Wednesday, March 31, 2010

South African Anti-Misogyny Activist Mbuyiselo Botha and the group Sonke: Fighting Hate Speech, Rapism and ukhutwala, among other systematic anti-woman practices

Source for all that follows: *here*.

SOUTH AFRICA: Men Battle Gender-based Violence
By Davison Makanga

CAPE TOWN, Mar 30, 2010 (IPS) - When Mbuyiselo Botha decided to take the African National Congress League President, Julius Malema, to court for hate speech against women, he was confident from the start that the case had merit. But he also knew that this would be the most challenging test of his 15 years of gender activism.

"My colleagues from back during the anti-apartheid activism days warned that I had taken a career damaging move; I was seen as challenging the black leadership," said Botha.

Despite the discouragement and the potential of making enemies at the top, he went on with court challenge and won.

On March 15 the controversial Malema was found guilty of hate speech for he insinuating that President Jacob Zuma's 2005 rape accuser had enjoyed the act. Addressing students in Cape Town last year, Malema was widely quoted saying: "When a woman didn't enjoy it, she leaves early in the morning. Those who had a nice time will wait until the sun comes out, request breakfast and ask for taxi money."

The ruling ANC youth leader was ordered to pay 50,000 rand ($6,700) or publicly apologise for his remarks within a month of the ruling.

"Unfortunately, Malema’s comments reflect a general mentality that men in South Africa and Africa as a whole have. They think they have a right of domination over women, which is wrong," said Botha, the father of three.

Dispelling myths of male superiority

Having been involved in anti-apartheid protests in the 1980s, Botha knows very well the dynamics of activism. He partook in a series of protests, he was shot and injured in the process and left with a permanent disability. The apartheid struggle, he says, made him realise that "all forms of oppression are unacceptable."

"After the end of apartheid in 1994, I thought we cannot claim to have total freedom when women are still subjected to suffering through unnecessary cultural practices and perceptions."

Botha referred, for example, to forced marriage practices known in Nguni languages as ukhutwala and is still widespread in other parts of Africa. "This is not different from rape. South Africa in particular, it is shocking, we have the highest incidents of rape," he said.

A 2009 study by South Africa’s Medical Research Council revealed that one in every four men interviewed admitted to having raped a woman; the highest rate in the world. The research further found that few cases are reported. The chilling findings are what Botha, through organisations he works with such as Sonke Gender Justice Network and Men's Forum, seeks to reverse.

Men acting against gender-based violence

When Sonke Gender Justice Network (Sonke) was formed in 2006, the organisation found that a majority of men they surveyed in Johannesburg believed they were not doing enough to end domestic violence. Since then the organisation has been educating and training boys and men to "realign their thinking".

"We have been working in six of the country’s 10 provinces and we are looking forward to expand our foothold," said Regis Mtutu, the organisation's National Programmes Coordinator.

Sonke means "Together" in Nguni languages. And this is the strategy of the organisation in its bid to realise gender equality. "We simply believe that working in the context of men, talking to them together with organisations that push for women's rights, we can attain our goal," added Mtutu.

Spreading the message

Currently the organisation is embarking on its flagship programme, "One Man Can".

Putting it into practice Changes are afoot in one rural area in the Eastern Cape.

A group of seven men is working as home-based caregivers with the Siyakhanyisa HIV/AIDS support group in Qumbu, 60 kilometres outside of Mthatha, in South Africa's Eastern Cape Province.

Initially ridiculed for doing work traditionally reserved for women, they have quickly become role models and earned respect for their courage to do things differently and take responsibility for the goings-on in their villages.

The men decided to get actively involved in helping others after they learnt about gender stereotypes, understandings of manhood and fatherhood during workshops run by NGO Sonke Gender Justice in early 2008.

They now care for people living with HIV, bathe the bedridden, counsel, educate about HIV prevention and transmission, facilitate access to anti- retroviral treatment, refer patients to social services and assist sick persons in writing their will.
"We want to show men that they can respect, love their women passionately, that they can change their values and fight equality within their communities," Mtutu explained.

The project has seen the organisation train boys and men in various communities - especially rural and high-density communities. Training, the organisation says, is conducted using imagery and testimonials through audio. The more sophisticated groups are targeted through social networking media such as Facebook and Twitter. Sonke aims to reach out to at least 20,000 men in the next three years and establish many branches that will be permanently located within the communities.

