881 posts categorized "International"

April 06, 2014

20 years later, commemorating the Rwandan Genocide

[Above, the 2004 film Hotel Rwanda tells the story of how hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina, played by Don Cheadle, hid and protected 1,268 Hutu and Tutsi refugees during the Rwandan Genocide. Rusesabagina's story was told by Philip Gourevitch in his book, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda.]

20 years ago the horror was already planned, and needed only surface-to-air missiles to set it off. Wiki reports: "On April 6, 1994, an airplane carrying [Rwandan President Juvénal] Habyarimana and Burundian president Cyprien Ntaryamira was shot down on its descent into Kigali, killing all on board. Genocidal killings began the following day: soldiers, police and militia quickly executed key Tutsi and moderate Hutu leaders, then erected checkpoints and barricades and used Rwandans' national identity cards to systematically verify their ethnicity and kill Tutsi. These forces recruited or pressured Hutu civilians to arm themselves with machetes, clubs, blunt objects and other weapons to rape, maim and kill their Tutsi neighbors and destroy or steal their property."

The commemoration to be held in Kigali tomorrow, April 7, will not include a representative of France. Al Jazeera reports:

Continue reading "20 years later, commemorating the Rwandan Genocide" »

Citing Israel Policy, D.C. Jewish Community Center Pulls The Plug On The Shondes

(Photo by Frank Stefanko)

WAMU reports the demoralizing details.

The Shondes’ singer and bassist, Louisa Solomon, said, "The occupation is illegal, brutal, and unjust, and it is hard to imagine anyone with both a heart and a mind concluding anything else." Well, we can't have that kind of talk at DCJCC.

As a longtime defender of Israel, I increasingly find myself asking: If willful moral blindness is necessary for that defense, does it not undermine itself? As J Street understands, the West Bank Occupation is itself an existential threat to Israel. A two-state solution is the only sane path forward. Given demographic trends, if Israel stays on its current path, it will either stop being a Jewish state or it will stop being a democracy. It is unfathomable how the denial exemplified by DCJCC on this situation can possibly help Israel or the Jewish people.

I wrote to the leaders of DCJCC on this subject a year or two ago in response to an email I received from them. I got no response. If you have to hunker down and shut out contrary views, including from friends like me, you are not headed down a sustainable or happy path. This makes me inexpressibly sad.

April 03, 2014

World Vision Board Member Resigns Over Gay Uproar

AP reports:

A World Vision board member has resigned in protest after the Christian aid group quickly reversed its decision to hire employees in same-sex marriages.

Jacquelline Fuller, director of corporate giving for Google Inc., said in an email Wednesday to The Associated Press that she remains a "huge fan" of the group's work on behalf of the poor, but she resigned Friday "as I disagreed with the decision to exclude gay employees who marry." ...

Last week, World Vision U.S. was at the center of an uproar after confirming it would hire employees in gay marriages. The charity, based in Federal Way, was started by evangelicals and grew to become a nearly $1 billion international relief agency.

Some prominent evangelical leaders condemned the decision, and several thousand donors canceled their child sponsorships over the new policy. Within two days, the charity backtracked, causing a separate backlash, this time from evangelicals and others who supported recognition for married gay employees. Washington is among the states that recognize same-sex marriage.

March 31, 2014

Letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury

I emailed the following this morning. You may wish to send your own message.

From:Richard Rosendall
Date:Monday, March 31, 2014
To:Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, [email protected]
Subject:Please denounce rally statements by Archbishop Ntagali

Dear Archbishop Welby:

I have been reading the Twitter feed from Ugandan gay rights leader Frank Mugisha on the rally held today in that country celebrating the Anti-Homosexuality Act:

One of the speakers at the rally is Anglican Archbishop Stanley Ntagali. He celebrated the Ugandan church's having cut ties ten years ago with the Episcopal church in America over homosexuality. His statements, as reported by Mugisha, include "Homosexuality is the devil's agenda in Uganda," and "We have to be focused, without fear to fight the battles facing us, battles facing our families."

Ntagali is effectively endorsing persecution and murder. He should be expelled from the Anglican Communion. Your predecessor was so afraid of schism that he allowed the African bishops to behave disgracefully with no consequences, and even pandered to their threats over the participation of Americans at the Lambeth conference. But a problem like the aggressive bigotry and inhumanity of the African bishops cannot be dealt with by avoidance. What is the point of keeping someone at the table who is poisoning the food?

