Tuesday, March 31, 2009
March 12, 2009: Amnesty International called for the immediate intervention of Iraq's Justice Minister to stop the execution of 128 prisoners on death row, amid reports that the authorities are planning to start executing in batches of up to 20 starting next week.
On March 9, 2009, the Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council informed Amnesty International that Iraq's Presidential Council ratified the death sentences of 128 people whose sentences were already confirmed by the Cassation Court.
The Iraqi authorities have not disclosed the identities of those facing imminent execution, stoking fears that many of them may have been sentenced to death after trials that failed to satisfy international standards for fair trial. Most are likely to have been sentenced to death by the Central Criminal Court of Iraq (CCCI), whose proceedings consistently fall short of international standards for fair trial. (Sources: PRnewswire.com, 12/03/2009>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
As the US joins the coalition of nations to push back criminalization of gay people around the globe; Iraq plans to begin executing gay people.
What a shame! In a world that is slowly accepting gay people in so many ways, Iraq pushes forward with their country's bias against us.
Seems not long ago, fears of such violence were upon my brow as a young gay man in Illinois. In high school, there were threats made to me, and i was not even "out" yet. It seemed these kids knew before being told that I was gay. Their threats kept me hidden for years afterward.
When Matthew Shepherd was brutally killed in Laramie, Wyoming, on October 12, 1998; he was a mere 21 years of age. His death shook fear up my spine. I came out in 1992. His death was a horrific reminder of my high school years.
Yet, nothing like I ever had to face is even remotely close to what the men imprisoned in Iraq are facing. I hear news releases like these and think of Islam, the religion of peace... and I think to myself, another proponent of hate.
But soon, I am reminded of Christianity and Catholicism in America. The hatred of American Christians against the gay community is rampant here also. I am not so sure if many of these people wish any less "good will" to me and my comrades.
Coming out...is a lifelong series of events, not a one time thing. True, once you come out to those you know, you are out and there is no taking that back. But, with each new person you meet, it is a new decision to either revisit your "Closet" or come out to them as well. And...each time we out ourselves, we are faced with the possibilities of hatred and ridicule all over again. However, seldom do we face such intense hatred face to face.
I had one such experience recently at my work in Houston, Texas. I am a truck driver for one of America's largest carriers. During a safety meeting, oddly enough, I found myself in a room alone with a man who is generally cantankerous at best. He was aware of my being gay and had been for quite some time. He took this occasion to share with me that he is so upset with all the news about gay things happening around the world...he wished the government would declare open season on gays. Now, this man is a man who is always talking about God, mind you. Then, he said to me that he was ready to load his gun and start shooting gay people..as many as he could find till he was caught. Well, his story was one which brought fear into the forefront of my mind again. To this day, I just say hello and pass him by quickly. I considered whether to report the issue to my bosses, but figured he was probably just venting his frustrations. But, who knows? The world is such an unstable place.
I share this story to say that anti-gay sentiment is a daily routine to those of us who chose to let it be known who we are. We are not just happily accepted by everyone. And...one of our biggest haters is the Church.
To this I ask, "What would Jesus do?"
Well, seeing as he hung out with prostitutes, alcoholics, and the unclean; I think Jesus would definitely NOT act the way our Church "Leaders" are characterising. I think Jesus would do as he did with the harlot about to be stoned, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."
And at this point, I ask again, Who amongst you is without sin? So, why are you picking up that stone to condemn a gay person? Are you not daily guilty of sins yourself? What makes your pet sin any less offensive to God?
To Iraq I ask, does not the Koran say in the section of The Unbelievers:
[109.2] I do not serve that which you serve,
[109.3] Nor do you serve Him Whom I serve:
[109.4] Nor am I going to serve that which you serve,
[109.5] Nor are you going to serve Him Whom I serve:
[109.6] You shall have your religion and I shall have my religion.
Is it not true that there is allowance to drive out from amidst you the unbelievers? And is there no place in all the world where these men,who do not believe as you do, can go? Some nation, MY OWN, which will take such unbelievers? Must death once again be YOUR only option? Cannot you exile these men to another country where they can live amongst those who will accept them, O Iraqi Leaders? Must you so tarnish your new stature amongst the nations of the world in this way?
America? President Obama? Someone bigger than I? Can we not stop this madness before it is too late?