Tuesday 6 December 2016

Love actually, and the madness of Eamon Ryan

It seems hate is all around us. But who dares speak about love, asks Brendan O'Connor. Step forward the Green TD for Dublin Bay South

Published 19/06/2016 | 02:30

Remembering Orlando: After attending a vigil for the Pulse nightclub victims, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan talked about love during the order of business in the Dail last week. Photo: Tom Burke
Remembering Orlando: After attending a vigil for the Pulse nightclub victims, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan talked about love during the order of business in the Dail last week. Photo: Tom Burke

At times you wonder if we have become inured to horror. The bodies were barely pulled out of the Pulse nightclub in Orlando when it all kicked off as to what got the credit for motivating Omar Mateen to go into this place in the early hours of Sunday morning and methodically gun down 50 or so of his fellow human beings.

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Conservatives seemed to be determined that it not be homophobia, while liberals were determined that it not be Islamic radicalism. Conservatives were determined it not be homophobia, the liberals said, because the conservatives have form in this area themselves and so are implicated in creating the climate of homophobia that caused Mateen to do it. The liberals were determined it not be radical Islam, the conservatives said, because that offended their multicultural sensibilities. And the possibility of it being Islamic radicalism does, in reality, in many people's minds, probably feed into Donald Trump's narrative. Trump certainly seems to have felt it did, as his ill-advised triumphalist tweeting showed.

This was all confused further by reports that Mateen was actually a self-hating gay man, disgusted by and homophobic about his own urges. And by the fact that in recent months, Farrokh Sekaleshfar, a British doctor and Muslim scholar gave a speech entitled 'How to deal with the phenomenon of homosexuality' at the Husseini Islamic Center in Sanford, just outside Orlando, a speech in which he urged people to "get rid" of homosexuals, death being the sentence. And, of course, it is complicated by the fact that some Muslims believe that the penalty for homosexuality is death by stoning or by throwing people from a height.

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