No country for gay men/women


by Sid (Faisal)
30th September, 2008 at 12:37 am    

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, racist, overt homophobe and President of Iran has changed his mind about the existence of gay people in his country. He has even been on the American news show Democracy Now to reveal the extraordinary news that there are indeed some gay people in Iran: “There might be a few people who are known. In general, our country would not accept it.”

But Mahmoud, didn’t you say last year that there are no gay people in Iran?

“I didn’t say they don’t exist; I said not the way they are here. In Iran, it’s considered as a very unlikable and abhorrent act. People simply don’t like it. Our religious decrees tell us that it’s against our values, and all divine laws, actually, believe in the same. Who has given them permission to engage in homosexual acts? It’s considered as an abhorrent act. It shakes the foundations of a society, the family foundation. It robs humanity. It brings about diseases.”

So with no homosexuals or maybe a few as you claim, is Iranian society free of moral decay and disease? If homosexuality is against “all divine laws” would it true to say that God created homosexuality contrary to his own divine laws? And if that is the case, is God capable of gross errors of judgement?

I ask those questions of Ahmadinejad but I doubt very much he is going to address the metaphysical paradox at the heart of the “God hates queers” thesis, which can be found, however way you slice and dice them, in all of the “Big Three” shiny happy monotheistic faiths.

In spite of Ahmadinejad’s homophobic bragadaccio, Peter Tatchell, the prominent gay rights campaigner, senses a note of defensiveness creeping into Iran’s homophobia, and sees Adhmadinejad’s climbdown as progress.

“In years gone past, the Iranian government proudly boasted that it had the death penalty for gay sex and that it publicly hanged gay people,” Mr Tatchell added.

“These latest statements by Ahmadinejad are much more defensive. He strenuously denies that gay people can face execution. This shows that the regime no longer has the confidence to openly proclaim its violent homophobia. The persecution of gays continues in Iran but now, unlike before, the regime seeks to hide it and deny it.

“This is strong evidence that the homophobic dictatorship in Tehran has been stung by international protests against its flogging and hanging of men involved in same-sex relations. It realises this persecution has been a public relations disaster which has greatly harmed Iran’s international image. Hence the current denials by Ahmadinejad.

“It is proof that the global protests against Iran’s persecution of lesbian and gay people have been effective. We must maintain the worldwide campaign until Iran is so embarrassed by international condemnation that it completely halts the victimisation of gays,” added Mr Tatchell.

You can watch the full interview and read the full text on the Democracy Now website:


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Filed in: Civil liberties,Current affairs






21 Comments below   |  

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  1. digitalcntrl — on 30th September, 2008 at 3:35 am  

    Nothing more than playing to the crowd….

    I bet if it was an Iranian newspaper it would be: Off with his head…

  2. Rumbold — on 30th September, 2008 at 9:47 am  

    Sadly I think that Digitalcntrl is right. Obviously order have come down from on high to present a more pleasant face to the world.

  3. persephone — on 30th September, 2008 at 11:46 am  

    Digitalcntrl & Rumbold

    I don’t expect to see a seismic shift on this one.

    If Ahmadinejad’s outward shift is perceived by even a few people as their Govt having to change their media messaging then it starts to reduce their being perceived as being all powerful or the only one true way.

    I know the reality on the ground maybe unchanged but gradual erosion has to start somewhere. Once such a chink in perception is made & widened with continued pressure, over time, it may lead to the actions following the words

  4. David T — on 30th September, 2008 at 11:50 am  

    Peter also thinks – wrongly – that Ahmedinejad came out in support of a two state solution;

    http://www.hurryupharry.org/2008/09/30/ahmadinejad-proclaims-complete-sexual-liberty-in-iran/

    There are just some people who will see sparks of hope anywhere, even where they don’t exist.

  5. persephone — on 30th September, 2008 at 12:00 pm  

    David T “There are just some people who will see sparks of hope anywhere, even where they don’t exist.”

    Did you mean me?

  6. Refresh — on 30th September, 2008 at 12:03 pm  

    ‘President of Iran has changed his mind about the existence of gay people in his country.’

    That is not correct. His speech at Colombia was very clear as to what he meant. He simple repeats it here.

    ‘I didn’t say they don’t exist; I said not the way they are here.’

    DavidT, I think you misrepresent Thatchell and of course Ahmedinajad. In any case, the argument is rapidly shifting to a one-state solution.

  7. Sid — on 30th September, 2008 at 12:20 pm  

    The Columbia speech, straight from the president’s mouth

    In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in this country. We don’t have that. In Iran we do NOT have this phenomenon. I don’t know who has told you that we have it.

