A future without hatred
By Jude Dibia
First published in Sydsvenskan.se
We should never underestimate the potency of hate or homophobia. Nor should all that is being said and being analyzed by the media, or by people who have much to gain by crafting the language by which we absorb this tragedy, blind us. It would seem that the current price for hate, at least in Orlando, Florida, is 50 dead people and 53 injured. And one hate should not be traded for another. There should be no place for homophobia, nor should there be a place for islamophobia either.
Reading through social media and numerous news outlets, there seems to be a need to point fingers at not just the culprit of this heinous crime, but to also draw attention to his name and the religion he ‘may have’ practiced. For some people, focusing on the culprit’s otherness makes it easier to explain his motives. But the fact is, in the early hours of June 12, 2016 a single gunman attacked the LGBTIQ+ community in Orlando, Florida and 50 lives were lost.
LGBTQ+ persons have always been targets of hate crimes all over the world and living in a country as ‘progressive’ as the United States of America has not always been a guarantee for safety. Religion and culture are two of the most used excuses to justify attacks on the LGBTQ+ community. On the surface, it would seem that there is no safe country for LGBTQ+ people.
And then, there is the issue of gun control in America. In President Obama’s remark on the shooting, he said ‘This massacre is, therefore, a further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that lets them shoot people in a school or in a house of worship or a movie theater or in a nightclub. And we have to decide if that's the kind of country we want to be. And to actively do nothing is a decision as well.’ Obama’s remark sums up the ongoing debate about reviewing the gun control laws in America. The gunman, who has now been identified as Omar Mateen, had a gun license and was a U.S. citizen.
It has been a year since I left the US for Sweden and though mostly I think about America fondly, I cannot help but remember all the times gun related violence or deaths were reported in the local news and the many sad times hate crimes against LGBTQ+ persons were also covered. It made me wonder if history has thought us anything, if in the foreseeable future being LGBTQ+ will not be a thing to worry about. I hope that hate can eventually be eradicated from our way of life. Perhaps the next big thing for the LGBTQ-movement will be a substantive plan to integrate tolerance and equality in the learning curriculum starting from the earliest age one can get an education. The future depends on the foundation of children’s minds.
It is a tragedy what happened in Orlando, Florida and we pray for the families of the victims.
12 June 2016