Search This Blog

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Moscow violence – your magazine speaks out

Gay & Lesbian Humanist editor Mike Foxwell has written a robust letter to the organisers of the Eurovision Song Contest following arrests of gay campaigners today in Moscow.

For background, see here, here and here. And see this BBC video of police action.

In his letter, Foxwell calls on organisers to protect the thousands of gay people who are attending today’s Eurovision Song Contest, and to make a public gesture to show their anger. If they can’t intervene, he says, the show should be postponed or cancelled.

Here is his letter in full:

I am alarmed at reports on the news this morning of the violent suppression of the Slavic Pride event in Moscow. While I acknowledge that the Pride event has been banned by the Mayor of Moscow – an outrageous enough act in itself – what concerns me is the safety of the thousands of gay people in Moscow at this time for the Eurovision Song Contest.

I cannot understand how the President of Russia is able to guarantee the safety of one set of gay people in Moscow, while at the same time another group are being meted out violence, tear gas and the rest.

I believe that the safety of the gay people attending the Eurovision Song Contest is now demonstrably in grave jeopardy, and that the European Broadcasting Union must intervene at once to secure an assurance from the Mayor of Moscow that violent treatment of all gay people in Moscow will stop immediately. And, if this assurance cannot be obtained, then the contest should be postponed or cancelled; or, at the very least, the EBU should make a very robust and formal public condemnation of what is happening.

Gay people have always played an enormous part in making the Eurovision Song Contest the great spectacle that it is, and for the EBU to stand by and watch gay people being violently oppressed at the same time and in the same place as the Eurovision Song Contest final is totally unacceptable.

Furthermore, the EBU should, in light of what is happening in Moscow, consider barring contestant countries that do not have acceptable human-rights policies. The Eurovision Song Contest is an annual event of enormous significance, and, as such, has the potential to wield great power for good. It must not shrink from this responsibility.

Mike Foxwell
Gay & Lesbian Humanist magazine (UK)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good for Mr Foxwell. As I was discussing with a German friend today, Eurovision was created in 1956 as a celebration of peace, democracy and human rights in the austere Europe recovering after the Second World War. It is in its own tradition to stand firm against countries which violate the liberal values it was created to promote.

Perhaps an online petition organised by GALHA and other gay and liberal organisations can bring some additional pressure to bear on the European Broadcasting Union over this matter.