Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Post-Ahmadinejad Political Opportunism Rant

From Glenn Greenwald (scroll down on the link for the rest of this):

Is there anything more transparent or absurd than our cheerleading warriors pretending to be concerned about gay Iranians? Mysteriously, they are silent about gays in Uganda, where homosexuality is a crime punishable with imprisonment, and silent about Zimbabwe, where President Robert Mugabe has called homosexuals "worse than dogs and pigs" and routinely imprisons them. Gay Africans are widely oppressed -- including arrests, beatings and governmental attacks -- in numerous sub-Saharan countries, and our brave warrior class says nothing.

Gays in many other Muslim countries, including U.S. allies such as Egypt and the UAE, are treated brutally and oppressively. In Iraq, the country we Liberated, the government we support is involved in numerous violent attacks on gay Iraqis, and our ally, Shiite Ayatollah Ali Sistani, issued a fatwa "forbidding homosexuality and declaring that gays and lesbians should be 'punished, in fact, killed.'"

And in countries too numerous to count, including nations such as Jamaica right here in the U.S. sphere of interest, gay people are forced to remain invisible lest they be the subject of arrest and violent attack. Yet somehow, our bloodthirsty tough guys/new-gay-rights-crusaders could not be any less interested in the plight of gay people in these countries, where they have no interest (currently) in sending their fellow citizens to wage war for them.

And all of this is to say nothing of the measures their own political party supports right here in the freedom-loving U.S. While no rational person would compare the life of gay people in America to gays in Iran and many other nations, the fact is that the U.S. continues to have some of the most reprobate and oppressive anti-gay laws in the Western World, laws supported by the political faction pretending now to be so deeply concerned about the plight of gay Iranians.

In particular, the Defense of Marriage Act prohibits any recognition of gay relationships for immigration purposes, thus forcing many American citizens either to live outside of their own country to be with their partner or live in separation from the person with whom they want to spend their lives. Not only European countries, but numerous developing countries, now recognize gay relationships for immigration purposes (.pdf) because they refuse to place their gay citizens in that wrenching predicament.

Even more reprehensibly, the U.S. remains one of the only Western countries to ban anyone with HIV from immigrating to this country. Efforts to repeal both laws have been repeatedly blocked by the political party to which our warrior/gay-rights-crusaders pledge their allegiance. And that same political party happily continued its alliance with the likes of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson even after they both blamed the 9/11 attacks on gay rights. And as Juan Cole documents, as we all scoff at the primitive ignorance of Ahmadinejad, we tolerate quite similar sentiments among some of our most respected political figures.

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