Monday, July 29, 2013

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World news: Russia |
Shame on the IOC, NBC and foreign governments for turning a blind eye on Russia's LGBT hate campaign | Nancy Goldstein
Shared by 1 person
As long as the Sochi games are fine, the IOC and others will ignore Putin's moves to intimidate and hurt LGBT Russians
Outrage of the week: this past Friday's announcement by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that it has "received assurances from the highest level of government in Russia" that the country's draconian new anti-LGBT policies "will not affect those attending or taking part in the games".
As a reminder, the IOC is referring to the trifecta of bills signed into law by President Putin this summer thatroll the status of LGBT people back to the Stalin era. One criminalizes any behavior seen as pro-gay. Another bans the adoption of Russian children by gay couples and any single parent from a country that recognizes marriage equality. And a third allows police officers to arrest tourists and foreign nationals they suspect of being homosexual, lesbian or "pro-gay" and detain them for up to 14 days. Next up: it's rumored that a soon-to-be-enacted law will remove Russian children from the homes of their Russian parents, biological or adoptive, if they are, or are suspected to be, LGBT.
So who on earth does the IOC, or Putin for that matter, think they're kidding with their "assurances"? Can they really be so entirely naïve or so thoroughly cynical that they don't think non-Russian LGBT people or our allies care about what's been happening to our Russian counterparts in the wake of Putin's edicts so long as our own skins are safe? That we'll just happily ignore last week's news of skinheads luring gay teenagers with an online dating scam, then taping the sessions where they torture them so long as no one blocks our view of the figure skating events? That we can't recognize Third Reich-style politics or bureaucratic complacency? That,per the IOC, "it remains to be seen whether and how" the recently-passed legislation "will be implemented"?
Gentlemen, guess again. Because we have access to the internet, Facebook, and Twitter (where John Aravosis of AmericaBlog aptly snarked, "The IOC has promised 'safe passage' for gays attending the Sochi Olympics in 2014 - the skinheads will reportedly only beat up Russian fags.") We are already "affected" by a steady stream of articles, images, and videos coming out of Russia that very clearly document what implementation of these first stages of Putin's final solution looks like.
Harvey Fierstein's piece in last week's New York Times aptly linked Putin's "strategy of demonizing a minority for political gain" to "the Nazi playbook," noting that "this kind of scapegoating is used by politicians to solidify their bases and draw attention away from their failing policies".
The timing for this crusade is no accident. Not only is Russia's economy currently in the crapper, but in the months leading up to Putin's sudden wave of anti-gay edicts there's been plenty of public disgruntlement over the $30bn slated for Sochi-related projects that has gone "missing" into his pockets and those of his cronies.
But Fierstein's piece was only the beginning. Next day's BuzzFeed photomontage of "36 Pictures From Russia That Everyone Needs to See" brought millions of viewers image after image of bloodied and crying LGBT Russians clinging to one another — people trying to shield themselves from blows and rotten eggs at peaceful protests turned violent where the police, skinheads, and large crowds of anti-gay protestors beat, mock, assault, and arrest them.
So the news fromthe Russian LGBT Network that four Dutch tourists had just been jailed under the new "gay propaganda" law for filming a documentary on LGBT rights in Russia was the last straw. By the time Dan Savage called for a boycott of Russian vodka mid-week, gay bars from New York, Miami, Chicago, Seattle, and LA to Sydney, London, and Vancouver were good and ready to begin pouring Russian booze into the streets.
Had Putin reignited Russia's abuse of its Jewish citizens, it would have been unthinkable for the IOC to issue a statement suggesting that non-Russian Jewish athletes, pundits, and spectators could go have a blast in Sochi because we'd be spared the anti-Semitic violence sweeping the rest of the country. There's just no way. The American Jewish community and the Obama administration would have (rightly) enacted trade sanctions instantly. There would have been no statement from the State Department like the one issued the same day as the IOC announcement saying that it does not support a boycott of the games.
So how does a pogrom against LGBT people and our allies pass muster in 2013?
Twenty-first century queers aren't going to wait quietly for a diplomatic solution while each month more of us are tortured and more of us are murdered. Last month, killers reportedly stabbed and trampled a man to death before putting his body in his car and setting it on fire. Just weeks before, 23-year-old Vladislav Tornovoi's friends murdered him because he mentioned he was gay while they were getting drunk, according to the BBC. They raped him with beer bottles before smashing his skull in with rocks.
We've been here before. And we know the power of economic sanctions and boycotts. When Congress finally came around in 1986 and passed the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act (overriding President Ronald Reagan's veto) that banned all new trade and investments in South Africa, other countries followed suit, South Africa's economy went into free fall. Five years later, its Parliament voted to repeal the legal framework for apartheid.
So it's no surprise that Stolichnaya, which is freaking out over the boycott, is running a disinformation campaign where it tries to convince the public that it's not actually Russian vodka because it's currently distilled and bottled in Latvia. Nice try, guys, but the label on the bottle says "Russian vodka" (three times), you're owned by Yuri Scheffler, one of the 100 richest men in Russia, your vodka is made from Russian products, and you've taken great pains to market Stoli as the iconic Russian vodka.
NBC Universal, which has paid $4 billion dollars for the rights to cover the Olympics from 2014 through 2020, has also been squirmy. Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin's letter (pdf) asking them to include news of Russia's human rights violations alongside their standard Olympics coverage has elicited a hasty if mealy-mouthed response from the network saying that it will "provide coverage of Russia's anti-gay laws if the controversial measures surface as an issue during the upcoming Winter Olympics". In short, they're punting for now and hoping we'll all forget about it.
Kris van der Veen, one of the Dutch filmmakers who was arrested, then released last week, told me he wants governments from all over the world to help LGBT organizers have a Pride march in Sochi. A petition calling on corporate sponsors like Coca-Cola, Panasonic, VISA, Samsung, and Procter & Gamble to speak out against Russia's anti-gay laws has garnered around 40,000 signatures in a matter of days.
This much I can promise. No international bureaucracy, corporate entity, or modern-day führer is going to shrug us off with the assurance that we don't need to worry about our brothers and sisters because the haters will never come for us. Our hearts and our history tell us otherwise.

© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions

Russia's Anti-Gay Laws Put Pressure on Stoli, NBC
Stolichnaya Vodka has come out swinging against the Russian government's anti-gay policies in an attempt to thwart a growing boycott against the brand in the U.S. Meanwhile, corporations linked to the 2014 Olympics in Russia, including NBC, could be ...

NBC Sports vague over plans to cover Russia's anti-gay laws during OlympicsThe Guardian

Fingers crossed, NBC hopes outcry over Russia's anti-gay laws won't spoil ...Washington Post
Russia is Violently Attacking Gay People, But Watch How Gay Bars Across the ...PolicyMic
The Guardian-Los Angeles Times
all 195 news articles »

» UN Unveils Gay Rights Drive
28/07/13 20:00 from The Moscow Times Top Stories
Amid a surge of anti-gay violence and repression in Russia and several other countries, the United Nations' human rights office has launched its first global outreach campaign to promote tolerance and greater equality for lesbians, gays, tr...

» Vodka Brand Stands With Lesbians and Gays Against the Government
28/07/13 14:25 from The Moscow Times Top Stories
Stolichnaya, one of the most popular vodkas in the U.S., came out swinging at the Russian government last week with a message of support for the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender community worldwide.

» 'Homosexual propaganda' law signals latest Russian crackdown - (blog)
28/07/13 14:19 from Russia - Google News (blog)'Homosexual propaganda' law signals latest Russian (blog)Anti-homosexual crackdowns are nothing new in Russia: In 1933 the Soviet regime imposed a law banning sexual relations between men – pun...

» Russia's anti-gay laws prompt vodka, Olympics boycott - (blog)
28/07/13 06:05 from Russia - Google News (blog)Russia's anti-gay laws prompt vodka, Olympics (blog)According to the human rights watch, by passing these laws, Russia flouts the rules of the Olympic Charter. The Charter says that everyone "must have th...

