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Friday, February 7, 2014

Sochi: Winter of Hate, OR It's a Dog's Life

This is not my pic. I googled it.
If it's yours, let me know.
Hello, Darlings. Just a short observation today. Surely yours truly cannot be the only person who's noticed that, while there were quite a few concerned people watching the human rights abuses unroll in Russia in the months up to the Winter Olympics, it took the culling of stray dogs in Sochi to really stir people up.

I mean, I'm a softy that really loves our furry friends - my pets are my family - but really?! 

My heart swelled yesterday morning when I saw the floods of people speaking out against the politics of Russia.


My Facebook feed was completely overrun with people protesting the cruelty being practiced in Sochi, and calling for like-minded folks to boycott watching the Olympics and buying from the sponsors. Finally! I thought. People are finally realizing that it's not just rhetoric. The LGBTQ folks (and their allies) in Russia are in danger, and the world is finally paying attention.

Then I realized that many of them were talking about the dogs. Not human rights abuses, topped off by the final straw, cruelty to animals. They were only concerned about the dogs. A lot of the people I saw posting didn't even seem to know about the LGBTQ thing. They were just sad that stray dogs were killed.

No, more than that. They were outraged.

I'm sad that the dogs were killed, too. Pretty damn pissed and sickened, if the truth be told. But for the dogs to be the only issue motivating their outrage? Really?? What does this say about us as a people if the tormenting and oppression of an entire class of people - for no reason other than that they are LGBTQ or thought to be LGBTQ - wasn't enough to stir us to respond? The abuse and deaths of those innocents apparently didn't matter. Are the only innocents we care about the ones wearing their own fur?

I'm trying to look at it from this perspective (because if I don't, I'll probably wash my hands of the future of the human race for at least a week, and that would make me sad): Maybe those people really hadn't heard of Putin's obscene anti-gay policies. Maybe they really didn't know that LGBTQ people and allies are threatened, beaten, and even 'disappeared' or killed on a regular basis, and that they live lives of constant fear. Maybe whatever news the people listen to or read didn't cover those stories or, if they did, they somehow missed the entire thing. Maybe. 

If so, then maybe they are at least aware of those things now. If it took the terrible dog story to get their attention and pull at their heart-strings, maybe now they are ready to see and listen and - just maybe - stretch their heart-strings a little farther to include members of their own species as well.

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Thanks, as always, for reading, Darlings. Let me know YOUR thoughts on what's going on in Sochi. Are you watching? Where do you think Russia is heading with all of this? How worried should we be?

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the outrage at the misplaced, or seeming misplaced, anger at Russian policies toward the Sochi dogs. I, too thought the public response was rather oddly biased in the face of our LGBT persecution in Russia. However, I can understand that a photo of a tortured animal will get more public response than that of a mutilated political prisoner of conscience. We expect people to suffer (we do????) but not defenceless animals. Very odd logic, I think. When the LGBT community in Russia is put in a Polish-ghetto-style environment and is systematically depleted, Nazi style, maybe someone will be outraged more than they were when the Jews were persecuted in that way. The collective turned-backs of the world then is still a matter of public shame, disgrace and remorse. I have no faith in the emotions of humanity towards humans. Very few are currently reacting to the horrors of the refugee camps in the middle-east. How can I hope than we, the LGBT people of the world, will be served any better in our time of persecution. I can't apologise for being pessimistic or realistic. I can and will apologise for my fellow human beings since they refuse to speak up for each other, it seems. I am gay, male, white, atheist, over educated and a retired professional journalist. I , too am dismayed, as you are Dear Unicorn, but am baffled as to any positive move to make other than the ones I daily create in the straight environment which surrounds me currently. The acceptance I find by my overtly public disclosure of my sexuality and my attitudes is a small step for us all. I can't move the world with my words or actions but I can change the attitudes of acceptance with the 400 other residents -- and their visiting families -- of my retirement home. It isn't enough, of course, but it is doing "something". Would that I could do things on a universal scale. I can't. I do what I can and do it well. --- Peter Crossley

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