Tuesday, August 4, 2009

small world: Tel Aviv gay center shootings

I saw the news about the shootings at Tel Aviv gay center on Saturday from the various gay news RSS I subscribe to. I have to admit that I was not as shocked to hear about violence against a gay community center in the Middle East as I would be if the attack had taken place in North America or Europe. However, I only learned recently that Tel Aviv has significant LGBT community and the city is considered a much more secular, Western urban city. Last month, a former tenant who moved to Israel years ago called and mailed photos he took of Tel Aviv's gay pride parade to our office. Judging from the racy pictures, Tel Aviv's gay pride is probably as big and outrageous as any other large city's gay pride, so I assume many LGBT folks probably feel relatively safe in Tel Aviv.

Anyways, I was a little surprised to hear from this tenant yesterday. He would probably agree that he and I don't see eye-to-eye on many issues and are probably as unalike as two people could be. When he lived in Portland, he was a notoriously loud, outspoken activist that opposed anti-war demonstrations. Even now, he forwards anti-Obama news articles to our e-mail -- just to remind us that Obama is not loved in Israel. So it took me a moment to realize what he was referring to yesterday when he called the office to express to me how shocked and saddened he was about the shootings. He said he was familiar with the area where the shootings took place.

He wanted to know if the news of the shooting had reached Portland. I told him that I don't usually watch local news, but I did hear of the shooting from websites. I was surprised to suddenly discuss such a far-off news event. I suppose if a tragic event happened in my region, I would also wonder if the folks on the other side of the world had heard it too.

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