Stop Hate 2000 Newsletter November 5, 2001

Dear Friends,

"Remember that the sanctity of life in the hills of Afghanistan, among the winter snows, is as inviolable in the eye of Almighty God as can be your own." -William Ewart Gladstone, 1879

The point of this quotation is not to argue whether or not the present course of events is right or wrong. It is, in this time of remembrance, to remind us never to forget the reasons for pursuing that course. It will not be a matter of simply winning a war. It will be also matter of winning a peace.

Tomorrow, November 11, is a solemn day of remembrance for all who have fallen in wars of this past century. In many, many places, it will also commemorate those who dies on September 11. And, as it now seems, more of us think harder about tomorrow's events than we have for many years, it is perhaps we have been forced to learn that wars do not merely claim their victims in armed forces. They never have. It seemed, not so long ago, that we might hope major wars would not assail us. How far this one may go, how far it may last, what it may demand of us, "us" meaning in all countries, is simply beyond anyone's forecast. We may yet pray it will indeed be as short and painless as possible, especially for the long-beleaguered people of Afghanistan. But we can not assume it will happen that way.

Many November 11 services will combine memorials in that way. Even where they do not, it's a link which surely must be in our minds tomorrow. And, if Osama Bin Laden is to believed, the link is certainly there. In his televised statement shortly afterward, he linked the attacks of September 11 to the 80th Anniversary of the British assuming the League of Nations mandate over what was then called Palestine on September 11, 1921. One book, describing the First World War there, and its aftermath, is entitled "A Peace to End All Peace." Let's hope it may still be proven mistaken.

In this sense of remembrance, we can not forget the daily, mundane hatreds, which often build up to great big ones. It's easier to note them as they happen...most recently, the possibility of serial gay killings in Durham, North Carolina. We repeat, the possibility. There's still too much unknown there. But, we still need to see how these happen, how people come to commit crimes of bias, and whether our casual attitudes feed them.

Quite recently one of us ran across a very important and significant article examining those things. It was written by John Garvey, and published in the November 26, 1998 edition of "Commonweal" in response to Matthew Shepard's death. It has some universal themes, and we really hope you'll read it. It's at:

http://www.findarticles.com/m1252/20_125/5346412/p1/article.jhtml

A related event, in that it explores the extent to which even well-intentioned efforts can have deadly results concerns a case brought by the parents of a gay teenager who committed suicide after a local policeman threatened to reveal the fact to his family and community. The initial article drawn to our attention is at:

http://www.salon.com/mwt/wire/2001/11/05/suicide/index.html

Last January, we mentioned the sad death of Damilola Taylor in London, England, and promised that we would try to keep you updated there. The mills of justice grind slowly everywhere, at least where any respect is paid to human rights, and so it is in this case. Several teenagers, aged 13 to 16, have been charged in his murder. The trial is still some distance away in the future. The motives won't be made known until then if ever): it does seem to have been a bias crime, but the nature of the bias is not at all clear. It may be racial, in that there is a lot of tension between blacks of Caribbean origin as opposed to blacks who have come directly from Africa in that community. It may be because this 10 year old boy was thought to be gay. And perhaps it's something else still.

Last month, we said that we believed that November would see the screening by NBC of "The Matthew Shepard Story". That may still be, and we had hoped we could give you a date and time. However, no date and time has yet been announced. Keep an eye on our message board. We'll certainly post it as soon as we've heard. The same applies to HBO's televised version of "the Laramie Project".

Finally, Eric Williams (he doesn't like using capital letters) has annually sent a birthday card for Matthew to the Shepard family by Internet. We'd certainly encourage you to sign it. Matthew's birthday was December 1....you can find it at:

http://home.earthlink.net/~kxaani/dec01.html

The Stop Hate 2000 e-Team


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