More than twenty-four hours have passed since I first was reading information about and covering the shooting deaths at the LGBT Tel Aviv Community Center. The pictures that we have seen since are both horrifying, from the ambulances and bloodied victims, and uplifting, from the vigils and demonstrations.
Now, comes word from Haaretz of the eulogies and the stories of Nir Katz, 26, and Liz Trobishi, 16, who were killed in the shooting rampage. The gunman remains at large.
Nir was one of the counselors of the group, helping those at the time in their young lives where they most needed an open heart and a safe space. From Haaretz:
[Nir's] sister, Chen, who had lived with him for the last seven months, arrived with a gay pride flag, which she placed on his grave at the end of the funeral.
“I am carrying this flag because we don’t need to lift it up but rather to fly it and to show what hate without purpose can lead to,” she eulogized, adding that “the struggle started here and we will extract it at its roots…because everybody is equal and it doesn’t matter what their leaning is.”
Nir’s mother Ayala also delivered a eulogy, telling mourners that her son would not have believed such an attack could occur.
“Nir always had endless love for every living creature…always with respect for every form of life and a lot of respect for those around him,” she said. “With all the love-giving, someone who opposed this path ended his life.”
The second victim, Liz, appears to have been an ally, another big heart helping provide comfort to her LGBT friends. Again, from Haaretz:
Trobishi’s friends said she participated regularly in activities held by the gay youth organization Igy, even though she herself was not a lesbian.
“Although I am not a part of the Igy community I really love being with them,” the 16-year-old wrote on the youth organization’s online forum a few months ago. “I connected with a lot of people, met a lot of nice people and am not sorry for any moment,” she added.
According to her friends, whenever somebody would announce online that they had come out of the closet, Trobishi would post a message of support on the forum.
Nir and Liz, eulogized today, were shot to death for helping what amounted to a youth LGBT support group. This is sickening, and my heart goes out to their families and friends and all of the LGBT community and their allies in Israel who are facing this tragedy today.
As politicians respond and as folks living in Israel consider what’s next, these young people — and the lives they lived — stand perhaps as the strongest message of the powers that oppose hate.
[ALSO: Thanks to Andrew for the link and for covering this story.]
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