The organisation has been working with traditional chiefs towards the goal of establishing permanent presence in most parts of the country. The aim, Mtutu says, is to change the false ego of man's domination through the custodians of culture. Men's sense of supremacy is a product of culture, tradition and religion, Mtutu says.

"When that false sense of masculinity is reversed, we will see a decline HIV simply because forced sexual activities and rape myths would have been eliminated."

Elsewhere in Africa, Sonke is working in collaboration with like-minded organisations such as Padare/Enkundleni in Zimbabwe, the Kenya-based Men Can and the Rwanda Men's Resource Centre. Together, the organisations resolved at a 2009 symposium to assist African governments through capacity building and implementation of policy. 

The U.S.'s 80 Year Undeclared War, its "Long War Doctrine", aka U.S. Militant Foreign Policy

Our Government Is Planning to Stay at War for the Next 80 Years -- Anyone Got a Problem with That?

March 31, 2010  |  

Without public debate and without congressional hearings, a segment of the Pentagon and fellow travelers have embraced a doctrine known as the Long War, which projects an "arc of instability" caused by insurgent groups from Europe to South Asia that will last between 50 and 80 years. According to one of its architects, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are just "small wars in the midst of a big one."

Consider the audacity of such an idea. An 80-year undeclared war would entangle 20 future presidential terms stretching far into the future of voters not yet born. The American death toll in Iraq and Afghanistan now approaches 5,000, with the number of wounded a multiple many times greater. Including the American dead from 9/11, that's 8,000 dead so far in the first decade of the Long War. And if the American armed forces are stretched thin today, try to conceive of seven more decades of combat.

The costs are unimaginable too. According to economists Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes, Iraq alone will be a $3-trillion war. Those costs, and the other deficit spending of recent years, yield "virtually no room for new domestic initiatives for Mr. Obama or his successors," according to a New York Times budget analysis in February. Continued deficit financing for the Long War will rob today's younger generation of resources for their future.

The term "Long War" was first applied to America's post-9/11 conflicts in 2004 by Gen. John P. Abizaid, then head of U.S. Central Command, and by the retiring chairman of the Joint Chiefs of State, Gen. Richard B. Myers, in 2005.

According to David Kilcullen, a top counterinsurgency advisor to Army Gen. David H. Petraeus and a proponent of the Long War doctrine, the concept was polished in "a series of windowless offices deep inside the Pentagon" by a small team that successfully lobbied to incorporate the term into the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review, the nation's long-term military blueprint. President George W. Bush declared in his 2006 State of the Union message that "our own generation is in a long war against a determined enemy."

The concept has quietly gained credence. Washington Post reporter-turned-author Thomas E. Ricks used "The Long War" as the title for the epilogue of his 2009 book on Iraq, in which he predicted that the U.S. was only halfway through the combat phase there.

It has crept into legal language. Federal Appeals Court Judge Janice Rogers Brown, a darling of the American right, recently ruled in favor of holding detainees permanently because otherwise, "each successful campaign of a long war would trigger an obligation to release Taliban fighters captured in earlier clashes."

Among defense analysts, Andrew J. Bacevich, a Vietnam veteran who teaches at Boston University, is the leading critic of the Long War doctrine, criticizing its origins among a "small, self-perpetuating, self-anointed group of specialists" who view public opinion "as something to manipulate" if they take it into consideration at all.

The Long War has momentum, though the term is absent from the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review unveiled by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in February. One commentator has noted the review's apparent preference for finishing "our current wars before thinking about the next."

Still we fight wars that bleed into each other without clear end points. Political divisions in Iraq threaten to derail the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops scheduled for 2012.

As troop levels decline in Iraq, they grow to 100,000 in Afghanistan, where envoy Richard C. Holbrooke famously says we'll know success "when we see it." The Afghan war has driven Al Qaeda into Pakistan, where U.S. intelligence officers covertly collaborate with the Pakastani military. Lately our special forces have stepped up covert operations in Yemen.

