28 February 2009

More Thoughts Of A Sleepless Night

As I write this, I have just gotten back from my daily walk, in fact I am still breathing heavily. A strange walk today. The naam-jap just refused to come, so I turned on my wrist radio - and the earbuds kept falling out of my ears. Then I stumbled over the body of a dead crow. (Death is easier than life.) I started remembering last night and a brilliant thought came to my mind: Why not a post for the Khaliblog?

So here you are.

Another sleepless night. Nothing worked. I tried muscle relaxation, I tried soothing music, I tried warm milk. I could have taken an Ambien, but I hate intoxicants, so I laid in my bed and thought about the day.

A friend had suggested to me that I'd drive anyone not into heavy-duty Khalsa-ing crazy. Really, though, off-line I do have a fairly normal life where I rarely talk about Sikh stuff. After all, Sikhi is something to do, not really something to talk about. Sikhi is a verb.

So what is being a 24/7 Sikh (is there any other kind?) all about. To begin with, it starts with what seems to be two polar opposites, the saint and the soldier, the sant-sipahi thing, closely related to the miri-piri thing. The sant-sipahi seems to have an almost Taoist flavour to it. "The good soldier is not violent. The best soldier acts without anger." No anger, no hatred. To unite the sant and the sipahi is incredibly difficult.

And it doesn't stop there. There is a third element. We are supposed to do this while living a normal life!. No monastery, no convent, no escape from the world for the Sikh. Instead pray, earn an honest living, give to charity, all while attempting to be that sant-sipahi thing. I wonder if anyone - aside from our Guru Jis, of course - have ever succeeded at this. I wonder what success in this for an ordinary Sikh, an ordinary Khalsa would look like. Well, we are supposed to do our best.

At this point, restless, I get up and walk around the house a bit. The pain in my knee only wakes me up further. I sit in the freezing cold living room and turn on the radio to "random tuning." Guru ji uses the voice of The Eagles to ask me, "If it all fell to pieces tomorrow, would you still be mine?"

And I think that being a Sikh means not just taking my life to the limit, but then, living in the limit, metaphorically, at least. (You engineers reading this know what I'm talking about.)

Then I hear Stephan Stills off the Four-Way Street Album (1970). "But if we can't do it with a smile on our face, if we can't do it with love in our heart, then children, we ain't got no right to do it at all. That just means we ain't learned nothing yet. We're supposed to be some sort of different. Dig it! Dig it!"

And when you're looking for your freedom
(Nobody seems to care)
And you can't find the door
(Can't find it anywhere)
When there's nothing to believe in
Still you're coming back, you're running back
You're coming back for more

So put me on a highway
And show me a sign
And take it to the limit one more time

Take it to the limit
Take it to the limit
Take it to the limit one more time

All pictures from Charles Meacham's series, Being Sikh. If you would like to see more - and I hope you do - go to his website, Charles Meacham Photographs, click on 'Galleries,' and go to 'Being Sikh.'

27 February 2009

SikhByChoice Project

SikhBy Choice? What does that mean? What does that mean to you? Who is SikhByChoice? The answer is, of course, every Sikh is a Sikh By Choice. Although most of us were born into Sikh families, that does not make you or me or anyone else a Sikh. No, that is a choice we make ourselves, personally, an individual choice.

The facebook group, SikhByChoice is collecting stories of how individuals became Sikhs. Yes, dear reader, if you are Sikh, that means YOU!

Please have a look at their SikhByChoice Project Website. You can read stories by others and learn how to leave your own as well.

Also please check out and possibly join the facebook group, SikhByChoice

Here is the illustrated Sikhography of Vishavjit Singh , the creator of Sikhtoons.

And below here is the latest Sikhtoon Cartoon Caption Contest. We have all gone through - or will yet go through - the matrimonial thing. What are Mr. Singh and Ms. Kaur saying to each other? To enter go to the Sikhtoon Caption Contest. Deadline for this contest is March 14, 2009. I have entered. Why not you?

