In many ways, the huge demonstrations of early 2011 that took place in Tahrir Square and led to the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak inspired Egypt’s gay community to join the call for a new, more democratic nation.
But now more than a year into the revolution, Egypt’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community has stepped back out of the public eye and retreated into the shadows once again.
... On a recent reporting trip to Egypt ... I met Taher Lamey, a doctor and member of the LGBT community who volunteered in the tented field hospitals of Tahrir helping victims of attacks by Egyptian security forces.
... In the heady days following the toppling of Mubarak, [Lamey] said he had high hopes for the revolution. He said, “The best of the country is involved in this. But they won’t win. If these people were in charge you would expect a lot from this country. International connections, democracy, social justice, social welfare..”
And, he believes, LGBT rights.
“I’m sure also that would have definitely been better because they’d have been liberals, ” he explained.
But in a country whose newly elected parliament is controlled by a two Islamist parties that control more than two-thirds of the seats, that possibility, he added, is “a long way off.”
Taher sighed and said he’s thankful he also holds a Dutch passport.
“I could leave. I have a fear of what happens next. I think we will be the next Iran,” he says.
Australian political advetisement: homophobic, xenophobic and racist -- all at once!
American soldier loses it; goes on door-to-door killing spree in Afghanistan. Nine children, seven adults die:
Residents of three villages in the Panjwai district of Kandahar Province described a terrifying string of attacks in which the soldier, who had walked more than a mile from his base, tried door after door, eventually breaking in to kill within three separate houses. At the first, the man gathered 11 bodies, including those of four girls younger than 6, and set fire to them, villagers said.
Mike DeWine said Friday that Freedom to Marry Ohio had submitted the initial required 1,000 voter signatures but had not supplied an adequate description of the measure.
Newt Gingrich campaign zeroes in on new target: Good Christian Bitches.
Scientists "now have a glimpse of the brain's bio-molecular code for memory."
Brad Pitt shows Ellen around New Orlean's 9th Ward ...
Lots of people say Andy Samberg's parody of other comedians' parodies of Sarah Palin's on last night's SNL was amazing. I'm not one of those people. Are you? Find out AFTER THE JUMP ...
Posted Mar. 11,2012 at 7:26 PM EST by Brandon K. Thorp in 2012 Election, Afghanistan, Africa, Austin Nichols, Australia, Barack Obama, Brad Pitt, Egypt, Ellen DeGeneres, Glenn Beck, Military, New Orleans, Newt Gingrich, Religion, Republican Party, Sarah Palin, Saturday Night Live | Permalink | Comments (12)
New developments re: the killings of gays and/or emo kids in Baghdad ...
The New York Times has settled the question raised in my last post on the subject: Why were the reports of "emo" killings in Reuters so similar to the report of gay killings from the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission? It seemed initially as though the killings of one group might have been mistaken for the other. But that's not the case. Shiite death squads are killing both gays and emos, and they're doing it in exactly the same way: Posting warning fliers (pictured at right) in Shiite neighborhoods, warning the offending gays/emos that they have four days to repent, ship out, or otherwise remove themselves from harm's way; and then beating them to death and dumping their bodies in the streets.
From the Times:
... in the past two weeks, officials had found the bodies of six young men whose skulls had been crushed. Reuters reported the toll to be 14 or more, citing hospital and security officials, while rights groups say that more than 40 young men have been killed, but have provided no evidence for this figure.
Human rights advocates say the threats and violence are aimed at gay men and at teenagers who style themselves in a uniquely Iraqi collage of hipster, punk, emo and Goth fashions. The look, shorthanded here as “emo,” has flourished on Baghdad’s streets as an emblem of greater social freedom as society has begun to bloom after years of warfare. But it has drawn scorn and outrage from some religious conservatives, and is often conflated with being gay.
... over the past month, threatening letters began appearing in Shiite neighborhoods across Baghdad, residents said.
One of the fliers, scanned and posted online, addresses dozens of gay men by name and nickname. It warns people identified as Japanese Haider, Allawi the Bra, Mohammed the Flower and others: Reform your behavior, stop being gay, or face deadly consequences.
“Your fate will be death if you don’t quit doing this,” one leaflet warns. “Punishment will be tougher and tougher, you gays. Don’t be like the people of Lot.”
Another flier circulating around the Zayouna neighborhood appears addressed to emo youths. It tells them to cut their hair, not to wear the clothing of devil worshipers, and not to listen to metal, emo or rap music. And if they refuse, “God’s punishment will be come down upon you and to be carried out by the mujahedeen,” the letter says. “Forewarned is forearmed.”
The Times describes "fear rippling" through the underground clothing stores where hip kids congregate to buy their outfits; terrified young people who've cut their hair and changed their wardrobes. The Times reporter, Jack Healy, sat with four gay friends who spoke of being heckled by passersby who screamed "Block! Block! Block!" -- the word referring to the death squads' weapons of choice: Blocks, rocks, and bricks.
It is still unclear if the murdered young person pictured in my last post was gay, emo, neither, or both, but Healy has identified him: Saif Raad Asmar Abboudi, of Sadr City. He was 20.
Meanwhile, GayMiddleEast reports possessing evidence that the Iraq government has possession of a list of at least some of the young people being targeted by death squads. Nevertheless, the youths have not been provided police protection.
Any action taken in the face of this horribleness will necessarily feel like weak medicine, but one can at least hit up the website of the LGBT rights organization All Out and sign this letter to world leaders, asking them to pressure the government in Baghdad to do something.
Well, that's it -- you're now a criminal if you "promote" homosexuality to minors in St. Petersburg, Russia. Promotion, as Andy's been writing for months, includes the participation in/organization of Pride Parades and gay rights protests, as well as (who knows?) the maintenance of a gay website, the donning of a gay pride pin, the sporting of a gay pride bumper sticker, whathaveyou. It's the kind of foggy, subjetive law that can only be enforced selectively, by whichever petty bully is empowered to enforce it at the moment.