It never ends. British security expert Peter Neumann at King's College has said that Europe is a "nerve center" of global jihad because of underground terrorists in havens protected by civil liberties laws. Could that mean NATO will have to occupy Europe?

It's time the Long War strategy was put under a microscope and made the focus of congressional hearings and media scrutiny. The American people deserve a voice in the strategizing that will affect their future and that of their grandchildren. There are at least three important questions to address in public forums:

* What is the role of the Long War idea in United States' policy now? Can the Pentagon or president impose such war-making decisions without debate and congressional ratification?

* Who exactly is the enemy in a Long War? Is Al Qaeda (or "Islamic fundamentalism") considered to be a unitary enemy like the "international communist conspiracy" was supposed to be? Can a Long War be waged with only a blanket authorization against every decentralized group lodged in countries from Europe to South Asia?

* Above all, what will a Long War cost in terms of American tax dollars, American lives and American respect in the world? Is it sustainable? If not, what are the alternatives?

President Obama has implied his own disagreement with the Long War doctrine without openly repudiating the term. He has pledged to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq by 2012, differing with those like Ricks who predict continuing combat, resulting in a Korean-style occupation [Julian's interruption: that's U.S. Amerikkkan-style occupation; get with it, Tom; the war in the '70s is only called "The Vietnam War" in the U.S.; to the Vietnamese, it's "The American War" for a damn good reason. Let's name the type of occupation by the name of the occupier, okay? Men rape "man-style" not "woman-style", right?]. Obama also pledges to "begin" American troop withdrawals from Afghanistan by summer 2011, in contrast to those who demand we remain until an undefined victory. Obama told West Point cadets that "our troop commitment in Afghanistan cannot be open-ended, because the nation that I'm most interested in building is our own."

Those are naive expectations to neoconservatives and to some in the Pentagon for whom the Long War fills a vacuum left by the end of the Cold War. They will try to trap Obama in a Long War by demanding permanent bases in Iraq, slowing American withdrawals from Afghanistan to a trickle and defending secret operations in Pakistan. Where violence flares, he will be blamed for disengaging prematurely. Where situations stabilize, he will be counseled it's because we keep boots on the ground. We will keep spending dollars we don't have on wars without end.

The underlying issues should be debated now, before the future itself has been drafted for war.

Tom Hayden was a leader of the student, civil rights, peace and environmental movements of the 1960s. He served 18 years in the California legislature, where he chaired labor, higher education and natural resources committees. He is the author of ten books, including "Street Wars" (New Press, 2004). He is a professor at Occidental College, Los Angeles, and was a visiting fellow at Harvard's Institute of Politics last fall.

Asian Americans Need to Get Counted on the 2010 Census: see this short PSA from Arowana Films

ALSO originally seen by me at Racialicious. From YouTube and Angry Asian Man blog. More info on the video after... well, after the video.

Channel Icon


Arowana FILMS PSA presents

On a quest for 400 billion dollars...

It's that time again. Every ten years, our nation conducts a census. Many people question the need for it, or are skeptical of why the government wants our information, but the fear is really much ado about nothing.
400 billion dollars per year will be allocated based on the results of the 2010 Census.

Asian Americans are one of the most likely groups to throw out their Census forms. This only hurts our own community in the long run. Less numbers, less money. Let's get it right this decade and make sure we GET COUNTED!

Wong Fu (Phil and Wes)
Randall Park
Jane Lim
Hosanna Wong
Tada Chae

Voiceover Artist
Anson Ho

More on Ricky Martin Coming Out, from Andrés Duque

A quartet of posts about Ricky Martin:

Cross-posted from where I found this @ Racialicious here.

The Coming Out of Ricky Martin: Reactions

by Guest Contributor Andrés Duque, originally published at Blabbeando

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Discrimination (GLAAD) has released a statement on Ricky Martin’s coming out.  It’s a statement from Jarret T. Barrios, the agency’s Executive Director:
When someone like Ricky Martin comes out, hundreds of millions of people now have a cultural connection with an artist, a celebrity and, perhaps most importantly, a father who happens to be gay; His decision to model this kind of openness and honesty can lead to greater acceptance for countless gay people in U.S., in Latin America and worldwide.