25 February 2009


My dear friends reading this blog, I apologise for presenting this distasteful, disgusting article. I do feel, however, the truth of this needs to be known. I know my usual proIsraeli readers will be angry at me. Well, they'll just have to be angry. This is the truth and it needs to be known. If any of you has evidence that this is not true, please send it to me and I will publish it.

I am breaking my own rule that every post needs a picture; the appropriate pictures would get me arrested for distributing child pornography.
From IHRO:

Strip-Searching Children

Humiliation and Child Abuse at Israeli Checkpoints


Israeli officials have been regularly strip-searching children for decades, some
of them American citizens.

While organizations that focus on Israel-Palestine have long been aware that Israeli border officials regularly strip search men and women, If Americans Knew appears to be the first organization that has specifically investigated the policy of strip searching women. In the course of its investigation, If Americans Knew was astonished to learn that Israeli officials have also been strip searching young girls as young as seven and below.

According to interviews with women in the United States , Israel , the West Bank and Gaza , Israeli border officials periodically force Christian and Muslim females of all ages to remove their clothing and submit to searches.. In some cases the children are then "felt" by Israeli officials.

Sometimes mothers and children are strip-searched together, at other times little girls are taken from their parents and strip-searched alone. Women are required to remove sanitary napkins , sometimes with small daughters at their side. Sometimes women are strip searched in the presence of their young sons..

All report deep feelings of humiliation. Many describe weeping at the degradation they felt.

"I remember crying and pleading with my mother," Gaza journalist Laila El-Haddad recalls of an experience when she was 12-years-old, hoping that her mother could convince the Israeli official to allow her to keep her undershirt on. But parents are unable to shield their children, El-Haddad and others report.

"They had machine guns," El-Haddad explains. "We just had to submit." El-Haddad, who holds a Masters degree in Public Policy from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, believes that the intention of the strip searches is to humiliate Palestinians so that they won't return to Palestine

Oregon attorney Hala Gores remembers being strip-searched at the age of 10. Her family, Palestinian Christians from Nazareth , were leaving Israel because of Israeli discrimination against Christians. Gores has never returned to her family's ancestral home in Nazareth, she says, in part because she does not want to repeat the experience of having no control over what is done to her.

The Israeli policy appears to target only Christian and Muslim children, and is equally applied to those with Israeli citizenship and citizenship in other countries, including native-born Americans. There are no reports of Jewish children being strip-searched.

New Jersey stand-up comedian Maysoon Zayid describes being strip-searched at Ben Gurion Airport when she was "seven, eight, nine years old" on family trips to visit her parents' original home in Palestine . On her most recent trip in July 2006, Maysoon, an American citizen, had her sanitary pad taken by officials in Ben Gurion Airport . When the search was completed, she says, the Israeli official in charge, Inbal Sharon, then refused to return her pad or allow her to get another.

Zayid, who has cerebral palsy and was sitting in a wheelchair, was then forced to bleed publicly for hours while she waited for her flight.

Zayid, a former class president and yearbook editor at New Jersey 's Cliffside Park High School known for her irreverent comedy routines and strong personality, describes sobbing uncontrollably. "No one spoke up," she remembers. "There were several women, including the woman who was pushing my wheelchair, none of whom said a word."

When she boarded her flight, Zayid recalls, "The flight attendants looked at me in disgust." She told them what had happened, and the attendants then gave her some of their own clothing to use.

In addition to taking her sanitary napkin, Israeli officials also confiscated medication that Zayid is required to take when flying. As a result, she vomited repeatedly throughout the 12-hour flight.

Zayid, who founded a program for newly disabled Palestinian youths ­ many of them permanently disabled from attacks by Israeli forces ­ was so depressed by her treatment that she determined never to return. "But that's what they want," she says, "They want us to get to the point where we don't go back." She says that she is already planning to return to her volunteer work in the West Bank ..

