Friday, February 7, 2014
Our LGBT kindred in Russia, after the Winter Olympics in Sochi
I know it's been a while since I blogged, but I've been very very busy. However, here's something I think we need to be aware of.
If you're truly committed to helping LGBT Russians, you may want to consider how many you'll be able to take in after the Winter Olympics are over.
Yep, that's what I said, take in. Vlad tipped his hand before the Olympics by supporting legislation outlawing homosexuality in Russia, and between the police and the hate groups, the LGBT community there very well may see a pogrom of epic proportions executed against them.
I spent 14 years in special operations intelligence with a focus on the Soviet Union. I speak Russian. I've been to Russia. They hate gays and lesbians! They merely dislike Jews, but they hateLGBT people.
Russia is huge. There are already prisons scattered throughout central Russia and Siberia that would take very little to be turned into prison labor - or extermination - camps. Basically, modern day concentration camps or gulags. Russians have a history of dealing harshly with those who oppose authority or who go against the grain.
This is a pot that I've watched simmer since I was a soldier and it was still the USSR. The fall of the Berlin Wall, the break-up of the Soviet Union, and "democratization" - as such as it exists there - have kept the focus off LGBT issues and the real hatred a-bubble right under the surface. It took very little for it to boil over, though.
Post-Sochi, the best these folks can hope for is for Putin to denounce violence against gays. Putin is well respected among the Russians and they'll pay a certain amount of attention to his demands, but that's only if he requires this. Frankly, he probably won't.
When Adolf Hitler began his persecution of homosexuals, Jews, and foreigners, he began with gays. All of those he sought to suppress needed to flee the country as even hiding would do no good once the pervasive cloud of Naziism took hold. Other nations reached out to Jews and foreigners, but then, as now, no one reached out to gays (or lesbians, bisexuals, or transgendered).
If others won't, who will? Will we be the new Germans, those who turn aside when they see their neighbors oppressed, or will we step up and say 'not only no, but HELL NO?
Electronic activism won't do a damned thing for the LGBT community in Russia after the Olympics, if things should go sideways; the Russians don't give a damn what people do on Facebook and Vlad damn sure doesn't care.
There may soon come a time when we - WE - will be called upon to open our wallets and our homes and not merely our gadgets. There may come a time when WE become the partisans who find it necessary to create an Underground Railroad for our sisters and brothers in Russia. Will we? Will we step up and say 'count me in', or will we scroll past that TowleRoad item and look for a slightly less disturbing article?
Well, I'll go on the record here, and now: Count ME in! My home and my resources will be open to help. I hope that a peaceful solution can be achieved, but I give it almost zero chance.
Be vigilant, because when it starts, it will go like wildfire. One thing about having so many former military members, as Russia does, is that they know how to assault an objective and overwhelm it. They're actively organizing, even now, so they're already ready to attack.
The Soviets kicked off invasions of both Poland and Czechoslovakia with single-word radio transmissions. My point is, violence against our brothers and sisters could happen at any time, like a lightning strike.
Let's not let the worst happen.