Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Russian Attacks

From the BBC:
"Russia's gay community in fear as homophobic attacks increase"

This year's QueerFest in St Petersburg was the most controversial in the festival's history. At the opening show, a crowd turned up to intimidate and shout insults, spraying coloured antiseptic from syringes, in a kind of cleansing.  There were sudden bomb scares and protests, and venues cancelled events at the last minute. Anti-gay activists plastered places with stickers: "Say no to Sodom." "The atmosphere now is scary, we feel that it's dangerous," one of the organisers, Polina Andrianova, told the BBC, describing the harassment as the worst since the LGBT (Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) festival began six years ago.  Her experience is one of those recorded in a new report by the US-based group Human Rights Watch, which documents a rise in homophobic rhetoric, actions and violence in Russia. It blames a law passed last year banning the promotion of "non-traditional lifestyles" among minors.  "All people understand from this law is that something is wrong with gay people. That they are dangerous for children, and information about them is harmful," Ms Andrianova argues.
Anti-gay provocateurs have infiltrated discussion sessions here in the past and disrupted them. Another group recorded over 300 homophobic attacks this year, a more than tenfold rise.  "We were just having coffee, harming no-one, when men in masks broke-in," Ivan Surok says of one incident, last November. At least one of the attackers was wielding a pellet gun and shot a man in the eye, blinding him; a girl was wounded in her back.  No-one has yet been prosecuted, part of what Human Rights Watch calls a culture of "widespread impunity". In the cases it documented between 2012 and 2014 only three were brought to court and two led to convictions.  Since the attack he witnessed, Ivan has carried a pepper spray for protection but no longer feels safe.  "Homophobes feel like they have a legal basis for their hatred now," Ivan says of the gay propaganda law. "They feel they can beat someone for being gay and they're protected."  The law - an amendment to child protection legislation - was introduced in several regions before being adopted nationwide.  Its chief sponsor in Russia's second city is Vitaly Milonov, a local deputy whose office at the palatial City Hall is filled with religious paraphernalia. Russian icons cover the walls and shelves beside a black flag bearing a skull and cross-bones. Another black banner proclaims "Orthodoxy or Death" in Greek. Mr Milonov justifies the law with reference to Russia's traditional, Christian values. He insists that homosexuality is a sin and homosexuals an enemy within, backed by a perverted West.  Homophobic attacks, he claims, are fabricated. But Vitaly Milonov is no political extremist - he represents the United Russia party of President Vladimir Putin.  "I want to protect my kids and my family from this dirt going from the homosexuals," the politician told the BBC. Human Rights Watch calls for an end to such hate-speech and for a new message of tolerance from Russia's authorities. It urges the government to repeal the anti-gay law. "It's like the law has ignited fear," says Alexey Zalensky, who's worried that LGBT people in Russia, already nervous about revealing their sexuality, are now retreating into the closet.

^ These homophobic attacks continue to get worse in Russia. It seems that Russia continues to move further and further into the Dark Ages. They have annexed the Crimea, support the ethnic Russian terrorists in eastern Ukraine, created a cult of personality over their leaders and promote anti-homosexual attacks within their country. They continue to self-isolate themselves. Rather than becoming part of the global community like most countries (even China) are doing they are moving backwards in time. I would like to see a Russia that actively pursues a policy of peace and living in the international community rather than one that creates violence and fear around the planet. ^


http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30488171

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