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Canada: Gay author reimbursed after cancelling trip to Russia

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  1. This is a good result though, frankly, I am surprised. Russia has not banned homosexuals. They have banned what they are calling “propaganda”.
    I suppose he is claiming he will be in danger from vigilante groups. I imagine this risk is extremely minimal unless he plans on taking part in demonstrations – which would not ordinarily qualify him for a refund.

    1. Midnighter 15 Dec 2013, 4:13pm

      For my part I believe the concerns of vigilante justice are secondary to what we know from precedent can happen at the hands of the authorities.

      Since in the first instance the police will respond to a complaint (or act on their own cognisance) to arrest anyone suspected of breaching their very open-ended legislation, whether or not a conviction results, the likelihood of getting abused emotionally or indeed physically by the police themselves seems unconscionably high. The actions of bystanders or cell mates only add to the risk.

      Whatever the reasoning, this sets the precedent that any reasonable person whose sexuality is a matter of public record would avoid travel to Russia on the grounds of its homophobic legislation.

      It would be overly optimistic to hope that this is the first flake of the avalanche, but I predict this is by no means the last we’ll hear of the impact of the Russian bigotry upon legitimate travellers.

      1. Agreed, Midnighter. The authorities there are appalling. We all remember the terrifying scenes of Peter Tatchell and Richard Fairbrass plus other brave European activists being attacked in 2007 – with Tatchell also being arrested. However, I believe the chance of a foreign national on a private visit being attacked by the police at this sensitive time before Sochi is next to zero.

        1. The police are obliged to arrest him right there at the airport. Not because he is gay but because he wrote a “‘propaganda” novel. I guess it is going to be even worse now that Putin has announced being at the forefront of a sort of a block of homophobic countries. The capitalism vs. communism conflict has been replaced with tolerance vs. traditional values one. He is trying to start a fight. But he doesn’t realise that the West is just homophobic enough not to care.

    2. Lots of thumbs down here because I was surprised that the insurance company had caved in. There is no negative comment about Brody’s decision to cancel his trip. Don’t blame him. #learntoread

    3. The Russian government and Police forces across the country have done nothing to protect their citizens, allowing those who attack them to continue.

      The Russian government CANNOT claim that they are simply against the “promotion” of homosexuality and wish no one harm when there is clear and concrete evidence that no one known as an extremist attacking LGBT people is being held to account for their blatant crimes.

      Please tell me how many people have been arrested and charged with assault, imprisonment or torture, even though there are hundreds of groups on the Russian social network promoting violence, showing their faces in photos and videos, showing their names, while they carry out these acts against their fellow Russians.

      This is a state sanctioned hate campaign, no different to Hitler and his Brown Shirts.

      1. Indeed. I keep up with the news from Russia. Once again, let me say. Russia is a dangerous place their GLBT citizens and for foreigners wishing to demonstrate there. Those of us who are out and have a media profile should proceed with caution if visiting. Of course, NOT visiting at all is giving the Russian bigots whist they want. I have always been a supporter of boycotting the games and I am sad they weren’t moved to Canada.

  2. Colin (Queenstown/London) 15 Dec 2013, 8:10pm

    Well done.

    The more people that are inconvenienced or affected by Russia’s stance the better newsworthy and pressure commercial organisations will put on their Governments to force Russia to change or be ejected from the world’s public stage. From airlines to insurance companies to broadcasters not making films in or about Russia. All inconvenient and sad for 99.9% of good Russians, but grist to the mill.

    1. Colin, Maybe I am being a skeptic, but I feel the greatest ammunition against Russia and this law has been wasted. We have seen great contempt for the Anti Gay Propaganda law. People, personalities and politicians have spoken out against the injustice.

      Yet, I have to ask how many people are going to be complicit in contributing to the success of the Olympics. Governments have issued travel advisories, but how many have provided assistance to officials and athletes or their families to be there? How many will send politicians and ministers as a perk to view or represent their country… but not speak out whilst there? How many corporations voiced disapproval… but will add extra flights to their regular schedules, or make extra shipments of provisions and beverages or other goods to Russia to capitalize on the games or their success?

      How many countries are sending (extra) consular officials as insurance to deal with any situations arising? few because of prior cautions!

      1. continued:

        The Olympics have both the stage for the events and a view of injustice in the host country. After the Olympics? What will the focus on Russia be? will the pressure evaporate or will it be left to human rights organizations alone to fight in obscurity once the lime light of the Olympics has been extinguished. I wonder where the pressure and attention will come from. It saddens me to think of it, but I fear the contempt for Russia will subside on a visible global scale. But who except LGBT inside or beyond Russia will be affected or inconvenienced? Where will he pressure to inconvenience any one come from… you can’t believe that economic pressure and capitalism will be effective when they have all contributed and profited from the games success. Corporations have been complicit in allowing the Law to stand and have by their cooperation inconvenienced no one. As an individual, if you are inconvenienced… do you think you can bring about change in Russia?

        1. I agree that there is a real risk that this might fade into obscurity when the Olympics are over, but I have a feeling it won’t, and for very bad reasons.

          Hitler paused during the 1936 games, not wanting to draw attention to his actions within Germany. But once the games were over, his goon squads and their reign of terror returned almost immediately.

          I don’t think Russia is going to be out of the spotlight very much after the games are done, but I fear this will be primarily because of an increase in state-backed terrorism against their own people.

          Remember, there were two other bills going through the Duma that have been placed on hold – one sanctioned the removal of children from their families, and the other demanded that 82 prison camps be built across Russia.

          Both of these bills are extremely scary, and both are expected to return to the Duma once the Olympics are over and be voted through with no opposition.

          1. I do hope that your prediction of Russia remaining in the spotlight is correct! It does leave me to ponder how the world leaders can other than react to them, possibly influence the outcome of the two bills you mention.

            Unlike the Olympics they are not events which are dependent on global participation for success. Unless there is a major incident at the games, Vladimir Putin can go on his “Own” TV network and use it for “propaganda” about the success of the games. The world threw away it’s bargaining chip when it allowed itself to be appeased by assurances about the games. Non of which change or did any thing to help LGBT in Russia.

            If your correct about the reign of state backed terror (30 incidents of vandalism at a gay bar come to mind) The reaction around the world may be one of shock or disapproval if as you say both bills lack opposition in the Duma. The Vladimir Putin TV network can be used for propaganda to justify why peoples children have been taken a way. (continued)

          2. Continued)
            If there is an uprising or rebellion… well those 82 prison camps in obscure remote and hostile locations will be a factor!

            Unfortunately we likely won’t hear much of these situations… because unlike the PR required for the success of the Olympics, much will be accomplished discreetly and without acknowledgement.

            Maybe the globe will react once again with shock and horror to the atrocities they allowed this ego maniacal leader to smile at, and get away with unchallenged.

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