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  •  Also (10+ / 0-)

    Last year there was an article in Newsweek about a gay Iranian who went to Europe so he could live openly with his partner. In the interview, he talked about how difficult it is for gays to live there, but also said that if Iran was invaded he would go back to fight for and defend his country.

    There was all of this propaganda about how silly Iranian leaders were to have this attitude towards gays, while totalling overlooking our own country's failings on the issue.

    It also completely overlooked the fact that none of this means that Iranians want us to barge in and "clean up."

    •  yup, propaganda. (7+ / 0-)

      I wonder how Iraq is doing? We sure made a big fuss about women and democracy there a while ago, then, ah, oh well.

      Another Proud Subscriber to the Mariachi Mama Candidate Bickering Moratorium!

      by borkitekt on Thu Mar 13, 2008 at 05:44:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Whoa (17+ / 0-)

      There was all of this propaganda about how silly Iranian leaders were to have this attitude towards gays, while totalling overlooking our own country's failings on the issue.

      I'm gay and I can't believe anyone would compare a country that executes gay people with the U.S.

      No, we don't have equality, but we've come so far in so many ways. I can live my life openly and freely and without fear of anything but a slightly higher chance of random violence or job discrimination. Compared to where we've been and where most of the rest of the world is, big whoop. Not everyone likes me and some of them vote against my right to marriage, not great, but with some perspective, it has been so much worse.

      The U.S. has every moral right to call out countries like Iran for their persecution of gays. Unfortunately, our current administration is only too happy to work with Iran on international agreements concerning gay rights...

      •  we have been told, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cardinal96, borkitekt

        by Western multicultural apologists, that "homosexuality" is a Western construct that has no applicability to the Islamic world.  So that when Mr Nutjob went to Columbia and said there were no gay people in Iran, he was telling the truth!

        Maybe a circumstance like this might get some people to wake up and smell the coffee... and see the evil these people represent and fervently and literally believe.

        Maybe... but I doubt it.  The multiculti postmodernists will come up with some excuse for this too.

        Enterpriser; Hard core Libertarian: +6.63 / -4.41

        by jimsaco on Thu Mar 13, 2008 at 06:29:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There's multiculturalism and then there's... (4+ / 0-)

          ...batshit insane multiculturalism.

          The idea that different cultures have different takes on various issues and that this should be respected, within reason? I don't have a problem with that. That's what multiculturalism means to me.

          Now, if you say that multiculturalism means that I should be able to enforce policy based on my views when it conflicts with basic concepts of human rights, I would say that's pretty stupid.

          Consider, however, that Iran is not a community living under the umbrella of a liberal and more or less secular state, like in the UK. Iran is a country of its own, with borders, with an army to defend those borders, with a government that makes its own policies, etc., etc.

          Until and unless Iranian government-sanctioned human rights violations reach the level of widespread massacres, I don't think any of it justifies foreign direct intervention. National sovereignty is one of the most important principles of international diplomacy, and we should hesitate and really think hard about what we'd be doing before violating it. The cost, in blood and treasure, would be enormous. Would the cost of not intervening be greater? That's the decision that has to be made.

          Oh, my friend, how have we come / to trade the fiddle for the drum?

          by Shaviv on Thu Mar 13, 2008 at 07:11:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  and then there's ignorance (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            skiddie, nehark, lotlizard

            There's multiculturalism and then there's...  

            ...batshit insane multiculturalism.

            how much information do you REALLY know and understand about Iran, and how it treats homosexuals, among a raft of other human rights?

            If your judgment on the whole of Iran is based on photos of gays being hung and of Ahmadinejad's speech at Columbia, then perhaps you do not have a complete picture.

            This is not to say that homosexuals were NOT hung in Iran; it is to emphasize three concepts:

            1. Iran & Ahmadinejad have been so thoroughly demonized in US media, especially, that an honest understanding of actual events taking place in Iran is hard to come by; "demonization destroys the ability to think critically."
            1. Is there a 'mote and beam' situation taking place here?  The US imprisons more of its citizens than any other place on the planet; the US illegally invaded another sovereign nation & is responsible for the death of at least 10,000 of its civilians and the displacement of 4 million more; it has not been that many years since the US routinely lynched men, women, and children for the crime of breathing while black.  
            1. Every Iranian scholar, from Haleh Esfandiari to Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi to NIAC president Trita Parsi to journalist Barbara Slavin have been pleading with the US government to:

            a. bring Iran's human rights abuses to the attention of the legitimate international community (that's not you, CNN/FOX) to keep THAT pressure on Iran's ruling regime;

            b. STOP, in the name of god, Allah, Buddha, Christ stop the threats, sabre-rattling, economic sanctions, and out-of-control, secret, 'NGO' propaganda and infiltration & destabilization campaigns against Iran; they are counterproductive and making the work of Iran's moderates and reform-minded actors well nigh impossible even as they empower the mullahs.

