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European Union’s Big Test on Civil Rights June 12, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in international, lgbt Issues, politics, violence.

Men and women gather to rally for equal rights in a country whose government routinely denounces them as inferior beings. Government officials accuse them of criminal activities and of raping victims without any proof that a crime has even been committed. Right-wing parliamentarians encourage skinheads to "bash" these people with batons if they decide to organize or demonstrate for their rights. Federal prosecutors launch impromptu investigations to search for subversive or criminal activity in these civil rights groups in hopes of sparking immense fear… in hopes of pushing these people into the shadows and eliminate any dissent.

There are many parallels in history, but these events are daily occurrences in today's world. These violent actions inspired by pure hate are not taking place in Iran, Pakistan or North Korea, where most Western nations tend to point their finger. This violent uprising against a particular group of people is happening in the European Union. These atrocities are being committed by the Polish government against gays and lesbians.

President Lech KaczynskiThe conservative coalition government, under the leadership of President Lech Kaczynski (right) and Prime Minister Kazimierz, has made life increasingly difficult for Polish gays and lesbians. Their extreme rhetoric calls homosexuality "unnatural," and with the reinforcement of the Catholic Church, nine out of ten Polish citizens agree.

Despite a lack of response from U.S. LGBT groups (whether right or wrong), the American media may be on the verge of putting a spotlight on this issue. In addition to a few wire service reports on the oppression, yesterday's New York Times carried an editorial denouncing Poland's actions:

Some formerly Communist countries that eagerly joined the European Union are balking at the social policies that come with democracy. They are led by the union's largest new member, Poland, which is now run by a right-wing nationalist government that seems intent on violating the rights of minority groups, beginning with an attack on gays…Human Rights Watch reports that a League parliamentarian, Wojciech Wierzejski, accused homosexuals of running pedophile, drug-trafficking and other criminal organizations. At his urging, the state has instructed local prosecutors to investigate homosexuals for pedophilia.

President Kaczynski banned gay rights marches when he was mayor of Warsaw and members of the League [of Polish Family]'s youth wing have attacked gay rights marchers. Mr. Wierzejski said that people who marched in a gay rights demonstration planned in Warsaw this weekend should be "bashed with a baton."

Doug Ireland has also written extensively on the homophobia in Poland on his blog Direland. Anyone looking for more detailed information about the happenings in Poland must start with Direland.

The next few weeks and months will determine how effective the European Union, U.S. media and American LGBT groups are in responding to violence against a minority that is notoriously controversial. Are these institutions ready to play a role in ending violence abroad?


1. Tim D. (Seattle) - June 12, 2006

I think U.S. gay groups need to get involved. It is ridiculous that they have even waited this long… what is there to think about?

2. Joe in Warsaw - June 18, 2006

We would love it. USA groups should appear here for the parade next year. We should organzie this now and make this parade a huge party. 10,000 walked in the parade this year. We should triple this next year.

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