Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Beirut Counselor Blasts Homosexuality

Yesterday, Adnkronos International (AKI), an Italian-Arab news organization, reported that counselor Saad al-Din al-Wazzani of Beirut publicly called fo the closure and banning of all gay organizations. A quote:
"This was a provocation and I am amazed that no other political leader has
publically condemned it. What realy worries me is the wish of associations [like
Helem] to spread their activities and distribute their publications even in
schools," al-Wazzani said.

"We have to oppose this, and I ask that at the next cabinet meeting the
government approve a decree which will revoke permission for the associations to
operate," al-Wazzani told AKI.

I'm not horribly surprised he said such a thing, but rather that he thought his call will actually be heeded. With all that is going on with the roundtable discussions, Israeli bombing, Lebanese-Syrian tension, and the enormous debt, Lebanon does not need the bad press that will be associated with a crackdown on gay people. I doubt the government will respond to al-Wazzani.

Also interesting is the article's bad fact-checking. First, notably, the picture in the article has the caption "Some bars in Beirut cater for a gay clientele". The picture, however, is not of a gay-centric place, but rather just some random store in Solidere. Second, the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) somehow just became "Against Homophobia", which doesn't make sense. And third, Barra has had three issues, not two. Apparently AKI is not the most assiduous news source.

A better-informed, although also more puffy and saccharine, article on IDAHO was published by the BBC. It makes laws against homosexuality in Lebanon seem like a benign nuisance, rather than a threat.

Also, a terrible article by Al-Arabiya, which said that Mary Cheney was a confessed sexual deviant, claims that Helem was showing porn. To discount the gay civil rights movement, opponents often protray gay people as being sex-obsessed, almost as if all we want is to have sex in the streets. It's simply a way of avoiding the real issues at hand, i.e. discrimination, family-building, marriage, legal protection, military service, etc. It's also childish.


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