There was been wide coverage of the public hanging of two allegedly gay teenagers in Mashad in north eastern Iran on 19 July 2005 for the ‘crime’ of homosexuality. One youth was aged 18 and the other was a minor under the age of 18. The alleged offenses were committed when they were but 16 years of age. Before execution, they had been imprisoned for 14 months and beaten with 228 lashes. Iranian law allows hanging of girls as young as nine and boys as young as fifteen.
Peter Thatchell, spokesman for London-based human right group, OutRage! said:
This is just the latest barbarity by the Islamo-fascists in Iran. The entire country is a gigantic prison, with Islamic rule sustained by detention without trial, torture and state-sanctioned murder. According to Iranian human rights campaigners, over 4,000 lesbians and gay men have been executed since the Ayatollahs seized power in 1979. Altogether, an estimated 100,000 Iranians have been put to death over the last 26 years of clerical rule. The victims include women who have sex outside of marriage and political opponents of the Islamist government. Last August, a 16 year old girl, Atefeh Rajabi, was hanged for ‘acts incompatible with chasity’.
Harley, at Gayety.net, himself no slouch as a gay activist, splashes the cold water of objectivity on the more hysterical commentary, such as that above.
Two boys are dead; hanged, ostensibly for the knifepoint rape of a 13 year old. It is hard to keep a level head in the face of haunting images leading up to their execution, especially when we are told they share our sexual minority. Yet, this is exactly what we must do if we are simultaneously being fed alarming information about the executioners by those currently engaged against them in propaganda warfare. Before we turn into righteous vigilantes, avenging the lives of two cute young gay boys by engaging in a modern crusade, we owe it to splash some cold water on the issue.
The first news agency to publish was Iranian local publication, Quds, with the statement that “the two had abducted a 13-year-old boy a year ago and raped him at knife-point. The report added that both convicts were also given 228 lashes each for drinking, disturbing the peace and theft.”
Harley goes on to note that Andrew Sullivan, OutRage! spokesman Peter Thatchell, and those following them, notably avoid the rape of a 13 year old boy at knifepoint, but add plenty of words of abject disgust so that “selective reporting of only part of the story has resulted in a maelstrom amongst the queer community, usually skeptical members of the liberal Left, now firmly against the Islamic world, and totally oblivious to being hookwinked” “Thankfully, the mainstream media, who can afford to hire respectable reporters capable of objectivity,” Harley adds, “has come to the rescue of those who value truth in a world of propaganda.”
I accept the point Harley makes. Nonetheless I mention all this, not to add to a ghoulish story, but to urge readers to protest to the Iranian Ambassador in their countries and to demand that their governments at the very least protest. Regardless of their offence, flogging and hanging of teenagers, or adults for that matter, is barbaric. Western governments are slow to condemn this murderous regime, preferring aid and trade. The European Union has refused in the past three years to table a resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Commission to condemn the violations of human rights in Iran. Instead, it has engaged in a feeble “human rights dialogue.”
Cartoon: Kevin et Alex