For every step we take towards evolving to be our better selves as humans, we take ten steps back whenever tragedies such as the recent Orlando shooting happen. The whole humanity digresses back to being a backward version of ourselves.
We might tweet and Instagram support with rainbow colours and I am not insinuating that it is in anyway trivial or wrong, but it is definitely misdirected. What happened in Orlando is a glaring display of us failing to do what is basically our only job. To be humans. To be more evolved than animals. To learn from our past and not repeat the same mistakes again.
This is not a one off incident. Crimes against the LGBT community across the world are not unheard of. Mass shooting by deranged individuals is also not a new occurrence. Are we not to blame as human beings that we continue to exist in a false sense of comfort, in a deluded sense of being, ignoring the horrible incidences after the furore has died on Twitter and the issue is no longer trending.
I am not excluding myself from this. I am a 22-year-old educated human being and I sit and tut-tut at these hate crimes, retweet a couple of outraged tweets and then move on to a video of a cat dancing to Uptown Funk.
What have we become? Why are we sitting on our hands, waiting for another horrible hate crime to happen to us, or someone we love, to show us that this can’t go on?
Is it not about time we stop moving on from these hate crimes?
This tragedy has affected me directly. I am not gay, I was not in Orlando, nor have I had someone I loved taken away from me so brutally and mindlessly in my lifetime till now. But this hate crime has affected me directly as a human being. As someone who was living in a deluded fantasy that all is perfect in the world just because we have a new iPhone launched every other day. That I was living in a fantasy that human beings can’t be THIS depraved.
As I sit in my room oceans and miles away from Orlando, adding another open letter to the pile of probably more eloquent ones, I think of what I can do.
I know, realistically, I am not equipped with the means to launch a widespread campaign to counterattack the hate perpetuated by these monsters. What I, or rather we, can do is not let hate win.
In this particular case, for instance, retaliating with hate against all Muslims or becoming hostile to the plight of refugees, just because the shooter happened to be a Muslim, seems like we’re going in circles. We have to break this terrible cycle of hate that has become an agenda exploited for power over the years.
Don’t be a part of this cycle. Think about what really matters. You don’t need to march with raised flags, or conduct candlelit vigils. You need to get educated and educate the person next to you. It can be your mother, it can be your baby sister. More often than not, hate occurs where there is ignorance. Enlighten them so that there is no space for hate. Don’t let those hungry for power exploit your ignorance. Educate yourself to what you’re actually being taught to hate.
There were many tweets reacting to the incident, almost all of them expressing their grief and utter heartbreak for the victims of the tragedy. But not all of them were in support. I was horrified to see the multitudes of tweets actually supporting the shooter in his mission to punish the sinners AKA ‘the perverted gays’. After the horror came pity. I felt sad that there are human beings existing alongside us who are so ill equipped with the mental capacity to comprehend something as basic as love.
No religion or culture condones hate. These cowardly monsters hide behind the facade of religion to ignite our ignorant minds with hate. So if you can’t help the victims directly, help in stopping the spread of this hate.
We can’t move on from this terrible tragedy without doing our part.
Don’t tolerate homophobic jokes in movies, don’t use ‘Gay’ as an insult, don’t snigger when your parents unknowingly say something derogatory about a trans person. This may not be the ultimate solution, but it is a step towards banishing the ignorance that gives birth to hate.
Do your part. Break this cycle. Only then can we hope to come any closer to stopping these mindless hate crimes.
(Header image source: http://yhoo.it/1UxYSgi)