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USA Sikhs at the 57th Presidential Inauguration

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by spnadmin, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Sikhs at the 57th Presidential Inauguration

    By Anju Kaur,


    Some Sikhs had prime tickets to see Barack Obama being sworn in to his second term as president of the United States.


    http://www.sikhnn.com/headlines/2411/sikhs-57th-presidential-inauguration

    Reporting from Washington - Some Sikhs were among the more than 800,000 who attended President Obama’s inauguration swearing-in ceremony this morning on Capitol Hill.

    “I’m excited to be here for the second time,” said Harpreet Singh Sandhu of Richmond, California. “It’s exciting, it’s early, it’s cold, (but) not as bad as last time.”

    Harpreet Singh was one of about 20 Sikh delegates to attended the Democratic National Convention last September. His service earned him highly coveted tickets in a prime location at the inauguration, in the front seated area below the president’s podium.

    “It’s exciting to be here because this president means a lot to me because of what he’s done over the years,” he said. “(It is) what I’ve been affected directly in terms of healthcare for my kids, education, for them, and also for my mother who now is under disability, and what it provides for that. And moving forward, there are things that need to happen… But today we’re very excited about celebrating this beautiful event.”

    Harpreet Singh came with three other Sikhs, coincidentally seated in the same area as SikhNN. While no other Sikhs were in this area, Harpreet Singh said he had seen others in the standing areas behind him and on the National Mall, the large area between the Capitol and the White House.

    The entire area around the mall was blocked off to vehicle traffic, and some parts also blocked off to pedestrian traffic. The area closest to the podium was divided into multiple smaller ticketed areas with seated sections in the front and standing sections in the back.

    Behind the reflecting pool, quite a distance away, began the general ticketed area, which covered less than one-fourth of the mall. And the rest of it was open to the non-ticketed public.

    The large crowds, security and the fenced-in sections made it difficult to move around. It became impossible to search for other Sikhs.

    Harpreet Singh was accompanied by Amarjit Singh, head of Khalistan Affairs Center in Washington, and Balwinder Singh Chatha, secretary of the Sikh Gurdwara of Greater Washington in Gainesville, Virginia, and his wife.

    “The response of the Obama administration (to the Oak Creak shooting) was such that American flags were at half mast for a week… and Obama said, ‘Today all America is Sikh,’” said Amarjit Singh. “I think that gave more sympathy in the Sikh circles in this country for the Obama administration. And this time Sikhs have overwhelmingly voted for Obama and Joe Biden.

    “That is one of the reasons that I wanted to make sure that I should be present here during this ceremony.”

    Major intersections to the National Mall began closing on Sunday. By 5 a.m. Monday morning, National Guard troops were guarding every closed intersection with Humvees. Secret Service personnel and police officers were clearly visible everywhere. And many official vehicles being escorted by police to the Capitol slowed down traffic that was just beginning to swell.

    Massive numbers of pedestrians crisscrossed the outskirts of mall and began to form lines at security checkpoints that already were long. Security gates opened for the VIP press at 6 a.m. Everyone else entered at 7 a.m.

    The temperature stayed steady in the low 30-degrees. Most people were dressed in heavy coats, boots, hats and gloves.

    It was a race to get the best spot. The lucky ones in the front watched as celebrities were escorted to their seats. Many were surround by admirers taking pictures. But even from the Sikhs’ section it was difficult to see behind the podium area. Everyone relied on the huge screens that flanked either side of the podium to see public officials, members of Congress, the president and vice president, and their families, as they walked out to their seats.

    But everything on the podium, including the swearing-in ceremonies, were clearly visible.

    “I’m here to join the inauguration of a great president, Obama,” said Balwinder Singh. “It’s a great pleasure for me…”
     
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  3. Parma

    Parma United Kingdom
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    Great speech I hope he sticks to it! :whatzpointkudi: If they only had this approach to democracy in the UK! Maybe with time the UK will get an upgrade of thinking! Change with the times or the time changes you! I have noticed your policies reflect the all seeing eye! Observe the truth and it will teach you! God bless! The only thing I could really down play them on is their policy in Israel but I guess the reason maybe a way to control the extreamism of certain faiths, which is a bit too much for any society to integrate with! Slowly with time I hope common sense prevails and people can just live in normal peace without hate! Love will conquer all! Respect!
     
