Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hate Goes Global

This is Johann Hari's take on the legacy of the Stonewall riots for the twenty-first century:

In the US and Europe, steadily and remarkably quickly, the civilising voices are winning. There is still a lot to do - gay teenagers are six times more likely to commit suicide than their straight siblings - but the trajectory is ever-upwards. In much of the developing world, gay equality is inching forward too. After extraordinarily brave men and women fought back, India is poised to decriminalize homosexuality this year, and China has just seen its first ever Gay Pride parade.

But there are three great swathes of humanity still untouched by the spirit of Stonewall - and terrified, terrorized gay people there are screaming for help. In the Caribbean, majority-Muslim countries, and most of Africa, being gay is a death sentence - yet many people who should be showing solidarity choose not to see it.

Jamaica is Taliban Afghanistan for gay people. If caught, gays and lesbians face ten years' hard labour - but they are more likely to be lynched. The cases documented by Dr Robert Carr of the University of the West Indies fill whole books. Here's two from a single week. A father found a picture of a naked man in his 16 year old son's rucksack, so he produced it in the playground and called on his classmates to encouraged them to beat him to death - which they promptly did. Nobody was ever charged. In Montego Bay, a man was caught checking out another man - so the crowd lynched him. When the police arrived, they joined in. Hospitals routinely refuse to treat the victims of gay bashings, leaving them to die.

There is a Matthew Sheppard there every day, but people who wouldn't have dreamed of holidaying in Apartheid South Africa flock to Jamaica's beaches. A heroic Jamaican called Brian Williamson set up an organization called J-FLAG to campaign for the rights of gay Jamaicans. His body was found stabbed and slashed over seventy times. The police did nothing. The most popular song in Jamaica in recent years - by Beenie Man - choruses: "I'm dreaming of a new Jamaica, come to execute all the gays... Take dem by surprise/ Get dem in the head."

Throughout Muslim countries, gay people are routinely jailed, tortured and hanged. Mahmoud Ahmadinejadh denies there are any gay people in Iran, but is happy to have them executed in public squares. In post-invasion Iraq, there has been a homo-cidal pogrom of gay people being led by private Islamist "morality squads". In the past two months, over 25 corpses of gay men have been found in one slum, Sadr City, alone, mutilated, with notes saying "pervert" pinned to their chests. Ayatollah Ali-Al Sistani, the country's leading religious cleric, says gays should be killed "in the worst way possible" - and they are obeying. Men are now being killed by having their anuses glued shut.

See the full article here.

Also, Joe.My.God drew attention to this bit of fag-baiting on YouTube, relatively harmless here, but the flagrant, unabashed viciousness underlies a good bit of American culture even now in the era of hope and Obama:

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