Israeli practices vary and seem to be applied randomly, from elderly women to small children. In some instances women are taken into a room alone and are left sitting naked for hours. At other times they are strip-searched in groups, their clothes thrown in a pile. When they are finally allowed to get dressed, they describe having to rummage through the heap of clothing, naked and barefoot, to find their own garments.

Jewish Holocaust Survivor

While these policies largely target Palestinian and Palestinian- American women and children, some non-Palestinian Americans also report being subjected to strip searches by Israeli officials.

St. Louis resident Hedy Epstein, whose parents and extended family perished in Nazi camps, and whose story is featured in the Academy Award winning documentary "Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport," reports being strip searched three years ago following her participation in nonviolent protests in the West Bank. Epstein, who was 79 at the time, describes being forced to bend over for an Israeli official to search her internally.

The strip searches appear to be illegal under numerous statutes. The Geneva Conventions, to which Israel is a signatory, prohibit: "Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment" and specifically emphasize: "Women shall be especially protected against any attack on their honour"

Article 2 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child states: "No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy"

In the US , such policies would appear to violate child abuse statutes. The state of Utah , for example, defines Child Abuse as: "Any form of cruelty to a child's physical, moral or mental well-being." The Encarta Encyclopedia defines child abuse as "Intentional acts that result in physical or emotional harm to children."

While the If Americans Knew investigation focused on practices concerning women, many interviewees reported frequent random strip-searching of males as well; including American citizens, children, and the elderly.

While the practice is widely applied, many people find it too humiliating to speak of. One 68-year-old Christian businessman, who had been stripped naked at Ben Gurion airport in 2006 before being allowed to board his flight to return home, had never revealed his experience to his family until he learned of the If Americans Knew investigation. He then explained to his daughter why he had previously told her that he might never return to his original home, now in the state of Israel ..

Christians, a thriving community that made up approximately 15 percent of Palestine 's population before Zionist immigration and the creation of Israel (Muslims were 80 percent and Jews 5 percent), have now dwindled under Israeli occupation to approximately two percent of the total population.

Israeli spokespeople and sympathizers have bristled in recent months at the title of a book by former President Jimmy Carter, "Palestine Peace Not Apartheid.." In reply, Carter has emphasized that the Israeli "apartheid" he is describing is limited to the West Bank and Gaza . Many analysts have disagreed with Carter, providing evidence of pervasive discrimination within Israel itself. The If Americans Knew finding that Israel has been routinely strip-searching non-Jewish citizens of Israel would also indicate a wider policy of Israeli discrimination.

Since American taxpayers give Israel over $8 million per day, the Council for the National Interest, a Washington DC-based lobbying organization, is organizing a campaign to call on Congress to demand that Israel end these policies.

"We are extremely upset to learn that Israel is using American tax money in ways that degrade and humiliate women and children," says CNI President Eugene Bird. "We call on all Americans to help us on this campaign."

The organization urges people to begin contacting their Congressional representatives immediately, and to disseminate the video report by If Americans Knew as widely as possible.

Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew.
She can be reached at:




What Is The Postal Code For Khalistan?

I am sure that we all get strange e-mails from time to time. With this blog containing the name, Khalistan, and some of my other controversial, often even seditious, activities online I get more than my share, sometimes funny, sometimes threatening and sometimes just puzzling. Usually I just ignore them and file them in a folder I have made called "Strange e-mails."

This one, however, caught my attention as one of the strangest and definitely puzzling. Let me first say thank you, Elizabeth, for your kind words about the blog, I hope they are sincere. As for the rest. A boyfriend from Khalistan? I am not sure it is supposed to be a joke or what. The e-mail address, which begins "sexlizzy" may hold a clue.

