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Monday, June 23, 2008

Saudi Morality Police Arrest 21 Gay Men

posted by on June 23 at 10:27 AM

This news item from AP comes to us via Towleroad:

A Saudi newspaper says religious police have arrested 21 allegedly homosexual men and confiscated large amounts of alcohol.

Al-Medina daily says the Commission for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, which employs the religious police, was told Friday of a large gathering of young men at a rest house in Qatif, in eastern Saudi Arabia. The paper says scores of men were initially arrested but only 21 remain in detention.

Religious police arresting queers—let’s not forget that that’s what our religious right wanted to see here. Back before the Supreme Court declared that gays had a constitutional right to privacy, “mainstream” leaders of the religious right called coyly for the enforcement of sodomy laws, a.k.a. police arresting gay men at parties, in bars, in our bedrooms, etc.

Anyway, it can’t happen here… not now. Unless, of course, John McCain gets to appoint three or four new Alitos/Roberts/Scalias to a the rapidly solidifying conservative majority on the Supreme Court. If McCain wins then, shit, all bets are off. The activist conservatives on the Supreme Court lives to overturn liberal decisions. And if McCain wins with an assist from those bitter Hillary Clinton supporters we’re not supposed to talk about anymore—women who wanted to badly to see a woman in the White House that they’re willing to help McCain pack the court with justices that will vote to end abortion rights and giddily hand down more decisions like this one—I think my head will explode.

But it is happening there. Unfortunately there’s not a lot homos here do to help oppressed gays and lesbians being persecuted in Saudi Arabia. We could—and should—support the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. But what if you want fuck with the fuckers Commission for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice? What do you do then?

Right off the top of my head… well, I’m thinking we threaten to mail one gay porn titles (mag, video) into that miserable sand trap for every “allegedly homosexual” man authorities arrest. Any better ideas?

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I say we invade and secure their oil supply!

Oh wait, we tried that already and it didn't work so well. Darn.

Fuck it, let's mail 'em some porn.

Posted by Providence | June 23, 2008 10:36 AM

And let's send them a couple cases of beer too. Porn and beer - it makes everyone more civilized.

Posted by Providence | June 23, 2008 10:39 AM

Huh? I'd give some credence to that hyperbole if it was Huckabeee, but it's ol Johnny Boy that's the nominee - an old Rockefeller Ford type Republican who will appoint moderates to the Supremes. Gay rights is here to stay, so stop with the fear mongering.

Posted by raindrop | June 23, 2008 11:03 AM

What is a "Rest House"?

Like a "Rest Area"?

Posted by max solomon | June 23, 2008 11:06 AM

Maybe fund an agency to get those folks moved to somewhere civilized.

Posted by pox | June 23, 2008 11:10 AM

As morally reprehensible as this is, it's a bit hard for us to throw stones at the ones who own much of the deed to our mega-debt (same goes for screaming at the Chinese about their human rights violations). We've mortgaged the damned country.

But, yes, the Saudis ought to be ashamed for doing such horrible things.

And for all the screaming about Roe v. Wade at the PUMAs (Party Unity My Ass) writhing with Hillarage, it's good to remind all those "Hillary is my gurrrl" queers they need to step up and vote for Obama if they'd like to hold onto Lawrence v. Texas.

Posted by Andy Niable | June 23, 2008 11:15 AM

I have an idea!

Let's stop letting them send anti-US and anti-gay "religious" Wahhabi texts to mosques in the USA!

That would work.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 23, 2008 11:16 AM

Small cells of oppressed gay men (assuming women are not allowed into gov. occupations) in Saudi Arabia could infiltrate the commission and provide coded intelligence to dummy websites or text message phone trees set up and maintained by american gay and lesbians that non-infiltrators could access without fear of reprisal.
Perhaps such infiltrators could find out who the commission's informers were and commit counter intelligence by selectively outing some of the ostensibly straight leaders in the commission.

In other words, support a real, decentralized resistance movement.

Posted by Snarky | June 23, 2008 11:18 AM

Dan, nice idea. However, whatever we send them will be lost in the billions of dollars we send to them for our oil addiction. I'm guessing they'll laugh all the way to the bank, as the saying goes.

Actually, they'll probably privately enjoy the porn, like most folks who are infuriated publicly by the idea of what gets other people off. Let the Saudi royal family buy their own porn with petrodollars!

