French extreme Right racism and homophobia and the US Tea Party


This video says about itself:

Demonstration in Paris (8.6.2013)

Murder Charge Sought in Paris Activist Death

PARIS – Thousands of supporters marched in grief and anger Saturday to honour an anti-fascist activist who died after a brawl with far-right militants, while authorities opened a murder investigation against a 20-year-old skinhead suspected of delivering the fatal blow in a killing that has shocked France.

France’s Socialist government also took a first step toward banning the security branch of a nationalist youth group that the suspect and four alleged accomplices had claimed ties with, according to the Paris prosecutor.

The death of 18-year-old Clement Meric, a student at Paris’ prestigious Sciences-Po political science university, has renewed concerns that hate groups are on the rise — not just in France, but across Europe.

A medical examiner determined that Meric died from head trauma sustained in the fight that erupted after a chance encounter Wednesday between the far-right militants and anti-fascist activists including Meric in a posh Paris shopping district, prosecutor Francois Molins said at a news conference. He said a murder investigation was under way into one suspect — a security guard who was identified only as “Esteban” — while he and three other skinheads were also facing charges for group violence in the fight that led to Meric’s death.

The four suspects were being held, and a fifth suspect, a 32-year-old woman named Katya who was said to be Esteban’s girlfriend, was facing the prospect of preliminary charges for complicity in group violence, Molins said. The suspects, under police questioning, acknowledged links to an ultranationalist group known as “Troisieme Voie” — or Third Way, he said. None of the suspects had a prior criminal record, though Esteban was known to police for possession of banned weapons in Paris in May 2011, the prosecutor said.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault‘s office said in a statement Saturday that he had asked the interior minister to immediately take steps, under a 77-year-old domestic security law, toward dissolving a far-right group known as Revolutionary Nationalist Youth — considered the security unit of Third Way.

Militant extreme-right groups have become increasingly visible in France, and the government said after Meric’s death that it wants to ban fascist and neo-Nazi groups. Extreme-right groups have gained attention in numerous European countries, particularly Greece, where the Golden Dawn party, broadly vilified for alleged Nazi sympathies and violence against immigrants, holds seats in parliament. Last month, the World Jewish Congress said it’s greatly concerned about the emergence of what it called neo-Nazi parties in places like Greece, Hungary and Germany.

On Saturday, demonstrators poured into the streets of eastern Paris to honour Meric, chanting “we don’t forgive, we don’t forget” and marching behind a banner that said he was “forever in our memories, forever in our hearts.”

The fight erupted outside a clothing store where members of the two groups had run into each other by happenstance Wednesday, Molins said, citing witness accounts and testimony by the suspects during police questioning. … He said a saleswoman in the store testified “having heard one of the skinheads call in reinforcements to do battle, saying — and I quote — ‘in any case, we’re going to call in the others, and we’re going to mess them up’”— in a charitable translation of the profanity-laced remarks.

By the time Meric and his three leftist friends left the store, a group was waiting for them outside — and blows were exchanged, Molins said. Others were injured in the brawl.

During questioning, “the one named Esteban acknowledged to police that he had struck Clement Meric twice — bare-fisted, he claimed — including the blow that caused him to fall to the ground,” Molins said. “A friend of Clement Meric said he saw him (Esteban) with brass knuckles, while another witness of the scene referred to a ‘shiny object’ in his hands.”

By Robert Myles:

France’s interior minister warns of emerging ‘tea party of the French’

Feb 02, 2014 at 1:31 AM PST

France’s Interior Minister Manuel Valls, a key minister in President François Hollande’s cabinet, warned Sunday of the emergence of a “tea party of the French,” on the far right of French politics.

Valls was interviewed in the French Sunday newspaper Journal du dimanche. His remarks came a week after Paris witnessed a demonstration under the banner “Jour de Colère” — Day of Rage — against the policies of socialist President Hollande.

Last week, up to 50 disparate groups, united in their opposition to Hollande’s government, took to the streets. Organizers put the numbers of those demonstrating at 120,000, though, as is the norm in France, the police estimate of numbers was a more modest 17,000.

As the demonstration broke up, it turned violent. Police arrested up to 250 demonstrators, mainly on public order and police assault charges, when police came under attack from a hail of bottles, fireworks, stones and other missiles.

Up to 50 disparate groups participated in the Jour de Colère. Demonstrators ranged from far-right fundamentalist Catholic movement Civitas, anti-abortionists, through Comité de Lépante,

This anti-immigrant organisation calls itself after the 1571 naval battle of Lepanto.

Then, a coalition of Roman Catholic States, mainly the kingdom of Spain, fought against the navy of the Turkish Ottoman empire.

However, the 21st century French bigots don’t know their French history in choosing their name. The kingdom of France did not participate in the battle of Lepanto. Often, France then saw the Muslim Ottoman empire as allies against the Habsburg rulers of Spain and Austria.

