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"Each individual should allow reason to guide his conduct, or like an animal, he will need to be led by a leash."
Diogenes of Sinope

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Thousand Flowers tapestry (15th Century) - Beaune, France (detail)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Modest suggestions for the gay left

I was in Toronto yesterday amid the inescapable hoopla surrounding the International AIDS Conference. What was the one thing getting everyone agitated? Stephen Harper's no-show. Aside from the appearance of "silver-haired Richard Gere, looking relaxed in a blue shirt and tan suit jacket" (Globe & Mail), all anyone could talk about was Harper's insensitivity. Downtown TO was plastered with posters and notices from various gay activist organizations urging the righteous to gather on Wednesday in front of the Convention Centre to "send a message to Harper". Here are just a couple of modest suggestions for more serious issues that gay activists should be using their considerable organizational and media skills on instead while the world's attention is focused on Canada:
  • 22-year-old Emmanuel Ndyanabo was chased out of his native Uganda this month for trying to attend the Toronto conference. Ndyanabo is gay, and being gay in Uganda is a crime punishable by life in prison. He has already been arrested for running a counselling service in his native country for HIV-positive homosexuals. He has applied for refugee status in Canada. (source: The Globe and Mail, Aug. 15)
  • In Iran, homosexual acts between men are illegal and punishable by death. Iranian activist Arsham Parsi, who worked secretly in Iran for four years helping homosexuals who had been beaten and tortured, was tipped off that the secret police were about to arrest him. He escaped to Turkey and now lives in Toronto. "I cannot return to Iran", he said, "even though my family is still there. Homosexuality is forbidden and if I went back I would be arrested at the airport or border and in a couple days they would kill me." (source: Xtra - Aug. 3)
  • July 19 marked the one-year anniversary of the execution of two teenaged Iranian boys - Ayaz Marhoni, 18, and Mahmoud Asgari, 17, for allegedly sexually assaulting another male teenager. The trial was held in secret and the Iranian government will not release documents relating to the case. Iran is a signatory of the UN children's rights declaration which prohibits the use of the death penalty for persons under the age of 18. (source: Xtra, Aug. 3)

By the way, in case anyone is interested in organizing a little media event to draw attention to these two countries and their appalling human rights records regarding homosexuals instead of worrying about whether or not Harper is schmoozing with Bill Clinton, here are the addresses:

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran - 245 Metcalfe St., Ottawa

Ugandan High Commission - 231 Cobourg St,. Ottawa

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?


Anonymous said...

Why aren't the governments of those countries where aids is an actual crisis doing more to help their citizens. There seem to be too many corrupt governments run by dictator types who are not much concerned with the problems of the people. Why doesn't the msm report on the ineptness of those governments? Wouldn't it also be more beneficial to the people they are trying to help if they held the conference in a country in crisis. Their hospitality and tourism industry would be helped financially and people could actually connect with people in need.

hunter said...

anon, that's too much like common sense! AIDS is a cool liberal type problem now, so, common sense goes out the window, and none of them want to actually see the people who are suffering, that's just too real!

Mark Dowling said...

Google Peter Tatchell. He got the crap beat out of him in Brussels by Mugabe's bodyguards when trying to make a citizen's arrest a few years back.

Anonymous said...

"I'm a forty-something gay professional, conservative and Conservative..."

Eric: will you marry me?