“The victim’s naked body had been dumped in a courtyard in the city of Volgograd. His skull was smashed and he had been raped with beer bottles.”
This is from the latest news report that I have read describing another reportedly homophobic brutal murder in Russia. Sadly, this incident is not an isolated one. It fits into a much wider picture of discrimination and prejudice. A report from ILGA –Europe measuring everything from hate crime to family recognition found that Russia was the hardest country in Europe in which to be homosexual.
In addition, this summer saw the passing of a law banning, “gay propaganda”. The list of human rights concerns for the LGBT population of Russia could go on and on.
In the past few weeks however, this long-standing blight has been hurtled into the consciousness of the western liberal mind. The hook of the winter Olympics and the ever contentious issue of boycott has got the chattering classes…well chattering.
For myself, I don’t know what I think about the proposed boycott (although I feel quite comfortable condemning the above mentioned and other human rights abuses).
And so, I thought I would draw your attention to some of the more interesting things I have read and let you make up your own mind. In the meantime, hopefully this process will hopefully help me make up my mind.
- First up with have Stephen Fry’s impassioned letter to the IOC and David Cameron – Fry called for a re-location of the Olympics, a call that was swiftly rejected by Cameron.
- A group known as RUSA-LGBT based in the US and made up of gays and lesbians living in the US have called for a boycott of the games.
- An organisation representing LGBT people in Russia has urged countries not to boycott the Olympics. They commented, “Participation and attendance of the Games in Sochi will not indicate endorsement of injustice and discrimination; they will only if they are silent.” – A call to action…
- David Badash has written though on the challenges (possible disqualification amongst others) of any athlete who tries to speak out at the Olympics (This was in response to Frank Bruni’s piece in the NY Times calling for another fist in the air moment).
- Last but not least, the Russian Embassy in the UK put out this press release, “Is Russia really anti-LGBT?”, clarifying that there is no discrimination in Russia anyway so what’s all the fuss about?
No shortage of opinions but still not sure what mine is!
2 responses to “The Russia Winter Olympics: To boycott or not to boycott”
Here’s a good anti-boycott article on Socialist Unity. http://socialistunity.com/stephen-frys-call-for-olympics-moved-from-russia-over-gay-rights-is-hypocrisy/
As ever, well written and thought provoking. This ugly rise in homophobia of late seems likely to have been egged on by Putin’s increasingly fascistic rhetoric and I imagine the majority of Russians disagree with it. But the mob has been let loose, as it were.
I think the wider world owes it to the better half of Russia – if not alone to the memory of the great and gay Tchaikovsky – to kick up a monumental fuss about this. Make Putin sweat – and if that means boycotting, let’s boycott with gay abandon…