Like the Dutch, mainly Protestant Christian, rebels against the king of Spain also preferred the Turkish empire to the Habsburg rulers. Geert Wilders, the Dutch ally of the French extreme Right, also does not know his Dutch history about this.

which campaigns against what it sees as the Islamization of Europe, and Printemps Français (French Spring), the most vocal and extreme of the broader Manif pour Tous coalition, campaigning against France’s recently introduced relaxation of laws on same-sex marriage.

One week later, with a further Manif pour Tous anti-gay marriage rally scheduled to take place in Paris Sunday, Valls expressed deep concern at a society “tormented by the dark forces of division” and called on what he termed “the Republican right” of French politics, to distance itself from these groups.

Valls’ call Sunday echoed remarks made by President Hollande two days ago during a visit to the UK for a Franco-British summit with UK Prime Minister David Cameron. Asked about the Jour de Colère, Hollande condemned “the manipulation of minds” with specific reference to what he said were unfounded rumors started by minority groups with the aim of fomenting fear and division, focusing on stories which had been circulating concerning the teaching of gender theory in French schools. Such rumors resulted in a number of French parents withdrawing their children from school, prompting France’s minister for education to write to all school heads in France.

But Valls went a step further, drawing a parallel between the intolerance of elements of Jour de Colère with 1930s Europe in a thinly veiled reference to the rise of Nazism. He described it as “a revolt of the antis: anti-elite, anti-government, anti-tax, anti-parliament, anti-journalist,” but said it went further being especially, “anti-Semitic, racist, homophobic…simply anti-Republican.”

Analyzing what he thought was happening in French politics, Valls said he believed “we are witnessing the creation of a tea party of the French,” drawing a comparison with some far right wing elements of the Republican Party in the US.

“Bound up with the crisis of leadership of the right [in French politics], and faced with the refocusing of the [far right] Front National [political party],” Valls said, “a conservative and reactionary right has come into being. With opposition to marriage for all [same-sex marriage reform], it has increased its forces tenfold. It occupies the streets as it considers that the left [Socialist Party] in power is not legitimate.”

And in a call to the mainstream right of French politics to stand up for democracy, Valls stressed, “In this, the Republican right has a clear responsibility to stand clear of movements that do not accept democracy and the will of parliament.”

However correct Mr Valls may be on the dangers of the extreme right on France, and on the “moderate” right’s role in helping the extremists: let us not forget Mr Valls’ own role in helping the extreme right. Mr Valls wages a campaign against Roma people with bigoted rhetoric. And with anti-democratic repressive measures, like the deportation of Roma schoolgirl Leonarda and her family to dangerous Kosovo. Like the deportation of Armenian student Khatchik Kachatryan. The youth organisation of Valls’ own Socialist Party demonstrated massively against Valls’ xenophobic deportations. In this context, even the truest truism in what Valls says on the French bigoted “tea party” far right sounds hypocritical.

France’s centre-left president Francois Hollande has given a chilling glimpse of what could be in store for Britain under a future Labour government. Hollande capitulated to reactionary protests against his government’s tame pro-LGBT reforms last week: here.

Anti-gay stigma significantly shortens the life-spans of people who identity as gay, lesbian, or bisexual: here.

Al Sharpton: From Arizona to Uganda, We Must Protect the Rights of the LGBT Community: here.

Conservative California Catholic bishop forces out popular, progressive gay priest: here.

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Unknown Sappho poems discovered?


This video is called Sappho, Biography.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Sappho: two previously unknown poems indubitably hers, says scholar

University of Oxford papyrologist convinced poems preserved on ancient papyrus are by seventh-century lyricist of Lesbos

Read one of the poems here

Charlotte Higgins, chief arts writer

Wednesday 29 January 2014 19.45 GMT

Sappho is one of the most elusive and mysterious – as well as best-loved – of ancient Greek poets. Only one of her poems, out of a reputed total of nine volumes’ worth, survives absolutely intact. Otherwise, she is known by fragments and shards of lines – and still adored for her delicate outpourings of love, longing and desire.

But now, two hitherto unknown works by the seventh-century lyricist of Lesbos have been discovered. One is a substantially complete work about her brothers; another, an extremely fragmentary piece apparently about unrequited love.

The poems came to light when an anonymous private collector in London showed a piece of papyrus fragment to Dr Dirk Obbink, a papyrologist at Oxford University.

According to Obbink, in an article to be published this spring, the poems, preserved on what is probably third-century AD papyrus, are “indubitably” by Sappho.

Not only do elements of the longer poem link up with fragments already known to be by her, but the metre and dialect in which the poems are written point to Sappho.

The clincher is a reference to her brother, Charaxos – whose very existence has long been doubted, since he is mentioned nowhere in previously discovered fragments of Sappho.

However, Herodotus, the fifth-century BC historian, named the brother when describing a poem by Sappho that recounts the tale of a love affair between Charaxos and a slave in Egypt.

In this poem – though it is not the precise one that Herodotus mentions – the writer addresses her audience, seeming to berate them for taking Charaxos’s return by ship from a trading trip for granted.

