Dear Omar Mateen,
It's been 48 hours since your actions simultaneously ripped the world apart and brought it together. 48 hours since you showed us that nowhere is safe anymore. All over the world, the LGBTQ community go out to bars like Pulse to celebrate being themselves, and to have fun doing so. And in the space of a few hours, you took from that community the decades worth of efforts made to forge progress.
Did you think this would break us apart? Did you think this would silence us? Because you could not have been further from the truth. The consequence of your soul wrenching hate crime has united the entire world, in memory of those lives you took. Did you see that coming?
People have called you a terrorist, a member of ISIS, among many other things. But what you really are is a coward. You bottled up your struggle and unleashed your self hatred in a way that will never be forgotten. The world knows you as a coward. Is that what you wanted?
You ruthlessly murdered 49 innocent people. You stole people's sons, daughters, brothers and sisters. You took away their right to a future, their hopes and dreams. You blew a hole into the heart of every family member, with every shot you fired. So many people will never be the same because of you, because of the choices you made.
Your actions will never be forgotten. But this isn't the outcome you wanted, is it? This devastating tragedy that you caused has united nations, and prompted us all to stand stronger together in memory of the lives you took. We stand together in spite of you. And you were never going to win. Is this what you imagined? Is this what YOU died for?
You're a criminal and a coward, and your crime has shocked the world to its core. But we refuse to break in the face of what you have done. The people who died because of you will be honoured as we stand together for justice.
I'm sorry this world could not keep you safe. May your journey home be a soft and peaceful one.
- Rupi Kaur