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My message to Dharun Ravi: "Say you're sorry."

Posted on March 18, 2012 at 9:45 PM


 

Dharun Ravi was found guilty of some of the charges, particularly having committed a bias crime, but he was not found guilty in the death of Tyler Clementi, who committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge.

Maybe Ravi was advised by his lawyer to keep his mouh shut, but I was desperately hoping and waiting for that one word: Sorry. He was already acquitted of manslaughter, let alone murder, so it would not have harmed him to say that one word, but he remained silent throughout.

The jurors knew and Ravi knew: not every "gay" person commits suicide even though a large majority of "gays" knows what it means to be ridiculed, harassed and discriminated against.  Statistics in this area of research regarding suicide rates among "gays"are scarse and most of the studies cite empirical data. Moreover, most of “gay people” do not go around with a label around their neck. In fact, many people who are happily married with chcildren may at times in their life engage in homosexual activities.

It’s evident that Ravi’s “pranks” in and by themselves did not cause Clementi to jump off the GWB. At the very most, they were the straws that broke the camel’s back. From all the evidence it’s clear that Ravi never intended any harm, least of all to cause his roommate’s death. In fact, it’s much more likely that Clementi’s mother may have played a larger role in setting off his depression by her attitude of rejecting her son’s sexual orientation.

But that doesn’t mean that Ravi had nothing to do with it. He could have said, in so many words, that his behavior, be it no more than the usual joking that goes on all the time about faggots, queers, daisies, pansies, cocksuckers, maricones, etc., might have been a contributing factor in pushing Clementi to make that fatal decision. Can one imagine how Ravi could have played a supporting role by stating that he had many gay friends and that, to him, people were people. Clementi might still be alive today and he and Ravi would have been close friends for life.

I find it intensily sad that Ravi’s father, who must have worked hard to send his son to a prestigious college in the USA, to Rutgers in New Brusnswick, NJ, saw all his dreams about his son’s future go up in smoke. He said one word that stood out: “Tolerance.” There is no question that there was an implicit pleading for understanding of social and cultural differences.

Does there have to be some form of punishment? Perhaps so. But if Ravi becomes the scapegoat while the majority of us think, smugly, that we’ve done our job and that justice is served, we haven’t learned anything. When two guys kiss each other while Rick Santorum holds a speech, the crowd booes. We have a far way to go.

Let’s first say, “Sorry.” Sorry for everything we do to each other rather to accept each other as human beings. Rick Santorum, a good Christian and a good Catholic should know better. He had the opportunity to remind the jeering people that Christ socialized with prostitutes and never said a single word to condemn people for their sexual orientation.

Say “Sorry,” Dharun Ravi, say that you’re sorry, deeply sorry. We’ll say it together.

 

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