Other crimes against humanity we shouldn’t be talking about

As noted in the first comment on the Uganda post below, we were admonished by a frequently irritated visitor to this blog for talking about the crimes against humanity unfolding in Uganda. Apparently – and I don’t know how else to interpret these words – because we are “highly educated” and fortunate to live in the rural end of the most affluent county in “the most free country in the world,” our concern about what’s going on in Uganda at the alleged direction of a US-based hate group leader is “over the top.”

I take the position that if you’re a human rights advocate, you should be concerned about crimes against humanity anywhere, not just where you live. And you should be especially concerned when the crimes are the outcome of collusion with a U.S. hate group leader, who is running the operation from within your own country precisely because it is free.

The situation in Uganda began with propaganda that defamed and dehumanized LGBTI people with claims that we sexually assault children. All human rights catastrophes started somewhere, and studying them is how we learn to do better. Do I think that what’s happening in Uganda could happen here, just because Scott Lively is the leader of a hate group, and Eugene Delgaudio is also the leader of a hate group? No – but pretending so is a lazy, simpleminded way to attack Eugene’s critics, isn’t it?

Anti-gay hate groups don’t have much of a future here. It’s more likely that when Nervous Eugene‘s cash cow runs its course in the U.S. he’ll move on to something or somewhere else. And if that new enterprise involves human rights abuses of LGBTI people in some other country we’ll have a responsibility to help them, too.

So this happened in 1935, as human rights advocates were warning of the deteriorating climate for certain disfavored groups in Germany:

The Olympic boycott movement in the United States was referred to as a policy limiting the athletes’ freedom, while the International Olympic Committee’s policy was cited as a policy of freedom giving the individual the right to decide of his own free will.

The New York Times (via John Aravosis) is reporting here on an agreement between German Chancellor Adolf Hitler and International Olympic Committee chairman Count Henry Baillet-Latour that “anti-Semitic placards will be taken down in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the scene of the Winter Olympics, and Berlin, the scene of the Summer Olympics” for the duration of the 1936 Games. Leaving them up would have been so unseemly.

“The NYT added that IOC chair Baillet-Latour was ‘well satisfied’ with Hitler’s assurances to temporarily pause his campaign of hate against Germany’s Jewish minority,” observes Aravosis.

Baillet-Latour attacked the activists organizing a boycott of Hitler’s Games with claims that their human rights warnings were “based on lies” and that their campaign represented only “certain interested groups.” Gosh, you sure wouldn’t want the individual to be denied the right to decide of his own free will whether to make a fuss about human rights atrocities visited on “certain interested groups.” I will leave it to the reader to decide whether any of this language sounds familiar, or acceptable.

Of course, there was no boycott, even though a scene did unfold in which Chancellor Hitler had to reveal to the world his visceral hatred for those humans he liked to regard as less human. That didn’t prevent his crimes against humanity, though, did it?

The basic purpose of the newly enacted Russian “propaganda” law, and the campaign of violence, as we approach the 2014 Games, is the same as Lively’s campaign of persecution in Uganda. It’s explained beautifully here. Speaking of the shifts in public opinion made possible by our visibility and honesty, Eric Sasson writes:

[T]his change only happened because of gay visibility, starting with more and more gays and lesbians coming out to their friends and families. Prominent celebrities and politicians revealing their sexuality, along with LGBT characters in movies and on TV, helped de-stigmatize the gay community in the eyes of so many Americans, who began to see us less as predators and AIDS victims and more as neighbors, cousins, coworkers.

This is precisely what the Russian propaganda bill denies its citizens. By criminalizing speech advocating “non-traditional sexual lifestyles,” Russia has denied its LGBT citizens the same path toward progress that so many societies in the West have taken. Look no further than the many reported cases of Russians who spoke out against the ban before it was ratified and who were later fired from their jobs. This is the reality on the ground. And if the gays there cannot speak for themselves without fear of imprisonment, it is up to those of us outside to speak for them..

..If Russia were only denying its citizens the right to marry or serve in the military, I doubt many people would even consider a boycott. What Russia is doing is denying its people their only recourse to counter anti-gay stereotypes and prejudice. This law, along with the banning of pride parades and gay adoptions, smacks of a growing intolerance that many of us worry will only escalate.

And it will escalate, to the extent that it can – that is the point. While here in the U.S. we’re seeing advances toward equality in nearly every sphere of life, only a few years ago in Loudoun we also saw an attempt to force on our public schools a policy with the identical purpose of banning positive expression about LGBTI people and relationships. In the words of anti-gay activist Patricia Phillips, she and her allies wanted “the normalization of homosexuality to be prevented” by restricting student speech.

Naturally, our local hate group leader/supervisor was deeply involved in orchestrating this campaign, imposing his hate group’s agenda on Loudoun residents for personal gain. His fundraising model feeds on attention, and this sort of thing gets it for him. Does anyone seriously think he cares who gets hurt?

