Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Tragedy Never Ends in Iran

In article on Iran's sabotage of gay websites, Doug Ireland published this picture of the two gay teenagers hanged in Mashhad, Iran last year.


I had never seen such a graphic depiction of this travesty. It horrifies me. Those poor, poor boys. I've been reading Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov. There's a chapter in it called "Rebellion" in which one of the main characters questions the existence of God. He says, in a much more eloquent manner, that he would have no part of a religion in which children, who are innocent, have to suffer so. Any religion's version of atonement and harmony at the day of reckoning is not worth the murder of even one child. Oh, the things people do for God.

The rest of the article is all right, but not a big surprise. Gay and lesbian sites in the Middle East have been appearing and disappearing for a while. Go to any of the sites on the right, and most of them will have a "links" page. I'm willing to bet that 50 percent of them are bunk.

It does, however point to an extremely insightful report issue by London-based OutRage!, which depicts in great detail Iran's homophobic slaughter, citing many cases.

A few quotes:

“RawaagiiS (plural of raaguuS) are generally killed in Ahwaz, by the security forces or by their male kin, in one of three ways: strangulation, throat-slitting or decapitation. If the homosexual youths are killed by the security forces, their corpses -- frequently decapitated but accompanied by their heads -- are left in the street. Their families therefore have a certain tragic incentive to kill them more humanely and bury them secretly. In addition, amongst Iran's Arab minority, male relatives of homosexual youths regard their murder as vindicating the honour of the clan and, indeed, of their ethnic group as a whole. [Name deleted] said that he knew of another youth from al-Aamiri [in Ahwaz], who was a raaguuS, and who had expressed the wish to escape Iran, but who was unfortunately killed before he was able to do so.”

"Another unofficially tolerated form of Lavaat (sodomy) occurs in religious colleges. Iranians tell me that young trainee mullahs will often have sex with each other in such places, with impunity. The rules of Islam are apparently for others, not themselves...On this evidence, many of Iran's Islamic judges, the Qazis, who pronounce sentences of death on sodomites, are likely to have engaged in same-sex relations. They order the whipping and hanging of men and teenage boys for acts they have probably done themselves when younger. They are not much different in this respect from skinhead and other ‘queer bashers' who attack obvious ‘queers' while having guilt-ridden sex within their own peer group."

"There may be a further explanation for the standard Iranian formula of charges of homosexuality being often accompanied by charges of kidnap and rape. The regime clearly does not want its people to view same-sex relations as something a respectable person might engage in with consent. That could present Lavaat as something desirable and positive, and this might encourage tolerance – and even curiosity and experimentation. The clerical regime wants to depict sodomy in the worst possible light to deter and discourage its practice. To do this, it needs to present gay and lesbian people as repellent, dangerous individuals. In these circumstances, the mere charge of Lavaat is not sufficient. To prompt revulsion and support for executions, homosexuality needs to be associated in the public mind with violence and child abuse. "


Update May 15:

I found this criticism of US President Jimmy Carter on Gay Patriot. It's an interesting pro-Bush, pro-war take on the situation of gay people in Iran. I'm not sure that an aggressive American stance in the late 1970s-early 1980s would have been a great idea, though.

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