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Dec

2007

Iran, Iraq and that gay-hunt the Left keeps ignoring
Sunday, 09 December 2007 12:27
by Gabriele Zamparini
"In Iran, we don't have homosexuals, like in your country."
– Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iran did it again. Makvan Mouloodzadeh, 21 years old, was executed because he was a homosexual. The Iran Lobby, so powerful within some quarters of the Western “Left” and the so-called “anti-war movement”, will once again try to justify this barbaric murder and repeat the lies of the Iranian theocracy: he was killed not because he was homosexual but because he was accused of rape. This time however the homophobic apologists on the “Left” will need to find a better excuse; Makvan “was accused of committing anal rape (ighab) with other young boys when he was 13 years old. However, at Mr. Mouloodzadeh's trial, all the witnesses retracted their pre-trial testimonies, claiming to have lied to the authorities under duress. Makvan also told the court that his confession was made under coercion and pleaded not guilty.”

Like canaries in a coal mine, homosexuals have always been the minority whose treatment in a society would detect the grade of freedom and tolerance within that society or the lack of them. Probably the most persecuted minority in most of the times, cultures and places [but ‘most’ doesn’t mean ‘all’], the attitude toward homosexuals is indicative of the state of that society in its whole. Through witch-hunts, tortures and piles – always justified by some God, Holy Text or Ideology – Europe produced the notorious pink triangle, one of the Nazi concentration camp badges, used by the Nazis to identify male prisoners in concentration camps who were sent there because of their homosexuality. Tens of thousands were persecuted, imprisoned and killed by Hitler’s followers. In The Pink Triangle. The Nazi War Against Homosexuals, German-American writer Richard Plant, a refugee from Nazi Germany, writes:
“That homosexuals, by a series of laws, were treated as subhumans does not seem in retrospect particularly illogical or even unexpected. After all, their classification as heretical deviants boasted a long lineage. From the viewpoint of Nazi logic, the extermination policy concerning homosexuals had a kind of ideological justification. Himmler’s concept of a National Sexual Budget classified homosexuals as “propagation blanks” and diagnosed them as a health hazard because they spread a so-called homosexual infection. Eicke’s police needed no such ideological rationale: homosexuals were simply regarded with the hatred characteristic of ancient homophobic superstitions”
But not even the Nazi would hang kids for playing with their mates. According to the London’s Times “Homosexuals deserve to be executed or tortured and possibly both, an Iranian leader told British MPs during a private meeting at a peace conference”
Under the Freedom of Information Act, the FCO [Foreign and Commonwealth Office] released papers to The Times about the death penalty being used in Iran for homosexuality, adultery and sex outside marriage. Minutes taken by an official describe a meeting between British and Iranian MPs at the Inter-Parliamentary Union, a peace body, in May. When the Britons raised the hangings of Asqari and Marhouni, [Mahmoud Asqari and Ayad Marhouni, hanged in Justice Square in Mashhad in 2005. Graphic photographs of the execution of the youths, who were under 18 when arrested, were released by the Iranian Students News Agency] the leader of the Iranian delegation, Mr Yahyavi, a member of his parliament’s energy committee, was unflinching. He “explained that according to Islam gays and lesbianism were not permitted”, the record states. “He said that if homosexual activity is in private there is no problem, but those in overt activity should be executed [he initially said tortured but changed it to executed]. He argued that homosexuality is against human nature and that humans are here to reproduce. Homosexuals do not reproduce.” Nicole Pichet, a researcher who also took notes of the gathering, told The Times that the discussion began with British MPs discussing the underage gay hangings. Mr Yahyavi responded by saying homosexuality was to blame for a lot of diseases such as Aids.
From Iran to New Iraq

The horror Amerika brought to New Iraq has outshined the Third Reich’s. This is true for all Iraqis and particularly for Iraqi homosexuals, the most vulnerable and targeted community in New Iraq.

"The U.S, and other allied forces are doing nothing to stop the massacres of any ordinary Iraqi, not to mention the homosexuals, the most unpopular portion of Iraqi society under the new evil regime" recently said Ali Hili, a 34-year-old Iraqi exile now living in London.

Hili, who launched Iraqi LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender] in late 2005 “after hearing about the killing of so many of my friends”, also said: “Homosexuality was generally tolerated under Saddam. There certainly was no danger of gay people being assassinated in the street by police. Since his overthrow, the violent persecution of gays and lesbians is commonplace. Life in Iraq now is hell for all LGBT people; no one can be openly gay and alive."

