I feel like getting into a real rage. A proper, soaring, self-righteous rage. For those of you not wanting to see a rant, wait for the next one.
In June, Vladimir Putin signed a bill into law banning “gay propaganda” and in July one prohibiting any same-sex adoption. Mr Putin said of these laws: “It’s not about imposing some sort of sanctions on homosexuality…It’s about protecting children from such information.” I raised my liberal sensors the moment I heard this news. Then I settled back down. However, since then, I have seen more and more images of gay rights activists battered in the streets by the Russian authorities. It was then that I returned to thought I’d had when the laws were passed: what constitutes “gay propaganda”?
Apparently having the gall to be homosexual, while not officially what it states, has been the popular understanding of it. Furthermore, since its passage there has been a free-for-all on disgusting hate speech and hate crimes. One will also notice the rise in neo-Nazi activity and return to hardline ultra-Orthodox rhetoric; Nazis and religious zealots are like vultures, they can smell the weak. At least vultures have the good grace to wait for the poor sods to die though.
People are being beaten in the street by bigots. People are dying. People are actually fucking dying because of the passage of one bill. The world’s governments said nothing for two months and HUMAN BEINGS DIED BECAUSE OF THEIR IMPOTENCE. Not just adults but children. It has taken two months where a state has repressed free speech, often violently, and years of prior homophobic violence for the issue to start making headlines on mainstream news. Yet Russia knows what is doing is unpalatable to foreigners. Madonna and Lady Gaga were told their performances broke the propaganda law; if you don’t want “gay propaganda” why do you let two women whose fan bases are as gay as a purse filled with rainbows into your country? I’m with Lady Gaga on this one, something I never thought I’d say, the Russian state is criminal.
Not even the Winter Olympics escapes the reach of Russia’s zealous lawmakers. After assuring the IOC that the gay propaganda law would not affect spectators at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, the Russian sports minister made it clear if those perverts went about his streets fucking his children he would throw the sodomites in jail. I’m paraphrasing, obviously. There have been calls to boycott the Winter Olympics as show of solidarity with the Russian LGBT community, others say that going will expose these injustices. Arresting foreigners because their existence is propaganda? This is all getting to be too much. If they arrest just one athlete for kissing their partner in the street, I want to see the world explode. I want to see social media lose its mind over something more worthwhile than cats on bikes or some shit. I want to see international concern turn into international action. Perhaps even punishment through trade, i.e. blocking Russian vodka. It’s not the only poison that makes you piss against lampposts, find another. There are more serious embargoes but I will be deeply unimpressed if nothing is done.
Russia is hardly the only country supporting medieval legislation, go to Africa and parts of the Middle East to feel more disgust – as President Obama points out. Action needs to be taken to combat this oppression all across the world, from Russia to Uganda to Saudi Arabia. The West needs to find those principles it likes to blow itself with and wave it in the face of state-sponsored bigotry. I’m not usually one who calls for the masses to rise up but get up you lazy asses (I intend to) and make yourselves heard. Some people already are, from the young and obscure to the old and famous – everyone needs to band together and say simply: STOP. This is intolerable. There are ways of showing our solidarity with the oppressed. There are ways of shaming a state and a people. We MUST do something or we become just as culpable as the oppressive bigots committing these acts. Lets shake off our apathy and inaction. Lets find our righteous rage!
- Stephen Fry calls for ban on Winter Olympics in Russia over anti-gay laws (theguardian.com)
- Russia Accused Of Silencing Journalists, Activists Ahead Of Olympic Games (huffingtonpost.com)
- Obama Cancels Putin Meeting, Has No Patience For Antigay Law (advocate.com)
- Vladimir Putin criticised on Russian TV (theguardian.com)
- George Takei: ‘Move the 2014 Winter Olympics out of Russia’ (tv.msnbc.com)