I appreciate that you have publicly argued with Ntagali over the treatment of gay people by the church. You have stated that some gay couples have loving, stable, and monogamous relationships, and that we deserve the "best pastoral care and friendship," but you still support the Church of England's opposition to active homosexuality (that last phrase is according to the BBC). I am sorry, but this will not do. To be merely tolerated and told we must embrace lifelong celibacy is not acceptance and is not humane. Our love and its expression are as good as anybody else's. We are a threat to no one. We are entitled to equal protection as citizens.

I urge you at a minimum to denounce the participation and remarks by Archbishop Ntagali at the anti-gay rally in Uganda, and not to put a facade of unity before the rights of LGBT people whom some Anglican leaders are persecuting.

I have been in contact in recent days and weeks with persecuted and hunted Ugandan friends. I am grateful to hear from them at all, as it means they are still alive. Asylum efforts are not enough, because most LGBT Ugandans will remain in their country, whose leaders avoid addressing real problems in favor of scapegoating a minority. Words fail in expressing my admiration and respect for Frank Mugisha, who holds his head up and speaks out despite being in grave danger. Please add your respected voice for decency in the face of this mounting horror.

Yours sincerely,

Richard J. Rosendall
Washington, D.C.

Ugandan archbishop speaks at rally celebrating anti-gay law in Uganda


I am reading Frank Mugisha's Twitter feed. One of the speakers at the rally in Uganda celebrating the Anti-Homosexuality Act is Anglican Archbishop Stanley Ntagali. Indeed, he is delivering the "message of the day." He celebrates the Ugandan church's having cut ties ten years ago with the Episcopal church in America over homosexuality. Here are some of Mugisha's tweets and retweets.

Continue reading "Ugandan archbishop speaks at rally celebrating anti-gay law in Uganda" »

March 13, 2014

Ugandan activists challenge Anti-Homosexuality Act in court

BuzzFeed reports. Bravo and best wishes to Frank Mugisha, Julian Pepe Onziema, and their fellow petitioners.

Barney Frank on export of hate by American evangelicals


March 10, 2014

Meet the American Pastor Behind Uganda's Anti-Gay Crackdown

Mother Jones has published a lengthy profile of viciously anti-gay evangelical Scott Lively.

March 06, 2014

Russian LGBT athletes hold Open Games despite official harassment, cancellations

I missed this item from WaPo when it came out on Sunday. Good for the U.S. Embassy and the Russian athletes.

(Hat tip: Lisa Keen)

Feder: Gays In The Military, 'Armed With Vibrators,' Greater Threat Than Putin

Um, what?

(Hat tip: Right Wing Watch)

Sarah Palin explains Vladimir Putin's manly qualities

(Photo: Reuters)

Here's the latest on international affairs from the former half governor who can see Russia from her house, in an interview with Sean Hannity:

People are looking at Putin as one who wrestles bears and drills for oil. They look at our president as one who wears mom jeans and equivocates and bloviates.

Laura Clawson writes at Daily Kos:

Here's hoping the producers of Saturday Night Live have Tina Fey on the phone right now, begging her to appear this weekend. Because Sarah Palin just wrote their script for them, no revisions or edits needed.

March 04, 2014

Mugabe: 'I understand we have a group of homosexuals in this country'

(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

Love the scarf. Will someone please strangle him with it?

March 03, 2014

Kerry on Russia's 'incredible act of aggression'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told President Obama after speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin that she was not sure he was in touch with reality.

March 02, 2014

World War 3 Russia vs Ukraine and Europe Simulation

Prediction: this is not going to happen. But Winter Storm Titan is headed for the eastern U.S.

March 01, 2014

Global LGBT recap

Peter Montgomery at Religion Dispatches, who is a Senior Fellow at People For the American Way, reports on the situation for LGBT people in several countries around the world.

February 28, 2014

Gay Uganda’s plea: ‘Don’t cut aid, you’ll make it worse’

Amid calls (including by Sen. Patrick Leahy) for a freeze in American aid to Uganda in the wake of President Museveni signing the Anti-Homosexuality Act, Ugandan gay activists are saying such a move would be counterproductive. Gay Star News reports:

Frank Mugisha, director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, has said he does not support aid cuts.

‘We can’t afford to create new victims,’ he said on Twitter this week. ‘We should go after the crazy politicians! Not innocent Ugandans.’

America's presence and aid dollars in Uganda give us leverage that we would lose if we withdraw. It is a very frustrating situation, to say the least, but we should not react in such as way as to leave LGBT Ugandans worse off. And we should seriously consider the views of Ugandans who are enduring the persecution.

February 25, 2014

Michael Brown defends Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Law

Brian Tashman at Right Wing Watch shares this.

