South African based human rights organization People Against Suffering Oppression and Poverty (PASSOP) offers our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the families, friends and communities affected by the horrific event that took place at Pulse in Orlando, Florida. We would like to express our profound shock and sorrow as we join millions across the globe in grieving for those who lost their lives.
PASSOP continues to stand in solidarity and support with the LGBTQ community, and also continues to stand up against Islamaphobia. As an organization based outside of the United States we cannot claim to know any intricate details of what transpired, but we can see clearly that such a tragedy must be handled very carefully to bring people together, not to divide them. It is our plea to the people during this painful time, that they resist the demonization of any community and that they remind the world of our humanity and interconnectedness. If there is to be a focus of frustration let it be on the ease at which the perpetrator was able to access such heavy artillery.
There has been a long and tragic history of violence at LGBTQ bars and clubs in the United States (and many other countries); we can only imagine how triggering this event has been on the community. It is already difficult to exist in this world as a minority, something both the Muslim community and the LGBTQ community know well, such terrible violation of your safe space must be devastating, we send our deepest sympathies to both these communities. We support the movement in the United States to pass effective gun control laws, and hope to see that day soon.
PASSOP wants to reiterate its commitment to advancing peace and the condemnation of violence and hatred. We further reject attempts to generalize any community based on the actions of individuals, we call upon media, particularly media within the US, to be careful in their coverage of this horrific event and to avoid further hate or creating stigma of and tensions between two vulnerable communities.
We join the absolute majority of the world when we say “let us stand together in the fight against homophobia, xenophobia, Islamaphobia, hate and senseless violence.”
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As we remember the heroic youth in South Africa who died for freedom on June 16th 1976, we will be joining the vigil in solidarity with the people of Orlando and the world. Please join us.
Thursday 16 June 2016, at the Pride Shelter: 1 Molteno rd, Oranjezicht, 5:30pm