Monday, September 11, 2006

Remembering 9/11

Hard to believe that it’s been five years since 9/11 when 2,973 people were killed. I remember that day I had just come back from school in the afternoon and switched on the tele. I was slightly unsure what had happened but every channel had the news on it. Watching the news in detail it became clear that terrorists had blown up the Twin Towers. The footage on the news looked unreal! It was like something out of a movie. It was sad to think of so many people being burnt or crushed to death.
ਖੂਨ ਕੇ ਸੋਹਿਲੇ ਗਾਵੀਅਹਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਰਤੁ ਕਾ ਕੁੰਗੂ ਪਾਇ ਵੇ ਲਾਲੋ ॥੧॥
khoon ke sohile gavee-ahi naanak rat kaa kungoo paa-e ve laalo. ||1||
O Nanak! The wedding songs of murder are being sung and blood is sprinkled instead of saffron. ||1||
(Ang 723)

Later on I got a message from work of not to come to work today. At the time I used to work in a call centre selling card protection insurance. Obviously you get some abusive phone calls when ringing someone to sell insurance. However, I would just say to them "God bless you - thank you for your time." So as you can imagine ringing someone on 9/11 would be insensitive so the call centre was closed for the day.

The link of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda being involved and the constant showing of Bin Laden's face didn't look too good! Sitting there watching the news the thought of ignorant people mistaking Sikhs for the Taliban went through my head.

It had only been 9 months since I started to wear a Dastaar (turban) and kept my Kes (hair). It was initially difficult to deal with the confidence of wearing a Dastaar and keeping Sikhi Saroop with there being no other turbaned Sikh youngsters living in the town and a small minority of ignorant people at school shouting silly comments, laughing or making snide remarks like "Turbanator", "Like your hat" or "Rag-head", on top of Pakistani boys annoyingly giggling and saying "Daler Mehndi" and singing "Naa Naa Naa Naa Re" (Daler Mehndi song!). It generally died down after confronting people and also talking about Sikhi and the significance of Sikhi Saroop in different year group assemblies, multi-cultural days held at the school and talking about Sikhi to students in the school in Religious Education classes.

9/11 happens and now the comments were "Bin Laden" and "Taliban". It was only a few people but still at the time I felt annoyed. I became very self-conscious. If someone were laughing nearby I would think they are laughing at me. If a car hooted its horn I would assume it’s at me. I gradually learnt through reading Gurbaani, doing Simran and going to school reciting Mool Mantr, not to get worked up, to have control over my emotions and remain graceful. With Guru's Kirpaa when someone would laugh or say a small passing comment it didn't affect me or dwindle my confidence as before.
ਹਰਿ ਬਿਨੁ ਆਨ ਨ ਕੋਈ ਸਮਰਥੁ ਤੇਰੀ ਆਸ ਤੇਰਾ ਮਨਿ ਤਾਣੁ ॥
har bin aan na koee samrath teree aas teraa man taaN
O Vaheguru! Other than You, no one is all-powerful. You are the Hope and the Strength of my mind.
(Ang 1323)

There was one incident when one racist boy would continuously laugh every time he saw me and would point at my Dastaar and get others standing around him to shout "Bin Laden" or "Taliban" at me. Once I was so frustrated so I confronted him and he said "Sorry, sorry..." However, he dint seem to get the message. So I decided to tell the Head of Year that a group of boys are being very annoying and that one racist boy is the main ringleader. She asked what action should be taken. It was decided to nip the bud and call the boy in a meeting to see me face to face infront of the teacher and the school community Police Officer.

I had written a poem about racism, which was motivated by the death of Vijay Singh and generally being fed up of ignorant silly racists. Hearing the poem and being told the sad consequences of ignorance and racism, using examples of Sikhs being abused, attacked and killed in hate-crimes, the racist boy started to cry and said "Sorry" to me. He couldn't stop the tears. It was a pleasant surprise. When I saw him again he humbly smiled and said, "I am sorry about before. I am really sorry. Hope we can be friends" I smiled back and said, “No problem”. Guru jee’s Kirpaa (Grace) is amazing!


Anonymous said...

waheguru ji ka khalsa
waheguru ji ki fateh

paaji ur posts are funny yet informative

it made me larf at the comment naa naa naa re but i understood that kids pint ridicule to others, but wen it happens to them its different

i live in a gora area in the US i am too experiencing some racial problems just pray that with maharaj's kirpa they will go away

thank you soo much veer ji 4 this post it has given me slight himmat

he who angers you, conquers you

and i will let noone conquer me accpet the love of sangat and the holy words of shabads that flow from my headfnes into my ears


fateh jiyo

singhu said...


Yesterday, I was seeing the documentary so call "9/11" and i just could not eat after seeing how those innocent people was jumping out of the windows and struggle to escape.

Just after 9/11, the another day i arrive heathrow and purse my studies in UK and have to wait more then 8 hrs before the immigration!…


Tajinder Kaur said...

That was a sad day in not only in America's histiry but in the history of mankind! so many innoceant lives lost over nothing but one man's distorted views. May Waheguru bless those who lost their lives as well give strenght to their loved ones to move on.