            Most Iranians argue that their government is moderating slowly, and that THEY wish to reform their own government, thank you very much.  Iranians characterize their government as 'part democratic, part theocratic' (or are they talking about the US? hmmmm.)

            The story of this young Iranian gay man is compelling, but to paraphrase Dr. Carol Tavris, "don't march off to war before you know what the problem is really all about." ("Anger: The Misunderstood Emotion")

            •  I am not sure you actually read my remark. n/t (0+ / 0-)

              Oh, my friend, how have we come / to trade the fiddle for the drum?

              by Shaviv on Thu Mar 13, 2008 at 08:01:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  apologies (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                the attachment of my comment to your comment was not appropriate; I agree with your position.

                I also think many Americans, and some who have posted on this diary, are too susceptible to propaganda rather than facts.

                •  The attitude of the few Iranians I know (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  toward their government is sort of like the attitude of the few Chinese people I know toward their government. It's sort of "Oh god they're embarrassing, but what do you want me to do? It's my country, my homeland."

                  In any case, Iran, with its very modest economy, is not going to be posing a serious threat to any but the most unstable regimes (our puppet one in Iraq, e.g.).

                  Oh, my friend, how have we come / to trade the fiddle for the drum?

                  by Shaviv on Fri Mar 14, 2008 at 08:24:39 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  Hold on now: (6+ / 0-)

          I think you're mixing up a few different things.  "Homosexuality" is a western construct, and queers activists living in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia will tell often tell you the same thing.  The issue hinges on identity politics, and to what degree one considers sexual preference 1. concrete, 2. intrinsic, and 3. connected to identity.  It's not only a perfectly legit stance to take, it's also pretty accurate.

          (For a related case, consider how shocked the Western media was by the fact that Thailand has prominent transgenders in popular culture: fact is, they don't think about gender in the same terms we do.)

          But that doesn't mean that these "apologists" in any way sanction discrimination, abuse, and murder of people who choose to participate in same-sex relations.   You can question our fundamental understanding of sexuality without drifting into cultural relativism, and I think you're do a disservice to people who are trying to understand the dynamics of culture and sexuality.  I've yet to meet a "multicultural apologist" who thinks that execution of people for same-sex relationships is something to be excused.

          If you're interested, there's a lot of literature on the subject, but I'd also highly recommend the documentary Dangerous Living: Coming Out in the Developing World.  There's a segment where they deal specifically with this issue of what it means to be "homosexual", and how the term is more specific to the Western experience.

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

          by pico on Thu Mar 13, 2008 at 09:07:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The phenomenon itself is biological. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            skiddie, pico

            It exists in all cultures by virtue of the fact that we all share one genetic heritage. Let's not confuse people about that. There isn't anything culturally dependent about the fact that human sexual attractions have more permutations than a simple bipolar switch. That's just a biological fact.

            What I believe you're talking about is the concept of homosexuality -- that is, how we choose to understand the phenomenon, relate to it, explain it, deny it, fear it, categorize it, over-simplify it, condemn it, admire it, identify with it, and project it onto others. That varies widely, sure, not only from culture to culture, but also within a culture. (Consider, for instance, the, um, peculiarly defensive take of the "religious right" subculture in the US.)

            Some cultures are better than others. Not better because they're "like ours" and therefore don't require us to stretch our minds, and not better because they're different, either, and confirm us in discontent we have about our own culture: better in absolute terms because they give all people living under them a greater chance of a happy life.

            Different is OK. Mean isn't.

            Folly is fractal: the closer you look at it, the more of it there is. - TNH

            by Canadian Reader on Thu Mar 13, 2008 at 11:08:56 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  But you're getting to the crux of the issue (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              skiddie, Mike Erwin, lotlizard, acnetj

              when you talk about human sexual attractions, which themselves are even more complicated than you're letting on.  We try to compartmentalize attraction more than our bodies do: sexual, personality, intellectual, aesthetic - as if they're fully discrete.  If you're attracted to someone's beauty, does that mean you're sexually attracted to that person? (maybe, maybe not)  This is super fuzzy territory.  In some respect everyone has attractions to people of the same sex - even if they're something as banal as "common interests" - but the question is, which of these lead to sexual relations, and to what extent do sexual relations then define one's identity?

              Sex between two people with the same biological equipment definitely exists in all cultures, I agree.  Homosexuality as a phenomenon?  That's a little shakier.

              It may be that we're partially talking past each other, at that.

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

              by pico on Thu Mar 13, 2008 at 11:40:46 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  I wasn't comparing the two (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nehark, lotlizard, borkitekt, whytwolf

        I was pointing out that this was being used as further "proof" that Iran is evil. I find it ironic coming from an administration that wanted to write anti-gay sentiment into our Constitution.  

