When the issue of having gays and lesbians *eligible to adopt children crops up one frequently finds people saying: “what about the child’s right to have a mother and father”?

This question is erroneous by nature.

First of all, there is no such right. Unfortunately, for various inevitable reasons such as parents who are deceased, imprisoned or not fit to raise their own children, some children are going to be deprived of living in a traditional family.

None of these is the fault of the state or some public institution thus, unlike when real human rights (such as freedom of speech, or arbitrary arrest) are breached, an orphan or a child that for some reason cannot live with his biological parent, could not seek compensation.

Secondly, it is these kind of children that get adopted. If LGBT people become eligible to adopt, no one is going to snatch children from happily married heterosexual couples to give them to homosexual couple to bring up.

All things being equal, if I had to be born again, I would like to be brought up by a heterosexual couple. The reason for this is that stigma on homosexuality still exists in much of the world and this is likely to have some effect on me (such as bullying at school).

But if my choice was between being brought up in say, an orphanage, without the individual attention a child desperately needs, or by a loving same-sex couple I would choose the second without a moment hesitation.

In a nutshell a child adopted by a homosexual couple is not going to be deprived from living with a mother and father any more than he already is.

*Contrary to popular belief, adoption is not a right. The prospective adoptive parents are assessed (thoroughly, one must say) and if it is deemed in the best interest of the child, they will be allowed to adopt. At present, homosexual couples are not eligible to adopt. In other words, for some children living in an orphanage, there are homosexual couple that have the potential of giving them a better life, that can’t even file the application.

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The savages in the video below did not win the general elections in Greece. In fact they just got 7% of the vote. Neither are they likely to form a coalition with any other mainstream party, which has somewhat to do with the fact that one of their slogans is “We are against everyone”.

They’re called Golden Dawn and are the horrific face of the Greek far-right. They contested democratic elections, even though the visceral hatred they have for anything democratic is more than obvious.

Golden Dawn politicians and activists have a long history of violence, not only towards immigrants but also leftists, journalists as well as anyone who doesn’t speak Greek. In fact they have an obsession with the Greek language.

The cause of the mayhem by Golden Dawn activists in the video below is that a Greek “traitor” dared publish a dictionary that translates Greek to Macedonian.

Some of Golden Dawn’s members were also members of the Greek Volunteer Guard (GVG) which took part in the genocide in Srebrenica in July 1995.

The party’s main proposals include sending immigrants to concentration camps and planting landmines in the Greek-Turkish border.

I’ve argued elsewhere that the far-right problem in Europe should not be countered with censorship and repression. My view on politicians like Geert Wilders of the PVV or the British Nationalist Party is that they should be allowed full democratic rights and freedom of expression. Their views will be easily argued against by activists from the mainstream, both from those on left and those on the right.

I have to take an exception here. Democratic rights should be granted to those who abide by the rules of democracy not violent savages. Assaulting people and terrorizing your opponents is not freedom of expression.

Political activism is about a battle of ideas, including extreme ideas. The Nazi thugs terrorizing neighbourhoods in Athens aren’t debating with ideas but fists, baseball bats and bombs. (Party leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos (the speaker in the first video) himself has been arrested for the illegal possession of explosives).

Now the same thugs are in the Greek parliament. As Michaloliakos himself said, it’s time for those who love peace and democracy to be afraid.

When Poland was under the Soviets, Trade Unionist Lech Walesa used to greet his fellow Solidarity members with rosary beads in his hands. It wasn’t simply a religious act. It was an act of rebellion. The Soviets had taken all freedoms from the people of this vastly Catholic country including freedom of worship. The Poles were up in arms and the Catholic church was by their side. Rightly so.

Freedom of worship is a fundamental human right and a society that tramples upon it can never claim it’s a democracy.

Unlike the “forced atheism” of the Soviets, Malta is today witnessing a wave of secularism. Believers and non-believers are coming to the rational agreement that freedom of worship should be accompanied by the freedom not to worship. That, within the remit of the law, everyone is free to practice his religion but not to impose it on others.

This change was particularly marked by the divorce referendum, where 53% of the voters, a substantial amount of whom must be Catholics, agreed that if a marriage is over, one should call a spade a spade and declare it over. Whether the former spouse decides to have a new relationship and even get married again or not, is up to him. If he considers that a sin because his Catholic beliefs, he has every right to remain single.

Like always, this created a backlash from fundamentalist Catholics who consider imposing their beliefs a human right. They are even uniting on Facebook in a group they call “The Catholic Vote”. Discussing the usual issues: Divorce, same-sex marriage, abortion, euthanasia, IVF and occasionally even drug legalization. Needless to say, compassion, forgiveness or, horror of horrors, turning the other cheek don’t feature anywhere in the discussions.

I won’t enter the merits of the issues but rather the tactics used to achieve their goals. One of them is lumping all issues together and threatening that if say, a legislation regulating same-sex relations is passed this will pave way for the much more frowned upon abortion. When truth is that there is absolutely nothing in common with these issues except for the fact that the Catholic church opposes them both.