I have found these various maps of Khalistan, from the more ambitious to the more realistic. On none of these, however, could I find a postal code. It seems different people have different ideas of the boundaries. Which one is the best, do you think? Personally, I favour Map 3, Punjab, although a coastline would be useful.
Liz, if you are at all serious, I apologise. But even you would have to admit that it is a strange one, eh?.

Here goes:

my name is elizabeth..
apon looking for khalistans postcode i came across ur web page
and have never been so touched in my life.. im lucky people like you are trying to express
what they know and belive so people like me can learn alot..
my boyfriend is from khalistan and i didnt no anything..
now bit of me is sad i know the story.. i cant imagine living it..
i hope one day that ur prays are answered..

take care..

name withheld


23 February 2009

Humiliation at LAX

iEveryone has, by now, sen the new look of this blog. I wanted something that would highlight the 25 years since the horrors of 1984. If the dark background makes it hard to read, let me know. There exists a template like this one that has a white background. The blue is nice and Sikh, though, I think.

Here is the profile picture I will be using for a while, at least. It is taken from a T-shirt
and reminds me of this picture, another favourite of mine of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale .

On to the business of this post...
This just now appeared in my inbox. The TSA is at it again. I get the feeling that we are going to live with this legacy of 9/11 for a long, long time. A long walk to freedom, indeed.


(An aside: SALDEF is a really effective organisation. They deserve your support.)

Sikh Traveler Humiliated at Los Angeles Airport

SALDEF outraged by allegations of verbal abuse and inappropriate touching by TSA officials

Washington DC; February 23, 2009 – The Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF), the oldest Sikh American civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, has called upon the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to investigate allegations of bias-based harassment and inappropriate touching of a Sikh American traveler by TSA officials at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on the night of February 5, 2009.

Mr. Singh, whose full name is being kept confidential at this time, passed through a metal detector at LAX without setting off an alarm but was asked to step aside for secondary screening of his dastaar (Sikh turban). When he noted that a group of observant Jewish travelers in the line ahead of him were permitted to pass through security without removing their large religiously-mandated head coverings or submitting to secondary screening, a supervisor accused Mr. Singh of being uncooperative and reportedly told him: "I've been working here for a long time and know my sh*t. We don't tolerate this type of nonsense from people like you."

Mindful of his right to request non-invasive screening alternatives, Mr. Singh requested passage through a puffer machine but was refused this option. Instead, Mr. Singh was subjected to a full body pat-down, during which a TSA officer reportedly touched and squeezed his neck, arms, buttocks, legs, and genitals. Mr. Singh was ultimately asked to pat down his own turban and submit to a chemical swab of his hands.

"We are troubled by these allegations because they reinforce our concern that TSA is subjecting Sikh travelers to unequal treatment," said SALDEF Legal Director Rajdeep Singh Jolly. "Sikh American travelers deserve to be treated with respect and need to remain vigilant to ensure that their rights are not trampled."

In order to properly document additional incidents and ensure that TSA is properly implementing their screening protocols, SALDEF requests that all Sikh air travelers document their airport screening experiences. Your feedback will help us alert TSA to deficiencies and ensure that they are being respectful of the religious rights of all travelers.

If you experience any form of discrimination due to your Sikh identity, or if you notice individuals of other faiths who wear religious clothing being treated differently from you at airports and elsewhere, please report it immediately to SALDEF at mailto:legal@saldef.org?subject=Airport%20Screening%20Complaint or by calling 202-393-2700 ext 131.

11 February 2009

Birth Anniversary of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale - 2009

Tomorrow where I am and today in India is his birth anniversary. I think I can do no better than reproducing my post from last year with D. S Gill of IHRO's inspiring article. (Please enjoy the additional picture above.)

I saw this picture and find it both beautiful and compelling.

I hope you love it as I do.

As usual, I am at a loss as to what to write about one of our great martyrs. What is there to say about him that hasn't already been said? That [Indira Gandhi] thought to use him as her tame Sikh and discovered that there are no tame lions? (I heard that the other day, and it gave me a smile!)