Right-wing evangelicals in America are demonstrating by their latest statements, in case you missed it before, that they would carry out the same brutal repression against LGBT people here as we are seeing in Russia, Nigeria, Uganda, and elsewhere, if they could.

Schlafly and Solomon Suggest Ukraine-Style Uprising

The latest right-wing lunacy, courtesy Right Wing Watch.

It'll be a Merkel if no one is offended

(Photo by Marc Israel Sellem / Jerusalem Post)

Our friend Walter Olson shared this photo with the helpful advice: "Very important rule in photo composition: be aware of where the shadow is going to fall." He added:

Reminds me of the recent joke, also in questionable taste, at the height of the Greek fiscal crisis. The German Chancellor flies into Athens airport, goes through processing. "Name?" "Angela Merkel." "Occupation?" "No, just visiting for a few days."

The actual story is here.

Archbishop Tutu deplores #Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act


U.S. Embassy Kampala shares:

Archbishop Tutu's plea to ‪#‎Ugandan‬ President ‪#‎Museveni‬ to reconsider the country's Anti-Homosexuality Bill has made news around the world. He says, “We must be entirely clear about this: The history of people is littered with attempts to legislate against love or marriage across class, caste and race. But there is no scientific basis or genetic rationale for love. There is only the grace of God…. Our diversity requires of us to be tolerant and compassionate and respectful of each other. ” Read on here: http://goo.gl/Cka3VQ

Amen. Wherever you are, join me tonight in lighting a candle of hope for our brothers and sisters in Uganda, that they find safety and preserve courage and hope.

February 24, 2014

Museveni signs Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law

(Photo courtesy African Arguments)

The news from Uganda today could hardly be worse. President Museveni said during the signing at State House Entebbe:

Homosexuals are nurtured but not natured. No study has shown that one can be a homosexual purely by nature. Since nurture is the cause, that is why I have agreed to sign the Bill into law,” Museveni said during the public signing of the Bill into law.

It is interesting and darkly amusing, if also preposterous and hypocritical and damning, that Museveni relies on junk science while ignoring reputable scientists, and wraps his actions in anti-colonial rhetoric notwithstanding the fact that the bill he signed was pushed by American evangelicals and reinforces the colonial-era British Penal Code. What in heaven's name is African about that?

His action is really about seizing on a scapegoat to throw to the mob to distract them from his own misrule. It is a tragic day. Many lives will be destroyed for the sake of his opportunism, and not a soul will be helped. I have been getting desperate pleas by email from gay Ugandans. I respond by sending them links to various resources that may be of help. But those groups are undoubtedly being swamped.

If you are a praying person, pray for Uganda and its LGBT people. They are in grave danger.

The White House press secretary issued a statement today:

Instead of standing on the side of freedom, justice, and equal rights for its people, today, regrettably, Ugandan President Museveni took Uganda a step backward by signing into law legislation criminalizing homosexuality. As President Obama has said, this law is more than an affront and a danger to the gay community in Uganda, it reflects poorly on the country's commitment to protecting the human rights of its people and will undermine public health, including efforts to fight HIV/AIDS. We will continue to urge the Ugandan government to repeal this abhorrent law and to advocate for the protection of the universal human rights of LGBT persons in Uganda and around the world.

February 21, 2014

Rev. Kapya Kaoma: Those urging recalls of ambassadors are falling into anti-gay trap

Rev. Canon Dr. Kapya Kaoma, an Episcopal priest from Zambia, writes at Political Research Associates:

[H]ad it not been for the presence of the U.S. and European embassies, African gays would have been massacred years ago, without any fear of consequences. For LGBTQ organizations to now demand they pull out of Uganda perilously compromises the lives of LGBTQ persons—who will not have anyone to turn to for safety, and strip our ability to monitor persecution.

I understand that we are all desperate to stop the progression of the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill. But threatening to leave the country will only boost the political power and credibility of leaders like Museveni, David Bahati, and Martin Ssempa—opening the door for African nations to expand further anti-LGBTQ laws, possibly even including executions and mass slaughter....

The withdrawal of the U.S. Ambassador from Uganda and Nigeria would also have some neo-colonial implications, which we should guard against. Uganda is not the first country to pass this Anti-Homosexuality Bill banning advocacy for LGBTQ issues—Russia was first. Nigeria followed, and many more nations are still to follow. How do we explain that no calls have gone out for the U.S. to sever diplomatic relations with Russia, but then call for the cutting of those ties to African nations? Frankly speaking, this move is an invitation for neo-colonial politics—which make even vicious dictators (like Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe) heroes in the eyes of African people.

