[Imc-beirut] What the Hell is wrong with the US?
petros at cyprus-org.net
Fri Dec 19 06:30:54 PST 2008
What the Hell is wrong with the US?
What the Hell is wrong with the US?
The US Government has just refused to sign a United Nations declaration
calling for member states to oppose "violations of human rights and
fundamental freedoms based on sexual orientation or gender identity" on
the basis of the Universal Human Rights chart which is signed by all
countries. The US is the *only* country in the West that holds on to
this shameful refusal.
More than sixty countries have already signed the declaration.
The international statement also calls for strong legislative measures
to oppose all forms of discrimination and abuses that occur because of
sexual orientation and gender identity. It says, "We urge States to take
all the necessary measures, in particular legislative or administrative,
to ensure that sexual orientation or gender identity may under no
circumstances be the basis for criminal penalties, in particular
executions, arrests; or detention."
The UN statement also recognizes that other forms of oppression based on
sexual orientation or gender identity are also violations of Human
Rights, including "the practice of torture and other cruel, inhuman, and
degrading treatment or punishment, arbitrary arrest or detention, and
deprivation of economic, social, and cultural rights, including the
right to health."
Even the sexually backward Republic of Cyprus signed the statement; why
should the US Government - or how *could* it - justify its alliance with
the most reactionary regimes on the planet when it comes to sexual
identity and gender politics? Why is the US refusing to decriminalize
gay, lesbian and bisexual desire and the multitude of transsexual and
gender identities - or even refusing to accept the simple standard that
is common in all Western countries for decades now, that gender-based
discrimination of all forms is a violation of Human Rights?
But what are we saying here? The US refusal to sign to sign the
international declaration is perfectly in line with all its other policies:
<> The US has directly caused the death of about two million people in
the Middle East in recent years, and it continues along the same path;
<> It continues to arm and fund the zionist genocidal extermination of
the Palestinian people;
<> It still holds Iraq and Afghanistan under brutal occupation;
<> It continues to arm and fund the military occupation and ethnic
cleansing of Cyprus and repeated invasions of Kurdistan by the armed
forces of Turkey;
<> The US armed and funded the recent invasion of Lebanon in which
wholesale massacres of civilians took place by the armed forces of Israel;
<> It continues to bomb Pakistan on an almost daily and weekly basis and
has done so throughout this entire year in an undeclared war against the
people that's characterized by entire villages being wiped out through
missile strikes launched from the air by remote controlled robot
aircraft flying over the area navigated from an office in Florida;
<> The US has a strategic alliance with the most reactionary regimes in
the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait where women are worth
less than donkeys;
<> The US has an ideological alliance with the dictatorship of clerics
in Iran - both countries declare "we have no suffering gays here";
<> Elements of the US Government and its shadow operatives created,
funded and armed the world's most infamous political and religious
reactionary and murderous global movement and dressed it up as "moslem
fundamentalism" which they use and manipulate for their own gain,
<> Elements of the US Government and its shadow operatives caused the
world's most infamous act of terrorism on September 11 and blamed it on
their other child, "moslem fundamentalism", initiating a global crusade
against Islam and the Arab people that has evolved into a world war
whose authors envision it as "endless";
<> In the US one of every hundred adults is behind bars - in jail, or
prison. One percent of all adults!
There are about 2.5 million prisoners within the US, and more than
4 million more on various levels of probation, home arrest, people in
the community chained with electronic perimeter alarms or other
Court-ordered movement restrictions, etc., totaling the number of people
who are considered to be "in the system" to more than 7 million.
Among Black men aged between 20 and 34, ten percent are behind
bars. Read this again: 10% of all young adult men in the US are in jail
A large number of prisoners are there for non-violent offences
such as possession of an illegal substance, or driving while
intoxicated, held together for years in the same cells with child
murderers, rapists and robbers.
In the meantime, war criminals who are responsible for the
slaughter of large numbers of innocent civilians and for torturing
chained, bound and gagged prisoners go unpunished - or promoted to
higher ranks. While the US bankers and politicians who create and profit
from war and economic mayhem are celebrated, honored and made richer.
<> Within the US there are more than one million homeless people. Many
among them suffer from drug addiction, mental illness or physical
disabilities. About a third of them are families with children, all of
whom live on the streets.
Among them there are hundreds of thousands of people whom the
Government lists as "chronically homeless" - meaning they've been
homeless for more than a year, or became repeatedly homeless four or
more times within one year.
In every major city in the US every morning crews collect the dead
bodies of homeless people who died in the night due to cold, overdose,
or by violence - increasingly, there's violence against homeless people
carried out by roving bands of young studs from "good homes" in the
suburbs who go to the cities specifically for that purpose: to beat up
on the homeless for fun.
