A Deeply Sad Story

There are a lot of upsetting news stories these days.

Some of them simply make me shake my head in disbelief; some make me angry; and some make me incredibly sad. This is one of those stories that makes me so sad that the regret and despair seem to sink down under my skin and rattle my very bones:
Two gay Iranian teenagers -- one 18, the other believed to be 16 or 17, were executed this week for the "crime" of homosexuality, the Iranian Student News Agency (ISNA) reported on July 19. (The ISNA report is in Farsi, and was translated into English by the British gay rights group OutRage!, which released its report today--ISNA also provided the terrifying photos of the teens' last moments you see on this page.) The two youths -- identified only by their initials as M.A. and A.M., were hanged in Edalat (Justice) Square in the city of Mashhad in north-eastern Iran, on the orders of Court No. 19. The hanging of the teens was also reported by the National Council of Resistance of Iran.

...And Outrage, in its release about the gay teens' execution, noted that, "according to Iranian human rights campaigners, over 4000 lesbians and gay men have been executed since the Ayatollahs seized power in 1979. Last August, a 16-year-old girl was hanged for 'acts incompatible with chastity.'"

In the case of the two teens hanged in Mashhad, "They admitted having gay sex (probably under torture) but claimed in their defense that most young boys had sex with each other and that they were not aware that homosexuality was punishable by death," according to the ISNA report as translated by Outrage. "Prior to their execution, the gay teenagers were held in prison for 14 months and severely beaten with 228 lashes."
When I read something like this, I just want to scream. The only time in my entire life that what hole someone (consensually) chooses to stick his or her bits into has made a fucking sliver of a difference is when I’m one of the people doing the sticking or being stuck. I just can’t wrap my head around why anyone thinks what other people do with their private parts is any more their business than what other people do with their private property. If I want to put my foot through my television, there’s not a bloody uprising about it, so why it is any different who I want to put parts of their body into mine (or vice versa)?

Big Brass Blogger JJ commented earlier today in response to the earlier post about what’s wrong with conservatism, leaving his favorite quote:
"The belief that there is only one truth, and that oneself is in possession of it, is the root of all evil in the world."
Conservatives would undoubtedly respond to that by suggesting that someone like me holds just as firm a belief that I am in possession of the One Truth, but a story like this dramatically illustrates the difference between the conservative and liberal ways of thinking. Liberals believe that there are many ways to live one’s life, and that there will be some people who are homosexual, some who are heterosexual, some who are celibate, some who are bisexual, and every variation thereof across an entire spectrum—and thusly, we seek to create a society and a set of laws which allow each individual to express him- or herself in whatever way he or she sees fit, so long as they express it with a consenting partner of age. As liberals see it, is that there is no such thing, really, as the One Truth, and so we make room for every story to be told.

I want to hear an orchestra of human experience around me—and when I am faced with the reality of fundamentalist thinking, the attempt to silence those who diverge from the One Truth as laid out by a group who claims rightness at all cost and makes no exception, no matter what the loss to the rest of the musicians, I grieve for us all.

(Hat tip to Pam, who’s got the Freeper reaction to this story, if you can bear it.)

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus