The Day Facebook and Instagram Erased #Sikh People

I try not to be political on my blog, but the events of the last few days have made me think about staying quiet, when it is our voices that will help, not our silence.

So the two previous posts have been in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement that is in full flow.

During this time of unease for many in the Black community, and the extended #BAME community , as well as those not of colour, horrified by the events that took place with the murder of George Floyd, I remembered there was something else of huge importance, to me, as a Sikh, to recall.

1984.

Ten days of Terror for the Sikhs.

This was when the Indian Government launched Operations Blue Star, and there, thirty six years ago, tthebeginnings of the biggest Sikh genocide took place.

Soldiers marched into the holy shrine in Amritsar, the Golden Temple, desecrating the buildings, grounds, religious artefacts, and murdering hundreds of innocent pilgrims, man, woman, child. There was no respite.

They were there to apparently flush out Sikh Separatists after there were calls for a separate state of Khalistan for Sikhs, as there was a Pakistan for the Muslims.

It was a time filled with terror, and resulted in hundreds, if not thousands of deaths of innocent Sikh people. The Indian Government were trying to erase us, the Sikhs.

To read more about the awful happenings of those ten days, click here.

Every year, there is a peaceful remembrance, filled with emotion, remembering those who died in this mindless act, which sparked the assassination of the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, by two of her Sikh bodyguards. That act then set off a domino effect of riots, rape and murder of thousands of Sikhs in Delhi, and the Punjab.

To this day, there are Sikh people who don’t know what happened to members of their families during this time.

Then, to top it off, on 3rd June of this year, amidst the Black Lives Matter uprising, the hashtags #sikh and #sikhism, which were being used to remember and highlight a key time in our community’s background, disappeared from both Facebook and Instagram.

If you tried to search it, it was blocked.

Sure, there were others, but the main hashtags for us, #sikh, and #sikhism was unsearchable.

So the Indian Goverment tried to erase us then, thirty six years ago, and now, in 2020, we have social media doing the same.

It’s back up now, but why?

Why was it deemed ‘unsuitable content’ for us to remember this injustice?

Were there too many big other movements going on?

We, as Sikhs, are right there, too, but come on social media, give us our chance to speak too!

61 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mr Augustine
    Sep 07, 2020 @ 15:30:38

    Very Wow very inspiring
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    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. Shivi πŸ’œ
    Aug 16, 2020 @ 09:36:29

    AMAZING post

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  3. H.R.R. Gorman
    Jun 13, 2020 @ 20:28:14

    I know in America, a lot of people see Sikh turbans and think “terrorist” (which is veiled in many, many levels of crappy racism). Sikhism is such a big religion, and it’s really, really bad that this stuff keeps happening.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Jun 13, 2020 @ 20:33:29

      The shooting in the gurdwara in the US is a prime example… Miseducation.
      This is why I always welcome people asking questions about any aspect of the differences in culture and religion.
      If we don’t ask, we don’t learn. We assume.
      And assumption is a bad thing…

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

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  5. Maria Mocha
    Jun 08, 2020 @ 03:23:33

    Ritu, I actually learned about all of this from another lady that I had met years ago via the Internet. She talked about this a lot and she used to have a blog I think. It was never talked about in mainstream media but she had lived it and battled in it. Raw, awful and shameful stuff. Humans can truly suck often. It is an atrocity that should never be forgotten. Thank you for writing out your feelings.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  6. Charli Mills
    Jun 06, 2020 @ 20:19:59

    The date (1984) juxtaposed with the results of this horrific event (“To this day, there are Sikh people who don’t know what happened to members of their families during this time”) knocks the breath out of me. I was in high school in 1984. This is not the world I thought I lived in. As a mother, I always thought the most terrible thing that could ever happen was for one of my children to disappear. Dead or alive? Did they call out for me and I wasn’t there? Did they suffer? For a government to stage erasure is unfathomable in its cruelty. I witness your pain and weep for the mothers and fathers, children, and all Sihks. Thank you for breaking protocol and sharing this shameful story of not so distant history.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Jun 06, 2020 @ 20:43:13

      Thank you for appreciating, Charli.
      Sitting here, in England, it’s hard to comprehend some of the atrocities fellow Sikhs experienced in a place they called home. Another awful event that can’t be forgotten πŸ’œπŸ™πŸ½

      Like

      Reply

  7. eyasinali
    Jun 06, 2020 @ 08:57:05

    CPA Markeing

    Like

    Reply

  8. eyasinali
    Jun 06, 2020 @ 07:12:34

    Need us Facebook group

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  9. Maddie
    Jun 05, 2020 @ 17:07:03

    Thank you for this. It’s beautifully written. I’d really appreciate it if you could check out my recent blog post regarding racism in america to help make a change ❀️

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  10. Adele Marie
    Jun 05, 2020 @ 10:05:20

    Reblogged this on firefly465 and commented:

    A thought-provoking article and again Social Media takes too many liberties where they have no right.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  11. niasunset
    Jun 05, 2020 @ 09:35:01

