tagged w/ lgtb
One of my touchstone moments for understanding the relations of the US and the Arab world was an exchange at a crowded outdoor restaurant five years ago in Aleppo, Syria. My wife and I were out to dinner with someone we'd met there and grown to like, a Tunisian woman who worked in Dubai. Very modern. And we were talking all about American policy in the region when I said to her, "Hey what's the deal with the role of women in the Arab world?" She said in a quiet voice, "Let's talk about this when we get back to the hotel."
I was surprised that she felt a need to censor herself in a public place. And then on our way back to the hotel, I thought, Well there are subjects we censor ourselves about publicly in the U.S. I wouldn't go into a restaurant in New York and launch into the Israel lobby.
Then later I thought, Well, I'm going to deal with the U.S. censorship issues-- we gotta fight the powers that be!-- and let the Arabs deal with their censorship issues.
And that is why I fell hook line and sinker for A Gay Girl in Damascus. I thought, here at last is the strong voice of an Arab woman openly taking on the oppressive traditions in her society. I am on her side, I celebrate her presence.
I posted from A Gay Girl a few times. I completely bought her story in February that her father had faced down thugs who had come to arrest her, and that he embraced her sexuality at the family's front door. And when the blog said she had been arrested a week back, I said I was praying for her and urged my government to jump in.
What a fool. Today, thanks to the energies of people like Ali Abunimah, Andy Carvin of NPR, and our contributor Seham, I know that A Gay Girl was a hoax. She was the fabrication of Tom MacMaster, an American writer in Scotland. You can hear him talking on BBC about his confection, an interview in which he doesn't show much awareness. I think he must be spinning emotionally like Anthony Weiner. Apparently he's apologized at the Gay Girl site, which I'm allergic to visit right now. On BBC, he explained that people dismissed him when he tried to talk about the issues as an American. So he invented a name to get "real facts and opinions" discussed, the "actual issues." The facts he provided about Islam are "true."
I feel angry today that I was punked, and doubly angry that MacMaster played on my credulity about the Arab world. I was the perfect mark. I wanted what Gay Girl was saying to be true: I wanted to believe that an out lesbian woman could be so empowered and vocal inside Syrian society.
You can call me an orientalist, and you can say that occupation and ethnic cleansing and massacres and imprisonment are more important issues than gay rights, and you can say that America is still a traditional society in some places, and fine, I won't quarrel with you. I know I'm seeing surfaces; I'm a universalist in my (gullible) heart; I can tell you that on my last visit to Egypt a covered and apparently-traditional woman I shared a car with through the Sinai on New Year's 2010 turned out to be a free spirit, who brought me to a sybaritic party on the Red Sea, and I thought I don't know the half of it. But again: Can an out lesbian be embraced by her family in Syria? I don't know.
My wise friend James North likes to say that we all have conservative and radical and liberal and militant elements in our political hearts, and different circumstances call on the different aspects, and this fraud calls on the conservative in me. We're in a global conversation, and I think the east has something to learn from the west about these freedoms.
And I have a lot to learn about the internet.
.One of my touchstone moments for understanding the relations of the US and the Arab... more
Aside from Donald Trump, you couldn't pick a bigger clown to run for President of the United States. Has there ever been another US presidential candidate who has performed in drag, multiple times?!?
It remains unofficial, but former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani is poised to run for president in 2012, according to Weekly Standard editor William Kristol.
Kristol, a neoconservative commentator who's well connected in Republican circles, reported in a post titled "Rudy's Running": "I'm told by two reliable sources that Rudy Giuliani intends to run for the GOP nomination for president in 2012. He may throw his hat in the ring soon."
Kristol summed up the crux of the Giuliani's message this way: "I'm tough enough to put our fiscal house in order and to protect us from enemies abroad."Aside from Donald Trump, you couldn't pick a bigger clown to run for President of... more
Morton Klein, ZOA’s director (pictured above), was downright giddy over what he terms a major victory in his six year fight to expand the US Civil Rights anti-bullying provision.
What prompted Klein’s giddiness was a statement issued last week by US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who announced that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act now includes new guidelines that will bring increased protection for disabled and LGBT students from bullying and discrimination.
Just how will tougher provisions in the Civil Rights Act fit Klein’s prime mission to push his Zionist agenda?
In Secretary Arnie Duncan’s announcement, along with protection for LGBT and disabled students, there is now an added category of students who gain protection under Title VI: Members of any religious group that has “shared ethnic characteristics”.
Israel and its US Zionist allies have consistently maintained that criticism of the actions of the government of the state of Israel is, ipso facto, anti-semitism.
If US courts decide to interpret criticism of Israel’s actions as anti-semitism, then colleges and universities, for whom federal funding is the “holy grail” of education, will have been handed a coercive weapon beyond their wildest dreams.Morton Klein, ZOA’s director (pictured above), was downright giddy over what he... more
Before Friday's deadline:
Tell Washington leaders how DOMA hurts the people you love.Before Friday's deadline:
Tell Washington leaders how DOMA hurts the people you... more