Someone just sent me some horrific new photos from Moscow Pride yesterday that show the police, some clearly in plainclothes, man-handling Dan Choi, and Russian and international LGBT advocates, and at one point apparently flipping Dan upside down. It’s vile stuff. I’ve grabbed copies of the photos in case the Russians pull them down. You need to go see them (click through, the red rectangle in the upper right hand corner of the photo to advance to the next).
Specifically check out photo 12 showing the undercover cops carrying Dan while he’s screaming, photo 13 where they’re covering Dan’s mouth with their hands in order to stop anyone from hearing him, and photo 18 where the undercover cop quite literally has Dan turned upside down in the air.
Then go sign Dan’s public letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, demanding that she speak out against the violence perpetrated by the Russian police against peaceful LGBT demonstrators yesterday in Moscow. American citizens were man-handled by the Russian authorities yesterday. Our government should be defending them, and every gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender person living in Russia and around the world. (More background on this story here.)
Mark Friesland, who alerted me to the photos, added this analysis:
Here are two photos of Dan Choi being arrested in Moscow. There were published in the newly revamped Известия (“News”- “Izvestia” the Soviet era rag which is now called “Life News”). The link for the photos is here under “Гей-парад в Москве” (Gay Parade in Moscow):
I didn’t see these particular images in Western media or on your blog. They show Dan really being roughed up by the мили́ция (police militia). They don’t identify him, but I certain these pictures are of Dan. It also seems evident that some of the мили́ция were in plain-clothes acting as agents provocateurs. I have no doubt that some of the undercover мили́ция, while masquerading as morally-enraged passersby, engaged in violent behavior aimed at disrupting a peaceful gathering (like assaulting the Pride marchers and grabbing at their gay flags and Pride signs). Then the uniformed мили́ция step in to “separate the warring factions and restore public order” but only the gay people are arrested with the plain clothes мили́ция then taking part in the arrests! One of the many things I admire about Dan is that he can have the shit beat out of him but his hair still looks flawless. There was an editorial in Правда (“Truth” – yet another Soviet-era paper that has repeatedly reinvented itself) that really sums up the tragically Neanderthal attitude towards homosexuality in Russia:
“В конце концов мало кого волнует, чем два человека занимаются дома за закрытыми дверьми. Но если они начинают заниматься этим публично – это в любом случае правонарушение. И даже если они начинают громко, на публику информировать о подробностях своей интимной жизни, они скорее всего окажутся либо в машине скорой помощи, либо в отделении милиции. И тут совершенно не важно, какой сексуальной ориентации они придерживаются.”
“Finally, few people care about what two individuals do at home behind closed doors. But if they start to do it publicly, it is always offensive. And if they start proclaiming loudly to the public about the details of their sex lives, they are likely to end up either in an ambulance or at the police station. Then it will not matter what sexual orientation they adhere to.”
[“придерживаются” which I translate as “adhere to” is a word that implies choice, like one would choose to be an adherent of a particular religion or a political party – as opposed to the modern idea that sexuality is innate and something we are born with like our eye color.]
Not including Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, probably only Serbia is worse than Russia in terms of this violent and repressive mentality towards gay folks. The bit about ending up in an ambulance or a police station is more than irony. It is a threat.
Finally, if the мили́ция arresting Dan are “protecting him,” why are they clamping his mouth shut?