Happy Holi!

This is a beautiful celebration, but do you know what it is? And, no, it is NOT a colour run (or even associated with it).

Here’s a quick primer:

Holi is the Hindu festival of colours that celebrates the arrival of Spring. Some participants traditionally dress in white, to be covered in coloured powder and water (but that obviously isn’t a steadfast rule). While the festival has religious associations, and has to do with the god Krishna, in general, and the endless love between Krishna and Radha, the secular associations are those of frivolity, fun, and the welcoming of the new season.

These photos were made at Braj Mandir’s Holi celebration in Holbrook, Massachusetts. I have never seen so many happy faces in one place, and it was wonderful.

Happy Holi!

(All content and photos © Carolyn Bick 2017)


Seven-alarm fire demolishes abandoned factory

A seven-alarm fire in Rockland, Massachusetts, demolished an abandoned factory early Wednesday morning.

The fire, which was reported around 4:45 a.m., destroyed the building at 76 Park St. About 20 homes in the surrounding area were evacuated, and power was cut to homes within a block of the fire. By 9 a.m., firefighters and other emergency crews were still on scene.

“We are going to be here for hours,” Wareham Assistant Fire Chief Patrick Haskell said.

While Wareham was not one of the responding fire departments, Haskell was there on behalf of the state’s Department of Fire Service Hazardous Materials Response Team District 1.

“It was huge,” nearby resident Julie Doyle said. “There were explosions and everything.”

Doyle said the factory had been abandoned for years, and that she was “surprised it didn’t happen sooner.”

Though the damages haven’t been totaled yet, Whitman Fire Chief Timothy Grenno said he was sure they would be significant, as the blaze also damaged nearby homes.

As of 9:45 a.m., no injuries or deaths had been reported, but Grenno said the crews had not gotten a chance to search inside the factory, as the firefighters were still putting out hot spots. 

Rockland Fire Chief Scott Duffey could not immediately be reached for comment.

(All content and photos © Carolyn Bick 2017)


Sukoon

It was cold. Really cold.

But that didn’t matter. They were there to mourn the murder of one of their own. To offer each other sukoon – relief, comfort after a deep tragedy.

No, he wasn’t from Boston. I don’t know if any of them knew him personally. But it doesn’t matter. Srinivas Khuchibhotla was Indian and alive, and now he’s Indian and dead, because a white man shot him, while yelling, ‘Get out of my country!’

Later, this man admitted he thought Srinivas and his companion (who escaped with his life) were Muslims.

Yesterday, a man in Florida burned down an Indian-owned store – again, because he wanted to ‘run the Arabs out of our country.’

By ‘our’, he didn’t actually mean everyone. He didn’t actually mean all the different people who live here. Who have family here. Who breathe the same air, and share the same sorrows and joys.

No.

He meant white people. Specifically, white Christians.

The fact that the people who perpetrate these hate crimes have been targeting people whose skin contains more melanin than the average white person’s is frightening. It’s nothing new – this country was built on the literal backs and corpses of people of colour, after all, because someone white decided their version of a god made all non-white people ‘lesser’ than whites – but the escalation in violence should at the very least scare the living daylights out of all of us.

This is not normal. This should never be normal. This is evil and vicious and wrong.

Stay loud and resist.

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