African nations are sensitive to neo-colonial and imperialistic attitudes of the West—hence they are likely to side with Museveni when he is condemned for his handling of homosexuality. The move will only make Museveni a hero not just among Ugandans, but also among his African allies—precisely what he is hoping for after watching his political power fade in recent years. If the West attacks him, and leaves the country, Museveni will have free reign to rule as the dictator he wants to be.

So what is the way forward?

African homophobia is promoted and propelled by religion. In Uganda, Christian leaders (paid for and encouraged by American evangelicals) have been demanding the bill for years, and pushing their followers to vote for the lawmakers who support it. Politicians will always be politicians—they are always looking for votes. In his attempt to win the Evangelical votes in 2008, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama disagreed with same-sex marriage in a debate moderated by Pastor Rick Warren—one of very same U.S. evangelicals who worked with anti-gay pastors in Uganda. But to think that such dynamics only work in American politics is naïve at best, and dangerous, careless, and deadly at worst. Museveni needs votes to remain in power. So the answer to Uganda’s anti-gay bill lies in the primarily Christian electorate of Uganda. We should be demanding that Pope Francis speak directly to President Museveni and Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, and urge Ugandan Roman Catholics to proclaim his already-stated opposition to any law criminalizing LGBTQ persons. U.S. Anglican, and Evangelical/Pentecostal leaders should equally speak to their friends in Uganda about the dignity and fundamental human rights of sexual minorities. And the American people must demand an end to the constant flow of exportation of homophobia from U.S. evangelicals like Scott Lively, Lou Engle, and Rick Warren to Ugandan pastors and politicians.

Open letters, petitions, and press releases will only give Museveni and Uganda lawmakers another reason to sign and enforce the bill.

Museveni to Western critics: Don't tell me how to run my house

Uganda President responds defiantly to Western critics of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, including the United States and Canada.

If he is so eager to reject Western influences, why does he embrace the existing anti-gay law in Uganda that comes from the old British penal code, and why does he swallow the poison of American evangelicals like Scott Lively?

February 14, 2014

War Dispatches

My latest column surveys last week's events, from the Sochi Olympics to anti-gay persecution in Nigeria and Uganda, to America's anti-gay right. It was enough to make a person's head spin.

February 10, 2014

The little snowflake that couldn't

Let's hear it for Suzie Snowflake's brave protest at the Sochi Olympics opening ceremony, where she refused to open into an Olympic ring.

World Congress of Families spots a conspiracy

From Right Wing Watch:

Right Wing Watch reports on the extreme rhetoric and activities of key right-wing figures and organizations by showing their views in their own words. In this video, Alexey Komov, World Congress of Families' representative in Russia argues about communism, the Kennedy assassination and 9/11 with Accuracy In Media's Cliff Kincaid (offscreen), while WCF's Larry Jacobs tries to intervene.

February 05, 2014

Exiled Ugandan LGBT activists lead protest at Ugandan Embassy in D.C.

(Photo courtesy Ellen Sturtz)

I joined a protest on Tuesday outside the Ugandan Embassy on upper 16th Street NW, led by several exiled Ugandan LGBT activists. Stories by HRC and O-blog-dee-o-blog-da. That's me in the dark glasses holding a large rainbow flag.

In the luge

From Canada.

(Hat tip: Joe Jervis)

February 04, 2014

Baryshnikov Wears Rainbow Scarf in Solidarity With Gay Russians

(From left: Michael Merrigan, Robbie Sweeny, Mikhail Baryshinikov and Michael Petrelis. Photo courtesy Gays Without Borders and Boycott4Russia)

Michael Petrelis reports.

February 02, 2014

Feb 4 - Ugandan Embassy Protest @2pm

The Kuchu Diaspora Alliance has called for a protest at the Ugandan Embassy.  They are:

a network of Ugandan LGBT activists living in the Diaspora is echoing the voice of our comrades on the ground in Uganda, by calling to action allies of the Ugandan LGBT struggle and all those that support equality and dignity for all, to organize your communities to action against the recent passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2009 by the Parliament of Uganda.

This will take place Tuesday, February 4, 1914 at 2:00 pm at the Ugandan Embassy located at 5911 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20011. GLAA is not an organizer of this event.


January 30, 2014

Masque of the Red Death

My column for this week is the most popular item (for the moment) at Metro Weekly: confronting anti-LGBT intolerance abroad requires that we also look at its agents closer to home:

Actress Goldie Hawn had no idea what she was wading into last week when she tweeted from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, "Met the wonderful President of Nigeria," and posted a photo of herself with Goodluck Jonathan. She quickly learned that Jonathan recently signed a harsh anti-gay law that set off a wave of arrests. She deleted her tweet, expressed horror, and apologized.