In the meantime, I did take a gentle swipe at GLAAD’s language usage policies when it came to Ricky Martin describing himself as “homosexual” in my previous post.  That’s because I have long held that the usage of the word “homosexual” is common-place in Latin America: When people use it, they don’t intend it to have a negative connotation.

The word “homosexual” is certainly there in the Spanish-language version of his coming out statement and was probably left intact when someone translated it for the English-language statement to Spanish. They probably didn’t know that it wasn’t kosher to leave it there (I must confess I sometimes translate ‘homosexual’ to ‘gay’ when I do translations from Spanish language articles just as I translate ‘travesti’ to ‘transgender’).

But, as the news broke on Twitterlandia – and elsewhere – I was struck by a certainly understandable divide.

There were those in the United States who only knew the singer for his “ Living La Vida Loca” cross-over attempts and his vagueness about his sexuality over the years. For the most part, today, they were dismissive and quick to say that it was too late for him to come out. Not a comprehensive survey here by any means, but they included openly gay US Representative Jared Polis, and bloggers like DListed and AmericaBlogGay,

On the other hand, there were those of us Latinos who knew that Ricky Martin had never defined himself by his cross-over attempts or had lost any stature in Latin America just because he had failed to sustain his cross-over moment in the United States.  Those of us who knew about his longstanding efforts to eradicate child abuse throughout the world (click on: The Ricky Martin Foundation).  Those of us who, like everyone else, suspected he was gay but didn’t think he would ever come out. Those of us who thought that he would nevertheless make a huge impact if he ever did. Particularly among queer youth who looked up to him and were struggling to come to terms with their sexuality.

So, let me go against the grain and congratulate Ricky Martin for coming out today. I, too, would have liked it to have happened sooner, but I do not feel I can properly express just how huge this is when it comes to Latin America.

For proof of the immediate impact, you might want to go to the outpouring of support from fellow stars that followed Ricky’s coming out announcement on Twitter.

Those include:
And just by those, tonight, you will have an inkling of just how many barriers Ricky Martin broke tonight.
Yes, it might have come late in his career. Yes, you might make light of it if you want. But, in some ways, the earth moved today in Latin America when it comes to LGBT rights.

The Radical Right-wing Pro-Men-with-Guns Mascu-nazis. To all MRAs: Notice how these fellas AREN'T radical feminists, and how some of THEM are YOUR allies and colleagues

White U.S. patriots with extremely erect guns. Heed the image, a symbolic warning, below.

These white men mean business. And they're in the business of promoting old-fashioned fascism. The "let's hang the n*ggers, let's rape our women, let's mass murder the Jews, let's kill the f*gs" kind of fascists. The one's opposed to all human rights for oppressed people. The one's delusional enough, and status quo enough, and institutionally supported enough by the Constitution AND the ACLU, to promote their bigotry as somehow "protected" hate speech. And in case the Constitution and the ACLU isn't protection enough, they also carry weapons to back up their words. Notice this, also: that MRAs do not protest THESE fascists. EVER. (That should tell you A WHOLE LOT about the MRAgenda.)

This news came to me via Inteligentaindigena Novajoservo: The Intelligent Aboriginal News Service, in a news piece they appropriately titled:

Neo-Confederates/Neo-Nazis plan Gun Advocate rally in DC on 15th anniversary of Oklahoma City bombing

Below is a link to the significantly less outed neo-Nazi's declaration. Why do they disguise their deepest beliefs? And why don't the MRAs take THEM on? I mean those foolish MRAssholes go on and on and on, and on and on, and on, about how against "fascism" they are, when the "fascists" are supposedly feminist women.

I'll tell you why they don't take on ACTUAL ideologically, politically correct FASCISTS: because they're too dick-whipped, too invested in their whiteness, and because they're all in bed together--the mascu-nazis and the MRAssholes. So, instead, the white supremacist, homophobic, misogynistic MRAssholes toss about the term "femin-nazis", as if it actually has social-structural meaning. (Pssst: It doesn't. But these guys below, you gotta keep an eye on 'em.)