And we wonder why the US Government refused to sign a Human Rights
statement on discrimination due to "sexual preference and gender
It will sign it of course, in time, because it's easier to keep up good
impressions with lies than to provoke the world constantly with open
arrogance. A US signature will help to conceal a little better the
horror of what the Domestic and Foreign policies of the US Empire really
Here is what everything hinges on: "We reaffirm the principle of
universality of human rights, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights ...which proclaims that 'all human beings are born free
and equal in dignity and rights' ". How much more simple can it get?
But those who spend trillions to create and maintain a world of
inequality and injustice where instability, death and torture produce
profits and power know exactly what they're doing.
The important thing is that those of us who oppose them must also get
to know exactly what we're doing. We need a Liberation Movement that can
be more aware, more efficient, more organized and ultimately able to
overrun the opponents' formations of Corporate and State power and
facilitate their replacement with a system that's rooted in Peace and
Justice on all levels and by all definitions.
But there's the catch:
to do that, we need to know exactly what we're doing.
from the Belly of the Beast
Please see the news item below, and links to other related items at the
end of the page.
US balks at backing condemnation of anti-gay laws
By DAVID CRARY, AP National Writer
December 19, 2008
UNITED NATIONS – Alone among major Western nations, the United States
has refused to sign a declaration presented Thursday at the United
Nations calling for worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality.
In all, 66 of the U.N.'s 192 member countries signed the nonbinding
declaration — which backers called a historic step to push the General
Assembly to deal more forthrightly with any-gay discrimination. More
than 70 U.N. members outlaw homosexuality, and in several of them
homosexual acts can be punished by execution.
Co-sponsored by France and the Netherlands, the declaration was signed
by all 27 European Union members, as well as Japan, Australia, Mexico
and three dozen other countries. There was broad opposition from Muslim
nations, and the United States refused to sign, indicating that some
parts of the declaration raised legal questions that needed further review.
"It's disappointing," said Rama Yade, France's human rights minister, of
the U.S. position — which she described as in contradiction with
America's long tradition as a defender of human rights.
According to some of the declaration's backers, U.S. officials expressed
concern in private talks that some parts of the declaration might be
problematic in committing the federal government on matters that fall
under state jurisdiction. In numerous states, landlords and private
employers are allowed to discriminate on the basis of sexual
orientation; on the federal level, gays are not allowed to serve openly
in the military.
Carolyn Vadino, a spokeswoman for the U.S. mission to the U.N., stressed
that the United States — despite its unwillingness to sign — condemned
any human rights violations related to sexual orientation.
Gay rights activists nonetheless were angered by the U.S. position.
"It's an appalling stance — to not join with other countries that are
standing up and calling for decriminalization of homosexuality," said
Paula Ettelbrick, executive director of the International Gay and
Lesbian Human Rights Commission.
She expressed hope that the U.S. position might change after
President-elect Barack Obama takes office in January.
Also denouncing the U.S. stance was Richard Grenell, who until two
months ago had been the chief spokesman for the U.S. mission to the U.N.
"It is ridiculous to suggest that there are legal reasons why we can't
support this resolution — common sense says we should be the leader in
making sure other governments are granting more freedoms for their
people, not less," said Grenell, who described himself as a gay
Republican. "The U.S. lack of support on this issue only dims our once
bright beacon of hope and freedom for those who are persecuted and
More than 50 countries opposed to the declaration, including members of
the Organization of the Islamic Conference, issued a joint statement
Thursday criticizing the initiative as an unwarranted attempt to give
special prominence to gays and lesbians. The statement suggested that
protecting sexual orientation could lead to "the social normalization
and possibly the legalization of deplorable acts" such as pedophilia and
The declaration also has been opposed by the Vatican, a stance which
prompted a protest in Rome earlier this month.
A Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the Roman Catholic
Church opposed the death penalty and other harsh repression of gays and
lesbians, but he expressed concern that the declaration would be used as
pressure against those who believe marriage rights should not be
extended to gays.
A new Vatican statement, issued Thursday, endorsed the call to end
criminal penalties against gays, but said that overall the declaration
"gives rise to uncertainty in the law and challenges existing human norms."
The European nations backing the declaration waged their campaign in
conjunction with the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of
The Dutch foreign affairs minister, Maxime Verhagen, said countries that
endorsed that 1948 document had no right to carve out exceptions based
on religion or culture that allowed discrimination against gays.
"Human rights apply to all people in all places at all times," he said.
"I will not accept any excuse."
He acknowledged that the new declaration had only symbolic import, but
said it marked the first time such a large number of nations had raised
the cause of gay rights in the context of General Assembly proceedings.
"This statement aims to make debate commonplace," he said. "It is not
meant to be a source of division, but to eliminate the taboo that
surrounds the issue."
Although the declaration's backers were pleased that nations on six
continents had signed it, there were only two from Asia and four from
Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
The text of the UN declaration:
Another report from the French Press Agency (AFP)
"Coalition asks UN to decriminalize homosexuality"
"1 in 100 U.S. Adults Behind Bars, New Study Says"
"Prisons, Jails & Probation - Overview"
"New High In U.S. Prison Numbers"
US homeless population:
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