Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Lebanese Video Speech at Montreal's Outgames

Well, I'm back from southern Jordan, in Amman for a bit before I fly to Cyprus and America. My visit to Sodom was interesting; I'll post on it when I can get my photos of it uploaded. But here's an interesting bit of news:

At the world's first Outgames in Montreal, which has been considerably more international than Chicago's Gay Games, a Lebanese activist from Helem, Rasha Moumneh, was supposed to give a speech during the opening ceremonies. The statement drew attention to the atrocities being committed in Lebanon by the Israeli military and Helem's support of the boycott of this year's World Pride in Jerusalem. It also highlighted the bind that Helem finds itself in: struggling against an oppressive government at home on the one hand and resisting the pull of neo-colonialist agendas that attempt to co-opt human rights causes to justify their ends on the other.

The speech was recieved with a standing ovation from many of the audience members, some of whom openly voiced support and solidarity with Helem and the people of Lebanon and Palestine. The video can be accessed here, but it is not working on this cheap internet cafe computer. Nevertheless, To Be, a Canadian magazine, had some quotes:

Nowhere was the solidarity of the conference attendees more felt than in the reaction to a video sent by the LGBT rights group Helem, which has branches in both Lebanon and Montreal. The delegates gave a standing ovation after a representative of the group explained why she could not attend. “The air, land and sea blockade imposed by the state of Israel have killed three hundred in Lebanon and by conservative estimates, 650,000 have been internally displaced,” she said. “As of July 12, when the hostilities started, all of Helem’s LGBT work stopped and Helem is donating its space and resources to humanitarian relief efforts.”
There was also a bit in another Canadian magazine, Capital Xtra:

"Today, we are fighting for human rights, more so for those in Lebanon," says Remy, from Helem, a Montreal-based organization that fights for the rights of Lebanese queers around the world.

For its part, Helem found tremendous support from athletes and participants as they gathered outside the stadium entrance.

"I was overwhelmed," Remy says in a quivering voice.

With Lebanon and Israel in conflict, Helem was approached by the Outgames to take part in the opening ceremony as a keeper of peace.

Members of the Israeli team shared in the call for peace. Gur Rosen and Dan Alogor from Team Israel had a talk with Helem members, something that would only have been possible at a meet like the Outgames.

6 Comments:

Blogger mike davis said...

Glad to see Lebanese and Israelis talking with each other at the OutGames.

Sad to see remarks about the conflict which make no mention of Hezbollah. Have they left the field of battle? Are the rockets falling on Israel coming from Australia, perhaps?

Nobody likes to see war and destruction, but it is not honest to pretend that its beginning is lost in the mists of history and does not need to be mentioned.

Who asked Hezbollah to collect 12,000 rockets? The Lebanese Parliament? Who asked Hezbollah to wage war over the Shebaa Farms? The Lebanese Parliament?

When is the Lebanese Parliament going to tell Hezbollah that Lebanon has an army and a government and Hezbollah isn't it?

Let us not get all warm and righteous about Hezbollah as if they all have part time jobs working for Mother Teresa.

Ask yourself this simple question...would this war be happening if Hezbollah had withdrawn from 'Hezbollistan' with the Syrian Army?

We all know it would not be happening.

I hope the Lebanese and Israelis keep talking in Montreal.

August 02, 2006 3:38 PM  
Blogger libhom said...

mike davis: How can you be so blind as to think this war is only due to Hizbollah? If that were the case, Israel wouldn't be trying to seize the territory they lost after their last invasion of Lebanon was repelled.

August 04, 2006 4:05 AM  
Blogger mike davis said...

I never said the war was only due to Hezbollah. This war is a prelude to the coming big war when America attacks Iran to prevent Iran developing nuclear weapons. All sorts of people are involved in the creation of this war.

But who DID ask Hezbollah to get all those rockets???

The last invasion of Lebanon was to attack Yasser Arafat and his groups. That worked. Israel is not especially in love with going to Lebanon; anyone who follows Israeli politics knows that. The Israeli general public goes mad at the thought of getting caught in Lebanon.

Hezbollah is seen in the West as an agent of Iran/Syria and will be treated as such by Israel (with the obvious full support of America and Europe).

My sympathy is for the many ordinary arabs who want to live in some quiet. An islamic war against the West has no hope of winning, despite the fantasies of many imams...so surely all our mutual arab and western efforts should go to improving the standard of living of ordinary people in the middle east.

August 04, 2006 7:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well... Well... Well... I've just read your great post about us and I thank you and all of the commentators. A few updates, if I may:

1. We do have an ENGLISH site, that covers our story, photos and videos (yeo, the NAKED NEWS interview is there, and you can also watch us dance THE RUMBA IN UNDERWEAR... (the uncensored version is NOT in the site, but we do have it...)


So - you are all welcome to visit our site. I don't know how to link it from a commnt (sorry guys, HTML is not my field, but RUMBA is...) so it's www.Dance4Gold.com

We update it all the time and of course we'll include a link to this post as well!

And yes - we also have a mutual blog there. We update it once a week or so.

Thanks again!

Gur Rosen and Dan Almagor
www.dance4gold.com

October 24, 2006 8:17 PM  
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