"Are South Asians Missing in the Immigration Fight?" by Veena Dubal

July 7, 2006

Source: South Asian Magazine for Action and Reflection


On July 7, 2006 South Asian Magazine for Action and Reflection published an opinion piece by Veena B. Dubal, an activist with the Alliance for South Asians taking Action (ASATA): "The names of men who have disappeared since the World Trade Center tragedies were listed starkly against a bare white wall... Farouk Ali-Haimoud... Rajiv Dabhadkar... Harinder Singh. These men are among the many that have been lost to their families and communities. Detained, deported, maybe even murdered, they are the casualties of a new war. I walked contemplatively to another side of the post-9/11 art exhibit that I had come to see. This room was dedicated to the experience of detention, and an entire cell had been replicated in one corner... Iraq is the new Vietnam; Muslims are the new Communists. But no one is taking to the streets. Few are raising their fists in protest. People struggle to make connections between the global war on terror, the domestic war against immigrants, hate violence, and American foreign policy. Instead, those who of us who are most privileged to make noise—who are protected by our immigration status and our capital—walk leisurely in circles around art exhibits, sipping wine and shaking our heads at the woes of the world, knowing full well that we should be livid about something. We're mad as hell... but apathetic also... Though an estimated 2 million of the 12 million undocumented workers in this country are from Asia, there have been few from our communities protesting alongside our Latino/a brothers and sisters... Since September 11th, more than 13,000 Arab and South Asians have already been ordered to deportation proceedings... Currently, 1500 people—largely South Asians, Muslims, and Arabs—are being detained indefinitely."