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dimecres, 15 de juny de 2016

Orlando ha dejado al descubierto el veneno de las políticas identitarias

SP¡KED.- There has been something deeply disturbing in the Western response to the Orlando massacre. There has been an instinct, actually a concerted effort, to estrange the 49 victims from the broader human family, to prevent their being talked about as part of humanity. Across the media, and in gay-rights circles, observers have insisted we refer to them as ‘queers’ first and avoid turning them into ‘disembodied, undifferentiated and abstract “human” lives’, as one academic put it. To talk about these people in the same breath as ‘Western values’, to allow their murder to be ‘generalised’, to refer to their slaughter as ‘an attack on humanity’, is wrong, commentators insist, because doing this erases their specific identities and the specific reason they were killed: their gayness. This is all meant to sound PC, and gay-friendly, an attempt to uphold the truth about what happened in Orlando; but in fact it exposes the profound anti-humanism of identity politics.

Within hours of the atrocity, the response had descended into a squabble over whether it was a homophobic crime or an attack on humanity. It surely speaks volumes about the moral disarray of the West that we cannot even agree on how the act and its victims should be referred to, far less what kind of robust, collective response to take to such Islamist-justified barbarism. A writer for the London Review of Books flagged up the ‘faultline’ between the way ‘many straight people are interpreting the Orlando attack’ and the way ‘many LGBT people understand it’. The straights are wrong, he says, to view this attack as ‘anti-Western’; it was anti-gay. An American journalist went further, saying: ‘If you are a cisgender, heterosexual, white person, please do not write about [Orlando].’ Guardian columnist Owen Jones told a news presenter: ‘You don’t understand this because you’re not gay.’ So, from the get-go, efforts were made to suppress solidarity, in essence; to prevent anyone who doesn’t share the specific identity of the victims from expressing an opinion or grief over their slaughter; to distinguish the victims, ‘queers’, from everyone else: ‘humanity’.

And as the days go on, this perverse removal of the Orlando victims from any broader narrative of humanity or the West or just ‘us’ – a writer for the Independent sniffily mocks the idea that it was an ‘attack on us all’ – has intensified. The commentators insisting that the massacre be given its rightful name of a ‘homophobic hate crime’ claim they are only trying to prevent the murdered revellers’ identities from being erased. We must stop this ‘erasure of the sexual and gender identities of the victims’, says one. Yet no one – literally no one – is denying that the Orlando massacre was an anti-gay attack. How could they? What gay-rights activists, identitarians and observers are really bristling at is the line that follows the acknowledgement that it was a homophobic attack, the line that says: ‘But it was something else, too. It was an attack on humanity.’ It’s this they find unacceptable, because the inexorable instinct of identity politics is separatism, an urge to emphasise the differences between various sections of humanity and most importantly the differences in victim status. | Brendan O’Neill
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