        •  I won't apologize for that (6+ / 0-)

          It is proof that Iran has some godawful policies they should be challenged on. I refuse to turn a blind eye to what Iran is doing to my brothers and sisters because some people feel that any criticism of Iran, no matter how justified, might embolden the President.

          You said, "coming from an administration..." Has either Bush or Cheney said anything about this asylum case or the hanging of gays in Iran? I'm going to guess they aren't making a big deal about it, and knowing domestic politics, it's not hard to say why.

          •  Iran certainly merits opprobrium (4+ / 0-)

            for its treatment of gays and lesbians; but what exactly do you think states should do if they're genuinely interested in their plight?

            At the very least, they should be granting asylum to those Iranian gays and lesbians lucky enough to have gotten out of the country alive.

            After that, all I can say is that public condemnations of Iran by other states is only likely to harden its position on the matter.  

      •  Yes, I will make the comparison, it is not that (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lotlizard, whytwolf

        hard, nor is it far away from where we are in the our time and history, where power rested solely in white males, where sodomy was against the law, and violence was way more prevalent. And as you indicate with regard to violence and the right to hopefully* marry someday, it is still an issue about how far we need to come.

        In fact, it seems that sodomy was a capitol offense in Britain up until 1861. And in the US sodomy laws were not completely repealed until an SC decision in 2003! And at that time it was punishable by up to life in Idaho.

        Iran's law, as it seems in one article, is a 4 strikes and you're out policy. Though maybe someone else might have some information on this. At any rate, guess how many friends countries other than Iran have a death penalty for homosexuality? A: Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

        You live your life openly? I'd imagine there are only few cities in the states that would really socially allow that- and I mean being able to hold your boyfriend's hand walking down the street, surely that's iffy.  NYC? SF?

        But going back for a sec especially with regard to us bashing Iran. A few months ago Amnesty International put out a report calling out Iran as being the leading country to execute minors. The spokesman gave some obscure number of months, something like 28, that Iran held the top spot and glossed over who and for how long was the previous #1. It was the US.

        In the past five years, the United States has executed 13 juvenile offenders. Eight of these executions took place in the state of Texas. The rest of the world combined carried out five such executions. The United States accounts for four of the last five known juvenile offender executions in the last two years.

        As of January 2004, more than 70 juvenile offenders sat on death rows throughout the United States; this constitutes approximately 2% of the total death row population.

        ... And until March 1, International Abolition of the Death Penalty Day, I wasn't aware that our neighbours to the south didn't even blink when sentencing minors to death for their crimes. That's right, a murder committed before March 1, in the U.S. by a minor could still fetch the same sentence as an adult.

        Guess who else executes minors? China, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.  Hmmmm. So let's review: the upstanding, moral, democratic leader of the free world supported the execution of children just like some of the Middle Eastern countries it so fervently criticizes for human rights abuses.

        Does anyone else see the hypocrisy here? The Human Rights Education Associates do.

        Actually, they issued a plea to the Bush administration on Feb. 28, asking the U.S. to get with the times and stop executing minors. A day later the U.S. decided to legally align itself with international human rights organizations like Amnesty International and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and outlaw the execution of child offenders. Maybe they figured that their accusations of human rights abuses might be listened to if they also stopped killing minors. This decision stemmed from the trial of Roper v Simmons that barred mentally handicapped adults from facing the death penalty and argued that this practice violates the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishments.

        *We all know you are a grumpy PITA, so good luck with that if the laws change:)

        Another Proud Subscriber to the Mariachi Mama Candidate Bickering Moratorium!

        by borkitekt on Thu Mar 13, 2008 at 09:08:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ha ha (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          *We all know you are a grumpy PITA, so good luck with that if the laws change:)

          The fact I'm grumpy should be a giveaway that I am married, which should also tell you where I live. :) (J/k about the grumpiness. Love you, sweetheart, if you're reading this.)

          I stand by my assessment. I'm not too worried about the past, as I'm rather explicitly comparing present-day situations. Of course things have been worse in the U.S. in the past and are bad in many places today. At least people have the option of leaving Oklahoma for a better location--and today, that better place could be Dallas or Houston, not one of the two cities I listed. Actually, I met a couple from Witchita who talked about going to OKC for fun. You may not be able to hold hands on the street or have your relationship legally recognized, but you can live together in a home, socialize with friends, and even find churches where you can fit in almost anywhere.

          Where do you live that you have this image of how awful gay life is here?

          P.S. the point about execution of juveniles is a good one, and the U.S. does not have a moral leg to stand on.

          •  well, I lived in Dallas, (0+ / 0-)

            Austin more recently, but Stockholm for the past 6 years.