    When he says on Democracy Now:
    “I didn’t say they don’t exist; I said not the way they are here.”
    What does he mean “not the way they are here”?
    Does he mean not the way they are here qualitatively or quantitatively?

    Either way, isn’t that as useful as saying

    “In Iran we don’t have chicken sandwiches.”

    And when pressed:
    “In Iran we don’t have chicken sandwiches like you have here”

  8. Refresh — on 30th September, 2008 at 12:32 pm  

    In your example:

    “In Iran we don’t have chicken sandwiches like you have here”

    is what he’d have said the first time.

  9. Jai — on 30th September, 2008 at 12:45 pm  

    Perhaps he meant “In Iran our chicken sandwiches aren’t out of the closet, er I mean fridge, in the same way that you have here, and even if they are aware that they are indeed chicken sandwiches, they either don’t act on their chicken sandwichness or for the sake of conformity and a quiet life they just pretend to be respectable cucumber sandwiches like everyone else instead”.

  10. Sid — on 30th September, 2008 at 1:09 pm  

    Refresh

    He could also have said “Our chicken sandwiches flounce around in Laura Ashley dresses and like Persian classical music, not Kiley Minogue”.

    He could make all sorts of statements about the qualitative and quantitative differences between gays in the west and gays in Europe, for Democracy Now or any other Western media outlet. But it would not alter the fact that in Iran, and indeed any Islamic shariah-based state, homosexuals are hanged for practicing normal sex lives. Which is why Peter Tatchell is being unduly upbeat about the success of his gay-rights activism. Not that I would ever want him to stop what he does.

  11. Refresh — on 30th September, 2008 at 1:15 pm  

    He could have said that.

    And no it does not alter the facts.

    Nevertheless your opening post was inaccurate.

    Good to see you in high spirits Jai, lol.

  12. Sid — on 30th September, 2008 at 1:17 pm  

    First he says homosexuals don’t exist in Iran and then he says “they don’t exist like they do here”. He changed his mind. My opener was dead on.

  13. Refresh — on 30th September, 2008 at 1:25 pm  

    ‘homosexuals don’t exist in Iran’ made great bloglines at the time, but it did not inform.

    From your own quote he said ‘In Iran we don’t have homosexuals like in this country.’

    Lets move on.

  14. Jai — on 30th September, 2008 at 1:26 pm  

    Good to see you in high spirits Jai, lol.

    Considering what’s happening in the financial markets on both sides of the Atlantic, I guess some humour is the best way to try to remain upbeat, bearing in mind the alternative.

    Unfortunately, “credit crunch” doesn’t refer to the bouncer at your favourite lapdancing club rugby-tackling you to the ground and threatening to put your cojones in a vice for trying to sneak out without paying Tiffany for her company.

  15. persephone — on 30th September, 2008 at 1:27 pm  

    yes please move on. And those of you who are hungry, get some lunch, perhaps a chicken sandwich

  16. Jai — on 30th September, 2008 at 1:32 pm  

    May as well get a lapdance too. Maybe you could haggle with Tiffany to bring her rate down a bit from twenty bucks a pop.

    “Look Tiffany, if it’s good enough for the Bank of England, it should be good enough for you too. Let’s go over sub-prime mortgages one more time…..”

    No doubt Mr Ahmedinajad would have a thing or two to say about that too. Speaking of which, Omar Bakri got a nasty shock recently when he found out his daughter’s a pole dancer.

  17. persephone — on 30th September, 2008 at 1:34 pm  

    that may encourage that chap to talk about his mobius strip again

  18. El Cid — on 30th September, 2008 at 2:09 pm  

    Sid, I’m surprised you have time to write anything at the mo. I thought you would be too busy squaring off your end-quarter positions. Or…

  19. El Cid — on 30th September, 2008 at 2:10 pm  

    Actually, that’s off subject. Forget I said anything.

  20. Jai — on 30th September, 2008 at 2:16 pm  

    that may encourage that chap to talk about his mobius strip again

    Ah yes, “the strip that never ends”. What a great idea. Maybe someone should suggest that to those nice girls on those Babestation satellite channels that everyone here’s going to pretend they’ve never seen.

  21. Sim-O — on 30th September, 2008 at 3:20 pm  

    If homosexuality is against “all divine laws” would it true to say that God created homosexuality contrary to his own divine laws? And if that is the case, is God capable of gross errors of judgement?

    The get out for that one is ‘Free Will’… Which he then gets his followers to try and stop.

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