news

Journalist and friend attacked by group of men during New Zealand Pride

Aziz Al-Sa'afin vowed not to let the attack stop him celebrating who he is

2019-02-13

Words: Steve Brown

A journalist and his friend were attacked by a group of men at New Zealand Pride.

AM show reporter Aziz Al-Sa’afin – an openly gay journalist – and his friend were walking through the streets when a group of men starting shouting homophobic abuse at them.

The men then approached them and asked, ‘How’s it going?’ and before they had time to reply, the men hit Aziz’ friend who fell to the floor.

Aziz told Newshub: “They were yelling out fags, homos, you’re going to hell. Never in my wildest nightmares did I think I would be subject to a ‘gay bashing’ in New Zealand, during Pride week, on Karangahape Road – a place I thought I was safe.

“Before I answer, my friend had hit the ground and a fist made contact with my left eye. I fell to the ground. All I could think was, ‘This is it, see you later, world’.”

He saw his friend being beaten up but Aziz managed to escape and called his friend who said he was OK.

Aziz continued: “I had no phone, a swollen eye, my friend was gone. All I could think was, ‘He’s dead’.

“It could have been worse. Although, it still feels like rock bottom.”

Aziz espcaed with a black eye but his friend suffered a head injury, chipped tooth and a kick in the groin.

Taking to Instagram, Aziz vowed not to let the attack stop him celebrating who he is.

He wrote: “Like yesterday, today I wear my bruises with pride. #Pride to not be silenced, abused, or judged for who I am and who I love.

“You tried to break not only my face, but my heart too, and you failed. Try as you might, my community won’t be broken, like you obviously are.

“You will be found. For those who have been on the opposite end of a fist, a foot, even a knife. You are not alone and you have nothing to be ashamed about.

“Stay proud, stay strong, and always know you are who you are meant to be, no matter what anyone says.

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

Like yesterday, today I wear my bruises with pride. #Pride to not be silenced, abused, or judged for who I am and who I love. You tried to break not only my face, but my heart too, and you failed. Try as you might, my community won’t be broken, like you obviously are. You will be found. For those who have been on the opposite end of a fist, a foot, even a knife. You are not alone and you have nothing to be ashamed about. Stay proud, stay strong, and always know you are who you are meant to be, no matter what anyone says. I am overwhelmed and inundated with messages of support love, and help. Some have even bravely shared their own stories, and I will get back to each an every one of you, that I promise. Thank you Aotearoa, for embracing me and my friend today. Sometimes, all you need is just a big hug, and today we got that from the entire country β€οΈπŸ§‘πŸ’›πŸ’šπŸ’™πŸ’œ

A post shared by Aziz Al-Sa'afin (@azizle) on

“I am overwhelmed and inundated with messages of support love, and help. Some have even bravely shared their own stories, and I will get back to each an every one of you, that I promise.

“Thank you Aotearoa, for embracing me and my friend today. Sometimes, all you need is just a big hug, and today we got that from the entire country.”