March 26, 2012
Mayor Eric J Kellogg’s historic speech in solidarity with the victims of the massacres in Gujarat, India in 2002
Dear Council Members and my fellow citizens,
There are times when events in far-flung parts of the world not only move our hearts, but strengthen our resolve to always stand up for truth and justice. The horrific massacre and pogrom that took place in the Indian state of Gujarat in 2002 is one such event.
The viciousness and barbarism that marked the Gujarat pogrom of 2002 including the burning alive of hundreds of people, and brutal sexual violence against women, make the Gujarat riots among the worst human rights violations in recent history. Over 2000 people were killed, countless others wounded, and over 150,000 displaced from their homes. What is deeply disturbing is that even after 10 years very little or no justice or reparation has been granted to the victims and survivors. The perpetrators of these terrible crimes against humanity are still roaming free.
As the Mayor of the great city of Harvey which takes pride in its diversity, I welcome the resolution which was adopted by the City Council tonight. On behalf of my fellow citizens and colleagues I extend my deepest condolences to the victims and their families for the loss of their life and property in the state of Gujarat, India in the year of 2002. Citizens of Harvey and their families were directly affected by this large scale violence, due to their family ties in Gujarat.
The Indian-American community in Harvey has always played a very positive role and contributed significantly to the larger community. They have been engaged in relief, charity and social service in Harvey and in the surrounding communities. They have been excellent citizens and role models for our community. During natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the Tsunami, the Indian-Americans helped raise funds for the victims and volunteered their time and resources.
It is our moral obligation as Americans and as human beings to help fellow humans who have been suffering for the last 10 years in the state of Gujarat, India. We stand in solidarity with the victims of the 2002 pogrom in Gujarat. As the mayor of Harvey I will raise funds that will be used to rehabilitate the victims and their families. I will also ask our students in Harvey school to raise funds so they can support the students back in Gujarat to enable them to continue their education and have the opportunities that others so cruelly tried to snatch away from them. We will support the orphans and widows so they can lead respectful and dignified lives.
The fact that such horrific violence took place in the birth place of Mahatma Gandhi, who was the ambassador of peace and harmony, is especially shameful. Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr.
had learned much from the non-violent movement of Mahatma Gandhi during his visit to India.
India is the world’s largest democracy and the United States is the world’s oldest democracy. Both countries have deep ties of friendship and shared values. It is in the national interest of the US to have a stronger and united India.
I would like to see an India which is inclusive for all of its citizens. I hope and pray that justice will be served and the victims will be rehabilitated. I request the Indian leadership as well as the judiciary to act swiftly and decisively and fulfill their obligation to uphold the law, for weak and strong alike.
I would like to end my speech with a favorite quote from Dr. Martin Luther King:
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963
US black civil rights leader & clergyman (1929 – 1968)
May God Bless USA and India.