    “I try not to be political on my blog, but the events of the last few days have made me think about staying quiet, when it is our voices that will help, not our silence.”
    Dear Ritu, I am thinking as you but as you said very well, not our silence this is great and importance. I can’t believe how the world came to these days… it wasn’t expected after all human stories and struggles… Lessons but for who… Anyway, I am sad about world… Thank you dear Ritu, as always with your beautiful soul, Love, nia

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  12. potatosandwich
    Jun 04, 2020 @ 16:05:33

    The darkest day in Sikh modern history. Look around, the world hasn’t moved on…

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  13. edwardky2
    Jun 04, 2020 @ 15:24:18

    I reblogged and posted on FB, Twitter, Linked-in, and working on Tumbler. Hope others see and become aware of this. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  14. edwardky2
    Jun 04, 2020 @ 15:22:18

    Reblogged this on Ed;s Site..

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  15. Annette Rochelle Aben
    Jun 04, 2020 @ 14:40:46

    Sometimes, life simply confounds me

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  16. charlypriest
    Jun 04, 2020 @ 12:52:36

    Thank you for the information, a lot of factors going on there and every place right now, always good to learn about others (even though I do realize it is not a good situation to say the least), but with a bit of knowledge you do have a bit of power. You have a lot of followers hence maybe they can make a bit of a difference in awful situations.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  17. TanGental
    Jun 04, 2020 @ 08:16:43

    How odd to block those #s? I wonder if they’ll explain. I recall the 1984 massacre very well as i worked alongside a Sikh who was training at my firm. As if often the case, you need help, when the appalling events happen in a place and among people foreign to your experience. Nev helped me then to begin to understand, as did his father over one dinner we had. The same now, listening to those with their own experiences.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  18. Sue Vincent
    Jun 04, 2020 @ 06:59:00

    While I am glad that social media is prepared…in theory… to take down anything that deliberately incites hatred and violence, the amount of unwarranted censorship going on at the moment makes me wonder exactly how much free speech we are being allowed to exercise or read.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  19. robbiesinspiration
    Jun 04, 2020 @ 05:58:50

    FB just blocks users if other people make a complaint about a post. It is automatic and without any human intervention. I didn’t know about this, Ritu, and it is incredibly sad. I wonder if FB blocks hashtags about the holocaust. It would be interesting to know if they do.

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply

    • Ritu
      Jun 04, 2020 @ 09:30:52

      I wasn’t even aware of it until someone asked me to try searching, because they couldn’t find anything coming up, and they are right.
      It was righted later on, possibly after complaints, but really??

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

  20. Potpourri of life
    Jun 04, 2020 @ 04:45:22

    I strongly condemn any discrimination on the basis of colour, religions, caste or physicality. It’s all created for power by power… humanity doesn’t need it. Courageous and well penned post RituπŸ‘

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  21. Lisa A.
    Jun 04, 2020 @ 03:41:04

    Wow, I wasn’t even aware of this, Ritu. I’m glad we’re able to use our voice here on our blogs. It’s not cool that it was blocked on social media. Thank you for sharing it. ❀

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  22. willowdot21
    Jun 04, 2020 @ 02:00:32

    It’s a sad fact that history always gets forgotten and erased when it suits those in power. A strong and honest post Sis well written. Thank God, that God is not political and loves everyone. #all lives matter regardless of creed or colour πŸ’œπŸ–€πŸ–€

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  23. Leanne
    Jun 04, 2020 @ 00:57:31

    What a powerful post. Sikh lives matter. Black lives matter.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply

  24. samanthaharris
    Jun 04, 2020 @ 00:34:03

    Many other historical facts disappeared too. The blacklivesmatter has been denied by many black activists as being false flag. Which means it was funded by other political groups. I’ve just come off facebook where I witnessed two videos streamed live of mobs killing random white folks. I suspect they will not be shared. I’ve been fighting verbally online across social media attempting to promote calm but the bots are winning. It is sad times when history is disappeared to make way for new history with who knows what agenda attached to it. I know not where this path leads us but like most people….between this and covid19..I’m anxious.

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply

    • samanthaharris
      Jun 04, 2020 @ 00:37:22

      Excuse me…your post was about what had happened to Sikhs in India and I would like to add that Sikhs tend to suffer very much quietly. I’ve done business and some social events with Sikhs and have also done much research on child exploitation. You are often overlooked and I came along and shamefully did the same. My apologies.

      Liked by 3 people

      Reply

    • Ritu
      Jun 04, 2020 @ 09:35:01

      Samantha it is a sad day when global social media giants can try and silence the voices of others, especially right now…

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

  25. johnrieber
    Jun 04, 2020 @ 00:14:51

    Powerful and unsettling – we have come to view “social media” as a way to share our voices, our concerns, our information, like you have done here. Far too often, it is being quashed by forces known and unknown. We must remember the atrocities of our past to help us keep them from happening again. The President of the United States had citizens tear-gassed yesterday so he could stand in front of a church holding a bible in the exact same stance that Hitler used at one time. Those two images were shared widely, and it’s important that they were…

    Liked by 4 people

    Reply

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