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  4. Brother Onam

    Brother Onam United States
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    Before we start tripping all over each other trying to praise Obama, let's consider who he is. The best I can say about him is he is a decent president and far better than Romney would have been.
    Nevertheless, any good this man does in his domestic affairs is overshadowed and nullified by the fact that he presides over the disgusting and reprehensible drone program.
    In the three days leading up to and including the day he stood at this Inauguration event speaking flowery words about 'peace', 'an end to wars' and such nonsense, 11 people were blown up by Hellfire missiles in Yemen. It is no secret that many women and children have been torn to pieces for being near a targeted individual or being wrongly targeted on some faraway computer screen. Even if the number is small, as Obama is always quick to declare, I think if among those unfortunate dead were included the beloved daughters of the president, he would be a little more concerned about 'collateral damage'.
    To the leadership at the helm of this hellish killing system, far away, poor, brown people, with no great significance or power, whether they are in Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia, or whether they were in Vietnam or even Punjab, you better believe they would be dismissed just as swiftly by this 'great, compassionate' leader, just as cavalierly as any other military 'hawk' in our history would.
    Without abatement, every Tuesday, Obama and his crew sit down with a 'kill-list', consider the profiles of the many declared enemies, and decide who will die next. In the following days, missiles come flying out of the clouds at various places around the globe and blow humans to pieces. Mind you, the official position of this administration is that every male killed, who is old enough to fight is considered guilty and the killing is justified.
    So I don't waste a lot of time cheering and getting teary-eyed about this old devil, but rather hope and strive for a day when we not be governed by blood-letters and warmongers, be they the lesser of two evils or not.
     
    #3 Brother Onam, Jan 23, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013
  5. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Veer Onam ji

    You speak most eloquently. But what should those American Sikhs have done? Should they have refused to attend? Turned the invitations away? Should Sikh news ignore they were there? This is the first president to bring Sikhs into cabinet level positions. And probably the first president to acknowledge that there are "prominent" Sikhs to invite to an inauguration. Something good comes from this. Sikhs are being taken off the "kill list" even as we speak. The federal authorities know today what they did not know some years ago... what a Sikh is and what a Sikh looks like and what a Sikh believes. In 2001 Sikhs were "diaper heads". In August 2012, when Sikhs in the Oak Creek sangat were shot dead like rats, both federales acted that day and news media paid attention. In August 2012, we saw government understanding that Sikhs are victims of terror, not terrorists themselves. Something good has come from Obama. He even listens to Sikhs complain about airport security and turban pat-downs. Of course there is more to do.
     
    #4 spnadmin, Jan 23, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2013
  6. Brother Onam

    Brother Onam United States
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    Sat Naam,
    I was delighted when Obama was elected, simply because of the amazing achievement that that represented. At a time when America's most hated enemies were Hussein and Osama, to see the ascendancy of a Barack Hussein Obama was unbelievable. And, as I said, generally I find him to be a pretty good president, especially domestically. But I would never regard him as some kind of hero. He is what all presidents are: the captain of this big, brutal, capitalist machine, -and he represents her selfish interests. That's his job.
    Nor am I mad at any Sikhs for attending his Inauguration. As you said, anything that is an opportunity for Sikhs to be better seen and understood is worthwhile. My point is just that, as genuinely spiritual people, rather than just mainstream Americans with turbans, it won't do to embrace such an administration unquestioningly, or champion the man without looking at the big picture of America's real impact on the world.
    Since ancient times, genuine spirituality has stood at odds with worldliness and the mainstream, with good reason.
    Yeshua (Jesus) said: "broad is the way that leads unto destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it."
    Just as is stated in anand Sahib: "the path of believers is peculiar. It is very difficult to tread that path...This path is sharper than a razor's edge and finer than a hair."
    To quote from the Bible one more time, in the book of James: "Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself the enemy of God."
    The reason I write this is just to say that it's easy to compartmentalize religion and put it on a backburner in favour of maintaining good business relations and partaking of comfortable values and conveniences of the mainstream, but true believers ought to weigh everything against the hukam of Waheguru, Lord of Life. By this measure we will generally find ourselves at odds with the purpose and value system of the mundane nation-state, especially one as crass and overbearing as the US.
    As the Jap Ji states: "Aharan mat ved hathiar. Bhau khala agan tap tao."
    Everything we do should first be tried in the fires of Har, to bring forth righteous conduct.
    Sorry for the many words, Har Har Naam
     
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  7. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Brother ONam ji


    I can see you just don't like the US. The US will continue to be seen as overbearing for as long as it is powerful. When that phase of history ends, another nation will take her place.
     

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