Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Gay Iranians should not open the closet door 'too openly'.

Bjorn writes about the recent activities of the Dutch Integration and Immigration Minister with regards to repatriating Iranian lesbians and gay men who seek asylum in the Netherlands. In a letter to the Dutch Parliament, Mrs Verdonk wrote:

It appears that there are no cases of an execution on the basis of the sole fact that someone is homosexual … For homosexual men and women it is not totally impossible to function in society, although they should be wary of coming out of the closet too openly.”

Human Rights Watch and several other organisations (in dutch!) say otherwise and there is much commotion in the Dutch Parliament and media about her statement. If anyone knows about what is happening in Iran, Scott Long from Human Rights Watch does. Another friend of mine recently met gay Iranians whilst on a visit to Turkey where they also told of the situation at home.

Verdonk is known as ‘Iron Rita’. Ah ring any bells anyone? ‘Mad Mullah McD’?

Let me guess Verdonk's efforts that went into assessing the situation in Iran – did she pick up the phone to the Iranian Embassy and say

‘Groetjes, do you kill gays?’

‘Ah no Mrs Verdonk, we don’t kill them but they need to keep the closet door shut.’

‘Dank u. Tot ziens.’

Last summer Doug Ireland and others documented the stories of gay people under threat and those executed and made contact with Iranian expat gays who confirmed the oppression that exists. Iran, of course said there were other reasons for the executions of 17 year olds and others.

I noticed a story yesterday on Dutch citizenship classes for immigrants from Asia and the Middle East. (Those from the US, Europe, Australia and Japan will be exempt.) A video of two men kissing and images of a gay wedding will be shown to those seeking to apply for citizenship. That’d be anyone other than gay Iranian’s kissing I’d bet, because they have to mind the closet door.


At 05:02, Anonymous morgan said...

That's called cultural relativism. It sucks.


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