Long-time human rights activist Peter Tatchell wrote last year:
Two militias are doing most of the killing. They are the armed wings of major parties in the Bush and Blair-backed Iraqi government. Madhi is the militia of Muqtada al-Sadr, and Badr is the militia of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), which is the leading political force in Baghdad’s government coalition. Both militias want to establish an Iranian-style religious dictatorship – or worse. Some of the anti-war left in Britain and the US support Muqtada al-Sadr, despite his goal of clerical fascism and his militia’s involvement in death squad killings. They hail him as a national resistance hero for fighting the US and UK occupation of Iraq; totally ignoring his militia’s sectarian murder of innocent Sunni Muslims, women and gay people. The allied occupation of Iraq is bad enough. But victory for the Madhi or Badr militias would result in a reign of religious terror many times worse. The execution of lesbian and gay Iraqis by Islamist death squads and militias is symptomatic of the fate that will befall all Iraqis if the fundamentalists continue to gain influence. The summary killing of queers is the canary in the mine – a warning of the barbarism to come (…) while Saddam was in power, discrete homosexuality was usually tolerated. There was certainly no danger of gay people being assassinated in the street by religious fanatics. Since his overthrow, the violent persecution of lesbians and gays is commonplace. It is actively encouraged by Iraq’s leading Muslim cleric, the British and US-backed Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. In late 2005, he issued a fatwa ordering the execution of gay Iraqis. His followers in the Islamist militias are now systematically assassinating lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, as indicated by the following sample reports received from my clandestine Iraqi LGBT activist contacts inside Iraq… (Read more here)
The violence against Iraqi homosexuals has also been denounced by the United Nations. A Human Rights Report of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) released in January reads [PDF link] :
Armed Islamic groups and militias have been known to be particularly hostile towards homosexuals, frequently and openly engaging in violent campaigns against them. There have been a number of assassinations of homosexuals in Iraq. (…) HRO [UNAMI Human Rights Office] was also alerted to the existence of religious courts, supervised by clerics, where homosexuals allegedly would be “tried,” “sentenced” to death and then executed.
About these “religious courts”, a note in the UN Report explains:
According to the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, “the trials, presided over by young inexperienced clerics, are held (…) in ordinary halls. Gays and rapists face anything from 40 lashes to the death penalty.(…) One of the self-appointed judges in Sadr City, believes that homosexuality is on the wane in Iraq. "Most [gays] have been killed and others have fled," he said. Indeed, the number who've sought asylum in the UK has risen noticeably over the last few months. (…) He insists the religious courts have a lot to be proud of, "We now represent a society that asked us to protect it not only from thieves and terrorists but also from these [bad] deeds.” Institute for War and Peace Reporting: Baghdad Gays Fear for Their Lives (20 October 2006), (http://www.iwpr.net)
The UN Report continues:
According to the Iraqi LGBT society, twenty-six of their members have been killed since 2003. This include the murders in 2006 of two minors, eleven-year-old Ameer and fourteen-year-old Ahmed, because of their alleged sexual orientation even though both were reportedly forced into child prostitution. Another two young women were murdered in Najaf also because of their allegedly sexual orientation. Allegedly, three Fatwas would have been issued by Islamic clerics authorising “good Muslims” to hunt and kill homosexuals.”
Independent journalist and long-time human rights activist Doug Ireland reported in January:
“The Badr Corps - the military arm of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), the country's most powerful Shiite political group - launched a campaign of "sexual cleansing," marshaling death squads to exterminate homosexuality, following a "death to gays" fatwa issued in October 2005 by the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the 77-year-old chief spiritual leader of all Iraqi Shia Muslims, to whom the SCIRI and the Badr Corps owe total allegiance. Late last year, the Badr Corps - whose members up until then had been paid their salaries by Iran - was integrated into the Iraqi national police under the Ministry of the Interior, and its death squad members now have full police powers and wear police uniforms, which they don to carry out murders of gays. Death squads of the Mahdi Army, the armed militia under the control of fundamentalist Shia cleric Moqtada al Sadr, have also carried out assassinations of gays.”
Persecuted by the new regime installed by the Amerikan Occupation and supported by the Iranian theocracy, Iraqi homosexuals can be persecuted, tortured and killed openly and freely in New Iraq.

Disgracefully too many Western minds, both pro and against the war, have this queer idea that this is the norm in Middle East countries. The pro-war nuts tell us that we cannot blame the US-led war of aggression against Iraq for causing this horror against Iraq’s homosexuals; as the many other horrors in New Iraq, we are told Iraqis, their culture and their sectarianism are to blame. The anti-war folks instead tell us that we can blame neither New Iraq’s sectarianism nor Iran for its nefarious role in New Iraq; we are told these horrors are exaggerated and in any case we must understand a different culture without demonizing it.

I believe all these arguments - when not the fruit of homophobia, still very present among us, even in the so-called “Left” - are the result of hypocrisy and racism, both when they come from the pro-war side and when they come from well-intentioned anti-war folks.

First of all, the horror Iraqi homosexuals have been forced to live is not the norm in Middle East countries and certainly it was not the norm in pre-invaded and pre-occupied Iraq. That horror stems directly from the supreme international crime, the war of aggression waged by Amerika and its allies.