As I said, the enterprise has no real future here, and the prospect of a Lively or a Delgaudio orchestrating a campaign rising to the level of crimes against humanity in this country is slim to none. They can’t get away with that. But what is equivalent is the ideology, and the strategy of eliminating or restricting as much as possible the capacity of LGBTI people to be visible and tell the truth about ourselves. It’s really that simple.

19 thoughts on “Other crimes against humanity we shouldn’t be talking about

  1. Epluribusunum Post author

    What’s the matter, Hillsboro, you have no opinion about American activists collaborating with the perpetrators of human rights abuses in other countries? If you weren’t interested in the topic, you wouldn’t be reading.

  2. Pariahdog

    I’d like to hear what you have to say Hillsboro.

    Nobody has been banned. One commenter was placed in moderated states for engaging in personal attacks and off-topic hectoring.

    Btw, it is common practice in conservative blogs across the spectrum to simply delete comments they don’t like. Those comments violate no written policy. They are not personal attacks, and they are topical. They are deleted because the conservative blog does not like the content and has no counter argument.

  3. Hillsboro

    No thanks, Epu.

    I’d inevitably break some unwritten rule, and you’d oh-so-reluctantly have to wield that ban hammer again.

  4. Elder Berry


    Moderation (on a privately run blog) equals suppression of dissent? But only if it is a moderate or liberal doing it, betcha.

    What they don’t grasp is that a real fresh idea is always so appealing. Whereas continual repetition of the same old scripted cr*p is not worth the bandwidth. The possibility of setting up one’s own blog always exists, if ya feel stifled in this playpen

    Unlike the way it works in government, where having Boehner forbid bills and amendments from coming to the floor kinda leaves you with no alternative if you are not one of Boehner’s approved intimates/party.

    Bet they won’t grant us that analogy.

  5. Hillsboro

    Very fitting that you should bring up Orwell on the new and improved dissent-free Loudoun Progress.

    “The best books… are those that tell you what you know already.”
    ― George Orwell, 1984

  6. Epluribusunum Post author

    Is this the sign of collective mental illness? It’s like they read Orwell and concluded that “FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, WAR IS PEACE” was offered as a useful propaganda model. Hey, who needs language to mean anything.

  7. Pariahdog

    And now there’s Camaroon

    “A society without morals and ethics is a lost society. What’s accepted in the West is not necessarily good for everyone,” read one pamphlet. “Homosexuality is a crime against humanity and a serious violation of human rights.”

  8. Epluribusunum Post author

    I thought that might make you happy 🙂

    I’ve resisted taking this step in part because it’s probably the outcome she’s been trying to incite, and it gives her that much less work to do. But enough is enough.

  9. Epluribusunum Post author

    To all readers: I just put Barbara Munsey on moderation. We’re not going to continue allowing her to hijack every post here for her meta-topic of how she doesn’t like the way we blog and what we blog about.

    Comments that stick to the topic of a post and are not merely a vehicle for repeating the litany of things she doesn’t like about us will be released.

    Disagreement is good. As another commenter recently told her, make a reasoned argument for your position, whatever it is. We are happy to have actual dialogue and disagreement about the substance of a post (the substance of this one is distilled nicely by Pariahdog, above), but not a constant stream of repetitive misrepresentations, snarky personal attacks, the pretense that she has some personal knowledge of where and how we live, and (sometimes ludicrously inaccurate) falsehoods intended to impugn our characters. She can start her own blog if she wants to do those things.

  10. Epluribusunum Post author

    Behavior that dehumanizes people is unacceptable, period.

    Exactly. There is no circumstance in which dehumanizing others is acceptable. It doesn’t depend on whether the particular result in some location rises to the level of systemic hostility or crimes against humanity, it’s unacceptable everywhere. That basic moral truth is the one that people who don’t like their anti-gay behavior pointed out don’t want to accept – but at the same time they can’t exactly make an argument in favor of dehumanizing people, now can they?

    All the false statements about “conflation” and “false equivalencies” (read the post – I was very clear with my language, and those things aren’t there), and the unrelated stories/musings seem to be just a way to fill up the space with words, as if that will substitute her own narrative for what the post is about.

    And note how she consistently glosses over the fact that the crimes against humanity unfolding in Uganda are the result of collusion with a hate group leader operating from within the U.S.

    B, the phrase “just like Hitler” wasn’t a quote from the anti-gay activist. He said essentially the same thing you did – watch the video. Godwin’s Law.

  11. Pariahdog

    Behavior that dehumanizes people is unacceptable, period. We shine light on that behavior, and inform the public. Apologists cover it up in darkness, and deception. The only way to accomplish that is to further engage in the same thing, dehumanizing behavior.

  12. Barbara Munsey

    I have not said you are “just like Hitler”. I said you use totalitarian methods.

    And you do.

    You also conflate with great exaggeration, jumping from the Holocaust to teen suicide and wherever sensationism needs/must.

    Justifying your own conflations, false equivalencies, attacks etc by claiming the mantle of human rights activist may make you feel as if you are justified in your own behavior which is yes, apparently approaching what DD caused such “frissons” by mentioning.

