if you're dumb enough to be iraqi, at least have the good sense not to also be gay

From Left I On The News:

Iraq: "The way things were before was so much better than where we are now"

Who's talking? It could be almost any Iraqi, except in this particular case, it's a gay Iraqi, quoted in a December, 2007 article that appeared in the New York Times (hat tip to Leslie Feinberg at Workers World for drawing attention to it). Yes, as with health care, education, and many other aspects of life, conditions of life for gays and lesbians were significantly better in Iraq under the secular Ba'ath regime (you remember, the ones who were banned from participating in the "democratic" elections that Iraq has held).

How bad is it? An Iraqi gay rights group says that 400 people have been killed in Iraq since 2003 for being gay. I'm sure that's a hard figure to pin down, but here's some more evidence:
In January, a United Nations report described the increased persecution, torture and extrajudicial killing of Iraqi lesbians and gay men. In 2005, Iraq’s most revered Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, issued a fatwa, or religious decree, calling for gay men and lesbians to be killed in the "worst, most severe way" [it was lifted a year later].

Nor is this the first time that life for gays and lesbians in Iraq has been set back by the United States. Until 1991, open homosexuality in the form of gay nightclubs actually flourished. But in that year, under the pressure of the U.S.-imposed (formally "U.N.") blockade, the regime was forced to make concessions to the religious forces in the country in order to hold things together. Even then, though, gays and lesbians were still fine as long as they "practiced" in private. Not so since the U.S. invasion, when even private behavior has become increasingly dangerous, as the estimated 400 deaths indicates.This ought to make the US radical Christian right very happy. These religious fanatics all have so much in common.

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