|Honorable Mention: Best Editorial
By Thomas Hamilton -TX
2012 KarMel Scholarship Submission
Description of Submission:
"This is an article I wrote for my school newspaper in November 2011. It was a brief account of a horrific hate crime in
which my boyfriend and I were both targets. The event was extremely disturbing. However, I felt the need to share
how the experience had affected me in order to not only raise awareness of hate crimes where I was studying
(Geneva, Switzerland), but also to inspire people to stand up against all forms of intolerance.
As a result, I received an outpouring of sympathy from my fellow students and faculty. Likewise, a group of students
in the year below recently formed the institute's first LGBT group.
I similarly gave an interview to the local Geneva paper. The article, in French, can be found at the following link:
A rough translation can be made through Google Translate" - Thomas
Why Karen and Melody Liked It:
We liked that this story was uplifting. That just because something bad happens that we don't retreat. We loved the
reason why this story needed to be shared.
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Bad things happen to good people. In our line of study, we’ve long
become accustomed with such a statement. From refugees seeing
civil war to victims of natural disaster, people around the world
suffer injustice on a daily basis. As scholars of human rights and
international affairs, something compels us to study and take on
the issues that others merely shrug off afer the evening news goes
to a commercial break. "Tough at times it can feel downright
overwhelming, we press on because we believe somehow in the
possibility for a greater world.
While I myself hold such views, I can’t help but think how easy
it is to take on the worries of the world as I sit comfortably in the
library. "ere are no troubles about whether I will eat tonight
or tomorrow. No concerns that my residence will be bombed to
rubble in the coming weeks. In the city we currently call home, it
can o$en seem we lead charmed lives compared to those of the
people we meticulously study in our courses.
"is Friday, however, I received a great shock to the reality I live.
While waiting for the bus at Coutance, my friend and I were attacked
for the simple reason that we are gay. As we embraced in
the cold, a group of teenagers began shouting homophobic slurs
at us and abruptly pushed us from our peaceful state. Violence
ensued as they began hitting my friend who valiantly tried to
defend us both. I quickly attempted to call the police, only to have
one of the boys hit me over the head, knocking my phone to the
ground. "Though a bus approached, the driver merely shouted
at the boys to exit, shut the doors and promptly drove away. I
watched in utter disbelief as they kicked my friend in the face,
throwing him down on the pavement. I was indeed too overwhelmed
to notice that one of them had taken the liberty to lower
his pants and urinate on my bag.
As an openly gay man for over five years now, I have never
experienced such a heinous act of violence. It was surely only the
kind of thing I heard about in the media, not something I ever
imagined happening to me, especially in a city so seemingly innocuous
as Geneva. Yet over the past couple days as we’ve gone
to the police and visited psychologists and doctors, the reality of
what happened just days ago has sunk further and further into
I share my story with you not to gain your sympathy or pity, but
to show that cruelty is real and may be closer to you than you
think. What happened to us that night can never be changed, but
can only serve as an example of the need for people to fight for
greater equality in the world. Violence knows no boundaries. A
kick to the face hurts the same regardless of gender, race, religion,
sexuality, or nationality. When someone suffers, we all suffer as a
society, despite the differences we may artificially place between
“us” and “them”.
"Though I can’t undo what has been done, I know one thing: I
wouldn’t take it back for the world. If given the chance, I’d stand
there hugging him a million times over because I would be standing
up for who I am and who I love. If you take anything from
this story, remember not the tragedy, but the perseverance. Bad
things do and will happen to good people. Yet despite the great
misfortunes we may face, we must never fail to keep pressing on.