We’d like to tell Shawn Asghar, the new owner of the Landmark Motor Inn in South Glens Falls, that he has many friends, and we are here for him.
We’re talking about this community.
It was disheartening to read Asghar’s story of buying the local motel and the unwelcome reception he received from some of his employees.
Asghar is from Pakistan, and despite the fact he is an American citizen who has lived here for decades, he almost immediately began encountering racist remarks from his own employees.
When they set up a penny jar, it was part of a competition where the winner would get the money for coming up with the best Pakistani joke of the day.
After that point, he let several employees go.
MOREAU — The Landmark Motor Inn has been attacked in racist posts on a Facebook page masquerading as the inn’s official page.
One written remark, reading “The worst place to stay,” was written multiple times.
A second post read, “The worst place to stay north of Saratoga. Owned by Pakistani with no respect for the USA. Please tell all your friends.”
That was heartless and cruel, and most of all un-American. We were all set to enact a tongue-lashing of epic proportions when we took a peek at the comments underneath Kathleen Moore’s news story on poststar.com.
By Friday morning, there were 24 comments — all in support of Asghar — and we thought the readers said it as well as we ever could.
Here is a sampling:
- “Hang in there, Mr. Asghar! It makes no difference where somebody is from. I really don’t understand why people hate. It’s so easy to be friendly with people. And, I applaud you for your accomplishments! I hope everything works out for you!”
- “The town board and supervisor and other officials should visit the owner to express their solidarity and appreciation for having such a good business grace the entrance to the town. Invite the media as well as all state and federal elected officials who represent the area — then post the good feelings on all social media to counter the negative image perpetrated by low-life, racists…”
- “Haters gotta hate but more important is that good people not remain silent. I plan to report the page as false to FB.”
- “I think NY passed an anti-harassment law which would seem to be applicable to this case. Usually it is to protect employees from employers but it should work the other way too. Something the PS could investigate.”
- “You couldn’t pay me enough to use that cesspool of opinions called Facebook. I tried it once and considered it a total waste of time. Sad what is being done to this business and person. Surprised Facebook won’t take it down.”
- “This really angers me that his employees are so disrespectful when they are lucky to have a job! People forget that we are all from some other country. I tried to go on the FB page to lend support but couldn’t get to it which is a good thing since it has been hacked by haters. I am sorry sir, that you are encountering this in our beautiful area.
- “Beyond sad that in a country made of many different colors and cultures, a fellow citizen would be treated like this. For what? Not looking like the majority of our local population.”
- “I support Shawn Asghar. The business was for sale, so the previous owners could move on. This American stepped up and paid a fair price, like a capitalist. The actions of some previous employees is a mark against our community. Fight racism when you see it. Fight for what is right. There were times when ‘No Irish need apply’ and those who posted those signs were wrong too. As a local economy based largely on tourism, we need to address this head on.”
- “While it is totally unacceptable to ostracize a legal immigrant from Pakistan, and should never be condoned, Pakistani is not a race or ethnicity. Ignorant people are out there among us. These types of behaviors should be called out, and those whom practice these behaviors need to be called out for their intolerance.”
- “So he is different ethnicity. He is a person, has feelings, seems compassionate and fair and yet because he is different he is persecuted. If people always listen to rumors from the “haters” no business or person would ever be safe and our world would cease to be. Stop the hating, give people the benefit of doubt and give them a chance to show the good they have in their hearts. Why destroy someone when you don’t even know them?”
We think that says it perfectly.