Pray to Hera, says the narrator, “so that Charaxos may return here, with his ship intact; for the rest let us leave it all to the gods, for often calm quickly follows a great storm”.

The poem goes on to say that those whom Zeus chooses to save from great storms are truly blessed and “lucky without compare”. The poem ends with the hope that another brother, Larichos, might become a man – “freeing us from much anxiety”.

According to Tim Whitmarsh, a professor of ancient literature at Oxford University, the poem could be read as a play on Homer‘s Odyssey, and the idea of Penelope waiting patiently at home for the return of Odysseus. Sappho frequently reworked Homeric themes in her poems.

Sappho, who was born in about 630BC, is known for her lyric verse of longing, often directed at women and girls – the bittersweet feeling of love, impossible-to-fulfil desire and the sensation of jealousy when you see the object of your obsession across the room, talking intimately with someone else.

She was admired in antiquity for her delicate, passionate verses. The only evidence for her biography comes from within her poems – and the naming of her brothers, Charaxos and Larichos, adds substantially to a sketchy knowledge of the poet’s life.

Sappho’s poems, which were lost from the manuscript tradition and were not collated and copied by medieval monks as were so many surviving ancient texts, have been preserved by two main means: either through quotation by other authors (often as examples of particular syntactical points by ancient grammarians) or through the discovery of fragments written on ancient papyrus. There is hope yet for more poems to come to light, preserved in the Egyptian sands.

Obbink’s article, with a transcription of the original poems, is to be published in the journal Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik.

Only a few poems of the Greek poetess Sappho’s work have survived but thanks to a leading scholar’s investigation two new works have just been recovered—and gives experts hope to find more: here.

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Nigerian governmental homophobia, satiric video


This video says about itself:

17 Jan 2014

Nigeria’s anti-gay lobby thinks homosexuality is a sickness. No wonder they’re celebrating Goodluck Jonathan‘s newly signed Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act. But Ikenna has other ideas about the future of Naija‘s health…

What’s Up Africa is a video blog created and presented by Ikenna Azuike and filmed and edited by Sandesh Bhugaloo about creative Africa.

From AMERICAblog about this today:

Nigerian-British comedian Ikenna Azuike does a cute video about how Nigeria’s draconian new anti-gay law is going to end up turning all the straight people gay. …

“So you see, if this jail the gays law stays in force, the economy will collapse. Everyhone who calls in sick for pretending to be gay will be arrested for wanting to be gay. Jails will be full of people who claim to be gay, making jail a ‘gay institution.’ Therefore jails will be illegal, and the only solution will be to let the gay people out, and lock up all the straight people, so jail can be legal again.”

British rich homophobe: A former donor to UKIP has inexplicably responded to a Times columnist’s article condemning a Russian anti-gay law, by taking out an advert in the Telegraph and claiming that homophobia does not exist: here.

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Dutch brass band may play ‘YMCA’ at Winter Olympics


This video, recorded during the 2006 Winter Olympics in Italy, says about itself:

Dutch party band named “Small beer” [Kleintje Pils] is performing in Turin during the Olympic Games. In this case with the 10000m speed skating, a traditional Dutch part of the Winter Olympics. As you can see, the atmosphere is fantastic.

From Associated Press:

Dutch brass band may play ‘YMCA’ at Sochi oval

By RAF CASERT and MIKE CORDER

Jan. 21, 2014 12:22 PM EST

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The Dutch brass band that always performs at Olympic speed skating ovals is considering playing a popular gay song — “Y.M.C.A.” — at the Sochi Winter Olympics to show its support for gay rights.

This is called Village People – YMCA OFFICIAL Music Video 1978.

It remains to be seen how Russian and Olympic authorities would react should the Kleintje Pils band play a song widely considered to be a gay anthem. A ban on information about “nontraditional sexual relations” signed into law by Russian President Vladimir Putin has provoked widespread international outrage from critics who believe it discriminates against gays.

Band leader Ruud Bakker told The Associated Press on Tuesday that Kleintje Pils could mix the Village People’s “Y.M.C.A.” in its sing-along repertoire as “a signal.” But he added that the band didn’t want to antagonize organizers or turn its performances into a “political game.”

“We will see if we can get one or two songs into the selection, knowing that in the Netherlands it will be seen as a signal we are thinking of them (gays),” Bakker said.

The band, which keeps speed skating crowds rocking during ice resurfacing breaks at Olympic competitions, is best known for its stirring rendition of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” and Queen’s “We are the Champions.” Usually they get the thousands of fans of all nationalities to dance along as they walk around the big oval with the permission of organizers. Mixing in a political message would be a new move.

The band performed “Y.M.C.A.” at the 2002 Salt Lake City games but has not played it since then. It has also practiced some Russian songs for the Sochi Olympics, which run Feb. 7-23.

This is a music video of the Russian song Kalinka. Dutch brass bands have played this song before at speed skating events.

Indirect moves by athletes to show support for gays have already caused controversy in Russia. At last August’s world athletics championships in Moscow, Swedish high jumper Emma Green Tregaro sported rainbow colors on her nails. In the final, however, Green Tregaro went with red nails after track officials said her earlier gesture might violate the meet’s code of conduct.

