Category Archives: Middle East

Gay Activism and Iran: Do Western Activists Do More Harm Than Good? (Link to article by Scott Long)

Scott Long, LGBTQ human rights activist and visiting fellow in the Human Rights Program at Harvard Law School, just posted an article on Western LGBTQ activists and the purported “gay executions” in recent years in Iran, which I would recommend. While the LGBTQ and even mainstream Western press has reported several high-profile cases in recent years, Long believes that the situations may have been misrepresented, in some cases making things worse, and in some cases obfuscating matters. Long writes that

No one who launched the story has bothered to follow up the facts.

Among the observations that Mr. Long makes:

It’s certainly possible that the four men in Charam are “gay” or hamjensgara, and have been framed. It’s certainly also possible that they raped an “effeminate” victim, and that he is the one who suffered for sexual dissidence. Quite possibly, in fact, that’s the pattern underlying these stories of rape. In other words, conceivably [Western activists] have spent all these years speechifying and pontificating in support not of “gays,” but of their persecutors. The point is: We don’t know.

Agree or disagree, it’s worth reading and considering. What happens when we step in to “help” without having the full story? Does queer activism sometimes do more harm than good?

-AidanAbroad

Gay Saudi Diplomat faces possible Execution after US rejects Asylum Plea

Ali Ahmad Asseri, the gay former first secretary of the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles, has been denied asylum by the US government. According to the Jerusalem Post: “Saudi officials…refused to renew his diplomatic passport and effectively terminated his job after discovering he was gay and was close friends with a Jewish woman.” Asseri then applied for asylum, arguing that he faced possible execution if forced to return to Saudi Arabia. The feds don’t seem to want to ruffle the feathers of their Saudi pals, so they are sending him back. Case closed. Next. For a list of countries where being a gay men is a capital offense punishable by death, click here.

Sex to die for…Iran hangs three men for sodomy.

AFP/File, Behrouz Mehri

“Six men were executed by hanging in a prison just outside the city of Ahvaz early Sunday morning. Two were convicted rapists, one a drug trafficker, and the last three were found guilty of committing ‘forbidden acts against religion.’ Under Articles 108 and 110 of the Iranian Islamic Penal Code, the punishment for ‘Hadd’ or as the west calls it, sodomy, is death.”

via Queer Landia. For a list of the six countries which punish male homosexuality with the death penalty, click here. For the rest of the Queer Landia article, here.

John, They’re only Dancing – Marines Shake It! (Hot & Silly Video)

These two are just too cute. Barely more than kids, as soldiers usually are, they are caught in a complicated history, their own personal stories intertwined with that of their country at war. Vets, and children of vets, understand how one can despise war and still honor warriors. Many of us still carry the physical and emotional effects of conflicts long past. “It’s complicated” – as they say on Facebook. War is hell, but it is also boredom. In these media days, that’s easily taken care of with a camera and a YouTube account. The Internet is awash with interesting videos made by soldiers with time on their hands. These two mess around to Soulja Boy’s Donk. For a great Lady Gaga Telephone re-do, click here. For an interesting musical political commentary, based on a lyrical re-working of the Beach Boys’ classic Kokomo, click here.