Posts tagged ‘torture’

October 29, 2011

It’s illegal to be me.

South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) airs a Special Assignment documentary on the plight of LGBT refugees in that country.  A must watch!

Via  Care2

October 6, 2011

Moffie: A Novel

I am not sure how I discovered the novel Moffie but I am sure glad I did. I downloaded it to my Kindle and fell in love with the writing and the emotion behind the story. Written by South African  André Carl van der Merwe it tells the harrowing tale of what it was like to be a young gay conscript in the time of apartheid. It is inspired by his own experiences but fictionalized to an indeterminate extent.

I can’t remember another book in recent times that is written with as much passion, grit and unexpected tenderness. This book was not meant to be just a novel but also a tribute to  those who survived the ordeal and the agony of being unwanted, mistreated and illegal.  The author explains his motivation for writing the book on his website:

The book Moffie (a derogatory Afrikaans term for a gay man) is a result of my need to make sense of the madness around me while I was doing compulsory military service in South Africaduring the 1980’s. I had nowhere to turn for help or understanding – not to my parents, my Church or my friends; the Government had even criminalized homosexuality – and so it was my diary that saved my sanity. I documented my suffering, which was also that of so many others; our anguish at having to hide behind a façade, our desperation of wanting to escape or sublimate an inescapable orientation.

I have often thought of the suffering of those who were the primary targets of Apartheid, but not even during the darkest days of our history was it illegal to be black. Never would a black parent throw a child out of his house because of his ethnicity. Yet this was what happened to gay people. I needed to document the turmoil of a child going through puberty, awakening spiritually, but being pressurised into believing that, because he is homosexual, he is doomed to eternal hell.

Set during the South African border war against communism (in itself is a part of this country’s history that could be all too easily forgotten) I have recorded the atrocities that took place in ‘Ward 22’, where gay people in the Defence Force of the time were abused and tortured.

This is my contribution towards a world where we are not treated as second-rate citizens, but where we are seen and see ourselves as equal to all other human beings, as we were created.


This book is a must read and it gives an insight into a time and a world most of  us know nothing about. You can order it off the author’s site here or if you  want a Kindle version ( like I bought) you can get it  at Amazon.

April 4, 2011

The ugliness of ‘eve teasing’ in Bangladesh.

Via Uncultured Project

I subscribe to a pretty broad range of  feeds that expose me to things I might not normally know about. This evening I learned about a troubling phenomenon in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal  called ‘eve teasing’. Wikipedia describes it in this way:

Eve teasing is a euphemism used in India and sometimes Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal for public sexual harassment, street harassment or molestation of women by men, with eve being a reference to the biblical Eve.

The Uncultured Project spoke to a few women in Bangladesh about it.

The video’s description gives a bit of background on ‘eve teasing’:

“It’s a great, great, GREAT psychological torture because it makes us so weak. We feel so weak. We feel so repressed.”

Recently Bangladesh made headlines after a 14 year old girl was raped and then stoned to death by religious fatwa. Sadly, while these aren’t an everyday occurrence, they are more common than most people think.

In this video, I share a conversation I had with some women (some of whom were local lawyers) about a problem called “Eve Teasing”. Eve teasing is a euphemism for verbal and physical harassment of women by men. Sometimes it can even lead to rape.

There was a lot of discussion – I couldn’t translate everything. But I hope this gives a picture of a part of Bangladesh that many women have to face. It’s a problem, these women at least, feel the middle class bear the most

December 6, 2010

The Horror of Life in Iran

Read an extraordinary article by Otar Makharashvili about life for LGBT people, and specifically gay men, in Iran today. Disturbing would be too mild a word to describe the horrors that are going on in that country. How does one reason with a nation that treats its own citizens like this?

Via @vonIrrwegen on Twitter.

His first arrest for being gay came when police raided a party. He was imprisoned, tortured, raped and sentenced to 100 lashes: “After fifteen lashes the pain went away and I became unconscious. I was biting my arms so hard, to keep from screaming, that I left deep teeth wounds in my own arms. Eventually I passed out before 100 lashes were over. I do not remember a thing. When I woke up, my arms and legs were tight and I was lying on the ground in a cellar. I knew I was going to die that day that they were going to kill me and I wanted them to. It was better then public humiliation, better then seeing my parents faces when they found out I was gay.”

Read the full article here.