Today I bought a Rainbow flag.
I am planning to hang this flag off of my balcony. Everyday hundreds of people pass by my
building here in London, UK, so I expect a lot of people will see this flag. I don’t know what their views are on things, and I often shy away from outward displays – with a bit of fear toward what the consequences may be of expressing my opinion.
But silent I cannot be. I have been watching all of my associate’s views online, and what I see, among very differing stances on things, is incredible pain, especially among my LGBTQ friends, over the massacre of 50 people in Orlando. The attack has opened hot topics on so many issues:
Most of the time I refrain from sharing my own views on most things online – for a number of reasons. I hate confrontation. I have fear of offending someone I am connected with who does not share my view. I really don’t like online media for getting into any kind of heated discussion, where static comments get lost in translation or twisted into unintended meaning. I also I fear the haters who I don’t know, bullies who may attack me for my views because they do not agree with what I have to say. So in posting my views here, I do so with a lot of apprehension.
You may wonder why am I breaking my own silence? Because I feel I must.
I feel my being silent is dangerous. I am remembering an important comment and lesson from World War II about remaining silent when the Nazi’s destroyed one group of humans after another, first the Jews and then it moved on to killing anyone who stood in their way toward creating an Aryan race. It is this that compels me to want to defend LGBTQ people, in the face of the Orlando attack, and in all other situations they are facing hate and prejudice. From not being allowed to use public restrooms in parts of America to being persecuted the world over, and in some places facing death for who they are.
Now I don’t know, or want to get deeply into discussions about what may have compelled the attack in Orlando to take place – all are only assumptions at this stage. I will tell you strongly that I am not blaming Muslim people. I will not play into Islamophobia. In Democratic societies on this Earth, the basic principle is that people of diverse views and religions can live freely. No matter what that religion or ideology is, you are fee to let your thoughts and beliefs take shape.
Where we fall down as humanity, is falling prey to extreme views that end in death. Unfortunately, I cannot think of any major ideology or religion that does not have examples of deadly, dangerous events in its history. Why is this? I do not have the answer. I get very depressed when I think about the tragic and deadly human history we have, where killing each other over ideas is a constant in our existence. I feel we must, at this point, be able to achieve peace and live alongside each other with acceptance and love. Orlando, and Newtown, and terror attacks and war around the world is proving that we just aren’t there yet.
Our deadliest threat is often ourselves.
But there is hope. There is hope in love.
In my personal world, I watched from afar this past weekend, as my two dear lesbian friends got married in Florida, a celebration of their relationship of about ten years now. It was a beautiful thing to see. Then, hours later, in the same state, the tragedy in Orlando unfolded. Here, in one part of the state was a glorious moment and union being celebrated between two people who deeply love each other and, just moments and miles away, death faced so many in their own LGBTQ community. Those who attended and supported the wedding were suddenly forced into the reality and momentous meaning of what it meant for two women to marry. The event in Orlando has indeed cast a dark reminder over a beautiful wedding, and for all of my LGBTQ friends everywhere in the world.
What I believe though, and what I do see happening everywhere, is an outpouring of love and support worldwide that may have never been seen before. In London, thousands of people gathered on Old Compton Street in London’s Soho for a vigil and to pay respect to the LGBTQ community. Around the world building’s are being decked with the Rainbow flag colours! In churches and mosques people are praying for love, peace and the comfort of the victims and their survivors. Guns are being – finally! – debated seriously in America, with a filibuster on Capitol Hill winning commitments to hold votes on amendments to expand background checks and ban gun sales to suspected terrorists.
What this all shows me is that love, not hate, is winning.
I don’t know if there will ever be a time on Earth when human beings don’t harm, kill and war against each other, but what I do see is that the majority of those of us living on this planet want the same thing as anyone else – an end to violence and hate. So there is hope. We can get to a place of love for all. I want to believe it is possible and that in the distant future our destiny is not of complete destruction of each other and our planet, but of harmony and peace.
I don’t have all the answers for how to get to this sweet place. And sure I’ll take the hit for being a bit of a utopian idealist when I think toward the future. But I do know that keeping silent in the face of devastation such as recent events, is dangerous for those I love and and for humanity. Hashtag LoveisLove. Hashtag peace. Hashtag lovewins!
*Image of Rainbow flag by Benson Kua, and used through Wikimedia Commons.