Media,  The Left

How to make something a pressing issue

Over at Socialist Unity, Andy Newman notes:

The draconian anti-gay laws being introduced in Uganda seem to have received very little attention in the Western press. This will widen the current legal definition of homosexuality, which involves a lengthy prison sentance (sic), and introduces a new offence of “aggravated homosexuality” which would be punishable by death.

The lack of media interest is particularly surprising [my emphasis] due to the role of conservative evangelicals in laying the foundation for the law.

Well, is it really surprising that there is no media coverage of this issue?

I’m not surprised. In the past these issues got coverage because groups like Outrage! and individual activists like Peter Tatchell made a fuss about them, spoke about them and issued press releases about them.

For example, last year the issue was on the news agenda because Outrage! picketed a church meeting of the “conservative evangelicals” involved in backing the Uganda law.

Another case that Tatchell and Outrage! might ordinarily have publicised involves Nemat Safav, a 21 year old Iranian, arrested when he was 16 for homosexuality, and now due to be executed.

So why aren’t gay groups in the UK mobilised around supporting or publicising these new cases? Why aren’t they providing photo ops and briefing journalists. My guess is that genuine international solidarity has been poisoned by far-left activists – often posing as human rights “defenders” and “academics” who smear people like Tatchell with charges of “collusion with imperialism” and “white man’s burden”, or, as George Galloway once put it “the khaki machine now taking on a tinge of pink”.

In light of this, is it really that surprising that the mainstream UK media has not picked up on this story? If you want to know why European and North American activists are punch-drunk and skittish about getting involved in supporting international LGBT human rights causes, look no further than the noxious Scott Long of (so-called) Human Rights Watch and his toxic coterie.

But there should be no crocodile tears. A significant number on the far-left are homophobes. They talk the talk (unless its a shibboleth, or course) but they won’t walk the walk. Many, as seen in the Tatchell thread on Socialist Unity, are openly hostile to making humane treatment of homosexuals a condition of support for “liberation” groups like Hamas. Like Galloway, many see concern over the executions or imprisonment of gay people in countries like Iran as objectively “pro-war propaganda”.

On the other hand, many on the far-left were prepared to overlook the crimes of Stalin, Mao – and even Pol Pot – so what are the lives of a few queers worth if they upset the applecart of global ‘progressive’ revolution.