“First they came for the socialists and I did not speak out – because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out – because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out – because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.”
Chilling words of Martin Niemöller, a German pastor and theologian who history tells originally supported Hitler, later turning against him to lead a group of German clergymen opposed to the Nazi movement.
Sound familiar? Turn your focus to Russia and the murderous abuse being sanctioned by President Putin’s regime and you’ll see that history is indeed repeating. His palms may not be stained with ochre tint of our blood, but legislation by his hand has opened the door to the torture and killing of the GLBTI community. They’re coming for us and it’s our time to speak scream!
The most painful approval of this tragedy is the Winter Olympics, still headed for Sochi in 2014. Actor, comedian, scholar and all around great gay Stephen Fry has written a potent and eloquent letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron and the International Olympic Committee urging them to employ sanity and reason to completely ban the event in Russia because “at all costs Putin cannot be seen to have the approval of the civilised world.”
This cry might not be immediately heard, so let’s give it a push.
First up are the Olympic sponsors that should have anything but pride for their passive endorsement of Russia’s hateful laws. Go now to www.sochi2014.com/en/team/partners for a complete list and resist any support of these businesses. Write to them with complete disgust of what’s occurring. Let’s wash over them with a wave of anger from all directions so they understand what their blind eyes have wrought.
Here at home, let our government know it is NOT okay to be involved in the upcoming Games as long as Russia plays host or these laws exist that serve to squelch our community. You can start by emailing our Rt Hon Prime Minister at firstname.lastname@example.org, but don’t stop there. Contact your local reps and give them an earful too. These elected leaders should be looking out for us – as long as the country has announced a warning for GLBTI citizens about travelling to Russia, why in the world would our athletes go there too?
Our speed-skating pride Blake Skjellerup plans on facing up to the situation with his best performance ever and doesn’t support a boycott. If New Zealand goes forward with it’s presence at the Sochi Games we will support him utterly and pray for the safety of every rainbow attendee, but I still feel the world is giving Russia a sweet dessert after it’s spat in the face of humanity. Take away the Games and maybe they’ll start to understand there is no way the world can just “stay out of it”.
Article | Leif Wauters. Image | D.Chooi.