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View Diary: Understanding Russia's homophobia (179 comments)

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  •  Without a doubt... I just think the reasons (18+ / 0-)

    why our community's been chosen for scapegoating are a little different than the ones we usually have to respond to, and the techniques we use (e.g. shaming the homophobes) are falling on more fallow ground, because the impetus is different.  But yeah, this is definitely a round of "shore up nationalist bona fides by finding an easy target."  We're an easy target.  As I mentioned above, 80% of Russians polled say they've never met an LGBT person before.  Another 9% say they know one (just one!).  

    Americans have been drawing allusions to Nazi Germany... I think pogroms are a closer parallel.

    Also, it's horrifying the extent to which the State can justify and normalize basic cruelty for its own purposes.  Have you ever heard the story of Pavlik Morozov?  That severely warped an entire generation of Soviet kids.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 04:28:22 PM PDT

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    •  That's not a story I'm familiar with (13+ / 0-)

      One can see parallels to the history of Russian pogroms AND to Nazi Germany. I suppose that if you want to get technical, anti-Jewish violence in Germany, up to and culminating with Kristalnacht, took as its cue the violence regularly perpetrated by pogroms in Russia (and elsewhere; I believe they happened in Poland as well). I don't believe Germany had a history of organized anti-Jewish violence prior to the Nazi era but there were certainly plenty of inspirations if you looked towards Russia.

      At the same time one should not overlook the parallels on the legal side. To be sure, homosexual activity is not officially illegal in Russia (a state of affairs which the Russian government is fond of pointing out); it is only the public acknowledgement of homosexuality that isn't permitted. However, there is every indication that unless there is some resistance (which seems unlikely) the current laws will be expanded so that even if they don't make it actually illegal to be a GLBT in Russia, there is every intention to make it absolutely unbearable to be at all openly gay there.

    •  The Morozov story is an interesting one (6+ / 0-)

      The article you've linked to indicates that much of the original story was debunked over the years, though there were certainly elements of truth to it.

      More important is the idea of the child "hero of the Revolution." This one was certainly alluded to in George Orwell's 1984.

      Are you suggesting that the idea of turning in one's own parents (or children) and making this somehow laudable arises from the same sort of background you've outlined in your diary? If so, that's certainly worth considering.

      •  Something about the pathology of extreme (10+ / 0-)

        nationalism breaking down even the strongest bond - that of parents and children.   Dostoevsky would say that there's no fanatic like a Russian fanatic, who outdoes every other nation's fanaticism and then some.   I got into this a little above with the messiah complex issue, and you put those ideas together, and you have something terrifying.

        My favorite songwriter, Karel Kryl, tried to put into words the way Soviet-era Czechoslovakia made casual cruelty into a virtue, as long as it was for the nation.  After the main character of "Salome" informs on another person (who is executed for imaginary crimes), the narrator sings,

        I can live with a clear conscience.  Anything is possible
        For the good of the state.
        Maybe [the king] remembered the old saying,
        That when you're making history, no one will cry
        Over a head on a platter.
        That's what I think about when I see these fuckers torturing children for the good of the nation.

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 05:15:01 PM PDT

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    •  Would "Human Rights For Everyone", (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pico, Wee Mama

      or something like that, be a bit more effective because more general?

      "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10 UID: 8519

      by Bob Love on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 05:12:37 PM PDT

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