Another tactic is implying that everyone who disagrees with them is a sleazy hedonist, who wants to cheat on his wife and most probably takes drugs!

Then there is the ultimate tactic: Playing the victims. The terms “harassing Christians” and “Christianophobia” are regularly used. Yes, for these fundamentalists, daring to disagree with them is considered as harassment, even hatred.

There will be no mincing of words on this. Unlike Lech Valesa, you don’t have a case. No one is going to take away your religion. Stop playing the victim, grow up and get over it.

Christianophobia may be a reality in Nigeria and Egypt where attending mass might get you bombed but not in Catholic majority Malta. The “secularists” and “humanists” you hate so much, would be the first to defend you if someone tries to forcibly take religion from you.

But it’s not the case. And you know it.

Second only to the lack of concrete reason for the senseless violence, what was most striking about the riots in Britain was the extreme restraint the police used with the rioters and looters. Even myself, a strong believer in civil liberties and a hardliner against police brutality felt like screaming “what the hell are you doing, protect the people, they’re burning everything down and all you do is just watch

 

The lack of action by the police has also lead to the formation of vigilante groups of people trying to protect their areas. Once again, I’m generally against vigilantism, but how could I not approve otherwise peaceful people protecting their locality from burning?

This is all very strange, since the British police aren’t usually known for their softness. The most notorious tactic used by Britain’s police is known as kettling, used for the first time against people with a disability fighting for their rights in 1995.

Kettling involves a large number of police officers forming a cordon among the protesters and then tightening them up, many times for long hours without access for food, water, and fresh air.

https://i0.wp.com/previous.presstv.ir/photo/20110321/lotfi_morteza20110321171002793.jpg

 

This tactic, which has become closely associated with Britain’s police is a serious violation of Human Rights for many reasons. It is a type of collective punishment because if only a small section of the protesters are turning rowdy, all the rest have to suffer being in the cordon. There have also been many cases of passer bys being caught inside the kettle.

 

It has also been criticized for the fact that it is sometimes used pre-emptively with peaceful protesters and that rather than contain violence, the intention is mainly to deter people from going out to protest in the first place.

 

Some high profile cases where this was used in the UK, include the Mayday protests of 2001, the G8 summit of 2005, G20 of 2009 as well as last March during the anti-austerity protests.

 

While none of these protests was a full blown riot – at times there was no violence at all – by the time of writing (5th day of the London riots) not only kettling has not been used, but as everyone can see the rioters and looters are many times being allowed to do what they want.

 

Why have Britain’s police moved from excessive brutality practiced for the last 15 years, to this soft handedness in a matter of months? I don’t want to get into some conspiracy theory, but in face of such contradictions one starts thinking the absurd.

 

Is it possible that kettling and brutality have been used because all the other occasions, involved organized people demanding rights, while in this case this is just senseless violence? Since kettling usually provokes a backlash, is it possible that the police were instructed to turn non-violent people violent deliberately so that people justifiably demanding their rights come to be seen as violent thugs in front of the media?

The following video clip did not take long to go viral. Rightly so, I myself laughed my brains out and watched it a dozen times:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euXQbZDwV0w

If I was gay and living in Uganda though, I wouldn’t find it that funny. The Evangelical Pastors featured in the clip are not joking. This is actually propaganda to introduce the death penalty for homosexual “repeated offenders”

, the offence being having sex with a same-sex partner. Even more sinister, the proposed bill will also make not-reporting homosexual activity a crime punishable with imprisonment. Even if one of the homosexuals involves happens to be your own son or daughter. (By the time of writing the bill has not been approved, but there is serious risk it will with some minor modifications).

Thankfully in Malta religious leaders don’t indoctrinate their followers that homosexuals eat each other’s shit. However while our local human rights activists are concerned about the rights of Uganda’s homosexuals, an Evangelical Pastor is preaching smaller scale but equally hateful propaganda to his followers – homosexuals can be cured. (Most probably he’s not saying that they “eat the poo poo” here in order not to make himself a laughing stock.)

The Pastor, Gordon Manche was strongly condemned by most Maltese on online media. I am also sure that even most conservative Catholics and Muslims in Malta disagree with Mr Manche, and more so with the Ugandan preachers (though both Catholic and Muslim authorities in Malta have used the rhetoric of “living in sin” when referring to homosexuals).

My fear is however that a group of people are suffering in silence because of Mr Manche. I am referring to those gays and lesbians in the Pastor’s own community. Homosexuals who have no other choice then denying who they really are from others and many times also from themselves.

