Magazine article Radical Teacher

In Memoriam

Magazine article Radical Teacher

In Memoriam

Article excerpt

Liz Trubishi (age 16) and Nir Katz (age 26) were killed on Saturday night, August 1, 2009 during a mass shooting at Tel Aviv's LGBT youth center at the central office of the AGUDA: The LGBT Association in Israel. Fifteen other young people were wounded.

These killings of LGBT youth reflect uniquely significant ways Israeli homophobia is intertwined with the country's military culture, racism, and ethnic exclusivity. Below are excerpts from a speech given shortly after the killings by Tamara Shreiber, a queer activist from Tel Aviv, at a solidarity demonstration in Berlin (August 7, 2009) attended by 2000 people. The speech was co-written with Ayala Shani, an Israeli transgender woman and a peace activist. Following the speech are remarks from the blog of Nisreen Mazzawi, a Palestinian feminist activist for peace and environmental-social justice, which makes additional comments about the killings.

"Last Saturday a nightmare came true: we were hunted down. A faceless man went into a room full of youngsters and opened fire. Now two of them are dead, with many wounded. Some teenagers were outed on a hospital bed. I do not feel safe now in Tel Aviv, our strong hold, our ghetto. I feel grief stricken and furious and betrayed. I want to know who was this man in a ski mask dealing death."

"Maybe I should simply watch out for men with machine guns. But this is far from simple in Israel, where most young men are drafted at 18 [and] many [are] issued a gun. Reserves soldiers--the entire able bodied male population--often take their gun home too. There are guns on the bus, guns in cafes, guns in restaurants, guns on the trains and the beach. Security guards and police have pistols. Settlers carry fire arms wherever they go."

"Yesterday the Israeli police accused the LGBTQ communities of prematurely calling the murders a hate crime [and, so,] of inciting hate against other minority populations. I agree with the police--it is too easy to point the finger at the extreme religious parties or at immigrants. Better look for the real villains: Better accuse the police who on Sunday called the supporters of the evacuated [Palestinian] families in east Jerusalem 'filthy faggots' when many of them arrived directly from a memorial demo protesting the murders in Tel Aviv. Better investigate law enforcers calling conscientious objectors 'stupid dykes' while smashing their heads on the pavement. Better beware of the police arresting and bashing queer activists in Central Tel Aviv on the very same day as the murders, after they have tried to protect refugees and their children from being deported. Better point the finger at the soldiers who kill peace loving men and youth in nonviolent demos in Palestine, and round up others in the dead of night."

"I accuse them of creating a society of hatred and brute force where no minority is safe. But it is also too easy to blame the police. The police are only a symptom, a tool of the government and the state, the same government who did nothing when calls for our blood were heard from its benches, the same state that its president, Shimon Peres, objected in 2007 to the Pride parade in Jerusalem, where three people were stabbed only two years earlier. …

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