    You sometimes speak of “unearned privilege”, and use the construct in attack. Lately I’ve been thinking of a passage in the novel “Sophie’s Choice” (speaking of Godwin’s Law), when watching you compare unrelated national or world issues of oppression to defend your own attacks on others (not Eugene, but those who differ from your demanded manifesto in any way shape or form).

    The scene in question features a day at the beach with Sophie, Nathan, Stingo, and a group of Nathan’s friends from Brooklyn College. These young people missed the recent war by inches, and in the aftermath they, like the rest of the general populace, are only recently apprised of the magnitude of the Holocaust. Being second, third or fourth generation children of Jewish immigrants, they have connections to the event that are more circumstantial than directly personal; i.e. the town their grandfather came from was emptied and destroyed, cousins many times removed were victims. These kids may have been struggling with feelings about their own fortune in having been born here, in being too young to take part in the war, in having lost touch (through no direct fault of their own) with the distant relatives who were consumed.

    Because of their parents’, grandparents’ etc hard work and success, they live well, they are in university…and like many well-to-do young people of the time in America, they are all in analysis. Confronted by the appearance of Sophie’s Auschwitz tattoo revealed by the beachwear, they don’t know what to do: do they look, do they look away? Do they mention it, do they ignore it? What is the right thing for them to do (and I’m not asking you–neither of us were there, and anyway, it’s fiction!)?

    It appears they select a polite way out–they start a topic of unrelated conversation: their ongoing analyses. Apparently relieved to have a topic to keep a lively and interesting conversation going, they all contribute with abandon, during which Stingo observes Sophie getting quieter and more withdrawn and uncomfortable.

    Discussing it later, she describes the kids’ behavior as “creepy”, “picking their little scabs” in discussing their fixations, transferrences, avoidances and phobias, and calls it “unearned unhappiness”.

    If it is necessary for you to attempt to frame others by referencing Hitler, Uganda, murder, abuse and the like, you certainly have the right.

    You, I, and everyone have had things happen in their lives that cause pain. I strongly suspect that life in Loudoun is in no way comparable to the atrocities you seem to wish people to identify with in the apparent attempt to shame people into agreeing with YOUR behavior in advocacy HERE.

  13. Epluribusunum Post author

    Of course those who are familiar with Scott Lively know that his central claim is explicitly that “the homosexual agenda” = Hitler. He even wrote a book about it. That sort of defamatory propaganda is the reason his “ministry” has been designated a hate group, and is facing prosecution under international law for crimes against humanity. So I really have to thank you, Barbara, for prompting me to include that information I had inadvertently omitted. It’s certainly relevant here.

    For readers interested in full Godwin Hitler references, there is happily no shortage. Here’s a leader in the anti-marriage movement claiming that marriage equality advocates are just like Hitler. Not coincidentally, this happened in the same Minnesota district (Michele Bachmann’s) with the epidemic of gay teen suicides. These remarks are a dime a dozen.

  14. Barbara Munsey

    Um, I don’t think you have superpowers, stalking? more projection, and nice way to speak of the dead there.

    Tell me, if I follow orders and start a blog, does that mean I’ll then be allowed to express opinions with which you do not agree on third party sites like newspaper forums?

    I doubt it, but it makes for good conversation. 😀

    Perhaps you should take your own advice posted on EL: “toughen up and take the consequence of people actually disagreeing with you”. And I don’t mean on gay rights, but with your absurd totalitarian methods of attack-advocacy for them.

  15. Epluribusunum Post author

    This sort of thing is par for the course. The last hack who stalked us this way claimed that we caused her links to disappear from Google search and caused her column to be discontinued by the Times-Mirror.

    Get your own blog and you can say anything you like.

  16. Epluribusunum Post author

    Read the post. “Do I think that what’s happening in Uganda could happen here, just because Scott Lively is the leader of a hate group, and Eugene Delgaudio is also the leader of a hate group? No – but pretending so is a lazy, simpleminded way to attack Eugene’s critics, isn’t it?”

  17. Barbara Munsey

    Wow, full Godwin.

    Actually, the comment(s) you guys had removed said I found it over the top for you to have “frissons” over being “warned” by DD not to become like those you claim to oppose, as if you were being subjected to “threats of violence” etc, such as those experienced by the people in Uganda you included in your own false equivalence with being disagreed with in a discussion forum. Especially when you live a good life with every advantage, unlike those truly suffering great harm in a third world country.

    I suspect, since my (multiple) attempted answer(s) to another individual pointed out that you had set up the usual slam by eliciting, multiple times, someone’s opinion in a polite and thoughtful way, then, again as usual, creating a maelstrom post stirring that person’s religious opinion together with atrocities and other shout outs, and shivering with fear over their “threat” to you.

    None of this can be ascertained, given the disappeared nature of my comment you (inexplicably, since it’s gone–lol)) linked, but as my final (yet to disappear, but it’s early yet!) comment notes (again), having rewritten my words to support the version of reality you prefer published, that’s all anyone really needs to know.

    Censorship is fine if the right people do it for the right reasons, eh? There’s your real Godwin.

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