Ms Green Tegaro was very lucky that Avery Brundage from the USA was not sports boss any more. Brundage would surely have punished her, not only for ‘gay’ rainbow fingernails, but for ‘communist’ red fingernails as well …

Reminding me a bit about when Turkish far Right nationalists complained that a Turkish workers’ organisation met in a building with red bricks, so was supposedly “communist” … err … what is the colour of the Turkish flag again? Reminding me again of the lyrics of Bob Dylan’s John Birch Paranoid Blues):

This music video is called John Birch Paranoid Blues (Live at Town Hall 1963).

Avery Brundage did not mind nazi salutes during the infamous 1936 Berlin Olympics. But he did mind Black Power salutes, by athletes protesting against discrimination, very much, and had those athletes punished.

As this blog wrote earlier:

In 1936, the Olympic games were in Berlin, in Hitler‘s nazi Germany.

Sports officials like Avery Brundage in the USA were very much against athletes or spectators protesting against anti-Semitism, concentration camps, or other atrocities of Hitler’s Third Reich. Such protests, they said, would be “political”. And Olympics, and sports in general, should be “non-political”. Meanwhile, there were nazi swastikas everywhere at Olympic venues. Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl made the official Olympic movie. Not only German athletes and sports bureaucrats, also many foreign athletes and sports bureaucrats did nazi salutes. All that was not political in the mindset of Avery Brundage and his ilk.

In 1968, Olympics again. In Mexico City.

This blog noted:

On October 16, 1968, the medals ceremony at the Mexico Olympics was converted into a symbolic demonstration of the struggle against oppression.

US black sprinters Tommy Smith and John Carlos, respectively first and third in the men’s 200 metres, defiantly raised clenched fist salutes as the American national anthem played.

Their stand in support of civil rights and against racism reverberated internationally.

The photograph of their protest has become one of the most recognised images in the world, after that of the first moon landing.

The unexpected silver medalist, 26-year-old Australian Peter Norman, wore a button of the “Olympic Project for Human Rights”—a civil rights protest movement set up by black athlete Harry Edwards before the Games—in support of his two fellow athletes.

These three athletes were punished harshly for daring to be ‘political’. While Avery Brundage, of 1936 Hitler Olympics infamy, was still Olympics big boss. Not political at all [sarcasm off].

Meanwhile, Olympics and other major sports events, like football World Cups, have become very entangled with corporate sponsors.

I hope to see many people like Tommy Smith, John Carlos and Peter Norman in Sochi.

Eight U.S. states have policies similar to Russia’s ban on gay ‘propaganda’: here.

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Gays caused British flood disasters, politician says


This video is called UK Storms 2014: Flooding Across England.

There are not only funny theories in Texas, USA about the causes of the first world war. There are also funny theories in England about the causes of recent flood disasters.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Ukip suspends councillor who claimed floods were caused by gay marriage

Ukip councillor David Silvester’s suspension comes after new interview in which he says gay people ‘can be healed’

Patrick Wintour

Sunday 19 January 2014 15.32 GMT

A Ukip councillor who blamed the Christmas and new year floods on the passage of gay marriage laws has been suspended from the party, Ukip said on Sunday, reversing an earlier view that he was entitled to his opinion.

Henley-on-Thames councillor David Silvester, who defected from the Tories in protest at David Cameron‘s support for same-sex unions, said he had warned the prime minister of “repercussions” if gay marriage went ahead.

He was suspended by Ukip after defying a request not to do further interviews on his beliefs following his initial claims made in a letter to a local newspaper. The move came as leader Nigel Farage launched a clearout of “extremist, nasty or barmy” views from the party ahead of polls in May.

On Sunday Silvester caused fresh controversy, telling BBC Radio Berkshire that being gay was a “spiritual disease” that can be healed. His remarks led Ukip’s official gay and lesbian group to send Silvester a letter saying he had “rightly attracted derision from people of all political beliefs, and once again painted Ukip in a negative light – an unacceptable act for which you cannot be excused”.

Tory business minister Michael Fallon said the comments showed “there clearly are one or two fruitcakes still around there” – a reference to David Cameron’s previous criticisms of Ukip.

Silvester said the new law, paving the way for the first gay marriages in Britain this spring, was the latest mistake that would anger God – following on from abortion laws, which he likened to the Holocaust.

In the radio interview, which followed his initial claims about the link between flooding and gay marriage in a letter to the Henley Standard, Silvester said: “I don’t have a problem with gay people. “I believe as a Christian I should love gay people and indeed, I do.

“My prayer for them is they will be healed. It is nonsense to say it is homophobic. If you love a person enough to want them to be healed and to have a proper family, that is hardly homophobic. It is a spiritual disease … it’s not what I say, it’s what the Bible says.”

