South Asian Americans call Obama administration’s censorship a “slap in the face on Valentine’s Day”
WASHINGTON, Feb. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Early Thursday afternoon, the Obama administration removed from its “We the People” website a petition asking the president to reassess Gandhi. South Asian American community leaders who endorsed the petition said they were deeply disappointed in the administration’s resort to censoring free speech.
“This is a slap in the face on Valentine’s Day from a president who promised to be the most transparent in American history,” said Bhajan Singh, Founding Director of Organization for Minorities of India (OFMI). “Gandhi’s racism, gender bias, and caste discrimination are recorded in his own writings. His shameless sexual exploitation of his teenage nieces is well-documented and it turned even his own sons against him. The content of the petition to the White House was based on strong evidence proving Gandhi, by any stretch of imagination, doesn’t deserve to be mentioned by the leader of the most powerful nation of the world.”
The petition, begun on February 10, stated: “Gandhi rejected essential human ideals that all are created equal with right to life and liberty.” The petition explained that the Hindu icon pioneered racial segregation in pre-apartheid South Africa, pushed for war on South African blacks, and volunteered in the British Army to help kill Zulus. It further said Gandhi sexually abused his grandnieces, Manu and Abha, defending the “fundamental divisions” of the Hindu caste system, and spread violence against non-Hindus. Gandhi, it also said, was a “five-time Nobel Peace Prize reject.” He was nominated in 1937, 1938, 1939, 1947 and 1948, but turned down every time.
President Obama often cites Mohandas Gandhi as his role model, calling him “an inspiration” and “a real hero of mine.” In 2008, he claimed Gandhi’s “spirit and example… extinguished apartheid in South Africa.” When asked in 2009 what person he would most like to dine with, whether dead or alive, he named Gandhi.
“The myth of Gandhi has found entry in our school textbooks,” said Dr. Muni Subramani, International Human Rights Relations Advisor to OFMI. “His statues adorn our squares. His followers preach caste divisions in American communities. When the president adores Gandhi without reason, the American people are misled. We have a right to urge our president to disassociate from such a poisonous personality.”
Arvin Valmuci, Communications Director of OFMI, remarked, “In good faith, we petitioned the White House to publicly reassess Mohandas Gandhi after our president has extolled him to an extent that can’t be supported by any historical evidence. As conscientious Americans, we believe our president should not fall for an historical myth. We will not be stopped. We have started a new petition at Change.org, we will gather 100,000 signatures, we will make our voices heard.”
Similar petitions censored recently include one for Obama to return his Nobel Peace Prize. In both cases, no explanation was offered for removal other than the non-specific claim that “the petition was outside the scope of We the People.”
Petition originally available at this link: http://wh.gov/pSLY
View and sign new petition here: http://tinyurl.com/anfgnw4