I look at this as just one more reason why we should support energy independence and reduce or eliminate our dependence on burning fossil fuels - especially ones we can't produce in the US! Heck, if gay rights isn't enough, what about the cost, the environment, national security...

Posted by Stephen | June 23, 2008 11:22 AM

For the record, McCain has already stated his intention to appoint 'strict constructionists' to the (two) Supreme Court seats that will (likely) open up in the next presidential term.

And he's publicly declared himself hostile to the very concept of a right to privacy:

Posted by krzysz | June 23, 2008 11:27 AM

Agreed, @9. In a more perfect world (or union), we'd throw every available dime into a Manhattan Project/Apollo Program of R&D for solar/wind/geothermal/tidal power and use domestic oil production for whatever we needed for plastics (though it would be nice to ween ourselves off that depenence as well).

Posted by Andy Niable | June 23, 2008 11:29 AM

Realize too that these men when found guilty (which is probably just a formality) will likely face severe penalties. But first you'll have the torture to extract the guilty plea.

Best thing homos in this country can do is not to go there. All countries in the middle east are extremely violent to LGBT persons (even "moderate" places like Dubai). When I have to travel to that part of the world, I do not take my partner with me. I also don't fly airlines like Emirates. These countries don't want us there, and we shouldn't spend any more money with them than what is necessary.

Posted by Dave Coffman | June 23, 2008 12:17 PM

@12 - sadly, Dave is right @12. Even if one of my high school classmates lives in Dubai (but she's straight and loves wearing giant floral floppy hats to polo and horse races ...)

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 23, 2008 2:08 PM

Dan, I respect you as a fellow progressive, a feminist, fair-minded, open-hearted person. Your condemnation of "Bitter Hillary Clinton supporters," as potentially damaging to the future of the Supreme Court, however, makes me sad. I suggest this article for you:

I, too, wanted a woman--Hillary Clinton, to be exact--in the White House. But I speak for myself when I say I would NEVER vote against my reproductive rights. Please stop reinforcing the stereotype of "bitter women" on such a progressive blog, in hopes that when the opportunity arises to finally vote a woman into the White House, we will not be held back by damaging stereotypes. Until then, my heart goes out to the oppressed in Saudi Arabia, and my vote will go to lessen the oppression in the US--which is to say, NOT to John McCain.

Posted by Elizabeth Hunter | June 23, 2008 2:24 PM

I was just thinking about how backward this country was for arresting prostitutes. You would think, in a supposedly enlightened country as ours, we would understand that it's a natural part of adult sexuality. But no, not here. We are just as fucked up as the Saudis. You could protest any Arab business deals here in the U.S. to your congressman and make sure your investments don't benefit them in any way.

Posted by Vince | June 23, 2008 3:05 PM

Or you could just move to Saudi Arabia, Vince.

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 23, 2008 4:12 PM

Dan, there's a typo in the second-to-last sentence in your post. "One" should read "one hundred"? "One thousand"?

Vince, you gave me an idea:
cut off the visting Saudi businessmen's access to American prostitutes?

Posted by CP | June 23, 2008 4:57 PM

@12 Israel is a huge exception to your mideast rule- gays can marry and the overwhelming majority of israeli (die-hard religious nut-cases not withstanding) could give a fuck about what consenting people do behind closed doors

+ israeli guys are HOT!

Posted by freshnycman | June 23, 2008 6:34 PM

I say we get a post office box in one of those off-shore corporate countries, send scores of gay porn to it, and have it forwarded to random addresses in Saudia Arabia. It will create great suspicion and fear, plus cause a few boners.

Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay | June 23, 2008 8:12 PM

@19 That might be workable, especially if it was sent on burned DVDs with no labels or anything to identify it as porn.

Cheaper, too.

Posted by drewl | June 23, 2008 9:09 PM

In many middle eastern countries adolescents males / young men have sex with other young men and nothing is said about it. It is seen as a compromise while they wait to be married.

The older / stronger participant is usually insertive; as to be receptive by choice is considered deviant. This is because women are receptive, and women are in inferior; and to be like a woman by a choice is evidence of a sick mind.

The only ways to improve human rights in Saudi Arabia are the ways it was improved in the west. Through lots of fighting in legislature, the court and in the media.

So don't spend the money on porn. Give it to a legal defence fund. Give it to a women's rights group. Contribute to a fund that dubs good documentaries and entertainment with positive gay characters into Arabic, and then disseminates them widely.

Porn will only be seen as an example of the decaying west.

Posted by Mat | June 23, 2008 10:26 PM

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