Silvester added: “I am a man who prays every day for every member of the cabinet and for every member of the royal family and when, two years ago, I wrote to the prime minister to warn him there are repercussions for serious breaches of the coronation oath, such as this one has been, when I saw what followed I naturally assumed this was the result of them going against God’s laws.

“This is not new, this happened in the Old Testament – they were warned if they turned against God there would be pestilence, there would be war, there would be disasters.”

The open letter from Ukip’s LGBT group said: “The Met Office have stated ‘the main reason for the mild and wet weather so far is that we have seen a predominance of west and south-west winds, bringing in mild air from the Atlantic – as well as generally unsettled conditions’ – regardless of whether you believe in a God or not, sudden rainfall has not just formulated out of nowhere upon the UK. An Act of God this is not.”

Protesters egg home of UKIP ‘gay marriage caused storms’ councillor: here.

United States Republican politician blames gays for tornadoes, diseases, etc.: here.

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Indian court re-activates British colonial anti-LGBTQ law


This video is called Indian LGBT activists protest against gay sex ban.

By Kranti Kumara in India:

India’s Supreme Court re-criminalizes homosexuality

28 December 2013

India’s Supreme Court has struck down a 2009 Delhi High Court ruling that declared unconstitutional a section of the Indian penal code, adopted in 1860, that criminalized private consensual sex among gay men and women, as well as some sexual acts between men and women. As a result of the Supreme Court ruling, men and women alleged to have engaged in homosexual acts can be arrested and prosecuted and, if found guilty, could be liable to life imprisonment.

The ruling upholding the constitutionality of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code was issued by a two-judge panel of the Supreme Court in response to a legal challenge to the Delhi High Court ruling launched by Hindu, Muslim, and Christian groups.

In affirming the constitutionality of Section 377 and its claim that homosexual acts are “against the order of nature,” India’s highest court is encouraging unbridled anti-homosexual bigotry on the part of backward social layers. It is also exposing India’s gays to the danger of harassment, arrest, and blackmail from India’s police, which are notorious for their corruption and use of arbitrary beatings and torture.

That such dangers are far from hypothetical was strikingly displayed by a September raid mounted by Andhra Pradesh police on a party of gay men. Although the Delhi High Court ruling had made Section 377 inoperative, the police justified their raid in the name of stopping “illegal and obscene” acts.

In Malaysia, a similar provision—based on the colonialist British Indian penal code and also known as Section 377—was used by Malaysian authorities to jail the former deputy prime minister, Anwar Ibrahim, after he had a falling out with the country’s longtime prime minister, Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohamed.

Section 377 was included in the Penal Code imposed on India by British colonial authorities in the early 1860s, as London sought to strengthen its control in the aftermath of the 1857-58 “Mutiny,” a mass rebellion against British rule that engulfed much of northern India.

In addition to proscribing homosexual acts, Section 377 declared a long list of heterosexual acts, including oral sex, criminal.

In 2009, the Delhi High Court, invoking as legal precedent court-rulings in several western countries, found this Victorian-era, colonialist law to be in violation of articles 14, 15 and 21 of India’s constitution, which guarantee equality before law, prohibition against discrimination, and protection of life and personal liberty.

In striking down the Delhi High Court decision, the two-justice Supreme Court panel advanced the specious claim that Section 377 could not be found to be discriminatory because it does not exclusively target homosexuals, since it also outlaws some sexual acts between heterosexuals.

“It is relevant to mention here,” wrote Justice Sanghvi, “that Section 377 … does not criminalize a particular people or identity or orientation. It merely identifies certain acts, which if committed, would constitute an offence. Such prohibition regulates sexual conduct regardless of gender identity and orientation.”

In other words, India’s highest court continues to insist that the state has the legal-constitutional power to regulate the private sexual activities of consenting adults, including declaring some activities criminal.

Knowing full well that their decision would be met with widespread opposition and outrage, the Supreme Court justices said parliament has the legislative power to eliminate Section 377. In the context of their ruling, however, this admission only serves to underline their upholding of the state’s power to regulate consensual sexual activity.

Four years ago, the Delhi High Court ruling was widely hailed by both Indian and international gay rights organizations and much of the corporate media. They were euphoric over the fact that the judgment finally removed the stigma associated with homosexuality in a country where the ruling elite has long encouraged and buttressed sexual repression to the point where heterosexuals kissing in public or on the cinema screen is condemned.

However, India’s judiciary, as the Supreme Court ruling over Section 377 has again demonstrated, is no ally in the fight to extend democratic rights. On the contrary, over the last two decades and in lockstep with the Indian bourgeoisie’s turn ever further to the right, open celebration of mounting social inequality and demand for the abolition of all regulatory impediments on profit-making, India’s Supreme Court has issued one reactionary judgment after another—judgments in which the court has pandered to Hindu fundamentalists and communalist reaction and attacked the democratic rights of the working class.