“The US has unleashed bloodshed in Iraq that is rarely known even in countries we think of as violent and torn by civil strife. It is amazing to think that this has occurred in what was only recently a liberal and civilized country by the region’s standards. This was a country that had a problem with immigration, particularly among the well-educated and talented classes. They went to Iraq because it was the closest Arab proxy to Western-style society that one could find in the area. It was the US that turned this country into a killing field”, wrote this past September Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., the president of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, a research and educational center of classical liberalism, libertarian political theory, and the Austrian School of economics.

Now the mass murderers of the Badr Corps and the Mahdi Army, responsible of huge crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing against the Iraqi people, are the Amerika’s New Iraq’s “security forces”. As for the puppet, sectarian New Iraqi government, both the Badr Corps and the Mahdi Army have the full support of Iran, whose fanatic regime likes to see homosexuals tortured and hanged.

The Iranian connection to the many horrors inflicted upon the Iraqi people is indeed the Grand Taboo in many quarters on the “Left” and within what is known as “the anti-war movement”. Besides the guilty ignorance, the immoral denials, the hypocritical justifications and the opportunistic explanations of activists and intellectuals who prefer to close both their eyes or to look through the deforming lenses of their arrogance or indifference, there is one argument that instead deserves much more serious consideration.

This argument warns us that we must be very careful not to play into the warmongers’ hands and fall in the human rights trap now that Iran would be under Amerika’s military threat. This is a very serious argument and certainly human rights have been used to sell wars, imperialism and colonialism to the Western audiences, from Yugoslavia to Afghanistan and Iraq, from the White House to Human Rights Watch.

But can this argument justify the silence over ethnic cleansing and massive crimes against humanity committed by the pro-Iranian Iraqi government installed by the Amerikan occupation and its sectarian militias, the Badr Corps and the Mahdi Army, supported, trained and funded by Iran? Can this argument justify the silence over the devastating role Iran has had in the annihilation of Iraq? Should we ignore the many cries for help coming from Iraq? Should we ignore the truth?

Not only have many on the so-called “Left” and in what is known as the “anti-war movement” been ignoring those cries, lying and spreading conspiracy theories on the responsibilities of heinous crimes, denigrating those few people within the movement who have been trying to highlight the truth from the beginning, they have also been actively supporting the pro-Iranian factions within Iraq responsible for those heinous crimes. In most cases, the result has been to hijack the Left and the anti-war movement toward a sectarian direction, spreading propaganda and helping the infamous Amerikan project known as the “political process”. Influential intellectuals, activists and “anti-war” organizations have contributed to manufacture this consent around the New Iraq, its Quisling government and those sectarian militias responsible, together with the Amerikan occupation, for reducing Iraq into a wilderness. [to be continued…]
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Jimmy Montague said:

Jimmy Montague
What about the Right?
Didn't the American Right pretty much ignore the judicial flogging and incarceration of a female gang-rape victim in Saudi Arabia? I don't recall that Mr. Bush had much to say about that particular event. Happened just last week, did it not? So why aren't you crying about that? Are female gang-rape victims less pitiable than homosexuals? Or are you, a supporter of Saudi Arabia, on the "Right" side of this issue in refusing to criticize the Saudi regime?

Did it ever occur to you that many Lefties probably don't care what happens in Iran because Iran is a foreign country with its own government, its own legal system, and its own way of doing things with which -- whether we like it or not -- we do not feel entitled to interfere. Because we're not Irani citizens, you understand. Thus it's the same with us as it is with Iranis who, however much they may or may not dislike homosexuals, don't feel empowered to insist that American justice should put homosexuals to death. Because the Iranis are not American citizens, you understand.

Truth is, some of us believe that the sooner Americans learn to stop meddling in the internal affairs of foreign countries, the sooner America will be at peace with the rest of the world.

All of that said I'm still curious, Brave Warrior. So tell us: Did you want to nuke those evil Iranis today? Tomorrow? Sometime next week? Or should we be more selective about which Iranis we kill and send the Marines to snuff only the straight ones? And speaking of Nazis: You fail to make note of the fact that Nazis were hate mongers of the RIGHT, and you likewise fail to note the fact that Nazi anti-gay laws were put in place and enforced by top Nazis, a number of whom (such as Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering) were themselves homosexuals.

And now that you're all steamed up, I should add that what I'm driving at here is the fact that no one person or group of people (Left, Right, gay, lesbian, straight, black, white, brown, yellow, Catholic, Muslim, Mormon, Buddhist, Orthodox, etc.) can claim to be entirely innocent of occasional indifference to the human rights of every other soul on this planet. I certainly cannot, and (truth be told) neither can you. Were that not so, none of us would have time to think of anything else.

So go shopping or something. Get a life. Don't ask. Don't tell. Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you -- but they can't stretch your neck if they don't know who you are.
 
December 09, 2007
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