Srinivas Kuchibhotla’s death in a Kansas bar on the 22nd of February shocked not only India but the whole of this increasingly intolerant world. The perpetrator shot at Srinivas and his friend assuming them to be immigrants from the Middle East. Media establishments continued to report the incident as a potential hate crime and acknowledged it to be racially motivated much later.
The Trump administration, shockingly, offered a condemnation in the Congress days after the incident and also only after being severely criticised for not taking the crime as seriously as it should have been. Where is the US of A heading under Trump?
America, for centuries together, has been a melting pot of cultures. To be even precise, they borrow their culture from the diversity of international communities that they enjoy. Donald Trump shocked the world when he got elected to the Presidential office and also when he banned individuals of 7 nationalities from entering the American territory. People were not allowed to come back to a country which they called home for generations, families were separated and broken, airports were filled with distraught hearts and people yearning to reunite with the land and families. Once such moving instance was when a daughter was not allowed to fly to the United States because she was an Iranian citizen, while her parents were still in the US and she was asked to fly back to Tehran from Dubai where she had a layover.
Though luck found its way in a few lives predominantly the ban was severely criticised. What was even more appalling was the indifference. While one section of the American society called for the expatriates, refugees, immigrants (as one may intend to refer to them) to be allowed there was that one section which went ahead & supported the move. This is the group which believes that immigrants are meant to snatch jobs, resources, benefits away and also pose a threat to American security because they can turn their back against them any day and drop a bomb or kill someone. Trump’s idea of governance revolves around or rather is primarily characterised by the American identity. Americans by origin and not someone who says Iraqi by origin and American by nationality. Origin counts!
Now one may wonder why did I talk so much about the ban while I intended to focus on Srinivas’s death and the silence around it. If you notice there is a very significant pattern in recent American affairs. Trump is a very typical right-wing leader. While the word “immigrants” is increasingly getting stigmatised in the Western world, the silence around Srinivas’s death is not surprising, to be honest. In fact, however pessimistic I may sound, this is bound to increase. The recent Quebec mosque attacks were done by somebody who was inspired by Trump. Right wing fundamentalism as one may call it has found a lot of strength and motivation now as leaders try to break down societies and multiculturalism in the pretext of the nation’s security. But of course, Mr President decided to not address it, at all.
The Indian diaspora in the United States is one of the largest. As I sit and write to you news of another Indian getting shot resurfaces. With leaders like Farage and La Penn picking momentum, right-wing nationalism is at an all-time high. A phenomenon which clearly prefers a homogenous society over one which will embrace differences and diversity. Srinivas was a victim of this phenomenon. Has one ever thought about it this way, the perpetrator claimed that he shot Srinivas only because he thought he was from the Middle East? Not belittling the loss of Srinivas but the world would have walked off and stayed a silent if it was a Syrian, Iraqi or Afghan shot. A killing cannot be justified. As all of us pray for Srinivas’s soul to rest in peace and his family more & more strength we need to accept one very sad reality of this world: Xenophobia and Trump. Believe me, we have rough days ahead.