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Tuesday, 29 December 2015

HATE; In The Cold Night Air

  Heard a girl screaming passionately outside, passing pizza corner:
Girl: "You should be F***ing arrested for a hate crime!!!!"
So I peek out the window to see three, average size, 20 something year old, well dressed men; being screamed at by, a medium height, slight build, 30 something year old woman in stilettos and a nice dress.
The woman was aggressively getting in the guys faces, telling them never to use that language, ever again.
As I scan the area, an older man approaches, with white hair and a nice knit scarf.
Older man: "Come on! don't talk to these people. Just drop it."
Younger guy #1: "Yeah it's over! You proved your point, you stupid b*tch, Look at his face! YOU PUNCHED his face in!!!"
3 of the guys were calling the woman names.

It was clear; she had never met them before, they had said something to offend her, she punched one of them in the face and was now standing up to their continuing, verbal remarks.
My attention was now on the older man. He tried and tried to get her attention. He even grabbed her arm to pull her back, which made her lunge forward even more, aggressively pointing in the guys faces, trying to intimidate them.
This went on for about 6 minutes.
There was no resolve in sight. Just violence, aggression, attitude and a tunnel vision on both sides, filled with anger and disgust.
There was pushing, shoving, insults, threats, name calling and hatred hung around in the cold night air.

She wouldn't back down...
I could already hear in my head how the older man would tell the story later.
"They called me a faggot. They called me a faggot and she wouldn't back down."
It was hard to tell how this would turn out. Weather he would be telling this story to; the police, a coroner, a judge or giving some sort of solemn speech at a podium.
There was every indication, that the probability of an amicable outcome would be scarce.
I watched the older man embarrassed. He would approach but then remove himself when he couldn't get her attention. Trying to keep a SAFE distance. Trying not to get involved.
Every time he approached the tension would rise and the younger males would open their body language and puff out their chests, sending the young woman into a blinding fury, perpetuating the argument.
The older man was embarrassed. You could tell he felt like he was somewhat responsible for the argument. I could see his pain. He rubbed his face, huffed and puffed. Retreated, then approached, frustrated, continually and cautiously not knowing what to do to De-escalate the situation.
His presence and proximity to the argument alone seemed to bring it to a dangerous climax with every approach.

In the end, the woman finally backed up, as the young men pointed out relentlessly and repeatedly, that SHE had been the violent one and that their friends face was damaged.
It almost seemed there would be an apology from both sides, for a brief shiny moment. At a stand still, where they all broke apart far enough still facing each other. Like they all had snapped out of their tiny bubble of hate for a moment to realize what they were doing to one another.
In the distance the older man spoke with a defeated tone and broke the silence, "Come on, lets go."
No police, no coroner, no judge, no podium.
The older man and the fierce young lady, wandered off in the opposite direction to the young men, who waited until they were just within earshot, to yell for all to hear, one last time...
Their words echoed in the streets and hung with hatred in the cold night air: "FAGGOT!!!"
I returned to my desk and contemplated for a moment. I sat in silence for a while and then began to write.

There may not have been any true justice, there may not be a podium in that man's future and the outcome was fortunately less violent than it seemed it would be.
But this story still deserves to be heard.
That is not the first argument I have heard, late in the night around here nor will it be the last but it was one I felt was important to share.
We live in a world where this happens every day. People viciously discriminate against one another. The victims stories are often never shared and they should be. There needs to be awareness about this disgusting behavior. It should be unacceptable.
What I didn't mention in this story is the 15 or more scattered bystanders within earshot and reach of the entire incident. As I stood next to my phone, in my pajamas, I went from being about to watch a movie and fall asleep to; about to call the police, with a phone in my hand.
No one would step in. No one would say a word. They pretended nothing was happening and turned away.

Tonight, discrimination, hate, fear, violence, and aggression, rang loud and clear here in Halifax. And in the face of it all, 1 woman out of 15-20 people present had the bravery to stand up against it.
Imagine if all the bystanders had backed her up? Imagine if she wasn't alone and didn't feel so threatened that she would resort to violence.
The next time you are in a public place where this is happening and you are with a group of people, PLEASE remember this story and consider helping instead of looking away.

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