Dear Wade Michael Page

From: Journey of a Sikher

 

The Author

 

Dear Wade Page,

When we raise our children we instill in them the sacrifices that were made in our history. How our Guru’s
taught us to defend others, to put humanity in front of all of our actions. Yesterday I had to tell my son
about your hate, I had to explain to him how his small turban may make him the target of unjust hate and
as a parent I welcome that. I welcome that my children get strength from these challenges in life, I
welcome that they question who they are, why they are as these are the foundations of spiritual
development. Some may want to shelter their children from every storm, from every challenge, yet I owe it
to my forefathers who laid down their lives for our identity, to those who stood steadfast in the face of any
challenge.

My dear misguided friend you felt powerful holding a gun, and firing at innocent people, you felt that your
mission and your message was going to clearly resonate and create an environment of fear within us. I
can assure you failed badly in this, as the community you chose to target has seen much worse, has
endured even a price on their heads yet they did not give up their faith, their identity is still intact.

Our message has always been of tolerance and acceptance, the US government failed, the media failed
to allow the Sikhs to explain their identity, so people like you made us easy targets to direct hate towards.
Our children were bullied, our community was discriminated against, we were heckled, attacked and even
killed yet we did not fold under this pressure. In a decade of constant images you and others have made
us the face of the enemy, knowing nothing about us, not knowing the fact that the enemy you just started
fighting a decade ago we had been against since our existence. The enemy of hate of terrorism of
forcing beliefs is what we have made a living standing against. We upheld religious freedom, we upheld
even those beliefs we did not ourselves believe in yet you did not educate yourself of the difference.

We even welcome that, we pride ourselves of standing in the front lines to absorb hate, this is what our
identity is about. It is not mistaken, if you thought we were Muslim or you did not does not matter to us, as
nobody should be the target of such a crime. Our identity puts us in the forefront of constantly shaping
our resolve we do not feel it a burden, in fact it is our biggest strength.

Unfortunately this is not the first, nor do I think will be the last attack on Sikhs because we are an easily
identifiable minority. Each morning when a Sikh in the USA has tied a turban, they have fully known that
this distinguishes them from the rest, it makes them stand out, it opens the opportunity for ridicule, for hate,
discrimination and bullying, yet despite all that they continue to do so. Such is the spirit of the Sikhs for
their article of faith. The turban is not just a symbol; it is a part of every Sikh that ties them to something
greater, something that connects them to their roots, and their spirituality.

Wade Page you chose the wrong group of people, fear is not in our vocabulary. The fact is that out of
all the massacres, nobody tried to attack the shooter, yet in the Sikh massacre even while you had the
more powerful weapon, a Sikh tried to stop you.

Sikhs resolve is robust, and though many in our community try to assimilate to fit in when tragedy strikes,
there are an ample number of those who use this to strengthen their commitments to their faith.

Aryan nation/KKK whoever is out there, we did nothing to deserve this sort of hate, yet it is ok, you brought
the fight to the right group of people we have defended others against what you stand for throughout
our history and can continue to do so, you want to see less turbans? You will only see more now, as this is
the way our psyche works.

Your hate and bigotry is water for the seeds of our perseverance. We don’t just pray for the betterment
of all; we are willing to back it up with action. You wanted to break us, to make us fear, to make us
question our identities, my friend you have only done the opposite.

Wade, wherever you are now, please do try to find Aurangzeb, and Zakareya Khan and talk to them,
discuss with them how you all have collectively failed to make even a dent on the Sikhs, and while you are
there also let Bin Laden know that his image may have hurt the turban, but we will never give it up and
vow to restore its glory not as a symbol of fanaticism or hate, but as a symbol of justice, equality and
spirituality.

reprinted with permission of the author

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