Posts tagged ‘Caribbean’

December 15, 2010

Amazing Indian Equality Campaign.

Gaylaxy Magazine sent me the link to this beautiful equality campaign video put out by Equal India Alliance. It gives a powerful message in a very thoughtful and touching way.

As I said on Facebook it is interesting that India is forging ahead towards a bright new and inclusive future for all its people while , as was seen in that recent UN vote, most of Africa and the English Caribbean are slouching backwards towards irrelevance.

 

 

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November 17, 2010

A Good Reason for Caribbean Shame.

Some days I wake up and the news makes me cheery while other days it makes me really pissed. Today was one of the pissed days. I met an email in my inbox from the IGLHRC noting that they were ” deeply disappointed with yesterday’s vote in the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly to remove a reference to sexual orientation from a resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.” Deeply disappointed with? Maybe they are afraid to say they are disgusted with the ill-informed piss poor states who supported the removal – I’m not . The motion was introduced by Benin which will now forever be associated with evil in my mind. Included in the list of supporters of the removal are such human rights luminaries as Iran, Afghanistan and China.

Most disturbing was the number of Caribbean states that chose to either support the removal of the clause or abstain. The Caribbean has good reason to be ashamed today and LGBT people should have a look at the list at the bottom of the release and know exactly what their government thinks of them. The Jamaican PM’s recent hints that he supports the rights of all people and T&T’s new government’s words about inclusiveness can now be exposed as the hypocrisy that they are.  Yet another fine example of the developing world showing the rest of the planet why no one should take it too seriously when it comes to human rights.

If there are any errors in this quick post I will correct them later – I am too pissed right now.

Via IGLHRC

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and ARC International are deeply disappointed with yesterday’s vote in the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly to remove a reference to sexual orientation from a resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. The resolution urges States to protect the right to life of all people, including by calling on states to investigate killings based on discriminatory grounds. For the past 10 years, the resolution has included sexual orientation in the list of discriminatory grounds on which killings are often based.

The removed reference was originally contained in a non-exhaustive list in the resolution highlighting the many groups of people that are particularly targeted by killings – including persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, persons acting as human rights defenders (such as lawyers, journalists or demonstrators) as well as street children and members of indigenous communities. Mentioning sexual orientation as a basis on which people are targeted for killing highlights a situation in which particular vigilance is required in order for all people to be afforded equal protection.

The amendment removing the reference to sexual orientation was sponsored by Benin on behalf of the African Group in the UN General Assembly and was adopted with 79 votes in favor, 70 against, 17 abstentions and 26 absent.

“This vote is a dangerous and disturbing development,” said Cary Alan Johnson, Executive Director of IGLHRC. “It essentially removes the important recognition of the particular vulnerability faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people – a recognition that is crucial at a time when 76 countries around the world criminalize homosexuality, five consider it a capital crime, and countries like Uganda are considering adding the death penalty to their laws criminalizing homosexuality.”

This decision in the General Assembly flies in the face of the overwhelming evidence that people are routinely killed around the world because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation, and renders these killings invisible or unimportant. The Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions has highlighted documented cases of extrajudicial killings on the grounds of sexual orientation including individuals facing the death penalty for consensual same-sex conduct; individuals tortured to death by State actors because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation; paramilitary groups killing individuals because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation as part of “social cleansing” campaigns; individuals murdered by police officers with impunity because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation; and States failing to investigate hate crimes and killings of persons because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation.

“It is a matter of great shame that the responsible Committee of the United Nations General Assembly failed in its responsibility to explicitly condemn well-documented killings based on sexual orientation,” said John Fisher, Co-Director of ARC international. “The credibility of the United Nations requires protection of all persons from violations of their fundamental human rights, including on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. We thank those States which supported the inclusion of sexual orientation in the text, and will redouble our collective efforts to ensure that Member States of the United Nations maintain the standards they have sworn to uphold.”

The amendment runs counter to other positive developments in UN and regional human rights systems where there is increased recognition of the need for protection from discrimination regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. At a September 2010 panel held in conjunction with a session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon unequivocally recognized “the particular vulnerability of individuals who face criminal sanctions, including imprisonment and in some cases the death penalty, on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Sixty-eight countries have also signed a joint statement in the UN General Assembly on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity which calls for an end to “human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity … in particular the use of the death penalty on this ground [and] extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.”

