Posts tagged ‘Arab World’

February 16, 2012

ORAM – Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration – Video Campaign

ORAM, the organization that works to help LGBTI people life in unsafe countries to find safety elsewhere in the world. On their site they describe their mission:

ORAM provides clients with free legal counseling and assistance, including representation at UNHCR proceedings. We assist refugees through their passage to safety, often until they are permanently resettled in new countries.

Visit their website here.

The organization has released a series of  narration free animated videos telling the  personal stories of what the reality of life is for LGBTI people living in hostile environments. Deeply thought provoking and maddening. The countries featured  in these three videos ( in order ) are Jamaica, Iraq and Iran.  A warning – although they are animated some of the images are disturbing.

JAMAICA

IRAQ

IRAN

January 2, 2012

It Gets Better for a Gay Iranian.

Heartbreaking.

It is getting better, as you are getting stronger, as the other gays are supporting you. For the ones that are living in western countries, w/ much more liberal society, just think about the other gays in middle east, Asia and Africa that they have much more problems than you have. So be strong and live your life! We are all together and would help each other…

And what is life like for LGBT people in Iran? Not pleasant as Wikipedia notes:

Some Human rights activists and opponents of the Iranian regime claim between 4,000 and 6,000 gay men and lesbians have been executed in Iran for crimes related to their sexual preference since 1979.[16]

According to The Boroumand Foundation,[17] there are records of at least 107 executions with charges related to homosexuality between 1979 and 1990.[18] According to Amnesty International, at least 5 people convicted of “homosexual tendencies”, three men and two women, were executed in January 1990, as a result of the Iranian government’s policy of calling for the execution of those who practice homosexuality.[19] In April 1992, Dr. Ali Mozafarian, a Sunni Muslim leader in the Fars province (Southern Iran), was executed in Shiraz after being convicted on charges of espionage, adultery, and sodomy. His videotaped confession was broadcast on television in Shiraz and in the streets of Kazerun and Lar.

On November 12, 1995, by the verdict of the eighth judicial branch of Hamadan and the confirmation of the Supreme Court of Iran, Mehdi Barazandeh, otherwise known as Safa Ali Shah Hamadani, was condemned to death. The judicial authorities announced that Barazandeh’s crimes were repeated acts of adultery and “the obscene act of sodomy.” The court’s decree was carried out by stoning Barazandeh. Barazandeh belonged to the Khaksarieh Sect of Dervishes. (Islamic Republic Newspaper – November 14, 1995 + reported in Homan’s magazine June 10, 1996).

In a November 2007 meeting with his British counterpart, Iranian member of parliament Mohsen Yahyavi admitted that Iran believes in the death penalty for homosexuality. According to Yahyavi, gays deserve to be tortured, executed, or both.[20]

One controversial execution was the execution of Makwan Moloudzadeh (sometimes spelled “Mouloudzadeh”) on December 6, 2007. He was convicted of lavat-be-onf (sodomy rape) and executed for raping three teenage boys when he was 13, even though all witnesses had retracted their accusations and Moloudzadeh withdrew a confession. He was also aged 13, and ineligibe for a death penalty under Iranian law.[21][22] Despite international outcry and a nullification of the death sentence by Iranian Chief Justice Ayatollah Seyed Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrud, Moloudzadeh was hanged without his family or his attorney being informed until after the fact.[23][24] The execution provoked international outcry since it violated two international treaties signed by Iran that outlaw capital punishment for crimes committed by minors, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.[25]

Full Wiki here.

The link to the Iranian minister’s statement does not work but here is another article on the subject:

Last updated at 11:12 14 November 2007

Homosexuals deserve to be tortured and executed an Iranian leader told British MPs during a private meeting at a peace conference, it emerged today.

Mohsen Yahyavi is the highest-ranked politician to admit that Iran believes in the death penalty for homosexuality following recent reports that gay youths were being hanged.

President Ahmadinejad, questioned by students in New York two months ago about the executions, dodged the issue by suggesting that there were no gays in his country.

Human rights campaigners say Iran falsely convicts gay men of other crimes to execute them

The apparent executions, including those of two underage boys whose public hanging was posted on the internet, has alarmed human rights campaigners.

Gay rights groups in Britain, such as Outrage!, accuse Iran of cloaking executions for homosexuality with bogus charges for more serious crimes.

Full article in the DailyMail here.

December 28, 2011

It Gets Better for LGBT Arabs

Don’t think I have seen another video directly addressing the concerns of young Arabs in the project.  Visit his website here.

To ALL LGBT Arabs – there is absolutely nothing wrong with you! You are not sick, perverted, or freaks. You and me, we are just like anybody else. I’m a regular guy who simply happens to be gay – thats all. We are human and we deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. People may disagree, people may think we are sinful and thats fine. That is their issue. You and me, we are beautiful. It can get better and it will get better for LGBT Arabs!

May 19, 2011

Remarks of President Barack Obama–As Prepared for Delivery–“A Moment of Opportunity”

Full text embedded below. A remarkable speech in many ways.

April 3, 2011

Maher Zain – Freedom

Maher Zain, a Swedish singer of Lebanese origin sings about the recent  struggles in the Arab world. Clips from his performances in Malaysia at the Malawati Stadium in February 2011.

More on Maher Zain here.

Via http://musesephere.blogspot.com

February 14, 2011

The unrest continues in the Arab World.

The frustration of citizens that caused major changes in Tunisia and Egypt continues to be heard across the Middle East  with protests in Algeria, Yemen, Bahrain and Iran. Each nation is unique and each state will undoubtedly employ whatever weapons of oppression it may have in order to quell the voices of the people.

Riot police in Bahrain used tear gas and runner bullets on protesters today and  government supporters in  Yemen hurled broken bottles and rocks at protesters there. It is uncertain if the protest movement has reached the critical mass required to cause change in these two places. Algeria has also seen its share of  unrest which saw a massive turnout of security forces to prevent a few thousand people from protesting.

By most accounts the theocracy of Iran is the most brutal in treating with the concerns of  those who object to the conduct of the government.  Today the PBS.org blog noted that the turnout of protesters was large:

Iran Standard Time (IRST), GMT+3:30

10:30 p.m. From a Tehran Bureau correspondent: It was amazing today. About 350,000 people showed up. The crowds came from the sidewalks. There was no chanting on the main avenue. The security forces would try to disperse the crowd once in a while by firing tear gas. People would move to the side streets and start bonfires.

It was beyond anything we had expected. They didn’t shut off the mobile phones so word spread quickly [that they were not cracking down hard] before they shut them off around 4 p.m.

It seemed like the Basij were ordered not to act until ordered. They just stood around looking bewildered. When the riot police would drive by on their bikes, they just put the fires out.

Rarely did they arrest. I saw 10 people arrested; this means probably up to 1000 were arrested.

I was all over on foot and on the rapid transit buses. The crowds were EVERYWHERE. They were remarkable for their peacefulness. They filled a radius of about half a kilometer to 400 meters on both sides of Enghelab Avenue. It looks like for the first time people from working class areas were involved too.

Read more here.

Unfortunately, unlike Egypt, Iran is largely closed to outside media and it is unlikely we will see these protests play out live on our TV screen.

Those unfamiliar with the situation in Iran and its history of oppression might do well to have a look at the excellent 2009 short documentary Iran, Gay and Seeking Asylum by filmmaker Glen Milner .  The film has been shown worldwide and has received awards including Best Short Documentary Film at the Phoenix Film Festival.

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