Typical liberal indecisiveness. Portray Iran as a great human-rights abuser, but insist on no action. Sometimes it’s hard to have it both ways — to both defend the rights of the oppressed and appear “tolerant” at the same time. That’s where priorities come in. “Gay rights in Iran: walking the fine line between Tehran and Washington,” from Therion, July 20:
[According to gay rights activist Peter Tatchell] “Ahmadinejad leads a regime that arrests, jails, flogs, tortures and sometimes executes gay people. It also terrorises trade unionists, students, women activists, journalists, bloggers, Sunni Muslims and ethnic minorities like the Ahwazi Arabs, Baluchs and Kurds.
I don’t support a military attack on Iran, but I do urge greater international solidarity with democratic, liberal and progressive Iranians who are struggling to overthrow the clerical dictatorship from within.”
Tatchell has been unfairly accused of being Islamophobic, whereas in fact he is opposed to religious fundamentalism and bigotry in all religions. He has defended Muslim victims of injustice and in his writing has pointedly condemned Islamophobia: “Any form of prejudice, hatred, discrimination or violence against Muslims is wrong. Full stop.”
Interesting outlook. Reminds me of a gay Iranian man who, after harrying me about my writings on Islam, wrote to me saying “After what I’ve been through, I never thought I’d be defending Islam!” Whether or not Islam unequivocally condemns homosexuality does not seem to matter to such humanitarians.
Taking on the Iranians for their human rights record, is viewed by some on the left as giving comfort to American hawks. Given the record of the Iranians when it comes to the treatment of homosexuals, looking the other way is simply not a viable option.
Yes, that’s why a bit of decisiveness helps, even if it appears to favor the dreaded “hawks.”
During his trip to the US, Ahmadinejad said “In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in your country (US).”
This is a preposterous lie that masks an ugly reality. Gay Iranians live in fear of persecution. Many have fled to Turkey and destinations in Europe to escape the suffocating climate in Iran, where “coming out” in an overtly public fashion can have dire consequences.
The Iranian people deserve better. But the choice has to be theirs. American aggression is not the answer.
Those activists who support the right of Iranians to live in a society free of oppression, are walking a fine line between the politics of Tehran and the politics of Washington. But it is a line that has to be staked out in the name of justice and human rights.