“You’re cute for a terrorist.”
“Indian, Palestinian, same thing.”
“Turban equals terrorist.”
Frighteningly, these ignorant phrases were really spoken by American citizens after September 11. Politicians like to talk about how the terrorist attacks united our country against terrorism. But they don’t often talk about that other, more somber story of fear and prejudice that caused atrocious acts against America’s very own citizens during the aftermath of 9/11.
The murder of Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh, made an appearance in the media but was quickly forgotten. He was killed in cold blood in Mesa, Arizona, simply because he looked like the 9/11 hijackers. That her people were being violently targeted and misunderstood motivated college student Valarie Kaur to act.
The film Divided We Fall: Americans in the Aftermath was conceived, filmed, and directed by Kaur. As a documentary chronicling Kaur’s journey across the United States, it is a powerful look at the backlash against Sikhs, Muslims, Arabs, and others post-9/11. It premiered in California at the Spinning Wheel Film Festival, part of the Sikh Heritage Gala, on Nov. 17 at the Screen Writers’ Guild Theatre.
Kaur began her trip to 14 cities across the country with a car, a video camera, and her Sikh cousin, Sonny. She traced acts of racism and violence as they occurred chronologically: Kaur and Sonny began with an interview of the victim of the first reported beating of an Arab-American at Ground Zero in New York, then continued to follow other stories of violence by word of mouth. [Link]
Labels: divided we fall
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