While I imagine absolutely anyone reading this already knows I thought it was a fascinating tidbit to point out just how destructive petty prejudices can be. Case in point with the ever vocal homophobes in our country (which is beyond me, I don’t see what homosexuality has to do with anyone outside of those who are homosexual).
For whatever reason a vast amount of the Arabic translators in the US military are (or I suppose I should say were) homosexual. Prior to the 9/11 attack the US intelligence agencies had received plenty of non translated material that all told could have quite easily raised our chances of preventing the attack to levels that are almost disgusting. Indeed even now the US has mounds of Arabic material that has either been poorly translated or not translated at all because they got rid of all the men and women who were willing to put their lives on the line for a military so prejudice that it would kick them out for something as unrelated as their sexuality.
So what is the cost of Homophobia? 2,740. That’s how many people that died in the 9/11 terrorist attack, that’s almost three thousand people who likely all would have much as many talented people working in the military and intelligence agencies as possible. Not only this but the aftermath of the event has cost the lives of thousands more US soldiers, I’m pretty sure a few dozen reporters, and that doesn’t even count all the people who have died in Afghanistan and Iraq that aren’t related to these organizations that have died in the cross fire or shrapnel. Likewise the war itself could have been avoided (since its very hard to invade a nation if you aren’t already at war or have good reason to get going there).
So the next time you see two men holding hands, or two women hugging and kissing before going about their day, and you feel a sickness in your stomach try to remember that that feeling cost the lives of thousands of people and for what? Because of some dark disgusting misinformed preconceptions you have about homosexuals? I hate to sound overly passionate about the topic because it might take away from my point but I am hard pressed to understand.
People might think that prejudices are harmless when not directly hurting people, but in the end they cost the lives of far more people. It only takes a little nationally supported prejudice to cost the lives of tens of millions of people. Few people deserve to die and even that is questionable, in the end it is never the fault of one person for the actions of that one person, there are many variables that come into a strong collaborative image to make each and every one of us. However you can be certain in a country of dissension and judgmentalism, you will generate many many people who are destined for an early death.
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0DE1DD1038F933A15752C0A9639C8B63 – 2005 Article on the topic, there are literally 10’s of thousands of them on the internet. Have an adventure and go google surfing, it’s an enlightening endeavor sometimes.