The Mortal Danger of Bravery in a Closing World

Paweł Adamowicz and Marielle Franco

Headlines are piling up following Sunday’s political assassination of Pavel Adamowicz, the liberal mayor of Gdansk, Poland.

Though details are limited as to a motive, what is clear is that the locally-popular, six-term mayor was stabbed in the heart by a supporter of the ruling Law and Justice Party while addressing the crowd gathered for a charity concert Sunday night.

What is also clear is that Adamowicz was a supporter of greater equality for LGBTI Poles and integration of refugees. I suspect that these will become a known factors in the assassin’s attack as the story develops.

Last March Marielle Franco, a black, out lesbian City Councillor in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was assassinated by bullets originally purchased for local police. Though her killers remain at large nearly a year later, most civil society leaders believe she was targeted for her work on behalf of the poor, people of color and LGBTI communities.

Poland and Brazil bear little resemblance culturally or geographically, but they share the distinction of being two countries whose political leadership is moving quickly to scapegoat ‘others’ to mask their own ineptitude and criminality. This rogues’ gallery of nations include the obvious Hungary, Indonesia, Uganda and Russia along with the emerging Israel, Italy, India and The United States.

Will 2019 bring more targeting of LGBTI and allied politicians, or will the world come to its senses and push back against this senseless violence? Alturi will keep you posted.

By Robert Blackmon