Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Worker's World Confuses Protests with Imperialism

In another terrible article, Leslie Feinberg of Workers World again denies the anti-gay pogrom in Iran, as she did less than a month ago. Now, I'm not necessarily pro-protest, but Feinberg's article is obnoxious, ridiculous propaganda. Here's what she says to justify that there's no anti-gay pogrom:
It turned out that OutRage! had based its charge that the two young men were executed for consensual sex on a mistranslation of a July 19 Iranian Students News Agency article and a report from the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) ...

Human Rights Watch revealed that the rape charge had been mistranslated from Farsi. Scott Long, the group’s LGBT Rights Project director, stated, “There is no evidence that this was a consensual act. ... A whole tissue of speculation has been woven around mistranslations and omissions and this has been solidified into a narrative that this is a gay rights case.” (Kim)

Many other sources, none of them “soft” on Tehran, also reported that the two young men were executed for taking part with at least three others in abducting and gang-raping a 13-year-old boy at knife point. These included the New York Times, Associated Press, Fox News Channel and Times of London and Radio Free Europe.

She then takes the charges for face value. She hurries over the fact that the gay news sources admitted their mistake, twisting it to make it seem like they admitted they weren't executed because they were gay, which has become increasingly certain, especially with the new evidence.

What is most troubling is that she turns the reporting of the execution of the two boys into a Western campaign for the destruction of Iran. Her claim hinges on quotes by Peter Tatchell of London's OutRage! and American blogger Andrew Sullivan, both of whom are hardly good examples of the mainstream gay community in this case. In fact, I would say that they are both rather extremist, especially Sullivan, who has been berated for consistently spewing out absurdly pundit-like propaganda.

She continues to follow in the errors that I outlined before, but with an even worse flaw: she omits that it's an Iranian organization which is a large party behind the protests. In an effort to make it seem completely imperialist, Feinberg omits the Persian Gay and Lesbian Organization (PGLO). If she mentioned that it was Persians behind the protests, that would show her entire arguments to be the trash that they are.

A quote from Arsham Parsi, secretary of the Human Rights Commission of the PGLO:
“We urge cities all over the world to show solidarity with our freedom struggle. Your solidarity is tremendously important and effective.

"We feel great pain when we see human rights advocates ignoring the evidence and failing to speak out against the torture and execution of gay people in our country.

"We know first-hand, from the violent abuse of our members and supporters, that the jailing, flogging and hanging of gay people is official state law and policy.

Furthermore, the PGLO does not call for the sanctions and regime change that Feinberg chastises Tatchell for, but merely an and to the arrests and executions, a halt of the deportation of gay asylum-seekers back to Iran, and support for Iranians struggling for democracy, social justice and human rights.

Feinberg's article is horrifyingly bad journalism. A list of all she does wrong:

1) She takes old news and presents it as new news, ignoring the actual new news - i.e. focusing on the mistranslation a year ago and not the newest findings.

2) She takes quotes from one end of the political spectrum and uses them to represent the whole - i.e. Tatchell and Sullivan.

3) She omits data that doesn't fit her thesis - the PGLO.

4) She confuses Iran's support for transgendered people with support for gay people.

5) She connects non-govermental organizations to the United States government with no evidence that they are related. This is the worst one. She creates huge comspiracy theories and presents them as facts.

It can be all summed up in one quote from Feinberg's article:
The year-long charges of a systematic state pogrom in Iran against gays have
coincided with U.S.-led attempts to stop the sovereign country from developing
nuclear technology.
That is true. But because they happen at the same time does not mean they're connected. I shouldn't need to explain this. Fenberg's reasoning is simplistic and incredibly faulty.


Blogger Roz said...

To represent Peter Tatchell as if he were on the same end of any political spectrum as Andrew Sullivan is pretty disgraceful, as is Feinberg's imputation that Outrage is only interested in 'former British colonies'. In what sense is Tatchell an extremist except for his preparedness to bear witness to all oppression of LGBT people and to do so without mincing his words?

July 17, 2008 1:52 PM  

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