The offending legislation was signed on March 7th by St. Petersburg's Governor Georgy Poltavchenko, a particularly dull-eyed KGB thug who rose to power on the same black tide as Russia's Once and Future President.
Here's a response from Polina Savchenko, the General Manager the St. Petersburg LGBT organization Coming Out:
Today it became known that the governor of St. Petersburg Georgiy Poltavchenko signed the homophobic law, imposing administrative fines on the so-called "propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality, transgenderism" and paedophilia to minors.
Authors of the law maintain that it is designed to "protect children from information that can harm their physical, intellectual, moral, and spiritual development". The term "propaganda" is defined as any uncontrolled and targeted distribution of information through any accessible means to minors that can [...] form an incorrect perception of social equivalence between traditional and non-traditional conjugal relations". Authorities project "traditional values" and clerical rhetoric onto politics, and prioritize "interests of majority" over the value of human individuality. We realize that today, fascist-like rhetoric in Russia is becoming basis for legislative activity.
In fact, this law has little to do with protecting minors. Today, neither homosexual people, nor human rights defenders, nor lawyers can answer the question of how this law is going to be applied in practice, due to its vague nature and non-legal terminology. To talk about existence of homosexuality, to publicly denounce homophobic violence, to develop sense of self-awareness and dignity in homosexual people, to promote tolerance - all of these acts can fall under the "propaganda" law. This law will serve directly to further isolate and marginalize the gay community and encourage hate towards a social group.
60 years ago philosopher and founder of totalitarianism theory, Hannah Arendt, said that in a totalitarian state, citizens are "either victims or executioners and the movement by its ideology seeks to prepare them to fill either role." Handing out of roles has begun: Russian authorities legalized discrimination of homosexuals. What will come next?
We are convinced that no authority can deprive people of their right to dignity, to respect of private and family life, to freedom of expression and to protection from discrimination and violence. We are offended and outraged by this act by city authorities and will continue fighting for the rights of LGBT citizens until the barbaric law is repealed.
Nikolai Alekseev, head of the Russian LGBT Human Rights Project, sent an email to supporters reminding us that the St. Petersburg law is only one of four similar anti-gay laws in Russia, all of which he is fighting or intends to fight in the European Court of Human Rights.
So: my brother came out that he was Bisexual last year and it was one of the hardest things he's ever had to do and one of the most courageous. He was most nervous about coming out to my old school Italian father who can be a bit of a hardass but mush at heart. So my brother decided to get born this way tattooed on his wrist in gagas handwriting after he met her, for obvious reasons, and it meant and still does a lot to him. My dad yesterday before Dylan came home for spring break got born this way in Italian tattooed on his wrist to show his acceptance and deep love for his only son who he is so proud of every day. I love my family.
"Pro-family" -- this is what it looks like. Watch the young man in question getting a first glimpse of dad's new tattoo, AFTER THE JUMP ...
Last night I recapped a Reuters story about the murder of "emo" teens by fundamentalists in Shi'ite neighborhoods around Baghdad. Human rights activist and literary scholar Scott Long has more: At his blog, he reports that two of his Iraqi friends have sent him pictures of an alleged victim of the emo purge, pre- and post-mortem, along with descriptions of the situation on the ground:
The correspondent who sent the following pictures says, “as you can see from the way they are dressed in their pictures, they are not Emo per se. I have been reading reports which indicate anyone who wears a stylish jeans with gel in their hair that represents the west has been identified as an Emo.” (Militias and the Iraqi media used similar markers to identify men who had sex with men back in 2009.) But he adds, ”I have also seen many pictures of young men who have shaved their head and grew their beards just that so they would not be targeted.”
I'm not going to reproduce the more gruesome images from Long's website, but they do seem to depict the body of the boy pictured at right. (Another of Long's friends sent along pictures of the same corpse, but paired with images of what might be a different living boy. All images, it seems, come from Iraqi media.)
But -- a wrinkle. This week, the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission released a report on a "wave of targeted killings" of LGBTs around Baghdad:
... in early February 2012, an unidentified group posted death threats against "the adulterous individuals" in the predominantly Shiite neighborhoods of Baghdad and Basra. The threats gave the individuals, whose names and ages were listed, four days to stop their behavior or else face the wrath of God, and were to be carried out by the Mujahedin. According to sources inside Iraq, as the result of this new surge of anti-gay violence close to 40 people have been kidnapped, brutally tortured and murdered. The Iraqi authorities have neither responded to this targeted violence nor have they publicly denounced it. It is widely believed that these atrocities are being committed by a group of the Shiite militia.
This sounds very much like the notices posted in Sadr City and Baya, which listed the names of local "emo" kids and gave them four days to adopt hairstyles less offensive to God.
Vice Magazine has reported on the anti-LGBT crackdown in Iraq, and posted a picture of an alleged victim of the gay purge. It depicts the same dead "emo" boy pictured above.
So -- which is it? Are Shi'ia thugs killing emos, gays, or both? Do they know the difference?
If you haven't seen this yet -- if you've stayed away, as did I, because you suspect you really don't need more Sarah Palin in your life right now -- well, give it a chance. Its awfulness approaches the level of art.
This is Sarah Palin responding to the bogus controversy about Barack Obama's 22-year-old hug of semi-controversial law professor Derrick Bell -- a hug recently turned into news by minions of the deceased Andrew Breitbart; minions who apparently intend to continue their overlord's tradition of doing fake journalism with real videotape. Palin's response is rambling, tragic, bonkers; she goes into sentences with no exit plan. Watch AFTER THE JUMP ...