On occasions I am gobsmacked by the awful things that happen in the world. There’s an outrage every day that can be upsetting, or make me angry; but of course I don’t just wander around in a slack-jaw daze. For the most part, I am able to moderate my outrage with a quick “Fuck you,” when some prick comes on the TV news to tell me how much better off I am now that GST is at 15 per cent and my rent’s gone up.
We tend to shield ourselves from “the horror, the horror”; then again, most of the horrible things don’t come to our attention. The news self-censors to ensure that we don’t get too depressed and turn on our masters.
Those awful things that do come to our attention are now so commonplace we are almost psychologically immune. When was the last time you were angered by a new wave of senseless killing in Baghdad, Kabul or Peshawar? Do you really care if the “red shirts” win or lose?
With this post I want to introduce a new category “outrageous misfortune”. A summary reminder that despite our ability for magical thinking there’s “shit happening” that we should be conscious of. Stuff that reminds us that there’s still a long way to go to make this lump of rock a really “wonderful world”.
A New South Wales government minister has been forced to resign his portfolio after a Sydney TV station revealed that the married man was visiting gay sex-on-premises venues.
That of course is not a crime in sexually-liberal Sydney, but David Campbell drove himself to the venue in his ministerial car. “Outrageous misfortune” indeed.
Channel Seven justifies its surveillance of Mr Campbell because he was seen as a “family values” politician. The serious implication here is that somehow family values are incompatible with being gay. Campbell was “accused” of visiting the gay club as if it was some sort of crime. It’s not illegal to be gay (even a closeted married gay) in NSW; but the fucked up holier-than-thou moral police in the media sense blood in the water around state politics and so Mr Campbell is just meat to them.
He wasn’t a very competent minister and the Labor government in NSW is an electoral stinker, but outing Campbell in this cruel way is really not part of the game.
We are no longer shocked by stories of woman being victimised and abused in Islamic countries, but we should not lose sight of the issue just because it is no longer unusual.
This is a particularly awful case. A young woman pack-raped in the backseat of a car. She is then charged with “sex out of wedlock”. The young woman had the outrageous misfortune to be born female in a disgustingly patriarchal society dominated by a fundamentalist clerical elite. However, we won’t be seeing any “Operation Emirati Freedom” anytime soon. This religious backwater is a glutton’s haven of oil reserves and a strong ally of The Great Satan.
Two young men expressing their love for each other. That’s OK right? Unless you’re a nasty bigoted God-botherer you should not have a problem with same-sex “relations”. This is the 21st century after all.
Apparently not in Malawi (nor in many other countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia).
Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, and Steven Monjeza, 26 were convicted of unnatural acts and gross indecency under laws dating from the colonial era. That last bit is the most worrying. The hangover of repressive laws from the colonial period that are still used to persecute locals.
Tiwonge and Steven had recently been through an informal “engagement” ceremony. They had the outrageous misfortune to be gay in a nation that won’t tolerate homosexuality. 14 years in jail is as good as a death sentence for these two young men.
One bright spark in this outrage though; Amnesty International is going to adopt the boys as prisoners of conscience and campaign for their release.