Saturday 29 October 2011

No to Hate

We attended a very important event last night, along with hundreds of others.

The third No To Hate Crime vigil was held in Trafalgar Square, to mark the anniversary of the murder of Ian Baynham in a homophobic attack in the Square, to remember all the victims of hate crime, and to celebrate diversity. Yet again we were disappointed by the turnout (as last year) - what is it about so many queens these days that their hedonism outweighs important matters like this? Or is it because the message is too "wooly", trying to embrace all forms of hate?

Once again among the speakers were Harvey Milk's nephew Stuart, activists including Lindsay River and Peter Tatchell, and politicians including Ken Livingstone. Unfortunately, although we saw Mr Milk, and observed the two minute silence before the roll-call of the victims, we never saw the final speakers. We left prematurely as some imbecile among the organisers had decided that a rapper - purveyor of that most hateful of musical genres - would be a good idea to put on stage. I don't give a damn whether he was gay or whatever, this was not what we came to hear. We wanted the choir, a solemn observance of the silence and some rousing and meaningful speakers - not the very "urban yoof culture" that berates us daily!

Lynne Featherstone MP, however, summed up the reasons why we were there rather well I thought:
"Listening to the roll call of those killed by hate, I was shocked by the length of that roll. Hate is the most terrible of emotions. It is a destructive emotion. Evil in its manifestation.

And hate for reasons of sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or race is also pathetic! It’s ignorant. It’s about impotence. It’s about inadequacy. And it’s about fear.

Only this week, sadly, I witnessed such hatred unmasked, and there is a frightening insanity that feeds that fire. And whilst we put have laws around us to protect us from such hate, and we do have good laws, we still, sadly, have a long long way to go.

Whilst we may be more civilised, we may walk safely in many areas, we know that round any corner that hatred may be lurking. And we still have to get to the very heart of that hatred.

I cannot, literally cannot understand how any human being can hurt another human, because they are frightened or threatened by difference. As individuals and as a community we should be embracing each others differences, not persecuting each other for them.

So as well as the law, each and every one of us has a duty to challenge this hatred wherever and whenever we see it and I call on everyone to do so.

And never, ever walk silently by."
More photos are on Flickr

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