Target: Michael Bloomberg, New York City Mayor
Goal: Urge Mayor Bloomberg to issue an immediate apology for the culturally offensive treatment of an Indian diplomat in New York City
Recently, an Indian diplomat was arrested when she dropped her daughter off at school. After being strip searched, she was put in jail with potentially violent criminals. Her crime? Allegedly not paying a member of her household staff as much as she claimed she would when she applied for a work visa for the employee.
While visa fraud is a serious crime, it is not one that should be met with such hostility from the United States government. After all, Devyani Khobragade is an Indian diplomat. Arresting her so publicly and strip searching her was a serious violation of not just her personal rights, but also her cultural values. In India, public embarrassment is a serious personal violation.
If Devyani Khobragade did obtain the visa for her personal employee under false pretenses, then by all rights she should definitely face charges. However, it is important to treat her as humanely as possible while the government does so. This is important for all humans, but as she is a diplomat, any mistreatment toward her will not reflect the United States well in the eyes of India and its people.
There have already been minor hostilities toward the United States embassy in India. Safety barricades have been removed and there is talk of demanding a financial investigation into the employees working at the embassy in India. For both the respect of Devyani Khobragade and the safety of the American individuals working at the embassy in India, the United States needs to issue an apology to Devyani Khobragade immediately. Urge New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to issue an immediate apology to Devyani Khobragade.
Dear Mayor Bloomberg,
Respect is fundamental. It can ease tensions before they even begin to build. Likewise, when someone is disrespected, tensions are bound to occur. That is what happened when Devyani Khobragade, an Indian diplomat in New York City, was arrested and strip searched, all for allegedly underpaying her personal employee.
While financial and visa fraud is, of course, a serious offense and must be investigated fully, the treatment of Devyani Khobragade was barbaric–especially according to the standards of her culture. In addition to being arrested at her daughter’s school and strip searched, she was thrown into a cell with potentially violent criminals even though her alleged crime was not dangerous.
The United States is also risking the well-being of its employees at the United States embassy in India because of their mistreatment of Devyani Khobragade. That is why it is absolutely crucial to issue an immediate apology to Devyani Khobragade for the way she has been treated. It is the right thing to do, both out of respect for her and to ease the tension mounting between the United States and India.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: SKopp via Wikimedia Commons