IGLHRC and ARC International urge all States, regardless of their vote on this amendment, to sign the UNGA joint statement affirming support of the human rights of all people, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity and to continue in efforts to decriminalize same-sex conduct and to end other discrimination, including violence, on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The votes to amend the resolution were as follows:

In favor of the amendment to remove sexual orientation from the resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (79):

Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belize, Benin, Botswana, Brunei Dar-Sala, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, China, Comoros, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Opposed to the amendment to remove sexual orientation from the resolution on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions (70):

Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bhutan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Micronesia (FS), Monaco, Montenegro, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela

Abstain (17):

Antigua-Barbuda, Barbados, Belarus, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Colombia, Fiji, Mauritius, Mongolia, Papau New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Vanuatu

Absent (26):

Albania, Bolivia, Central African Republic, Chad, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Honduras, Kiribati, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Marshall Island, Mauritania, Nauru, Nicaragua, Palau, Sao Tome Principe, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Togo, Tonga, Turkey, Turkmenistan

 

October 13, 2010

Is Jamaica Homophobic? | Bruce Golding | Big Think

Is Jamaica Homophobic? | Bruce Golding | Big Think.

Surely, that was a rhetorical question.

September 29, 2010

Promises, promises

I hereby vow that once I finish the content for this Fodor’s iPhone app and  even before I see the end of this working non-stop thing ( 12 days and counting) I will upload a blog entry. I think the problem , other than the fact I am working at the station every day, is that I sort of  vent sufficiently on Twitter and Facebook not to mention expressing myself on camera.

I will say that thanks to @mudlarklives on Twitter I was angry all day reading about  a 13 year old boy who ended his life thanks to bullying.  The headline says a lot – click on it and then come back.

“Just another dead gay kid, age 13”

I am reaching the point in my life that I have no tolerance for groups that condone hate. That is not even true. I am at the point that I will no longer tolerate such groups and I will now actively engage them in person, on Twitter or any other site they go on. There are too many kids that could be celebrating their difference and living wonderful lives that are dying as a result of ignorance and religious stupidity. I am not religious but if the message in Christianity that you absorb is not one of love and not judging but rather one of hatred – you have issues that need psychiatric intervention.

We have also had the issue in the Caribbean of  Jamaican performer and inveterate homophobe  Buju Banton having a cocaine matter in the US courts. Some commenting wags have suggested that he is being framed by some gay conspiracy . Perhaps they haven’t noticed that if the gay lobby were such a powerful group in Florida they might have made it a more friendly state in terms of equality. The performer is now awaiting a second trial because of a hung jury. I would suggest that were he in Canada he would be serving time already for hate crimes.

I have heard from some here in the Caribbean that homophobia is part of the culture and that one must be patient and work towards tolerance. I respectfully suggest that if someone said they “tolerate” black people they would be executed at dawn.  One should either accept difference  or simply say they hate. To me tolerance is what you do when you put up with a bad smell or an annoying habit. If it is part of Caribbean culture  to tell a significant part of its population that it is morally repugnant and doesn’t count then the Caribbean is ignorant and needs to get educated quickly. I find it ironic that religion leads a formerly oppressed group to oppress another.  And that is my problem. This is the last stand of accepted  bigotry. If they are waiting for a genetic explanation for homosexuality it will still not help because last time I checked race was genetic too.

I didn’t mean for this to be more than a sentence or two promise to blog but the death of poor 13 year old Asher Brown because of  bigotry and hatred makes me angry. Very angry. Like Matthew Shepard it cannot be allowed to be a death in vain.

Ask not for whom the bell tolls…

And this is the solution

http://www.youtube.com/user/itgetsbetterproject

P.S. I wrote this in a moment of tremendous anger and hurt and it may be flawed  but I am deliberately not taking it down or changing it. Anger and hurt have validity .

September 28, 2008

Feasting on culinary programmes

Another Sunday, another day of working with Giselle, Ria and Nadine and another evening of watching the food programmes on cable. News was great today and we managed to pull the newscast together primarily because of Giselle’s uncanny ability to remain unruffled in the face of anything. I swear if civilians heard the bawdy conversations we have while creating a newscast they would probably throw holy water on us. Giselle did an excellent job of reading this evening as usual and I was happy to be able to just behave as the conductor.

 

I made it home to revel in another evening of watching food programmes. The main event for me this evening was Alton Brown’s Feasting on Waves which, as it turns out, was the final part of his four part series. Before that I watched Challenge on Food Network with some dreadful display of odd cooking in what seems to have been a beef cooking challenge that resulted in a few winners with rather yawnable dishes. At least I managed to grab dinner and have a shower during the programme. This was followed by a difficult time for me when I was confronted with Iron Chef America ( a poor imitation of the Japanese version of the show) running against Anthony Bourdain with his No Reservations. Normally I am glued to Iron Chef America but dammit Jim …it was Anthony Bourdain and an episode I had never seen before on the Travel Channel with him in New Zealand. I flipped back and forth and then saw that the challengers on Iron Chef chose Bobby Flay and ..well…Bourdain won.

 

Bourdain was his usual self as he bombed at a culinary speech in New Zealand and proceeded to find the ethos of the country before venturing into his next presentation. I know it was all staged TV ( I work in the medium – after all) but it was well done and there was wild boar involved and Bourdain did the butchering. I think I adore the guy because when i watch him and his sarcastic and cynical ways I see myself and in a world when I often feel I am the last caustic person on the planet  – it comforts me. His insatiable curiosity also strikes a chord with me. Bourdain was happy with his visit to the Antipodes and I was pretty darned happy too. BTW I managed to catch the last minute of Iron Chef and was pleased to see that Flay lost the challenge.

