Today, I recalled seeing the video of an Iranian protest in 2009, where a woman who was protesting (Nedā Āghā-Soltān) was shot dead by government officials. The video showed her death in crisp detail, and that vision haunted me for weeks. This wasn’t hollywood, this was real life, and a woman was silenced for expressing her opinions. After her death, the government continued to harass her family, not allowing them a funeral, not allowing them to gather in her memory. They defaced her grave. They forced her father to lie to the public and say that the government hadn’t fired that bullet. She lost her life, her hopes, her dreams… And there was no remorse.
Moments ago, while I was waiting for class to start, I overheard a conversation about someone who attended a gay pride parade in San Francisco. During the parade, he had been harassed by crowds of people. He was voicing his opinions and simply asking for respect and equal treatment, and he was appalled that people in America would show so little respect for his rights as a human being.
Someone else agreed, and mentioned how they very much disliked such bigoted, narrow-minded people. Naturally, the discussion shifted to Westboro Baptist Church. A woman voiced her disgust with the behavior and opinions of WBC, to which a man agreed and stated that he wished he could “bring a sniper rifle to a WBC rally, so [he] could pick them off one by one.”
This struck me as awfully hypocritical. He wanted to murder someone for voicing an opinion, just as the Iranian officials murdered Nedā Āghā-Soltān for voicing hers.
To me, this is worse than what WBC does. They protest, and they offend, but they do not (usually) physically harm anyone. In fact, people have intentionally aggravated WBC protesters without any repercussions. Meanwhile, this man is talking about murdering people.
Is it really that hard to recognize how hypocritical and oppressive this is? Nobody in the crowd seemed to respond to the man’s murderous declarations, with the exception of a few assenting nods.
Personally, I’m astonished.