Monday, January 17, 2011

The Homomonument

Just saw the news that a new LGBT History Museum ever is now opened in San Fransisco. What a wonderful news! All the more reason for me to keep saving to go to the US. Here's a link to the site:

The news brought back a memory to me. As a member of LGBT society, there's some kind of unidentified pride in my soul every time I looked back to our history. LGBT society has perhaps a sadder history than even Jewish people, even in the time of Holocaust. It's true that there were more Jews died in Holocaust than any other minority group (about 81% of all victims of Holocaust are Jews), but the percentage of gay people who died after getting caught is more than in Jews group (I forget the exact numbers, sorry). That was caused by the terrible treatment not only by the Nazis but also by cell mates and other groups as well. One story I heard and couldn't forget was about a couple of gay men. One was forced to watch his lover being chased by Nazi's dogs and bitten to death before he himself was killed. To this day I couldn't get that image out of my mind. To make it worse, after the US freed Jewish people from various concentration camps, the homosexual groups remained criminals because they were not listed officially as 'victims' of the Holocaust, and they remained so till years later.

There were many monuments around the world to commemorate gay people's struggle throughout the history (one more is about to be built in Barcelona... ugh, how I wish it was already there two years ago!), and I've been lucky enough to visit one of the biggest and the oldest, Homomonument in Amsterdam.

In that plaque, these words are written (in Dutch, English, and French): "Commemorates all women and men ever oppressed and persecuted because of their homosexuality. Supports the international lesbian and gay movement in their struggle against contempt, discrimination and oppression. Demonstrates that we are not alone. Calls for permanent vigilance. Past, present, and future are represented by the three triangles on this square."

This plaque stood just beside the triangle of the past, which was built just below the street level and leading down to the water in the canal. This triangle represents the past when gay people were often oppressed and killed just because of their sexual orientation. Most time of the year there are lots of flower bouquets placed here and lots of people coming here to pray, to celebrate, or just to contemplate, but I was there on a very cold day... hence the quietness. It made the place all the more solemn, though, and I almost cried when I finally stood there and looked up to the other two triangles.

The second triangle was built on level with the street, and it pointed to Anne Frank's house. It represents the hope for freedom, equality and human right - what we strive for nowadays and what Anne once wished for in her diary. On the triangle there were words inscribed in Dutch, "Naar vriendschap zulk een mateloos verlangen." Translated freely as, "Such an endless longing for friendship".

The last triangle, built just above the street level, is the one to represent the inspiration and hope for the future. All three triangles are placed such that they actually made a big triangle of their own. It remains one of the fondest memory of mine, seeing such a thoughtful and beautiful monument spread wide in the middle of Amsterdam - in front of a church, no less! It's a shame that this monument was built in 1987, and yet the fight for equality is still going on... and in my own country I think we're still in the 'past' stage.

Well... you may think that, "Ah, who cares about gay people?" and you may even believe that we deserve it, but please remember, it's not only gay people who are faced with discrimination and being oppressed. Jews faced it, black people faced it, women faced it, people of many religions around the world faced it. I never could understand why people can't just live and let live - being afraid of something or someone different is one thing, but why not learn about them before deciding that they're evil and need to be eliminated? History has it all written down and yet we still make the same mistake. We just never learn, do we?

Deep down inside, I think we're all the same
Try not to judge someone and never shame
I do believe that people are good
Just want hope and respect, and to be understood 


Anonymous said...

which part of amsterdam is it?
have you been to Anne Frank museum in Amsterdam? I haven't. it was too bad that I didn't have the guts to go there alone

Ryou said...

deket e anne frank museum... aku lupa nama jalan e... hehe :D
yep, aku ke sana, dan bodohnya ga beli anne frank diary. gah... still beating myself up over that. lha temen2 ga ada yg mau ke sana po?

Anonymous said...

hahahaha... kebalik, bu.
I bought anne frank diary, but I didn't go to anne frank museum. still beating myself up over that, too!
geblek banget, cuman gara2 ga ada yang pingin kesana, aku nya juga ga ke sana...

Ryou said...

hueheheh... ya moga2 ntar dapet kesempatan lagi ke sana, yah :D tempat persembunyiane cukup asyik, soale masih seperti dulu, di balik rak buku... jadi berasa berpetualang gitu. wakakak :D

Gerard Koskovich said...

As one of the curators of the GLBT History Museum in San Francisco, I would like to thank you for mentioning us in your blog.

I hope you do get to visit us one day. In the meantime, here's my Facebook photo album of the museum and some of our visitors:

(The album is set for public access, so you don't have to have a Facebook account to view the photos.)

Ryou said...

It's my pleasure to mention about your museum, Gerard. I've taken a look at the album in Facebook and it makes me want to go there even more! :( On a positive note, when I get the chance to visit there one day it'll be even better than it is today. Thank you for leaving the comment and keep up the good work for the museum.

Ps. I tried opening the link without logging in on Facebook and it didn't work. It could be just a temporary problem or something, but I think I'll let you know so you can check on it :)