Tuesday, February 7, 2012

No free speech for gays

Tunisia’s human rights minister has attacked an online gay magazine while being interviewed by homophobic TV presenter Samir El-Wafi.

Minister Samir Dilou said ‘freedom of expression has its limits’ and agreed homosexuality was a ‘perversion’ which needed to be ‘treated medically’.

The Gayday magazine's editor has faced religiously inspired hatred and death threats.

Dilou: ‘This country has its own history, heritage, religion and customs and we need to deal with everything on such a basis.’

El-Wafi: ‘We can’t deny that this phenomenon of sexual perversion exists but shall we deny these people from expression mediums?’

Dilou: ‘Yes, freedom of expression has limits.’

‘They live as citizens but they must respect the red lines set up by our religion, heritage and civilization.’
‘I have no knowledge if this magazine have applied for a permit or not but I’m against it even though I’m a minister of human rights.’

They concluded laughing that sexual orientation is not a human right.
But there has been a long build-up to the current situation, it comes after a month of scandals which has brought gay issues to the fore in Tunisia. The first was the release of the brother of the Tunisian Minister of Justice, after an allegation that he raped a young boy. The second, occurring just a few days later was a video posted on the internet by a left wing activist allegedly featuring the current Home Office minister, Ali Laarayedh in an erotic homosexual act with a fellow cellmate during the 1990s.

Samir El-Wafi, a journalist and celebrity TV presenter known for his tabloid, ranting interview techniques joined the homophobic bandwagon, posted the cover of the magazine on his Facebook page (with over 75,500 fans) followed by the following description: ‘In the chaos of freedom of expression and freeing the media, a first Tunisian magazine for fags was issued!

‘In the name of freedom and in a conservative country whose people are facing a struggle between modernity and tradition; a magazine for fags dares to come out and challenge all the circumstances, rules, morals, ethics and customs.

‘Do we need a further strife because a very small minority expresses its perversion… not caring about the feelings and the sacred beliefs of a majority?

‘Today a magazine, tomorrow a pride march, then gay marriage… and after that who knows?’

The post got 381 likes, 124 comments and 165 shares.
The next day Fadi, received hateful messages and death threats.

One from someone identifying themselves as ‘Emna’ said: ‘You are a zero. We don’t give a fuck about you. You ought to be out assisting in building the country. This is so immoral, calling to protect dirty people. God will never forgive you. This is very haraam [forbidden], we are Muslims and we can never be proud of your gay shit. You need to go and see psychiatrists and not start a magazine. Shame on you.’

And Aymen posted on the Gayday magazine Facebook page: ‘You’re dead; don’t come to Tunisia you faggot. Even hell is disgusted to have you!’

How is this possible ? How is it possible that someone's right isn't a human right ? 
Boys and girls receive death threats that says they deserve to be hanged or burnt in public. The situation for LGBT people, also in Tunisia, remains hostile.

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