Scenes from the Freedom-Spreading

Iain just sent me this article about two young gay men living in Iraq with the note: "By the way—a rape trigger warning would definitely apply here." In addition to his warning, I'm going to add a possible trigger re: LGBTQ violence, as well.

It's a truly upsetting piece, underlining once again the catastrophic damage we've wrought for so many Iraqis. It's certainly not the first time we've heard that the environment in Iraq has become more hostile to LGBTQ Iraqis since we invaded, but this story was especially blub-inducing for me. In particular, I was struck by two passages:
Since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, the situation for gays and lesbians in Iraq has deteriorated. Ridiculed under Hussein, many now find themselves the targets of violence, according to humanitarian officials.
Both men hope to escape Iraq. They say their ideal destination would be San Francisco, California.
I don't know if I can even put into words how profoundly the juxtaposition of those two excerpts breaks my heart, for the young men at their center and for my country. It is what I most disdain about this nation that led us into this war, that put the targets on these young men's backs. It is what I most love about this nation that makes them nonetheless want to live here, even in spite of our being the cause of their fear and their pain and their very desire to leave their homes.

We get some things so very right, and some things so very wrong, all at the same time—and damn if that doesn't make eyes burn and my chest hurt.

I'm so sorry, Kamal and Rami. I wish we'd brought more of San Francisco to you in the first place. I hope you find your way there.

[As an aside, please note CNN's unapologetic use of the word "rape" here and lack of victim-blaming. This is not a thread in which to discuss this, but it's something to note for next time we have an occasion to talk about their terrible reporting on the rape of a woman.]

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