In my research, I happened upon this tribute by D S Gill of the International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO) of which I am a member. It inspired me and I hope it inspires you!


A Tribute to saint-soldier

Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale (1947-84)

On his birth day, February 12

Religion and politics are inseparable and synonymous in Sikhism. This
concept is a great contribution of Guru Hargobind Sahib to Sikhism. We are
considered anti-national. We wish to live in India, but are the Government
of India prepared to keep us in India? We want to live in India as
first-rate citizens, which, as at present, we are not. We would like to live
on par with other citizens, rather than slaves. As we made 90% sacrifices in
the freedom struggle of the country, we are not prepared to live like
slaves. Now it is for the Centre to state whether it wants to keep us as
slaves or as equal citizens. I am opposed neither to Khalistan nor in favour
of it. It is for the government to decide whether it wishes to keep us in
India or concede Khalistan. We will accept it; we will not repeat the 1947
blunder. My mission is to ensure that every one- Hindu, Sikh, Muslim remain
true to one's religion, and there is unity among all sections of people,
that the modesty of woman is not violated, that all social evils are
eradicated. For all this, I am dubbed as extremist. And, I do not mind being
known as extremist; rather I am proud to be such an extremist. This is what
Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale had said at different times during Dharam
Yudh Morcha (1982-84) and it has been reported in the SGPC White Paper, 1996
(Truth About Punjab). But on June 3, 1984, when the Golden Temple was under
the siege of the Indian Army, Sant Bhindrawale did say unequivocally 'now we
can not live in India: 'We need a separate home.' Earlier too, he had
expressed and repeatedly said that the day the Indian Army attacked the
Golden Temple and Akal Takht, foundation of Khalistan would be laid, A R
Darshi says so in his renowned book, Bhindrawale the Gallant Defender

And now, to carry forward the mission of Sikh Guru- fully enshrined in Sri
Guru Granth Sahib, as envisaged from Akal Takht, the glorious history of the
Sikhs and its recent propagation by the Sant- we in International Human
Rights Organisation propose the formation of a united front (third front) to
all those opposed to the crafty politics of the so-called traditional
Akalis, now largely led by Badal. And all those groups and individuals who
distance themselves from the legacy of the Rajiv-Longowal Accord should
co-operate, co-ordinate and actively participate in the proposed Panthic

And they should have commitment towards the two historic documents- Amritsar
Declaration and Anandpur Sahib Resolution, with an endeavour for fulfilling
the spirit behind these documents and the Sikh litany Raj Karega Ga Khalsa.

We in IHRO will appreciate if the interested groups or individuals could
pool their efforts to for doing Sarbat Da Bhala (Welfare of all) and, thus,
proving that Raj Karega Khalsa, Aaki Rahey Na Koi (when Khalsa rules, no one
remains in distress) and making this mission a success. So, the Guru Panth
has to project only the Khalsa polity.

Sri Guru Granth Sahib is a perpetual Guru (Guide) and a model for truthful
living: ''Falsehood will perish, O Nanak, and truth shall prevail,
ultimately.' They should start afresh and stick to a new revolutionary
ideology aimed at the spiritual rejuvenation, moral uplift and social
emancipation of people, confronting the dogmatism and religious hypocrisy of
the priestly classes and challenging the religio-political oppression of the
contemporary leaders.

It is a good beginning that Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) president
Simranjit Singh Mann, Shiromani Khalsa Dal president Bhai Daljit Singh Bittu
and Damdami Taksal chief Baba Harnam Singh Khalsa, on February 12, the
birthday of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale, at Fatehgarh Sahib, announced to
carry forward the message of Bhindranwale to meet the aspirations of the
people of Punjab with a firm faith in justice and peace. For this, they
should put into practice the idea of collective leadership (Panch Pradhani)
at the gross root level along with the concept of selection, propagated and
practised by the Gurus and, thereafter, to sift out meritorious servers from
amongst them.