Gun Advocates Plan DC March On 15th Anniversary Of Oklahoma City Bombing


On April 19, the pro-gun group Second Amendment March (SAM) will lead a demonstration to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, “to remind America that the Second Amendment is necessary to maintain our right to self defense.” The group has sponsored several rallies across the country already, including ones last weekend in Frankfort, KY and Helena, MT. Second Amendment March founder Skip Coryell explained the group’s motives:
I saw a lot of our freedoms being stripped away,” he said. “I was concerned about what the present Congress and administration were going to do. So were a lot of other people. [...]
“If you look at Barack Obama, he’s got the most anti-Second Amendment voting record of anyone who ever served. I just don’t trust him.
He said when George W. Bush was president, he didn’t feel as threatened.
Coryell claims he chose April 19 “because it is the 235th anniversary of Lexington-Concord.” However, the date also carries a rather unfortunate significance: the day militia sympathizers Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols blew up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. A reader of Andrew Sullivan’s blog The Daily Dish wrote in to express concern:
As a person from Oklahoma City, I find the entire idea upsetting beyond belief. These protests are going to take place on the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing. The idea of a bunch of armed right-wingers parading around on that day — especially here — makes me *ill*. Do any of these people know what actually happened here on that day?
Even some commenters on the Tea Party Patriot-linked SAM web page for the march in Oklahoma were troubled about any potential gun rights rally in Oklahoma City. “Everyone should *implore* the Oklahoma coordinator to schedule this march on a date that is NOT the anniversary of the Murrah Building attack,” said one commenter.

April 19 also marks the end of the weeks-long siege of the Branch Davidian compound outside Waco, TX. Dan Casey of the Roanake Times reported that “[s]ome activists in the gun-rights movement have tried to talk Coryell out of organizing” the march, fearing that the “political timing is bad” or that it “might lead people to believe the gun movement is a paper tiger with a few loud voices.”

Of course Coryell’s fears are completely baseless. Obama has no intention of taking any anyone’s gun rights. In fact, during his campaign for president, Obama said, “I believe in the Second Amendment, and if you are a law-abiding gun owner, you have nothing to fear from an Obama administration.”

Update A separate gun rights group will also be holding a rally in Virginia on April 19th. Mike Vanderboegh, who has threatened congressional Democrats and called on Americans to "throw bricks through the windows of Democratic offices nationwide" because of health care reform, has said he will be speaking at the event.

The Lesbian Kiss and HaShoah Scholars: NEEDED: a pro-radical lesbian feminist perspective

In the "What's wrong with this picture" category:

Here's the story, and after it, my comment posted to the site:

365 Gay: News

Holocaust scholars irate over plans to switch gay kiss film to lesbian one

Holocaust scholars are irate over an attempt to include a video of lesbians kissing in a monument dedicated to the gay victims of the Nazi regime.

The Berlin, Germany, memorial, erected in 2008, is a concrete slab with a window to view a never-ending kiss between two men. The video, which is replaced every two years, is set to be changed in May to a film of women kissing.

But Holocaust scholars complain the move would distort history. Alexander Zinn, a board member of the foundation that maintains former Nazi concentration camps near Berlin, said there are no known cases of Holocaust victims who were persecuted for being lesbians.

“Historical truth must remain the focus,” Zinn told AFP.

An estimated 5,000 to 15,000 gay men were rounded up to concentration camps by the Nazis during the Holocaust. In the camps, the men wore inverted pink triangles on their prison uniforms. Gays were targeted alongside of Jews, Gypsies and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

*          *          *
My comment/reply:

I'll put my "post-comment" addition first:

Oh, and in the intervening 65 years since WWII, can we now use the ethnic group's name--Roma--in place of the more derogatory term "Gypsies"?

And here's a slightly modified version of the main comment I posted:

Two points:

Why does the lesbian kiss happen for a dominant cultural audience at all? Lesbianism and lesbian "sex" is always misappropriated in white het male supremacist societies as something that should be accessed, viewed, voyeured, and exploited 24/7/365 by het male pimps and procurers, and a whole lot of other het men. As proof: look at the image used to publicise this very story, above: a ridiculous still of two white thin femme, overly made up ARYAN-looking women. This image is being brought to us directly from your local porn shop and internet anti-lesbian/anti-woman pornography website serving HET MEN.

Leave the gay male kiss, as that is likely to make dominant society more uncomfortable while challenging heterosexism, and plenty of gay men did die as gay men in HaShoah.

