Can immigrants be a part of the American dream?

America conveys support for the victims of the shooting by organising a vigil in Olathe, Kansas.
America conveys support for the victims of the shooting by organising a vigil in Olathe, Kansas.

One evening. One misunderstanding. One bullet.

That’s all it took to change the life of Sunayana Dumala, the wife of Srinivas Kuchibhotla an Indian who was killed in a hate crime in Kansas, United States of America on February 22, 2017. Srinivas was an Indian engineer who had been living in the US for the past decade.

Srinivas, referred to as Srinu by family and friends, was just like the thousands of Indians who go to America every year to fulfill their aspirations. He dared to be a part of the American dream and paid the price for it with his life.

America has always been called a land of dreams and opportunities, a land where people from all over the world come to reach their goals and realise their ambitions. Sadly, the same dreamland has now become a nightmare for the dreamers.

Ever since Donald Trump got elected as the President of the US, the atmosphere in the country has become really tense and hostile. Trump, infamous for his promises of building a wall around Mexico and cleansing the country of immigrants has actually delivered on his word in such regards. His decision on immigration ban has drawn severe criticism and divided the country even more.

The killing of Indian techie Srinivas is being considered as the first hate crime incident under Trump’s presidency. Adam Purinton, the shooter, had opened fire on Srinivas and Alok Madasani, both Indians working at an American company ‘Garmin’, inside a crowded bar in Olathe, Kansas after yelling at them “get out of my country”.

What has come as even more surprising is not just the late reaction by Trump, but also the lack of coverage by the mainstream media in the US. Even the White House didn’t really comment on the shooting until almost a week later stating the incident as “disturbing”. The President who was really vocal when an Egyptian man initiated violence at the Louvre in Paris a few weeks back, didn’t tweet anything about the shooting at all. Only in his address to the US congress on February 28, he spoke up against the incident and stated that America denounces “hate and evil in all its forms”.

On the other hand, Ian Grillot was a white American who got injured when he tried to restrain the shooter and protect the other two people. It is because of Grillot’s bravery that Madasani was saved. While the government decided to keep mute on the incident, citizens from all over America tried to convey their condolences and about $1 million were raised within 24 hours via crowdfunding for the next kin of Srinivas.

This act of murder by a white American against immigrants and the same night, the act of saving those immigrant lives by another white American by putting himself in grave danger shows the contrast and dichotomy that the US has become today.

All hope hasn’t been lost. In these difficult times, Sunayana has received support and prayers from all over America and has returned to the country to fulfill the dreams she had dreamt with her husband. Her loss can’t be compensated in any way.

But as Grillot said, “Hate is everywhere..but with the power of love and compassion for fellow humans, hate doesn’t stand a chance.”

News Source:: Times Of India, CNN, New Yorker

Image Source: New Yorker

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