And they should strive to guide public opinion by propagating rational and
constructive views on Sikh Polity and human rights, including the right to
self-determination by virtue of which nations and peoples regain their lost
countries, maintain their cultural identity, and establish basic human and
economic rights. They should also co-operate and co-ordinate all political
and other groups in Punjab who categorically distance themselves from the
legacy of Rajiv-Longowal Accord and make commitment to secure socio-economic
and political justice and the dignity of the individual. In addition, on
that basis, combat racism and eradicate untouchability, castes and

Will they be able to do all that, is no one's assurance because all the
splinter Panthic groups have a problem of being threatened or highjacked
from each other. Smaller the group, graver is the problem. Ideologically,
politically or commitment-wise, there seems no difference or contradiction
among them to unite for the mission of the Guru. There may be some
organisational or day-to-day working problems that may be sorted out by
sitting together. Problem, which may crop up in the process of uniting, is
of leadership. For some time, collective leadership may the best choice.
But alas, petty vested interests with little uncanny personality cult seem a
big hindrance in forming the United Front to lead the Panth. We do not know
why they get together to celebrate birthday of great Sant Bhindranwale if
they cannot get on for his mission. May God bless them with politically wise
minds! d_oh.gif

D S Gill

Chair IHRO


06 February 2009


For those of you who think I am too easy on Egypt, I offer you this sad and sickening story. What the hell is going on?

Aren't the Israeli bombs enough?

Gazan children denied treatment abroad

Children prevented from leaving through Egypt border as Palestinian Authority seeks to excise influence on Gaza.

By Jonathan Cook - JERUSALEM

For four days running, an ambulance has driven 15-year-old Amira Ghirim from Shifa Hospital in Gaza to the Rafah border in the hope that she will be allowed to cross into Egypt and then on to France, where she has been promised emergency surgery.

Amira’s left arm and thigh were crushed and her internal organs damaged by falling rubble when a shell hit her home in the Tel al Hawa neighbourhood of Gaza City in the final days of Israel’s offensive. The attack killed her father, brother and sister, leaving her an orphan.

But, despite her urgent need for surgery, Amira has been turned away at the border each time, said her aunt, Mona Ghirim. “Each morning we arrived at the crossing and the Egyptian soldiers cursed us and told us to go away.”

Ms Ghirim said Amira’s condition has been deteriorating because of the long periods out of hospital. Yesterday, after hearing news that the border would remain shut, they decided to abandon the journey. “She is very ill and these futile trips are not helping.”

Amira is one of four children who have been offered potentially life-saving surgery by a team of doctors in France. But she and the other children appear to be victims of a bureaucratic wrangle involving the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and Egypt.

Mohammed Salem, the head of a medical group based in France known as Pal Med, was among the doctors accompanying the children through the crossing last Friday. He said the doctors had been allowed through, but the ambulances carrying the children were blocked. When the doctors tried to return, they were denied entry into Gaza.

“We do not know why the children were refused,” he said. “We had organised all the relevant papers and documents. We were told once we passed through Rafah that the ambulance carrying the children would be allowed to follow.”

The reason appears to be a sudden change of policy by the Palestinian health ministry in Ramallah, which issued a statement the day before the four children tried to leave Gaza saying that it believed there was “no more reason to refer any more children for treatment abroad”.

Nearly 1,300 Palestinians were killed and a further 5,300 injured during Israel’s 22-day attack on Gaza.

In the days immediately after Israel’s declaration of a ceasefire on Jan 18, hundreds of seriously wounded Gazans were transferred through the Rafah crossing into Egypt. Many are being treated in Egyptian hospitals, and others have been sent abroad.

But in recent cases, Egyptian officials appear to have preferred to abide by the wishes of the Palestinian health ministry than create diplomatic friction.
Two of the four children, Hazem Abu Odeh, 12, and Iman Khadum, nine, need surgery to stop bleeding from their kidneys.