 

I was going to make this entry a detailed discussion about the last episode of Feasting on Waves but despite my extensive note taking on Scrivener  I feel that would miss the point of the last episode. Yes, he spoke of pelau and had more johnny cakes which, inexplicably, seem ubiquitous in the upper Caribbean but not Trinidad. And , yes, he insists on pronouncing Anguilla as “angweela” as opposed to “angwilla”. He also continued his concentration on the smaller territories ignoring the islands that really dictate the cuisine of the Caribbean but it was a four part series so I can only assume he has a plan for a larger series.

 

My views on the the series after seeing the final episode are actually quite basic. I am happy I have seen another side of Alton Brown. A less perfect and much more interesting side that…dare I say it…makes him more human. I saw our region force Alton to relax and just be himself which I guess is what we are best at doing. We break people down and force them to realize we are ultimately about being human and that involves the fun of learning we are not perfect and that life is really about a little bit of this and little bit of that and damn the exact measurements. Caribbean culture, built on African, Indian, European, Chinese, Arabic and heaven knows what else is about just doing what feels right. That is what I love about living here. Then Alton, the most uptight person on the Food Network made the ultimate announcement in his last episode. He said that in the Caribbean ( in local food places) we cook food with love and that is very different from cooking it “lovingly”. Ding ding ding Alton….you got it. That is what we are about as a people and a region and most observers miss it but you didn’t. So I now have a new respect for Alton who was always struck me as a soulless but very knowledgeable food expert. He clearly has soul and after seeing him barefoot in a kitchen and seeing him taste  a dish by sucking it out of his hand ( I always thought that was normal) he is now fully OK with me. I love the line he said in the BVI regarding a great coconut fish chowder passed down to the cook by his grandmother which he described as “drinking  his history out of a cup”.

 

Ironically, living in the Caribbean I now see that one of my best friends Bruce, who is also a travel writer but times 100, is facing Hurricane Kyle in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. How odd that I am safe in the Southern Caribbean and he is now dealing with one of our most infamous exports – bad weather.

September 7, 2008

Guess who doesn’t like Ike?

 

Hurricane tracker that I am this is an exciting season for me as I take in all the disturbances sweeping across our region. Sometimes, though, my intellectual fascination with hurricanes leads me to forget that they are a terrible destructive force. Today Haiti discovered close to another 500 bodies drowned by the passing of Hanna ( according to AFP) and now we are looking at the full force of Ike about to be unleashed on the Northern Caribbean.

The US National Hurricane Center has just released their 11pm update and it seems that the Turks and Caicos islands are about to feel the full brunt of Category 4 Ike – complete with winds in excess of 200 kmph. My Northern friends, unused to the scale of the Caribbean might be forgiven for not realizing how horrifying such a storm is for the tiny territories in our region. The islands that make up Turks and Caicos are home to 30,000 people and the highest point on the islands is 49m. That means they are basically at the mercy of hurricanes. I can only imagine what they are going through right now. The other day we had unusually heavy rains in T&T and the main highway was under 2 metres of water and many people lost all their possessions. With our larger landmass we might fare better in a hurricane but heaven help us if it does since we were thrown into chaos with a few cms of rain.

 

I don;t know too much about the Turks and Caicos except for the fact  one of my friends who worked there for a few months fled lest he go out of his mind. I also remember being in Toronto and reading  some nonsense about a gay cruise causing a national scandal there. The quote from the illustrious Chief Minister at the time says a lot about the level of thinking that goes on there:

 

Whilst as a government we respect civil liberties, the freedom of choice and we do refrain from discriminating, we are in no way supportive of or encourage the alternative lifestyle of these individuals. We regret that our people and especially our children have been exposed to this type of activity and express concern in this regard.”

 

The frightening thing was that the Chief Minister was actually sounding like the voice of reason when compared to the opposition which was saying that the islands were going to suffer the wrath of god as a result of the travesty. For all I know they probably think Ike is an emissary from the other world sent to punish them for their transgressions. I find such things ridiculous in 2008 but the Caribbean is no stranger to stupidity and superstition so I try and take it in stride. I still hope that they are spared a complete catastrophe but I guess I will find out tomorrow when I get to the newsroom.

 

Speaking of news while working today Melissa passed me a news release  faxed to us which was causing her much mirth. Upon examination I noted that the release which was sent by an almost moribund political party ( rhymes with FAR) was so riddled with misspellings and bad grammar that it seemed to have been typed by a primary school student with a muscle twitch. I examined it…red penned it ( about 25 circles) and faxed it back to them….why do people think I have a bitchy side?