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At an event today in Quito, Ecuador, “A group hug in rejection of homophobic deaths,” our editor, Tony Robinson was asked to speak from a point of view of nonviolence.
Sunday’s event in which LGBTI people are killed is nothing new. They have been murdering us for centuries. Every day in some part of the world we are being murdered for a crime of loving someone, or wanting to love someone, who is not of our gender, or for being born with an anatomy that doesn’t not correspond to our gender, or simply for not conforming to the standards of others.
How are we to understand what happened in Orlando? How can it be that one human being is able to take the lives of so many other human beings? How are we to find any meaning in such an action? And how are we to find reconciliation with this event? How can we put a humanising look over the skin of monstrosity? These questions trouble us today.
What we know is that these deaths of members of our international community are not the only unjust deaths this week. Everyday thousands of people are dying unfairly: wars, poverty, curable illnesses, hatred of others due to religion, domestic violence, gender violence and human trafficking. All of these deaths add to the deaths of our brothers and sisters in Orlando. And here we recognise that until our society wakes up and says that none of these deaths are justifiable, then all of these deaths will continue to repeat day after day.
But for this to happen, the first step is that we have to say, “This is enough”. Discrimination, violence and death only leads to more discrimination, violence and death. It is down to us to stop this cycle. And how do we stop this cycle? This cycle stops with the intentional act of each one of us makes the decision that discrimination and violence stops here, with me! This cycle stops when we develop a physical repugnance to all forms of violence – not just the physical form, but also the economic, psychological and moral violence – and take the intentional step of reviewing our own lives and learn to recognise the discrimination and violence that each one of us exercises on others when we treat people in a way that we wouldn’t like to be treated. This cycle stops when we decide to respond to violence with an act of nonviolence.
So let us reflect on this and let’s all take a moment to meditate and ask from the depths of our hearts for nonviolence and non-discrimination to manifest in our personal lives, in our relationships with our loved ones and friends, and in society as a whole.
I invite you all to take a deep breath and concentrate your thoughts on your heart. From this point of the body, the centre of all emotion, let’s ask:
That the souls of the dead may find peace,
That the family and friends of the dead and injured in Orlando are able to find some kind of reconciliation and meaning in all the evil that they have experienced,
That each one of us reflects on the roots of our internal violence and seeks a new path of nonviolence and non-discrimination.
Let us also take a brief moment in this state of inner peace to ask for the wellbeing of ourselves and of our loved ones, our LGBTI community and friends, and society as a whole.
For everyone here, from everyone at Espacio No Violento, we send our most profound wishes of peace, force and joy.
(Photos: Walker Vizcarra)