AND, lesbians also died in HaShoah for being lesbian, despite what is offered as evidence to the contrary*. 

See, for example, this excellent documentary [info on it is from *here*]:

Love Story - A videotape by Catrine Clay (1997)

Kan lånes på biblioteket
Dokumentar - 60 min.

In 1942 Berlin, LiIly Wurst was a model Aryan hausfrau with a picture of the FŸhrer on the wall, a husband in the army, and a German motherhood medal for bearing four sons. With this distinction came mother's helper Ulla Schaaf, who unbeknownst to Lilly was deeply involved with the Jewish underground. When Lilly boasted that she could "smell a Jew", Ulla tested her by introducing her to Felice Schraderheim, aka Felice Schrader, a 20 year old Jewish woman living in hiding. The result of that meeting is an unusual love story whose arc is followed through recollections, documents, and archival footage in this beautifully made documentary.

As Ulla Schaaf and others in the Jewish underground describe living in constant fear of denunciation, they recall how Felice risked her life to smuggle false papers. In intimate interviews, Lilly tells how their relationship deepened until Felice revealed to her the secret of her Judaism. Sharing a home, wedding vows, and the care of Lilly's children, in 1944 Felice chose to stay in Berlin with Lilly rather than flee to neutral Switzerland. Later that year she was arrested by the Gestapo, never to return.

Now 82, Lilly shares her remaining photos and love letters to recall the great love of her life. As survivors from the underground recall acts of everyday courage, Love Story powerfully depicts ordinary people's resistance to injustice. Skillful, haunting, and elegiac, Love Story is a potent meditation on the healing and transformative power of love and compassion in the face of adversity. Produced for the BBC.

Lilly Wust and Felice Schragenheim--the real-life "Aimée" and "Jaguar"

* The other comments debate whether lesbians were rounded up by the Nazis for being lesbian. Here's that debate, along with the rest of the commentary from 365 Gay News:
  • jean-paul Said: March 30th, 2010 at 7:37 am
    • This whole thing is absurd. Hitler was raised as a catholic, and as a catholic he was homophobic. That homophobia was spread throughout Nazism, although as Drewski pointed out, the SS did have a strong streak of homosexuality in its ranks.
      Lesbians were “targeted” by Nazis:
      * Zoe, Lucinda. “The Black Triangle,” Lesbian Herstory Archives Newsletter, Brooklyn, N.Y., No. 12 (June 1991): p. 7. (A critical discussion of the notion that black triangles were used to mark lesbians in the concentration camps in a manner equivalent to the pink triangle for homosexual men, along with remarks on when the black triangle came to be used as a contemporary lesbian symbol).
      I only hope lesbians are not being targeted now by right-wing religious nutters within the Board…because when all is said and done, no institutions are more homophobic than religions, particularly the Abrahamic religions.
      This LGBT memorial monument is barely 2 years old, and is already having difficulty implementing the plans that were decided by the Board at the moment of its inception.
      With very little effort the international gay community could easily erect its own memorial, and believe me, it would be at least have a rainbow flag beside it, with triangles in evidence.
      Looks to me as if we have skin heads maintaining the holocaust gay memorial.
      We want to see lesbians kissing for 2 years, as planned.

  • MavsFan Said: March 30th, 2010 at 1:18 am

    • If anyone has an interest in this topic, specifically as it pertains to lesbians in Nazi Germany, I would highly recommend the book, and subsequent movie (which is German with English subtitles) “Aimee and Jaguar”. It provides a fantastic first-hand historical representation of time interwoven with a love story between a Jewish woman (Felice Schragenheim) and a Nazi wife (Elisabeth Wust). Oh, and did I mention, it’s based on a true story!

  • Drewski Said: March 30th, 2010 at 12:51 am

    • It doesn’t matter what pretext made the Nazis draw a bead on lesbians. They were arrested, sent to camps, and killed, and it all happened because they were lesbian. Str8 women in otherwise similar circumstances were not picked up first. Those lesbians were targeted because they were lesbian Communists, lesbian performers, lesbian trade unionists. It was their lesbianism that made them higher-order targets.
      If we’re going to argue over the “purity” of sexuality as justification for imprisonment/ execution, remember that the SS had a strong gay streak. Does that minimize the significance of killing gay men because they were gay? No. And neither should any gay man (or anyone else) minimize the truth that lesbians were sent to the camps for being lesbian more than for any other trait. Change the film and have it show two women this year.

