continue to provide food, shelter, education and healthcare to those who most need it. The marchers were given illegal and inadequate warning to disperse, were physically constrained so they couldn't disperse;  they were beaten, tear-gassed and smoke-bombed till they had to be hospitalised (numbers are unavailable because they were taken by friends to diverse locations and many were simply treated at home). They were falsely accused of breaking and entering etc (no evidence of damage to locks or doors has been found, the one flag some protesters tried to burn, they took it outside in order to prevent property damage!). Many were held in prison for more than 3 days without access to a lawyer or charges being filed (How did that happen? While we were pissing around with the "copyright act" so we coud still download music for free, some legislation passed which gives from Obama down to local cops quite a free hand in incarcerating any American.) As of now, it is clear that 388 were wrongfully arrested for no cause, since only 12 have been charged. The actions of the Oakland Police are under review.

Of course, the above didn't happen - NO young Indian-Americans participate in social justice movements. (I do wish to be corrected, so stand up and be counted.)

Update on May Day: One of the leaders of OccupySF's  May Day attempt to make a community home, and as I learned, a long-time participant in OccupySF, was a young Bangladeshi-American. I've met four other Indian-Peninsulars at various Occupy related events, two Bengali men and a couple of Gujarati women. Of our IIT-classmates, I know of only two who are actively involved in social justice issues. 

Just yesterday I heard an Indian proudly proclaim that the Indian-American community is the richest and most educated ethnicity (or whatever) in the US. If our definition of ethnicity is loose, I recall that the honor actually belongs to the Jewish-American community. You don't need actual numbers to contrast, qualitatively, the difference in participation rates of the two communities in civic life in general and social justice movements in particular. How many Indian-Peninsulars do we know who've marched in favour of human rights, attended anti-war rallies or defended a PP clinic?    

Original Appeal: 
We need your help ASAP in support of Dharun Ravi by signing this petition ASAP.  Please share with as many friends as possible: 25000 signatures in 2 wks gets a response from Pres Obama.

Overview article-

Petition Site:
·         Short URL: http://wh.gov/NM1

Detailed Reasoning Behind This Petition:
In 2010, Dharun Ravi, an 18 yearold Rutgers student, secretly recorded his roommate Tyler Clementi while he was with another man and posted it on the internet for everyone to see.  For the next two years this is what the world was told by every media outlet, politician, activists worldwide and we accepted it as the truth.  He was prejudged. 

Two years later, we know none of this is true, nothing was ever recorded, nothing was broadcast over the internet.  Yet Ravi was robbed of one of the most fundamental rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution: presumption of innocence.  No one treated Ravi as though he was innocent until proven guilty.

The prosecutor's office has taken advantage of a faulty law that can prosecute any citizen for the thoughts of others along with misplaced political pressure from activist groups to convict Ravi on Bias charges, a law that even the judge admitted was muddled.

He now faces up to 20 years in jail.

Every single witness testified unequivocally that Dharun Ravi had absolutely no hatred towards with gays/homosexuals, however the prosecution decided that he did, they decided what was in his mind despite all the evidence saying otherwise.

This is not the precedence we want to set.

Instead of drawing lines in the sand and taking sides, let's come together as people and prove that we can make tough decisions and show some compassion, understanding, and sympathy.
Please sign this if you believe that equality and tolerance should be achieved through honest, open communication and not through a vicious and vengeful prosecution that only serves to fuel tempers and alienate us even further.

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