            While I was living in Austin, I actually had 2 gay roommates (OH the drama!) and saw an almost-attack coming home from 6th street. So, despite Austin being similar to SF, I would think it wasn't exactly safe.

            Stockholm is relatively more liberal, or perhaps a little uptight all around, though I don't see it so often. But we do have an annual gay concert festival, iirc. Used to be in the park right outside my window before I moved.

            My idea of a good place would be Paris- saw alot of hand-holding there last summer, seemed like a nice place.

            So... you live in the states... Massachusets?

            Another Proud Subscriber to the Mariachi Mama Candidate Bickering Moratorium!

            by borkitekt on Thu Mar 13, 2008 at 09:46:57 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  I think it's a fair point, in a way (5+ / 0-)

      It's not a matter of removing the plank from our own national eye before pointing out the mote in someone else's.

      Both the USA and Iran have really serious problems in this realm, but I don't think that means an observation by an American that Iranian policy toward gay patriots is silly is any worse than an observation by an Iranian that American policy toward gay patriots is silly.

      Then again, while American policy toward gay people is not by any means friendly, we don't have de jure public humiliation and execution.

      It doesn't justify an invasion, but it's worth wagging a finger, even as we try to clean up our own mess.

      Oh, my friend, how have we come / to trade the fiddle for the drum?

      by Shaviv on Thu Mar 13, 2008 at 07:06:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If the Shrub ever caught a whiff that gays (5+ / 0-)

        are executed in Iran, he could and would use that as an other "Freedom" reason for invading.  We shouldn't be talking about this... (Just in case, snark)

        "Man's life's a vapor Full of woe. He cuts a caper, Down he goes. Down de down de down he goes.

        by JFinNe on Thu Mar 13, 2008 at 07:16:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think that there have been recently (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          but I would imagine that it would be too obviously ridiculus- claiming to have regime change when we live a stones throw from a Nutzi paradise.

          Another Proud Subscriber to the Mariachi Mama Candidate Bickering Moratorium!

          by borkitekt on Thu Mar 13, 2008 at 07:25:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  That would be more cynical posturing (5+ / 0-)

          from the man who defended the Texas sodomy laws right up to the Lawrence v. Texas ruling.

        •  this happens every time (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          brittain33, leftynyc, borkitekt

          there is a diary about this.

          I remember some years ago a diarist posted a diary with graphic pictures that had been released from Iran of a couple of gay teenagers hanging in some public square. I find it outrageous that this goes on in Iran.

          Sadly, a big portion of the diary was populated by morons who told the diarist to shut the fuck up because you know the U.S. is bad with gays too! and publicizing this could make the U.S. invade!

          Silly. The fact that the U.S. does what it does, does not mean that American citizens can write, publicize or otherwise deem Iran's actions barbaric. Just because the Bush administration has done serious damage to our reputation with his insane policies doesn't mean that I can't be outraged by Iran's or Saudi Arabia's barbarism when it comes to human rights or care about it.

          And as a gay man originally not from some big city Gomorrah, trying to compare this type of state sanctioned murder of gay people to random acts of violence toward gays in parts of the U.S. or a general cultural unease about homosexuality is frankly offensive to me. There is no moral equivalency here. Full stop.

          "People place their hand on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution. They don't put their hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible." --J.R.

          by michael1104 on Thu Mar 13, 2008 at 09:18:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I was probably one of those morons. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lotlizard, MozartVio5

            The points are, in short,

            - there is hypocrisy on our part to call this out while we intentionally overlook our own injustices for temporary political gain elsewhere- we could reform freedoms here at home, but we are obviously going backwards with this as of late- so why talk about giving rights in a foreign country? WTF?

            - in the cause of women and democracy with regard to Iraq, there are now >1.2mil. Iraqis dead due, in part, to that misleading noble agenda. And a recent poll found that 33% of all Iraqis had a dead relative due to our war. I doubt things will get better for either, and I think that things have gone backwards for women drastically in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

            -So, the intention of calling out Iran is superficial and may, in more ways than one, get many, many more killed eventually. But yes, it is wrong and it should be changed. By Iranians, world opinion or the UN, not by us.

            Another Proud Subscriber to the Mariachi Mama Candidate Bickering Moratorium!

            by borkitekt on Thu Mar 13, 2008 at 09:36:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I think this is a response to me? (0+ / 0-)

            If so, perhaps you missed (just in case: snark)?  My comment was actually a reflection of how low in esteem I hold the Shrub (Bush) and did not intend to demean or trivialize this important topic.

            "Man's life's a vapor Full of woe. He cuts a caper, Down he goes. Down de down de down he goes.

            by JFinNe on Thu Mar 13, 2008 at 11:14:10 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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