Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Orlando Terror and the Self-hate Crime

The following prayer is recited by many observant Jews, soon after waking.

May it be Your will, Hashem, my God and the God of my forefathers, that You rescue me today and every day from brazen men and from brazenness, from an evil man, a bad companion, an evil neighbor or event. . . whether he is a member of the covenant (a Jew) or someone who is not a member of the covenant.

Maybe it could become a national, no better, a universal prayer. Maybe we should all start saying it. Leave out all the Jewish stuff, assuming that doesn't apply. Choose your own higher power.

Here we go.
Sitora Yusufia, Omar Mateen's ex-wife
The gunman authorities say massacred 49 people at an Orlando nightclub had proclaimed he wanted to be a martyr, traveled to Saudi Arabia and alarmed co-workers with claims of links to extremists. . .
analysis of Mateen's electronic devices showed searches for jihadist propaganda, including ISIS beheading videos."He consumed a hell of a lot of jihadist propaganda" online, the source said 
Mr. Mateen had a chilling history that included talking about killing people, beating his former wife and voicing hatred of minorities, gays and Jews; most of his victims were gay, Latino, or both. His father, Seddique Mir Mateen, an Afghan immigrant, has said that he was particularly enraged by seeing a same-sex couple kiss
Nothing, FD would say, that we haven't heard before, except, perhaps, the pronounced homophobia. 

Targeting the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgendered and queer community (LGBTQ), this is likely to be a hate crime. How could it be otherwise?  Yet Omar Mateen, the assassin, frequented gay bars and gay chatrooms. He visited PULSE, the club he chose for the massacre previously. Maybe the purpose of the visits, research the crime. Or maybe it is as it seems, he was a member of the LGBTQ community.

His ex-wife, Sitora Yusufia, in a CNN exclusive last night, said that she believed something was wrong with him, that maybe he was gay. He couldn't confide in his father, certainly wouldn't come out, if that were the case, or divulge that he liked to drink, and liked to frequent clubs. Omar had a side he couldn't talk about with the authority figure, a prominent man in the Muslim community.

Ms. Yusufia, now divorced from Mateen, told CNN that she thought Omar suffered severe sexual and emotional conflicts. He changed soon after they married, turned from a fun, sweet guy, to a controlling, abusive husband.

She didn't say it, but I will, being gay and married to a beautiful woman can exacerbated internal sexual conflict. She represented what he was not, a heterosexual partner, and her attempts to seduce her love might only anger him.

And anger can lead to battering, not only to those who have been battered as children (we have no childhood history to work with).  Ms. Yusufia said that Omar tortured her. He hurt her as she talked on the phone to her parents, and once, in a grocery store, when he noticed that she wasn't at his side, screamed for her, loudly. She was in the next aisle and came running. He dug his nails deeply into her wrist, brought her to her knees in pain, and told her never to do that again.

You can't make this up. Her parents had to rescue her from the marriage. The young couple divorced.

Domestic violence is usually learned, as is controlling behavior, but not always. If his wife found him attractive, not only might her youthful sexuality have felt threatening, but he may have only married her to prove to himself that he wasn't gay, or to prove it to others, particularly his father. He preened in front of the mirror, his ex-wife said. He behaved in ways that gay men do.

So it is possible that merely being with her tweaked his sexual conflict, aroused only his internal homophobia. Annoyed to the point of infuriated, he might have attempted to extinguish loving behaviors in her. He might have deliberately punished her for fanning his own self-hate, intentionally making himself unattractive to her by beating her.

Omar Mateen, as a murderer in the name of ISIS,  did not have to target the LGBTQ community. Everyone knows that Disney World is also in Orlando and there are crowds, long lines of tourists who visit the amusement park. Thus the question, the suspicion about his sexuality. Why the choice of a gay club and not the Harry Potter exhibit? And why, if he did have same-sex attraction, did he murder the objects of his love? That isn't logical, supports the theory that he only visited the bar to case out his crime.

He had visited Saudi Arabia, networked, presumably, with other jihadists. Knowing that ISIS throws homosexuals off the highest of buildings, if he were gay, he might have preferred a different type of death, a closeted, heroic death, the kind we're seeing now, as young men declare their allegiance to the terrorist nation. He found an outlet for his anger, the anger associated, too, with domestic violence. He likely hated himself, and craving acceptance from authority figures, the chieftains of ISIS, showered his hate upon the LGBTQ community.

In this way he could choose martyrdom over shame.

Following the Yusufia interview, a forensic psychologist and a psychiatrist had airtime on the show. The psychiatrist said that had Mateen suffered an affective disorder, the depression or mania might have popped the lid off his sexual confusion. The forensic psychologist concurred. One of them mentioned that narcissistic injuries also trigger violence.

FD, watching the interviews with me asked, "What do you think?"

"I agree with all of it, especially the narcissistic injury hypothesis.  Perhaps he was dumped by a lover, suffered a severe ego hit. But worse is this inability to accept himself if he were gay, internal homophobia, a negative emotion. It isn't confusion at all, it is fear of oneself, capped off with self-loathing. A person raised religiously, especially, who has been socialized to hate homosexuality, will have a very hard time not fearing, not hating himself. That's assuming he was gay, or bi, or trans, or queer."

I couldn't stop. "The hatred fostered by ISIS is fuel to the fire. He suffers irrepressible self-disgust., thus to redeem himself in his own eyes, and the eyes of the terrorist world, he has to prove he isn't a homosexual. Add to this the marked mood shift described by his ex-wife, and the knowledge that he couldn't change his sexual orientation, and it is possible that he saw himself as better off dead, death a just punishment for gays. Martyrdom, jihad, accomplish each of these goals."

Just an opinion, pure conjecture, never having met Omar Mateen. But the opinion is likely shared by the GLBTQ community, one that is grieving now on so many levels, as we all are.

"Anger," I told FD, "is dangerous and it is woven into all of us."

We have good reason to pray.


1 comment:

clairesmum said...

The same phenomena (tho less violent) has occurred with a couple of different fundamentalist Christian preachers and I think a Congressman (with a 'wide stance' explanation) who were arrested for soliciting sex from other men, or a long term same sex liaison was revealed, about a white Christian male who presented himself as a leader of Christian family values. Not a knock onChristianity, the teachings of all religions are sometimes twisted and abused by humans who succumb to the desire to attention and power.
Your explanation makes quite a bit of sense, really.