Πέμπτη, 10 Φεβρουαρίου 2011


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Gays in Egypt Join Protests to Oust Mubarack – and then what?
Melanie Nathan- Feb 03, 2011, lezgetreal.com.

A large number of LGBT Egyptians have joined the extensive protests in Cairo and other cities and are in full solidarity with calls for the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and the creation of a new democratic government in Egypt, according to a gay human rights activist. In an article by Lou Chibbaro Jr, reported in the Washington Blade.
However to insert ‘gay’ into the conversation about the protests may be irresponsible and do more harm than good. This is not a time to raise the gay issue so publicly and may not be helpful; let we find ourselves scapegoats yet again.
Of course gays and lesbians in Egypt will join the secular left – and of course they are hopeful who would not be? Especially given the history of torture to gays.
Apparently Scott Long, former LGBT coordinator for Human Rights Watch, an international human rights group, said he has been in contact with gay Egyptians over the past week. Many have informed him that LGBT people are among the hundreds of thousands who have assembled in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to demand an end to what they view as an oppressive government that has persecuted a diverse segment of the population, including gays, lesbians and transgender people. Well of course that would Mr. Long – Gays and lesbians and transgender people are desperate for change around the world. But did you see a Rainbow Flag? No! Why because they would be stupid if they did. They are just ordinary citizens in this context and the Blade should be alert to over stating the issue.
It stands to reason that they would be marching in solidarity with the greater political quest and not as LGBT equality seekers per se, the latter which may be a lost cause in the country, in any event, even if a reform government succeeds. With an unpredictable future, it perhaps may be a slither of an opportunity for gays in the Country, but do not hold your breath given the anti-gay climate of the region in general, coupled with religious dogma.
Egypt has been known to crackdown on LGBT people; well over 1,000 gay men had been arrested in cities and towns throughout Egypt between 2001 and 2004 in a crackdown against LGBT people. “We documented hundreds of arrests,” Long said. (BLADE)
“I would say that probably thousands of people were arrested in raids on private homes and through entrapment over the Internet.” and attributes it to a scandal involving Mubareck’s son-
“I’ve never gone on the record with this before but will now,” Long said. “There were widespread rumors that Gamal Mubarak, Mubarak’s son whom he was trying to anoint as his successor, was gay. And the first people arrested in the crackdown were relatives of another leading family in Egypt whom the Mubaraks suspected of having spread this rumor.” (Scott Long) yet when speaking to other activists this is a wide known fact and is nothing new.
Long and others monitoring the rapidly changing developments in Egypt this week have said the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic organization considered to be the most organized opposition group to the Mubarak government, bills itself as a fundamentalist faction that would never embrace LGBT rights.
Well of course so why insert Gays- LGBT into the picture at this time at all – unless we would like to help the Muslim Botherhood gain momentum.
“The Brotherhood joined the opposition movement late,” he said. The opposition on the streets is being led by young secular leftists. I don’t think the Brotherhood can stake a claim to being the leader of this revolution.” Yet their influence and participation in any government must surely dampen any possibility of gay acceptance, tolerance, least of all equality.
The Blade ponders the question: “President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have spoken out in the past for human rights protections for LGBT people throughout the world. It could not be immediately determined whether the Obama administration would push for human rights protections for LGBT people in Egypt as part of his behind-the-scenes effort to persuade Mubarak to resign and his call for immediate democratic reforms in Egypt.”
To even bring this comment at this time as a consideration is unproductive. All it serves to do is attempt to prematurely insert LGBT into a picture that is so volatile and explosive. This is not the time Washington Blade….
While its important to note |LGBT in context, I believe to even bring this up at this point is premature. Give it a break. Why can’t we just be other ordinary people in a revolution for the good of all – certainly at a time when LGBT issues have no relevance to the push to get a reform Government.
There is one uniting fact though and that is torture. The question of torture is indeed relevant to gays and straight people in Egypt and Long does not that this may well have been some underlying factor toward compassion for gays. But torture sits on it’s own and any compassion derived from its use will certainly not influence equality. The hope is Universal that torture will end in Egypt for gay and straight people alike.
In 2004 Human Rights Watch reported authorities charged the mostly gay men ensnared in the anti-gay crackdown with violating a provision in Egypt’s anti-prostitution law that prohibits the “habitual practice of debauchery.” According to Long, Egyptian courts interpreted the sweeping law to cover consensual, non-commercial sexual relations between people of the same sex. He said police used the law to arrest gays, even though it was clear that the men charged were not engaging in prostitution.
The report also documented widespread use of torture against the gay men arrested in the crackdown, with many of them sent to the same police detention centers known for physical abuse of political prisoners that Egyptians participating in the past week’s protests have denounced.
Police routinely torture men suspected of homosexual conduct. The report cites testimonies of victims telling how they were bound, suspended in painful positions, burned with cigarettes or submerged in ice-cold water, and subjected to electroshock on their limbs and genitals. Numerous testimonies in the report accuse Taha Embaby, head of Cairo’s Vice Squad, of direct participation in torture.
Doctors participate in torturing suspected homosexuals, under the guise of collecting forensic evidence to support the charge of “habitual debauchery,” Human Rights Watch found. Prosecutors refer suspects to the Forensic Medical Authority, an arm of Egypt’s Ministry of Justice. Doctors there compel the men to strip and kneel; they massage, dilate and in some cases penetrate the prisoners’ anal cavities, subjecting them to intrusive, abusive, and degrading examinations to “prove” the men have committed homosexual acts.
“I think the accounts of torture we gave in the report really did have an effect on average Egyptians’ perceptions of homosexuality,” Long said. “We made a very deliberate decision to frame it as a report about part of the ongoing torture crisis in Egypt. They understood that gays are people like them, subject to similar fears of police brutality and arbitrary state actions.”
So despite a seeming alliance on the issue of torture, one can hardly imagine that when all is said and done and a reform administration is placed, that anything much will change for LGBT people, in general, as anti-gay attitudes far pass the mere clutches of the current dictator – at the very least we can hope for is the end of all torture.
For More information on Gay News in Egypt visit GAY MIDDLE EAST at – http://www.gaymiddleeast.com/country/egypt.htm
2004 History of Crackdown -
“In a Time of Torture: The Assault on Justice In Egypt’s Crackdown on Homosexual Conduct” is available in English at http://hrw.org/reports/2004/egypt0304/
To read testimonies from the report, please see: http://hrw.org/english/docs/2004/02/27/egypt7675.htm
To read a recent Human Rights Watch briefing paper on police abuse and torture of detainees in Egypt, please see: http://hrw.org/english/docs/2004/02/26/egypt7660.htm

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