To recall just a few of the most significant:

By refusing to take a firm stand against violent Hindu fundamentalists, the court essentially countenanced the 1992 destruction of the Babri Masjid (mosque) in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh—an act that provoked the worst communal bloodletting in Indian since Partition. The senior leadership of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), especially then party leader L.K. Advani, openly exhorted mobs of communalists to raze the historic mosque; yet to this day none of the BJP leaders and their allies in the leadership of the Hindu supremacist VHP and RSS have been called to account for violating the Court’s own injunction prohibiting any attack on the Masjid.

Three years later, the Supreme Court bestowed a stamp of respectability on Hindutva, the termed coined by the Hindu supremacist ideologue V.D. Savarkar and used by the BJP and its allied organizations to refer to their noxious communalist ideology. The court claimed that Hindutva was not at odds with the secular values propounded in India’s constitution; it merely signifies a broader “Indian culture” that supposedly subsumes Muslim, Sikh, Christian and other minority religions.

Giving credence to religious mumbo-jumbo, the court in 2007 claimed that the natural chain of limestone shoals between the coast of India and Sri Lanka could have been “built by the ancients” in a case concerning a plan to deepen the channel between the two countries so as to facilitate shipping. The VHP (World Hindu Council) had been agitating against the project, not because of the environmental damage it would cause, but on the grounds that the limestone shoals were in fact a bridge built by an army of monkeys as depicted in the Hindu mythical classic Ramayana and hence “holy”.

India’s Supreme Court has also repeatedly issued authoritarian judgments. In 2003 it sanctioned the Tamil Nadu government’s efforts to break a state employees’ strike through mass arrests and firings, ruling that public sector workers have no right to strike. In 2007, it declared “bandhs”—24- or 48-hour political general strikes—illegal.

That same year, it issued a sweeping ban on protests and even public debate concerning the dangers shipyard workers would be subjected to if they were made to dismantle the toxic-laden, retired French aircraft carrier Clemenceau. [See HYPERLINK Indian Supreme Court imposes sweeping ban on public debate on toxic warship]

Unsurprisingly, the Supreme Court ruling upholding the constitutionality of Section 377 and re-criminalizing homosexuality has been hailed by the Official Opposition BJP and by various religious organizations including Muslim and Christian groups.

The behavior of India’s Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) coalition government has, on the other hand, been utterly dishonest and duplicitous.

While the government reacted with silence to the 2009 Delhi High Court ruling, Congress Party leaders, including party President Sonia Gandhi, her son and the presumptive Congress Prime Ministerial candidate, Rahul Gandhi, and Finance Minister Chidambaram have all criticized the Supreme Court decision. But the government has no intention of legislating Section 377 out of existence, fearing such action might damage its electoral chances. Instead, it intends to mount a legal challenge, appealing for the Supreme Court to rehear the case, a process that could drag on for years, during which Section 377 will remain in force. Moreover, given the court’s long record of sanctioning attacks on democratic rights and pandering to the Hindu right there is no guarantee whatsoever that the whole court will not endorse the reactionary ruling of the two-judge panel.

This ambivalent response is in keeping with the two-faced attitude that the Congress and the government have taken all along. The UPA’s Additional Solicitor-General, P.P. Malhotra, argued before the Supreme Court that as per the government homosexual sex is “highly immoral and against the social order” and furthermore it is “against nature and spreads HIV”.

Only after a firestorm of criticism from gay activists and politically liberal commentators did the UPA backtrack and claim that Malhotra’s statement did not reflect the government’s views.

Indian High Court Criminalizes Homosexuality: here.

Utah Plans To Spend $2 Million In Taxpayer Dollars To Defend Anti-Gay Discrimination: here.

Ugandan homophobic law and United States religious fundamentalists


This video from the USA says about itself:

Anti-Gay Fervor in Uganda Tied to Right-Wing U.S. Evangelicals, Part 1 of 2

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Human rights activists in Uganda are warning that the lives of gay people are in danger after a newspaper published a front-page story featuring the names and photographs of what it called Uganda’s 100 “top” gays and lesbians alongside a yellow banner that read “Hang Them.” We look at the ties of the anti-gay movement in Uganda to the far-right evangelical movement here in the United States with Jeff Sharlet, author of “C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy“.

This video is called Anti-Gay Fervor in Uganda Tied to Right-Wing U.S. Evangelicals, Part 2 of 2.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Gay Ugandans now face life behind bars

Friday 20th December 2013

Parliament passes law punishing ‘aggravated homosexuality’

Uganda’s parliament passed an anti-gay law that punishes “aggravated homosexuality” with life imprisonment.

The Bill drew widespread condemnation when it was introduced in 2010 and included the death penalty, but that was removed from the revised version passed by parliament.

Homosexuality was already illegal under a law from the British colonial era that criminalised sexual acts “against the order of nature.”

The new law was introduced as a private member’s Bill by an MP who claimed tougher legislation was needed to deter Western homosexuals he accused of “recruiting” Ugandan children.

Gay Ugandans accused political and religious leaders of coming under the influence of fundamentalist US Christians who want to spread their campaign of anti-gay hatred in Africa.

Campaign group Sexual Minorities Uganda is suing US evangelical Scott Lively for crimes against humanity under the Alien Tort Statute, a law allowing non-citizens to bring lawsuits in the US for alleged violations of international law.

