You don’t have to be a victim to understand the tragic consequences of yesterday’s mass shooting in Orlando, Florida. Omar Mateen, a trained weapon expert, twice questioned about links to terrorist organisations and as we know now, with mortal degree of internalised homophobia, opened fire at Pulse Night Club, a popular gay club in Orlando killing 49 people and injuring 53 others. He was shot dead by the police.
It bears repeating from information already available the reason that drove him to mass murder. First of all, it wasn’t about religion – his ex wife says he’s not a religious man. Secondly, it wasn’t about racism because he was after all, the son of an Afghan migrant. The rage that drove this monster to action is , as his father gladly puts it, the sight of two men kissing.
Hate has so many shades but none more than the colour of self righteous prigs who think they are doing the world a favour by their actions. There are so many of them masquerading as human beings. Omar Mateen merely operated at a different point in that hateful spectrum but his violent message is no less impactful as say, Donald Trump’s messages of hate in this campaign period or to bring it further home to Nigeria, the thousands of support this mass murderer has received from Nigerians on the comment sections of some newspapers.
There are 49 dead people because of one man’s revulsion to the sight of men kissing. Whether it is through unforgivable acts of terror as in Orlando or the many mob actions against LGBT people, bottom line is, humanity is at a crossroad and it is time to stop.
Church services have been held in honour of the slain victims. The same churches that spewed hate from the pulpits are no different from ISIS that is beheading and throwing people off high rise buildings. Hate is hate irrespective of who’s doing the hating. Religious groups are driving hate, terror groups, racists and all other groups with unique agenda of what they assume is right.
In Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan signed the Same-sex Marriage prohibition Act into law in a mindless action that played up hate on the altar of politics. Today, he’s calling for a review after leaving office and after dozens of people had been mobbed, blackmailed, abused and driven from their homes. There is no second guessing the consequences of hate. Worse, when you are powerless to undo the damage you’ve done. This needs to stop.
Stay strong, Orlando. The civilized world is with you