Friday, July 26, 2013

Russian Homophobia, Civil Rights and the Sochi Winter Olympics

In the wake of the ever widening persecution against LBGT persons by the current Russian regime, including the passage of laws that specifically allow the targeting of tourists for failing to properly display the necessary degree of homophobia, I cannot understand why the US Olympic committee is willing to consider putting anyone at risk by even showing up for the winter games in Sochi.  Even with a promise from Putin's government that no Olympians will be detained under the new law that doesn't protect any coaches, support staff, or family members from the harsh penalties of the law.  

The concerns for tourists coming to celebrate the games should be manifest to anyone who has been paying attention to the atrocities that the authorities in Russia are turning a blind eye to, including skinhead Neo-Nazis luring underaged teens to be beaten and forced to out themselves on videos - all in the name of protecting children from pedophiles.

Unless, and until, the Russian government should find it possible to extend human rights and civil protections to their own LBGT citizens the US, and the US Olympic Committee should not spend so much as a single cent in Sochi.  These games must be boycotted.

Similarly the State Department should be pressured to issue grave travel advisories for any Americans considering travel to Russia, because of the dire threat of civil oppression based upon a vaguely worded law that will allow prosecution for failing to join the Russian Orthodox Church's campaign to eradicate homosexuality.   

It is time to take a stand, and Sochi is the place to do it.