In the news of late, there is no mistaking the presence of ISIS. They are making their statements in brutal, terrifying fashion around every turn. Unfortunately, the people of Paris know better than any others right now what the terrorism really does to you. The capacity of men to target stadiums, and theaters, places of peace and joy, and kill innocents intentionally is horrific. No question the attacks were orchestrated, and the people were not the specific targets, they were the means. There has not yet been a single end.
So, after a genocide, how do we interpret this ISIS gem?
The man’s name is Israfil Yilmaz. He is a Dutch man who was a member of the Royal Netherlands Army, but quit in 2013. He left the army to join IS–. The New York Times (NYT) saw his blog on Tumblr. He answered a number of questions, and his responses were far from surprising. However, as one attempts to look at this Tumblr exchange, one notes it is already suspended. Before it was taken down, the NYT caught a few of his responses.
When speaking about gay people, he quips “Do the whole world a favor and throw them off the highest building you can find .” Yes, smiley and all. Now upon hearing this, one may not be surprised, but to the LGBT community, this one resonates. However, oddly, it resonates a bit less than Paris did. Is it easier to accept a group’s intentional persecution of your people when the numbers seem less dramatic?
Flashback to January 2015, when the images of a man being thrown off a building to the anticipating crowd below. He was a gay man. Then again in June 2015 ISIS threw 4 men off the roof of a tall edifice. Then again in August 2015. On this occasion, ISIS executed nine men, again throwing them off a tall building again. A total of at least 30 gay men have been executed this year, per the United Nations.
As has been the case in numerous executions in IS– territory throughout the past year, the crowd of locals is always gathered at the base of these buildings to see these men die. If the men survived the fall, the audience subsequently stoned them to death.
So, if the UN numbers are right, 30 gay men were killed. In the US, if 1 in 10 people are gay, this would equate to the death of 300 in the general populace. How does that compare to the incidence of gay people in Iraq and Syria? These statistics are impossible to discern, since the LGBT population of IS– is in hiding, and as far from recognition as they can muster, in most cases.
Looking at the statistics we do have, though, Iraq and Syria show a slow genocide has been happening for years. However, the Trans Murder Monitoring Project of Transgender Europe has calculated that in Central and South America from 2008, 1,350 transgendered have been murdered. In Brazil specifically, from January 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014, 594 hate related murders of LGBT have been committed.
So- as harrowing as the numbers are, the western world outcomes seem to be much more shocking.
We are left with photos and video images of IS–. The visual makes the killings more personal, more terrifying, and what we see with our own eyes always makes us less complacent.