Hawn's gaffe was useful in drawing attention to a problem with ramifications far beyond the salons of Davos. In the city of Bauchi in northern Nigeria on Jan. 22, thousands disrupted a Shariah court by throwing stones and demanding the quick conviction and execution of 11 men on trial for their membership in gay organizations.

Read the whole thing here.

Update: BBC reports that Archbishops Justin Welby of Canterbury and John Sentamu of York have written to the presidents of Nigeria and Uganda criticizing those countries' anti-gay laws.

January 26, 2014

Birds attack peace doves released from Pope's window

AP reports:

Two white doves that were released by children standing alongside Pope Francis as a peace gesture have been attacked by other birds.

As tens of thousands of people watched in St. Peter's Square on Sunday, a seagull and a large black crow swept down on the doves right after they were set free from an open window of the Apostolic Palace.

Oh, dear. This reminds me of Ben Franklin's proposal of the turkey as America's national bird. Our Founders went with the safer choice of a bald eagle. Granted, "peace eagle" would create some cognitive dissonance, but if you released one in a grand gesture with lots of witnesses, it's safe to say it would not be attacked by pigeons. Then you have the Swedish warship Vasa, which was so top-heavy that it keeled over and sank shortly after its launch in 1628, as dignitaries watched. Somewhere out there is bound to be a variable you didn't anticipate.

Get real, Coca Cola

This update on a classic Coke commercial by Queer Nation NY is a powerful indictment of its sponsorship of the Sochi Olympics. I'm surprised that Coca Cola's lawyers haven't yet squashed it. Bravo to the folks who put this together.

Below is the trailer for Queer Nation NY's short film, The Road to Sochi. As you watch it, remember that there are people who are more offended by this kind of film than by the world's participation in Putin's Olympics. I mean, we cannot abide rudeness! Back in the 1960s, many Americans were outraged by singer Eartha Kitt's use of an appearance at the White House to protest the murderous, colonialist, and futile Vietnam War in front of President Johnson. She was blackballed for it. At this very moment, all around us are people who consider it obvious that following protocol trumps impolitic truth-telling. Otherwise, advocates for social justice would not have to work so hard. It's not that people cannot hear. They don't want to listen. That makes them much worse than sheep.

Nigerian woman disowns gay cat

Christian Walters reports at Towleroad.

January 25, 2014

Gay Russian Artist Responds To Garage Magazine's Racist 'Black Woman' Chair With NSFW Image


This image (click here and scroll down for the un-cropped version) has an entirely different vibe than the misogynist one to which it responds. It reminds me of a lyric by my late friend Michael Callen from his album Purple Heart:

"I’d like to be your music
I’d like to be your chair
I’d like to be the food you eat
and be the clothes you wear"

Goldie Hawn: Photo With Anti-Gay Nigerian President 'Had Every Right To Cause An Uproar'

Goldie Hawn was mortified when she found out about the horrible behavior of the head of state with whom she posed for a TwitPic at Davos.

January 21, 2014

Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina comes out


Influential Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina, responding to a harsh anti-gay law passed in Nigeria, has revealed his homosexuality.

Wainaina's brave act in speaking out is an example of why the fight for LGBT equality in Africa will win. But it will be a long struggle. Bravo to him for stepping up.

January 20, 2014

Behold His mighty hand


Lightning strikes the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Jan. 16, 2014. Credit: Antonio Lacerda/EPA.

January 19, 2014

Contrary to Godwin's Law

An eloquent piece by Israeli writer Etgar Keret on the effort there to ban the word "Nazi."

January 17, 2014

Uganda President Denounces — But Does Not Block — the Anti-Homosexuality Bill


Jim Burroway at Box Turtle Bulletin reports on the confusing situation in Uganda:

My suspicions were confirmed. Buzzfeed’s J. Lester Feder has obtained a copy of the December 28 letter that Uganda President Yoweri Museveni sent to Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga which an article in this morning’s Daily Monitor charactrized as “blocking” the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. As Daily Monitor pointed out, Museveni criticized Kadaga and Parliament for rushing to pass the bill without the proper quorum, an act that violates the Uganda Constitution. However, there is nothing in the letter to indicate that Museveni will send the bill back to Parliament as provided in the Constitution. Nor does he indicate whether he considers the bill to be legitimately sitting on his desk awaiting action.

(Photo of Yoweri Museveni from his Wiki page. Source unknown.)