Thursday, 14 February 2013

A Tribute to Tortured Souls

On a day we have chosen to celebrate the love that joins and defines us as human beings, I would only ask a moment of your time for reflection.

Only a moment – for to sink us to the depths of despair would be neither apt for the occasion, nor constructive for the betterment of love in the world. But a moment nonetheless: in order that we remember that love, inherently, is a joy that should bring us all together, not pit us against one another; should bring no person the terror of heartbreak, or pain of hope lost; and must be protected, at all costs, from the corruptions of a social order where too many are prepared to gain from the suffering of others.

This is a world where however one looks at it, all that is good about love faces tremendous challenges. And as we take joy today in our victories in surmounting them – in our thriving relationships, our fond memories and exciting plans, and the warmth of time spent with those who mean everything to us – let us never forget, that we have yet to make this a world where this joy reaches everyone. Let us never forget that anguish and cruelty, for anyone, is not the way of love; but that we, as societies, as people, must take responsibility for every heart broken, and every person left behind.

So please: remember them.

Remember those whose loving relationships have failed; whether because of betrayal, or succumbing to selfish interests, or any other cause.

Remember those who follow the path of love, only to be taken advantage of then abandoned like depleted commodities, and left with their dreams shattered in pieces by the wayside.

Remember those whose love is not fulfilled, because of the expectations of gender: the despair of men not considered "masculine", women not considered "feminine", those who do not identify as male or female at all, or those whose bodies, beliefs, behaviours, wealth or paths in life are mocked as inadequate by social norms. Remember those left so hopeless, then told by those around them that it is their own fault. Remember that in denying those hearts a place, a home, those societies wreak terrible wrongs upon the universe.

Remember those ostracized, discriminated against or subjected to violence and terror, because their love is criminalized by their societiess. Remember, in places where anyone dares forbid it, those who love people of the same sex; or people from different lands; or two, three or more people who all love them back. Remember those who in spreading love to where the madness of humankind would purge it, do the most to redeem us all.

Remember those torn from those they wish to be with: by tyrannical relatives; by self-interested political factions; by compassionless immigration laws; by violent conflicts; by segregationist dogmas or religious police; by any, in fact, who find in themselves the reprehensible callousness to separate those who love.

Remember those whose experience of love is shredded asunder by sexual violence; above all by rape, that thing with no basis in nature or sanity, which should never have been permitted to enter our world. Remember those who, violated once, are violated again when blamed, shamed and degraded for it by those around them.

Remember those so stricken with the rending, slicing agony of wronged love, and then with the incineration of the soul that is society's normalization of these nightmares, or indifference to their misery. Remember those for whom the thought of living one moment more in this world becomes an unthinkable burden – who find themselves looking, instead, to the freedom of death. Remember that they do so not out of self-regard, nor irrationality, nor mental disorder. Remember them as those from whom our kind's violations of love exacted the ultimate price.

Remember that the stars are on the side of all who love. Thus there are no star-crossed lovers – the very concept is a shameful scapegoat. There are only society-crossed lovers. Of all the ways we break people's hearts – from laws to norms, from violence to alienation, from betrayals to manipulations, from dogmas to hysterias – none of these crimes are committed by love. We, the human race, are authors of all these things; we introduced them to Earth; and nature, the universe, contain no excuses to spare us responsibility for putting them right.

So please: remember. Remember today the thousands who on this day, are unfulfilled as love-capable creatures; and remember that this is so not because reality is just like that – but because of choices, by humans among us, to do them harm.

Remember them today: the tortured souls, in all lands of Earth. And when we have remembered, then let us stand up and do our parts, from wherever each of us is placed, to emancipate their love from the chains and blades our kind has woven to torture them. To establish this as a world where to harm, exploit or subject any love is wrong. To make this a world where love, triumphant, leaves no-one behind.

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