The fourth, Alla Abu Dagan, 16, suffered multiple fractures and abdominal wounds from a shell blast.

A diplomatic source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Amira and the other children had probably been caught in a political row resulting from the split between the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority, based in the West Bank, and the Hamas government in Gaza.

“The PA wants to show it is exercising authority in Gaza, too. It is using its control over the international medical aid reaching Gaza as a way to show it is in charge and making things happen,” the source said.

The Palestinian health ministry was unavailable for comment.

Ms Ghirim said her niece had been through a terrible trauma. “After the house was shelled, she crawled out of the building to get help, but found the street deserted. She slept out in the open and told me she could hear the voices of soldiers speaking Hebrew all night.

“In the morning she crawled 500 metres to another house to hide. She stayed there until she was eventually found when the owner returned home. He said she was in a shocking condition, covered in blood and dust.”

International medical organisations have been carrying out their own assessments of conditions inside Gaza over the past few days. The World Health Organization is due to issue a report in the coming days.

A team of 12 Israeli Arab doctors from Physicians for Human Rights returned on Sunday. They warned that Gaza’s health care system had been stretched to its very limits and that wounded patients were at risk of dying.

Riyad Haddad, a surgeon at the Carmiel Medical Centre in Haifa, said: “There has been a lot of medical aid, but the treatment doctors are able to offer has been severely compromised by Gaza’s many months of being cut off from the rest of the world.”

He said technicians lacked training to operate modern hospital equipment, doctors had not attended medical seminars on the latest developments in their fields, and there was a severe shortage of trained nursing teams.

He also said that Gaza lacked the psychologists needed to deal with the vast scale of mental trauma inflicted on the population.

Of the thousands of injured, more than 600 would be left with permanent disabilities, he said. “Gaza badly needs proper rehabilitation centres to cope with that number of disabled.”

Dr Haddad said many of Gaza’s doctors he spoke with had reported unusual and difficult-to-treat injuries that appeared to be the result of Israel using experimental weapons during the offensive.

He also warned that unexploded ordnance was already claiming the lives of children, who were playing with munitions lying among the rubble. Last weekend the International Committee of the Red Cross said unexploded ordnance posed a “major new danger” to the civilian population.

Gaza may yet face major epidemics such as cholera that could claim many more lives, Dr Haddad said. “Although most of the bodies have been recovered from the rubble, you can see and smell that there are dead animals – sheep, goats, dogs and cats – everywhere.”

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest book is “Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jkcook.net. A version of this article originally appeared in The National.

03 February 2009

Reading The SRM

If you are a regular reader, you might notice that, for the first time, something has displaced our dedication. A poll. I love polls. I'm afraid my readers don't. Please indulge me this time. I am really very curious whether Sikhs actually read the SRM (Sikh Rehat Maryada). And when I get curious, I take action.

This is not a scientific poll, but any means. To begin with, my readers hardly represent a cross section of the Sikh community. First, you are probably at least semifluent in English. And you are online. And you are not put off of a publication with "Khalistan" in the title. So I am aware that you are an elite group.

Nevertheless, this will give me some idea if anyone actually reads this document. It's not very long; I think I read it in two sittings. It is available at the link given in both English and Punjabi. So, please, take this survey.

A point of interest, my own dear Dad never accepted the SRM or the SGPC, considering them both artifacts of British occupation. I find the SRM to be an imperfect, flawed document. It is, however, the best we have and I accept it and try to follow it. Right now the Panth has more pressing problems than revising it.

Someday, that will need to be done, but it can wait. My poll cannot. Please take it now!

The pictures are a little bit interesting. I googled on SRM Pictures, curious (of course!) at what would come up. I frankly found the first picture offensive and decline to use it. These are the next three. The painting is from a Thai Sikh site; the Photographs are from Sikhwiki.