Talking about what happened in Orlando recently is tough. What is this? What is going on? Humanity is in such a big crisis we all need to take a break. We need to halt the spinning earth, breath in, breath out and try to internalise and understand the point at which we are. That will not happen ofcourse but Oh how I wish it could! 50 lost lives! 50! Why? Well because of the demarcation we continue to be so eager to preach. We have reduced humanity, life and the world into simplistic boxes of identities, beliefs and ideologies that it is becoming increasingly hard to properly describe oneself without the fear of insulting another, or fear of being harmed. I think the worst result of this demarcation is the fact that human beings are no longer looked at as human beings. They have been reduced to mere political and ideological canvasses on which the powerful and haves paint and draw their political and ideological aspirations. And day in, day out, we continue to be subjected to sheer unbridled tragedy, anarchy and pain, as the artists use the canvasses to prove their art-pieces are better.
And we continue to let them! Today, I was forced to block some personal friends of mine on different social media sites because of their take on the Orlando shooting. How does a sane person, even for a micro-second think that the brutal murder of 49 people (less the shooter) is ok? How? These ‘friends’ of mine went to their respective facebook pages and lauded the shooter for his act of bravery that substantially reduced the world’s homosexual population! I could have burst with anger and pain so I decided to do myself a favor. Now I am a supporter of human rights. I am a lover of space and expression. I am highly opinionated and would raise hell if anyone even as much as tried to breathe in a way that suggested that they want to limit my expressive space. But there are lines. We need to stop glossing over hate and justifying discrimination and violations. We need to stop rationalising violence by calling it an opinion. Someone buying a rifle, attacking a gay club and killing 49 people is not an opinion. It is murder. Someone using their media space to applaud such an act and call for more such acts is not an opinion and no, they are not entitled to it. We need to cut the bullshit and call out violence, discrimination and inhumanity when we see it and stop hiding under the blanket of expression space and opinions.
It is heartbreaking that after all these centuries of humanity, we have still failed to appreciate human diversity. We still get uncomfortable when we have to deal with people that are different from us. As a result, we have taken refuge into identity boxes. But we can’t reduce the complexities of being human to merely Islam or homosexuality. To religion or sexual orientation. We need to appreciate humanity in its form without reducing a person to just a few descriptive characteristics. The failure to accept humans as humans is what has caused all this rampant bigotry. They tell you someone is gay and the first thing that comes to mind is how they have sex! You look at them and that is all you see. Sex. And then you use your brain to imagine how they have sex, convince yourself it is disgusting and you hate them. And throw them in prison. Or kill them. But all this is based on your imagination and failure to accept a person as a person. Homosexuals don’t spend their days having sex. Why define them merely by sex? They are parents, sisters, brothers, friends, entrepreneurs, brilliant students, children and leaders. If you don’t plan on having sex with a person why even think about it? Why cant we take human beings as just that…human beings? Why do we have to insist on the differences that don’t even concern us?
We are so busy projecting our immorality and inadequacy on other people and it is having dire consequences. Because you want to feel good about not going to church, being corrupt, fornicating, telling lies and not praying five times a day, you end up focusing all your energy on something that you think is a greater sin, to make you feel like you’re fighting for your religion and your sins can be forgiven. What hypocrisy! We need to take more than a few steps back. We need to understand that the problem is never with the people we hate, it is with us. Heterosexual men are sexually abusing girls and women left, right and centre and there is no campaign to finish them. And then you accuse homosexuals of sexual abuse. You are fornicating every day but you shout religion. The ‘African culture’ you’re shouting about has never been homophobic. Bigotry is always about you. Not the other person. So let’s take a break. Let us think about these things. While you’re in your house or office shouting homosexuality is evil, your so-called opinion is pumping up someone to kill 49 people. No amount of religion or culture or morality can justify that.
Let us let people live. Life is hard as it is for you to spend your days hating someone who has done absolutely nothing to you. We are all going through life our way. We have our journeys and they’re different. Humanity will never be the same. Let us celebrate this diversity instead of using it to kill. Let us accept each other as human beings before aggrandising the things that make us different. Let us stop the stereotypes. There is nothing wrong with Islam. There is nothing wrong with homosexuality. Let us stop capitalising on things that make us different and underscore those that unite us. We’re all human. We’re all on a journey. We all have our issues. If only we could love more. If only we could tolerate more. Such incidents would be avoided. No amount of hugs and love and kisses can bring back the deceased from the dead. But we hope they can protect the living. Let us love and let live. A muslim didn’t shoot gays. Mateen shot beautiful amazing souls, for no reason but his own inadequacies. People died because Mateen couldn’t deal with himself.
I do pray for a beacon of hope one day. For the day that the world will no longer be put in identity boxes. A day when all human beings will just be human beings. A day when we shall no longer have to protect homosexuals or women or albinos. I pray for that day. For now, the rainbow flag flies at half-mast. We mourn the death of love. We mourn the death of humanity. We mourn the death of lives. Rest in Peace darlings. Rest in freedom. Rest in love. Rest in power.