Balmeet Singh confronted ignorance, hatred and more. He was on a journey to learn be educated. And he learned about ignorance and hatred, perhaps more than he bargained for. Read his story. I am told that Balmeet may join the forum to answer questions of members who would like to know more. Courtesy of our forum member and mentor VaheguruSeekr ji Vaisakhi 2009 Reflection As Vaisakhi 2009 celebrations come to an end, I reflect on the incident that helped me realize the importance of Sikh Saroop (physical embodiment of values). Location: Liviv, Ukraine 11/03/2007 9:00pm My Story: I am a visible Sikh who is an American Citizen who traveled abroad on a student exchange program to Budapest, Hungary from August to December 2007. While taking a weekend trip to Liviv, Ukraine I was attached from behind by a group of 6-8 skinheads while walking to a concert. They knocked me to the ground from behind and repeatedly kicked my head, chest, and back. My Dastaar was knocked off and lost. After about 2-3 minutes of the beating, they ran away. My wallet, camera, passport, etc. were all untouched. At this point I passed out and woke up at the hospital. The details in between were recounted to me by a friend. I was found by some people within the club and brought inside. My friend & others called an ambulance and waited for about 20 minutes for it to arrive. After it did not, they took me in a cab to a hospital where i was treated. I was then taken to our hotel to give a statement to the police in which they basically told me Ukraine is a dangerous place for non-Caucasian looking people and that unless I could identify the skinheads, there wasn't anything they could do. Afterward, I was taken back to the hospital for rest. I stayed for a day and checked myself out the next day to travel back to Budapest. I contacted the US embassy while in the hospital and they told me that Ukraine is a dangerous place, they sympathize with me, but could offer no other support. After I returned to Budapest by train, I contacted the US embassy there and received the same response. They provided me with a list of treatment centers which they recommended. I spent the rest of my exchange program dealing with doctor's appointments on a weekly basis. I suffered severe trauma to my head, nose, and right ear, and bruising to the rest of my body. My nose & right ear were stitched up. My right ear is deformed. My eyes were filled with blood for about a month afterward. Attached are some pictures taken at the hospital in Ukraine. I make this story public for the first time in the hope that it helps me to: 1) Acknowledge my past and move beyond victim mentality. 2) Inspire myself and others to continue to fight against ignorance and hatred. In the year and a half since my memorable trip to Ukraine, I have achieved many of my personal goals. I now hope to continue that progress to Vaisakhi 2010 and beyond.