» NBC likely to cover Russia's anti-gay laws during Winter Olympics - Los Angeles Times
27/07/13 23:21 from Russia - Google News
The GuardianNBC likely to cover Russia's anti-gay laws during Winter OlympicsLos Angeles TimesAll host nations, including Russia, "come with political and social issues, and we will address those issues as they are revelant at the ...

» LGBT campaigners boycott vodka in protest at Russian gay rights abuses - even though their main target isn't made in Russia
27/07/13 17:42 from - Europe RSS Feed 
An LGBT activist's call for a boycott of Russia’s most famous export has gained international attention this week as concerns over Russian gay rights abuses mount.

» Russia faces vodka boycott in backlash against anti-gay law - The Guardian
27/07/13 03:54 from Russia - Google News
The GuardianRussia faces vodka boycott in backlash against anti-gay lawThe Guardian"To show our solidarity with Russian queers and their allies and to help to draw international attention to the persecution of gay men, lesbians, bisexu... 

» Russia faces vodka boycott in backlash against anti-gay law - The Guardian
26/07/13 17:56 from Russia - Google News
The GuardianRussia faces vodka boycott in backlash against anti-gay lawThe Guardian"To show our solidarity with Russian queers and their allies and to help to draw international attention to the persecution of gay men, lesbians, bisexu... 

» Russia faces vodka boycott in backlash against anti-gay law
26/07/13 17:56 from World news: Russia |
LGBT activists target brands including Stolichnaya and Russian Standard in response to ban on 'gay propaganda'There's nothing more Russian than vodka, so when gay and lesbian activists decided to protest against the country's persecution of...

» UN Launches Global Gay-Rights Campaign
26/07/13 14:13 from Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
The July 26 start of the UN human rights office's "Free and Equal" educational campaign comes amid a surge of antigay violence and repression in some parts of the world.

» Olympics Wins Exemption From Anti-Gay Law
26/07/13 13:46 from The Moscow Times Top Stories
The International Olympic Committee says it has received assurances from Russia's government that athletes and spectators at next year's Winter Olympics in Sochi will be exempt from a controversial law banning anything deemed to promote hom...

Mike Nova comments: This is what is called "selective justice", typical of Russia: they "exempt" the Olympians because it is convenient for them, but persecute all the others, foreigners and their own citizens, because they simply do not matter to them. Boycott the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games! 

» Russia court rejects Pussy Riot member's appeal for freedom
26/07/13 12:39 from Russian news, all the latest and breaking Russia news
A Russian court has ruled to keep Pussy Riot's Nadezhda Tolokonnikova in prison to serve the remainder of a two year sentence for her involvement in a protest against President Vladimir Putin in Moscow's most important Orthodox Church. ...

» Pussy Riot Convict Defiant After Losing Parole Battle
26/07/13 12:07 from The Moscow Times Top Stories
A jailed member of female punk group Pussy Riot lost a court battle to be released but remained unrepentant over last year's protest against President Vladimir Putin in a Moscow cathedral.

Lawmakers Seek Probe Into Gay Activist's Twitter Remarks

» Lawmakers Seek Probe Into Gay Activist's Twitter Remarks
29/07/13 04:49 from The Moscow Times Top Stories
Two lawmakers have asked prosecutors to launch a criminal case against a prominent gay rights activist over his Twitter remarks, a news report said Monday.

» Russia is Violently Attacking Gay People, But Watch How Gay Bars Across the ... - PolicyMic
28/07/13 21:46 from Russia - Google News
PolicyMicRussia is Violently Attacking Gay People, But Watch How Gay Bars Across the ...PolicyMicRussian President Vladimir Putin recently signed a controversial anti-gay bill into law that would punish anyone who advocates gay marriage or ...

» Russian Duma Deputies Seek Defamation Charges Against Activist
29/07/13 08:23 from Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
Two Russian State Duma deputies from the ruling United Russia party have asked prosecutors to file criminal charges of insulting public officials against a gay-rights activist.