Mr Lively‘s Abiding Truth Ministries has been classed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a leading US civil rights watchdog.

He spoke at a 2009 conference on the “gay agenda” and the “threat” of homosexuality which triggered a wave of anti-gay hatred.

MP David Bahati tabled his new Bill in the aftermath of the conference, while the Ugandan media began publicly outing gay people so that they could be arrested or killed.

Gay rights activist David Kato was beaten to death in 2011, shortly after the Rolling Stone newspaper had published his photo and called for him to be executed.

Mr Lively denies having a hand in writing the new law, which rolls back years of progress in defence of gay Ugandans’ rights. Gay activists held their first Pride parade in 2012.

Amid international criticism, the Bill was repeatedly shelved despite the protests of Ugandan MPs.

Days before Christmas last year, parliamentary speaker Rebecca Kadaga threatened to pass the anti-gay law as a “Christmas gift” to all Ugandans.

Ugandan Archbishop Approves Hate-Gays Law in Christmas Church Message: here.

USA: Raw Story’s five biggest anti-LGBT A-holes of 2013: here.

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Nelson Mandela and the Daily Mail, from hatred to hypocrisy


This video about South Africa is called Nelson Mandela “I Am Prepared to Die” speech (with subtitles/transcript).

By Solomon Hughes in Britain:

The Daily Mail‘s hatred of Mandela

Friday 13th December 2013

Today the Mail is singing Madiba‘s praises, but it wasn’t always so keen on this towering figure of resistance. SOLOMON HUGHES takes a look

Most British news reports on Nelson Mandela‘s death note the number of streets and buildings named after the ANC leader in Britain, showing how much British people cared about the great man.

They don’t say how hard the Tories and their friends opposed the Mandela name.

Now David Cameron says Mandela was a hero. But when it mattered, when he was imprisoned by apartheid’s jailers, the Tories were enraged by Labour councils supporting Mandela.

The Tories’ big ally in their anti-Mandela campaign was the Daily Mail.

The Mail complained this week that Mandela’s memorial ceremony was “a shambolic disgrace to his name.” But it hated his name when he was imprisoned.

London was the international HQ of the Anti-Apartheid Movement and Britain was a vital base of the ANC.

Britain saw big public protests and heroic underground support for Mandela and his fellow fighters.

Naming streets and buildings after Mandela was a small part of this. It encouraged the campaigners and spread his name – to the disgust of the Mail and the Tories.

A search of the Mail archives about Mandela throws up story after story denouncing the Mandela renamings.

In August 1986 both the Mail and the Tories were enraged that Labour-led Coventry Council wanted to name its new archive building after Mandela instead of poet Philip Larkin.

The Mail quoted Tory spokesman Stan Hodson saying: “Mandela has a record of being a terrorist. He has nothing to do with Coventry. What will naming a public building after him do for our tourist industry?”

This was part of a long campaign in the Mail against naming streets and buildings after Mandela.

In September ’82 it had a page three splash on “How the left turned Lark Rise into Soweto Close” following Cardiff Council‘s decision to name roads in a new housing estate after South African heroes.

A shocked Mail reported: “The quiet cul-de-sacs will be labelled Mandela Avenue, Biko Close.”

Laing Homes, building the new private estate, was outraged, complaining: “How can we possibly sell people homes when they hear the names of the roads they are in?

“We are in the business of selling homes, not playing politics. People want to live in friendly sounding streets, not places named after foreign political leaders.”

Inevitably the deputy leader of the council’s Tory group Gwilym M Jones said: “We will be opposing the names.”

In 1983 the Mail carried several stories about Camden Council’s decision to rename one of its roads “Mandela Street.”

Camden proposed the change because the Anti-Apartheid Movement actually had its headquarters in the road.

But the Mail was enraged that “the left-wingers on Camden Council” wanted to name the road “after the jailed black African nationalist.”

The Mail said residents were “furious” at the name change and in “revolt” against the Mandela name.

It claimed that everyone on the street with the exception of the Anti-Apartheid Movement and the Central Electricity Generating Board signed a petition against renaming their street after Mandela. If so there must be some very embarrassed residents in Camden right now.

In November ’84 the Mail reported that “left-wing” Harlow Council had renamed a road “Mandela Street,” finding an unnamed local to denounce it as “utterly confusing.”

It didn’t stop at street names. In November ’86 Manchester Council put Nelson Mandela on its Xmas cards.

The Mail‘s headline – “The left gives Santa the sack” – suggests it was not keen.

Manchester Tory MP Winston Churchill – grandson of the more famous Churchill – told the Mail this “tasteless propaganda is profoundly disturbing.”

The Mail‘s campaign was crystallised by Paul Johnson, who was given a whole page to denounce the “Crazy street warfare of the left” in July ’85.

Johnson was still angry with Cardiff councillors wanting street names to “commemorate revolutionary leaders such as South African blacks Nelson Mandela and Steve Biko.”

