The Russian police arrested gay activists today for protesting outside the Sochi Olympic headquarters. (The Russians are hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics in the town of Sochi, Russia.)
Of course, what the Russians activists should do is carry signs with the names of Olympics sponsors, like Coke, GE, Visa, McDonald’s, Omega, Panasonic, Dow and Samsung. Then watch the Russians manhandle people carrying the names of those companies, and watch the companies cringe at what their Olympic sponsorship is buying them.
No one wants their brand in the middle of a video of a fag-bashing.
While the activists were quite brave in standing up to certain police arrest – pro-gay protests, or even speech, are illegal in Russia – it’s unfortunate that the protesters included in their group known anti-Semite, Nikolai Alexeyev, who refers to Jews as “kikes,” and recently claimed, in the middle of a weeklong anti-Semitic meltdown, that Jews make vodka from their own sperm.
Our community is better than this. At least it’s supposed to be.
I’ve noticed some top gay “news” sites continuing to go to the anti-Semite Alexeyev for comment, without mentioning his discredited status, or his refusal to apologize for his horrifically bigoted comments of only one month ago. There is no place in a civil rights movements for someone who calls Jews “kikes.” Not to mention, there’s also no room for someone who appears to now be helping the enemy. Here’s Russian journalist and activist Masha Gessen:
“I have great respect for some of the work Nikolai Alexeyev has done in the past,” Gessen said, offering her beliefs on what might have happened to him. “And I have had disagreements with him on many occasions in the past. What I do know is that he’s given every sign of working for the Kremlin right now. Whether he was coerced or blackmailed into doing that through threat of arrest, which exists, through the search of his apartment, which occurred, or seduced by money, at this point he’s being used as a spokesperson by the Kremlin.” (Alexeyev declined a request for an interview.)
When it comes down to it, no one would fraternize with a “human rights activist” who calls blacks the n-word, calls Latinos “wetbacks,” or calls gays “fags.” There’s no excuse for the tolerance some in our community, and some on the left generally, show when the victims of bigotry are Jewish.
Russia has more than enough activists to take this individual’s place.
Putting that aside, hats off to the other activists. I can only imagine what it’s like to protest like that in a virtual police state. As Gessen has noted previously, thank God the international community is watching, as it makes it all the harder for the Putin regime to crackdown on its gay and trans citizens, knowing the world is watching.