Okay, so Obama has actually made a public statement about that law that stripped away women’s rights in Afghanistan, publicly condemning it while at the G20 conference (via).
I’m glad that he took a firm stance on women’s rights being human rights, and an important thing regardless of one’s culture or religion; only time will tell if his speaking out against the law will actually do any good. Karzai, for his part, has promised to review the law, but to me it doesn’t sound like he’s planning on actually changing anything rather than attempting to cover his ass (emphasis mine).
Karzai did not mention Article 132 [the infamous “marital rape clause”] during a news conference Saturday. But he said he had studied the law earlier in the day and that “I don’t see any problems with it.”
He complained that Western media outlets had mistranslated it [which would imply that the women’s rights issues were exaggerated, except…]. He read an article of the law during the news conference that appears to restrict Shiite women’s right to leave their homes, though Karzai underscored a provision that allows women to leave in emergencies.
Call me a militant feminazi, but if the least misogynistic thing you can say about your new law is that it lets women leave the house when it’s on fire, you’re doing it wrong.
What’s even more troubling, however, is the relative complete lack of mainstream coverage of a human rights issue in another country we invaded and are still spending billions of dollars on:
Iraq plans execution bloodbath
Iraq is planning to start executing 128 people this week, many of who are thought to be gay.
Well, that’s great!
Iraqi LGBT, a UK-based organisation of Iraqis which tries to protect queers in the country, says that five of the people on death row are their campaigners in Iraq. And they believe that many more are gay.
Ali Hili of Iraqi LGBT said the five gay people on the list he knows about may be the tip of the iceberg.
He told Pink Paper: “I believe there are many more among the 128. Most of the people haven’t been told the reason why they have been sentenced to death and there have been so many raids on gay parties and round-ups recently.”
Of course, even if some/most of the prisoners aren’t members of the LGBT community or advocates thereof, there are still ethical problems with the executions.
IRAQI LGBT is concerned that the Iraqi authorities have not disclosed the identities of those facing imminent execution, stoking fears that many of them may have been sentenced to death after trials that failed to satisfy international standards for fair trial.
Most are likely to have been sentenced to death by the Central Criminal Court of Iraq (CCCI), whose proceedings consistently fall short of international standards for fair trial. Some are likely to have. Allegations of torture are not being investigated adequately or at all by the CCCI. Torture of detainees held by Iraqi security forces remains rife.
Iraq’s creaking judicial system is simply unable to guarantee fair trials in ordinary criminal cases, and even less so in capital cases, with the result, we fear, that numerous people have gone to their death after unfair trials.
As an occupying country, and a country who singlehandedly overthrew the former government and strong-armed a democracy into existence, and whose Secretary of State recently said,
“Human rights is and always will be one of the pillars of our foreign policy. And in particular, the persecution and discrimination against gays and lesbians is something that we take very seriously. It is terribly unfortunate that right now in unfortunately many places in the world violence against gays and lesbians, certainly discrimination and prejudice are not just occurring but condoned and protected. And we would hope that over the next few years we could have some influence in trying to change those attitudes…”
We have both the power and responsibility to do something about the atrocious and terrifying situation that gay Iraqis are currently in* (though to be fair, life for pretty much all Iraqis is getting increasingly shitty – women in particular are having a much worse time of it than under Saddam Hussein’s reign). The last administration had a notably callous and hateful attitude toward the queer community – even refusing to sign a UN declaration for decriminalizing homosexuality – but the new administration has had at least a nominally better stance on things (among other things, Obama actually agreed to sign the aforementioned resolution! Crazytown!). Here, President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton have a chance to prove their humans rights chops and use their unique positions of power and influence to stop federally-endorsed hate crimes.
Will they? Well, there are no mainstream news outlets that are covering this story – I checked MSNBC, Yahoo, CNN, and (gag) Fox News, along with BBC; we haven’t heard anything (AFAICR) about the human rights shitstorm that is Iraq from the U.S. government; and a lot of people are at least superficially more willing to care about women’s rights than LGBT rights**. Executions are slated to start this week.
I’m not going to hold my breath.
*In the same way that we both the power and responsibility to stop marital rape in Afghanistan! Now that’s some good writing on my part.
**Though please, for the love of the FSM, let’s not create a hierarchy of oppression or play the Oppression Olympics, mmkay? Thanks muchly.