Johnson said the street names were “deliberately provocative gestures,” adding that calling a road “Mandela” was done by the “fanatics who run Labour’s local government regimes” who “never miss an opportunity to set people at each others throats. It is part of the Marxist doctrine of class warfare.”

Johnson wasn’t just worried about support for revolutionary leaders and “South African blacks.”

Give in on Mandela and “where would it end?”

The Mail‘s columnist argued that “women’s lib, increasingly powerful in the Labour Party, would stick its oar in and thousands of streets would be named after harpies and harridans.” Worse, “homosexuals, another Labour pressure group, would demand their quota. We would have scores of Oscar Streets and Wilde Roads.”

So for the Mail, supporting Mandela was as bad as supporting gay people or women.

This disgusting reactionary cocktail might look like something only Johnson – a ridiculous right-wing buffoon – would mix.

But his views were reflected in the high levels of Tory government.

When Michael Howard began drawing up his famously bigoted Section 28 against treating gay people as equals, he originally wanted to use the same law against councils supporting Mandela.

Just like Johnson, he seemed to think Labour councils naming streets after Mandela and being gay-friendly was all part of one plot.

Papers I got under freedom of information show that Section 28 wasn’t just proposed to stop councils “promoting homosexuality” and banning “the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship” in schools.

The law originally aimed to stop any kind of “left-wing political activity” by local councils.

Howard’s civil servants wanted the law to be a “proscription of a number of activities undertaken by local authorities in areas peripheral to their functions.

“These include the promotion of homosexuality but also other activities such as anti-apartheid and anti-nuclear activities.”

Howard agreed. Seeing councils being gay-friendly was part of “all the peripheral political activity of left-wing councils” and he was considering “proscribing some other activities by local authorities, such as anti-apartheid, anti-police and anti-nuclear activities.”

Hurray for the Blackshirts, Daily Mail 1934 fascist propaganda

The Daily Mail has a long history of far Right sympathies, as this 1934 article by its owner, Viscount Rothermere, in support of the Blackshirts of British nazi leader Sir Oswald Mosley, shows.

Nelson Mandela’s death resulted in an outpouring of tributes and veneration such as no other political or world figure could inspire, perhaps with the exception of Muhammad Ali. Like Mandela, Ali stood up against racial and social injustice as a young man and thereby transcended the confines of his background to become an international icon: here.

Nelson Mandela has been laid to rest – but his legacy must not be; Gary Younge: here.

All-female albatross couples helping nesting colonies


This video is called Dancing Laysan Albatrosses.

From ABC in Australia:

Albatross colony shows benefits of same-sex pairing

Wednesday, 27 November 2013, Stephen Pincock

When males are thin on the ground, pairs of female albatrosses can work together to raise the next generation by themselves, Hawaiian researchers have found.

The findings, reported this week in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, have emerged from an unusual colony of Laysan albatrosses that live on the island of Oahu, where females significantly outnumber males.

A decade ago researchers found that 31 per cent of breeding pairs in the colony consisted of two unrelated females who had formed partnerships, some lasting years, to raise young.

“We genetically sexed birds in this colony … and realised that what we had assumed were a male and a female were in fact two females,” says Lindsay Young, a wildlife biologist from independent research organisation Pacific Rim Conservation.

Laysan albatrosses can only lay and incubate one egg each year and will not lay another if that year’s egg is lost. In the Oahu colony, male birds that have a regular partner will sometimes also mate with another female, says Young.

“Basically, the males are cheating on their regular partners and this is how the eggs of two females are fertilised. The two females then pair together to cooperate in rearing the chick.”

Best of a bad job

In their latest paper, Young and her colleagues explored this situation in more depth, monitoring 145 female Laysan albatrosses in the colony from 2003 to 2012 as they incubated eggs and fed their offspring.

On average, pairs of females successfully raised an average of one chick every four years, less than half as many per year as the male-female pairs, which raised an average of two chicks every three years.

The researchers also found that birds in female-female pairs lived shorter lives. This is probably because one was forced to incubate the eggs immediately after laying, instead of going to sea to feed.

“Normally, males take the first long incubation shift of three weeks while the female goes to feed after laying an egg, and after that they alternate every three to seven days,” says Young.

Although the female-female pairs were less successful overall, their partnerships were better for the colony than not reproducing at all, the researchers note.

So the take home message is that for these albatrosses same-sex pairing can be a beneficial and evolutionarily adaptive strategy, Young and colleagues write.

“Compared with the option of not breeding at all, female-female pairing may indeed be ‘making the best of a bad job’ in response to a shortage of males.”

‘Choosy’ males

Intriguingly, the researchers also found that females who successfully reared a chick with another female were more likely to find a male partner in following seasons.

“Males as well as females were capitalising on the female shortage by being ‘choosy’ and only pairing with the females who had the highest chance of raising an offspring,” says Young.

“Typically we think of females as being the choosy sex and selecting for male ornamentation (think peacocks),” she says. “But in this case the males are being choosy by picking the best mothers for their offspring.”