Divided We Fall

December 1, 2008

Directed by Sharat Raju and written by Valarie Kaur

When images of a bearded and turbaned Osama bin Laden flashed on TV screens across the United States after 9/11, Sikhs became targets of hate crimes. First-time filmmaker Valarie Kaur crisscrosses the country telling the stories of average Sikh Americans, from family members of Balbir Singh Sodhi, who was killed less than a week after 9/11, to one of the first doctors at Ground Zero. Though this wasn't the first time Sikhs were targeted, 19 people - mostly Sikhs - were killed in hate crimes in the aftermath of 9/11. More than 100 gurdwaras were attacked and thousands subjected to government profiling. The film, part video diary narrated by Kaur, a thirdgeneration Sikh, delves into her family history. The movie is clearly targeted for mainstream America and tries to cover a lot, but even the most politically savvy will learn from it, including a 101 on Sikhism. I can see it being used in high school and college classrooms across the country as a lesson on what happens to communities when our country is divided by fear and hatred. - Momo Chang


Momo Chang

Senior Contributing Editor

Momo Chang is the Content Manager at the Center for Asian American Media, and freelances for magazines, online publications, and weeklies. Her writings focus on Asian American communities, communities of color, and youth culture. She is a former staff writer at the Oakland Tribune. Her stories range from uncovering working conditions in nail salons, to stories about “invisible minorities” like Tongan youth and Iu Mien farmers. She has freelances The New York Times, WIRED, and East Bay Express, among other publications.