Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Fate On A Subway Platform-- And Ugly, Ignorant Uniquely American Racism And Xenophobia


For the last two weeks the only news in India-- and 24/7-- has involved the brutal gang rape of a 23-year old unnamed woman in Delhi who died from her injuries over the weekend. She was undergoing medical treatment in Singapore and her body was shipped back to Delhi today. Delhi has been overtaken with protests-- and shocking police brutality-- the entire time. The center of Delhi has ground to a halt, even the subway system shutting down all the stations in the center of town. And the roads were all blocked by the heavy-handed security forces who treated the hundreds of thousands of women and student protestors as though they were enemies of the state, brutally beating them, although usually after making sure there were no cameras around. The Indian police are much better at beating up women than protecting them from rapists. Rape in India is an epidemic and the anger has boiled over. "Braveheart," as the 23 year old victim has been dubbed by the media, has become the symbol for changing that attitude.

It was just as well that everyone in India was preoccupied with Braveheart's story for the last two weeks and not paying any attention to the news from the NYC subway system. People in India generally admire America and American culture and, at the same time, realize Americans can be pretty crazy. Everyone we talked to was horrified by the power of the NRA to prevent progress of the gun problem in the U.S. At the link in the first paragraph we talked a little about the Delhi subway system. Roland has an instinctual fear for standing at the edge of the platform near the tracks, mostly because he fears some crazy person shoving him into an on-coming train. But if you don't stand near the edge, you don't get a seat-- or perhaps not even a place to stand! When the news of Erika Menendez in Queens comes out, I wouldn't go near the edge either. Hers is the deranged story about what makes America very ugly to so many people otherwise predisposed favorably towards our country.
A 31-year-old woman was arrested on Saturday and charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime in connection with the death of a man who was pushed onto the tracks of an elevated subway station in Queens and crushed by an oncoming train.

The woman, Erika Menendez, selected her victim because she believed him to be a Muslim or a Hindu, Richard A. Brown, the Queens district attorney, said. “The defendant is accused of committing what is every subway commuter’s nightmare: Being suddenly and senselessly pushed into the path of an oncoming train,” Mr. Brown said in an interview.

In a statement, Mr. Brown quoted Ms. Menendez, “in sum and substance,” as having told the police: “I pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus and Muslims ever since 2001 when they put down the twin towers I’ve been beating them up.” Ms. Menendez conflated the Muslim and Hindu faiths in her comments to the police and in her target for attack, officials said.

The victim, Sunando Sen, was born in India and, according to a roommate, was raised Hindu.

Mr. Sen “was allegedly shoved from behind and had no chance to defend himself,” Mr. Brown said. “Beyond that, the hateful remarks allegedly made by the defendant and which precipitated the defendant’s actions should never be tolerated by a civilized society.”

...Mr. Sen, 46, was looking out over the tracks when a woman approached him from behind and shoved him onto the tracks, according to the police. Mr. Sen never saw her, the police said.

The woman fled the station, running down two flights of stairs and down the street.

By the next morning, a brief and grainy black-and-white video of the woman who the police said was behind the attack was being broadcast on news programs.

Patrol officers picked up Ms. Menendez early Saturday after someone who had seen the video on television spotted her on a Brooklyn street and called 911, said Paul J. Browne, the chief spokesman for the Police Department. She was taken to Queens and later placed in lineups, according to detectives. Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said on Friday that, according to witnesses’ accounts, there had been no contact on the subway platform between the attacker and the victim before the shove.
Yeah, I'd be staying away from the edge of the platform if I were back in Delhi now. And, sure enough, this news is starting to break in India.

Monster (left) is denied bail

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At 9:14 AM, Blogger John said...

India is the world's most populous democracy.

Well it certainly sounds like the good ol' USofA, the self-proclaimed, world's"premier" democracy: "heavy-handed security forces who treated the hundreds of thousands of women and student protestors as though they were enemies of the state, brutally beating them, although usually after making sure there were no cameras around."

John Puma


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