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Shame on You

What are we to make of this? This is from the story Prisoners of Sex (sorry, subscription only) in the New York Times, about the difficulties homosexual men face in the Arab world. Thanks to Bill Day for the tip.

    Tanta is a drab industrial town on the Nile…. Though it is difficult to speak of a gay community in Tanta (not all men who sleep with men in Egypt use the term “gay,” much less identify themselves as such), Hassan is a ringleader of sorts, a thread between generations. […] For Hassan and many gay men in Tanta, the last few years have been especially hard….
    Adel, a…friend of Hassan’s, was killed by an occasional lover. The ensuing investigation, not far removed from a witch hunt, resulted in many suspected homosexuals in Tanta being arrested, including Hassan. He and others arrested told me that they were held in a police interrogation room called “the refrigerator,” marked by a carpet brought in by the police that was caked in Adel’s blood. Detainees were tortured nightly for more than two weeks, from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m., according to the same sources. Hassan estimates that at least 100 men were detained and tortured. Some men were forced to stand on their tiptoes for those hours; others got electric shocks to the penis and tongue; still others were beaten on the soles of their feet with a rod called a felaqa, to the point of losing consciousness.
    Most men were held until they broke, agreeing to work as informants, walking the street to pick up other homosexuals and reporting in each night. “They told us Adel deserved to die,” Hassan told me. “They said they wished all gays would die.” This went on for at least a month…in a pattern of detention, torture, informing, more torture.

Who are the sick ones here, the gay men or their torturers? There are those who argue that homosexuals betray their families, their culture and their religion, or that the very concept of homosexuality is a foreign import. But it seems clear to me that if there is a sickness in Arab society, it is the attitude of the police, their sense of entitlement and arrogant pride. Certainly, it is not only homosexuals these men mistreat. It could be political activists, or simply the weak. The mark of a healthy society, it seems to me, is that it defends the rights of all its people to live in dignity.

There is an old saying about Nazi times that goes something like, “First they came for the Jews, then the Communists, then the Gypsies, then the homosexuals, and I did nothing. Now that they’ve come for me, there is no one left to defend me.” Augusto Pinochet, the Chilean dictator responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people, has just died, and may he burn in hell. (Not that I believe in hell! Hell is of our own making.) We can see how far Chile has come today, where a woman who was herself a victim of Pinochet’s torturers is now president. The same thing can happen in the Arab world, but it must start by saying, “No excuses! Even if I don’t personally endorse what this person was doing, torture and abuse are never justified.”

Places like Egypt are practically the last part of the world where this sort of thing goes on. When will the Arab people claim their freedom…!?

Comments

Comment from Bill Day
Time: December 11, 2006, 22:06

Unfortunately, in light of the United States’ own torture and rendition policies in the name of the War on Terror, we are no longer in much of a position to set a moral example.

Comment from eatbees
Time: December 11, 2006, 23:21

And we are “outsourcing” to Egypt among others (Syria and Morocco have been mentioned) because they already have the experience!

Comment from Robert Andrews
Time: December 11, 2006, 23:31

Hey, just wanted to drop you a quick note … we need to motivate the troops if we can. Tom Delay is at it again. He’s got a website with a blog. He’s trying to motivate his ultraconservative right wingers and we need to get the message through to this crooked old man that he needs to go away!

Not only is he involved in all the politcal scandal and corruption that he’s being charged with in TX, but he and his organization are neck deep in the Foley coverup and tried (unsuccessfully) to turn the blame back on the gay population for the pervert’s behavior. Foley’s Chief of Staff (Kurt Fordham) used to work directly for one of Delay’s political fundraising machines. His supervisor there was none other than Susan Hirschman who is now also under indictment for her involvement with Abramhoff. Hirschman wound up sending Ford over to the Foley camp likely to help keep it all under wraps. Fordham, fortunately, was astute enough to realize that Foley’s behavior was not something easily “controlled” and instead of fighting a losing battle decided to turn it over to Hastert’s office. They wanted Fordham to continue trying his best but he resigned and Hastert was charged with retaining the republican majority at any cost and so turned the whole thing over to Reynolds for his committee’s intervention.

And as we all know the whole thing came crashing down when Lane Hudson posted the infamous e-mails. …and believe me kiddo there’s much more that you’re not hearing about on this subject.

Ironically it seems that Rove tried to use the Gay card during the Foley scandal but wound up pissing off enough of the republican closeted politicos that Fordham resigned and went public. So much for trying to work from within the organization to change it.

Anyway my point is that Tom Delay is a dangerous man with power in Washington that you can only imagine.

We need to flood that website with plenty of e-mails, blog postings, etc. to get the message across that this man needs to go to prison, not back to Washington!

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