  • jean-paul Said: March 30th, 2010 at 12:16 am

    • What is this…a tactic to divide the LGBT community at a time when we are seeing a horrific backlash against Human Rights (Gay Rights) in the world?
      This is nit-picking while the real problems of gay asylum are being neglected, e.g. Iraq, Iran; and while anti-homosexual laws are being re-enforced in Malawi, Zimbabwe and 48 other countries.
      Get a life.
      I hope Zinn’s letter finds the destination it deserves…

  • Peter Formaini Said: March 29th, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    • “All this came to a dead stop in 1933-34. Many lesbians were murdered by the SS as they were being interrogated because lesbians were seen as asocial or Communists, e.g. black triangle.
      Others were arrested under Austrian law which did criminalized Lesbianism, and they were ruthlessly used in the camps as prostitutes so as to boost the patriarchal ethos of Nazism.”
      Which – as the individual said – means they were NOT killed because they were lesbians. Lesbians were NOT ‘trgeted’ for death’ the way that Jews, gypsies, homosexual MEN, the mentally ill were.
      I am sure some died for being antisocial or Communist or suspected of treason – but they were NOT killed for being lesbian.
      That truth does not diminish their death – but it does a disservice to those who WERE specifically targeted to claim that those who were NOT targeted were victims in the same way as those who truly were singled out for specific traits or actions.

  • jean-paul Said: March 29th, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    • The tremendous gay and lesbian liberation which took place during the Wiemar era is very well recorded with names and places.
      All this came to a dead stop in 1933-34. Many lesbians were murdered by the SS as they were being interrogated because lesbians were seen as asocial or Communists, e.g. black triangle.
      Others were arrested under Austrian law which did criminalized Lesbianism, and they were ruthlessly used in the camps as prostitutes so as to boost the patriarchal ethos of Nazism.
      The Gay Holocaust Memorial in Berlin is as ugly as it needs to be to reflect the seriousness of these horrendous crimes. Moreover, the Memorial is meant to remind us of the unimaginable cruelty which took place when homophobia and transphobia was endorsed by the State.
      It is well to be reminded that thousands of lesbians did in fact disappear from Berlin in one fall swoop. The entire LGBT lived and died in terror in those days, and it’s not fair to pretend that only gays men suffered.
      Also, Alexander Zinn is one person. I would be curious to know what other Holocaust scholars are irritated when it comes time to implement a plan which has already been approved by the Board. This revisionism is a pure waste of time.

  • Zebulon Af Söderberg Said: March 29th, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    • That’s an odd monument…

  • Kate M Walker Said: March 29th, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    • Looks like these “experts” never bothered to read Andrea Dworkin, who has lots to say about lesbians in the holocaust:
      Scapegoat: The Jews, Israel, and Women’s Liberation (Paperback)
      ~ Andrea Dworkin (Author) “In Memory Fields Holocaust survivor Shlomo Breznitz goes to The Oxford English Dictionary to look up the word hope…” (more)

  • Gerry Fisher Said: March 29th, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    • I agree…I think it’s simplistic to say that lesbians were not persecuted by the Nazis.
      It would be cool if they could get a video that morphed between two men kissing and two women kissing!

  • Scotty Matthews Said: March 29th, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    • What makes me irate is that the “monument” to the tens of thousands of gay men targeted and killed by the Nazis is essentially a 14-foot tall blank gray rectangular concrete slab with a peephole in the side.
      Is it supposed to represent a giant stone closet? Or perhaps a garden shed?
      It has less artistic and cultural value than a pile of cinderblocks, and if you’re not angry about that, then how on Earth can you be angry about the gender of the gay couple you see when you peer into the peephole?
      Some people have way too much free time on their hands, including the “artist” who designed this excruciatingly poor excuse for a memorial.

  • artwit Said: March 29th, 2010 at 10:43 am

    • There was a “crime” of refusing to bear children for the Reich, but it wasn’t the same thing. There were some Lesbians who hid out in the countryside during the entire Nazi era and who were interviewed in their old age for a documentary.