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Disturbing Heterosexism from George Galloway

Posted by libhom Thursday, March 27, 2008

From the Independent (UK) 3/8/08:

Mehdi Kazemi is a gay teenager from Iran. He sought sanctuary in Britain after his boyfriend was hanged for homosexuality. So why is Britain so determined to send him back to Tehran – to almost certain execution?

The article has an excellent summary of the situation of a 19 year old gay man who is trying to avoid being sent back to Iran so he won't be killed by the fundamentalist government there.

You would think that a left politician like George Galloway would be supporting queer activists who are trying to stop the deporation. Instead, Galloway is demonizing the queers who are fighting for justice and human rights by claiming that they are somehow tools of the war machine.

But, it gets worse. Galloway made a baseless and viciously homophobic accusation against the boyfriend who no longer is alive to defend himself. Galloway actually said that Kazemi's boyfriend was executed for "committing sex crimes against young men."

That may be the official line of the heterosexist government in Iran, but it is not based on any credible evidence. Galloway is uncritically repeating the pedophile libel which has been used to smear lgbt people by militant Christian fundamentalists for decades. Galloway should know better.

Galloway also made the factually incorrect claim that people aren't killed for being gay by the Iranian government. This is dangerous since it makes it easier for Islamophobic and heterosexist governments in the West to deny lgbt asylum seekers from Muslim countries.

The bigotry in Galloway's comments is not the only disturbing aspect of it. The divisiveness of them also are dangerous. In the real world, efforts to oppose the murder of queers by the Iranian government are going to make no difference in whether or not an attack is launched on Iran, nor will those efforts change the levels of support and opposition to such an attack.

However, the peace movement will be hurt if this kind of homophobia against queer war opponents continues. A productive peace movements works to stop the current war and prevent future ones, rather than dividing and making it easier for the neocons to pursue their ends. Galloway is a leader of the "Respect" party in the UK. This is ironic since many queers have little reason to respect him and he has shown no respect for us.

However, the vast majority of the peace movement has avoided this kind of Jesse Helms style homohatred. Scapegoating is usually the tool of the neoconservative movement. It's important for queers to speak up now, unless we are going to be scapegoated by bigots if Bush attacks Iran.

Ordinarily, I wouldn't want to condone Galloway's heterosexism by linking to a video where he expresses it. However, I know that Galloway's previous outspoken stance against the Iraq War has given him quite a following here in the US, and some people might not want to believe how bigoted his behavior has been.



 

4 comments

  1. Anonymous Says:
  2. "You would think that a left politician like George Galloway would be supporting queer activists who are trying to stop the deporation."

    He did (!) and also stated he did not support hanging for any crime in Iran.

    Comments made by George Galloway MP at the time:
    "My record speaks for itself: I have opposed the death penalty everywhere and for whatever reason. I have an unblemished record of support for lesbian and gay equality, as recognised by the main gay rights organisation, Stonewall.

    "Homosexuals face oppression the world over – whether it is backed by states or, as the film Brokeback Mountain so powerfully showed, large sections of a population.

    "The grounds given for the execution of two gay teenagers in Iran were that they had committed a sexual assault against someone else. I don't know whether they were guilty of that or not; I oppose the executions anyway and said so at the time. I have publicly condemned homophobia in Iran and oppose the deportation of Mehdi Kazemi.

    "But you would need blinkers not to recognise that this is being used by people who are not known for opposing deportations or defending gay rights as an excuse to beat the drums of war against Iran. An attack on Iran will do no one in the region any good, including Iranian gays. There are those who are trying to give the khaki war machine a veneer of pink – no one who truly cares about equality should be taken in."

     
  3. libhom Says:
  4. anonymous: You are missing the point. By making the false claim that the Iranian government does not kill people for being gay, Galloway was undermining the grounds for asylum.

    Galloway saying that he was against hanging for any crime in Iraq is not supporting the queer activists, since it panders to the viciously homophobic notion that homosexuality can legitimately be considered a crime. That is precisely what the homophobic regime in Iran wants.

    Galloway is a bigot trying to avoid culpability for the consequences of bigotry. If that gay teenager is deported, Galloway will share personal responibility for it.

    The last paragraph you quoted from Galloway was viciously homophobic and insanely inaccurate. The people fighting the deportations have records of literally decades of queer activism. Trying to scapegoat them for a war they oppose is Karl Rove style spin and Karl Rove style heterosexism.

    Galloway's claims of supporting the lgbt in some of those paragraphs are disproved by the final one you provided, and by his effort to spin the deadly homohatred of the fundamentalist regime in Iran.

    Finally, by treating the fraudulent claims that the boys sexually assaulted a younger teenager as legitimate, Galloway is parroting the pedophilia libel used against queers.

    Your quotes prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that Galloway is a bigot.

    Galloway may pretend to support lgbt people, but he is in fact a deadly enemy of us all.

     
  5. Obob Says:
  6. Galloway is an assbag. Watching Hitchens rip him apart in a debate brings joy to simple folk like me. Not to mention he corrupt oil stained hands compliments of Sadaam should help usher him out of his post.

     
  7. Riverwolf Says:
  8. Thanks for posting on this and spreading the word.

     

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