Homophobia – fear and/or hatred for homosexuals – is mainly caused by such religious zealots. Though they will never admit it, most homophobes are homosexuals themselves who can’t come to terms with their own sexuality. In a way, one can’t blame them. Imagine the psychological harm on these people who have been indoctrinated since young age that “God hates gays” only to grow up and realize they have feeling for people of the same sex. That what they feel is a result of a disease and is disgusting. The truth is so hard that these people enter into an extreme self-denial and go to the other extreme – blame those who are like them but have managed to accept their reality. Sometimes these people resort to violence towards homosexuals, and even murder, the most prominent case of which is that of Matthew Shepard:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Shepard

Only one thing can end this madness – education, compulsory if need be. Those children attending Pastor Manche’s hate speech need to know the other reality, the truth. Same goes for those coming from conservative Catholic or Muslim families. They need to know that whatever the Pastor, priest or Imam says, they are lovable human beings as they are.

Because no, homosexuals don’t eat the poo poo. Neither can they be cured from a disease that doesn’t exist.

Even though I agree with their cause, I must admit I never really fancied most pro-life movements. I’m not referring to their followers, most of whom are genuine believers in the value of human life, like myself but to the lobbyists.

Many times it is a movement that comes out of the religious right in the U.S, the same lobbyists that gave us George W Bush and the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lobbyists that support unfettered capitalism and ironically ally themselves with a notorious “human rights” lobbying group – the right to bear arms!

I definitely do not fancy Malta’s pro-life movement Gift Of Life, and the public figure or Paul Vincenti. The most obvious reason for this is not the U.S religious right connotations but their strategies, the latest being an attempt to put a link between divorce and abortion.

The worst thing about their strategies is that they are many times harming their cause (albeit non-intentionally) – preventing abortion from entering Malta. Abortion is a taboo subject in this country. No serious organisation is lobbying for it and the only people contesting elections who have abortion on their agenda are not political parties but freak independent candidates like Norman Lowell, Emmy Bezzina, and John Zammit. What Gift of Life are doing is putting the abortion issue on the discussion table. Thanks to them (much more than the freak candidates) abortion is now being discussed. A step forward from being just a taboo subject. Though the absolute majority of us (87% according to GoL surveys) are against it, now we started to talk about it, rather than disregard the subject completely. It’s like having Birdlife putting up a fight in a country where hunting is illegal and there is no serious lobbying group that wants to introduce it. Fighting what? Windmills?

Having said that, what I really don’t like in this movement is that it is completely inconsistent. I’m referring specifically to their sheer silence when it comes to the right to life of refugees.

We are right now witnessing serious human tragedies a few miles away from our shores. People, many times fleeing death itself (something that those of us who’ve worked with refugees have no doubt about) drowning in the sea, or (in the recent past) being refused their right to seek asylum and sent back to the claws of murderers and torturers like Gaddafi.

Yet, from this pro-life movement, complete silence – even when the leader of the opposition voices words that can put in jeopardy the life of these human beings.

This movement’s symbol is 9+. Yet the impression they give is that while life starts from conception, it ends at birth. Maybe it will only touch these people if they remember that the refugee they are ignoring had once been a foetus. And that now that the foetus is born, it is still a human being that deserves, amongst other things – to live.

P.S: I want to make it clear that I’m criticizing this pro-life (and most others as mentioned above) lobbying group not pro-lifers. I have met a lot of people who are strongly pro life when it comes to the unborn child who are equally concerned and vocal about the right to life of refugees.

While this group intersects many times with the Catholic church, I am also not attributing this inconsistency to the church. A lot of people in the church have voiced their concern on the life of refugees. Not only the Jesuits, Fr Mark Montebello, the Archbishop of Gozo and other public figures but also a large number of lesser known priests and other people within the hierarchy of the Catholic church.

The year 1999 will definitely not be forgotten by the five Bulgarian nurses and Palestinian doctor wrongly accused on one of the most heinous crimes possible – deliberately infecting over 400 Libyan children with HIV. The evidence of their innocence is surmounting, from the clearly visible effects of torture they underwent in the Libyan prisons while they signed their “confessions”, to the witness of International scientists that said clearly the virus must have been present at least a year before the accused started working in the Hospital.

1999 was just the beginning of these six people’s nightmare. In 2004, the medics were sentenced to death. The nightmare ended in 2007 after the Bulgarian government forked out millions of dollars in compensation for each infected child to the Libyan authorities. The medics were declared as innocent within less than 45 minutes they set foot on Bulgarian territory.

Why did this frame up take place? The most probable reason is that these medics were used as a scapegoat to cover up the lack of hi-gene and professionalism in Libyan hospitals, the real reason why the virus had spread.

Dictator Gaddafi and his regime literally had the cake and are it. Not only did they cover up their mess (in front of the people of Libya with the controlled media, not the International community), but used it as an opportunity to extort millions of dollars from the Bulgarian government (with the help of some other countries).

Do I blame the Bulgarian government for giving up to this extortion? Hardly so. Just like a father whose child had been kidnapped forking out the money was the only way to save five nationals and another innocent human being from death.

Obviously this was a victory for the Libyan regime. In fact they learnt the lesson – extortion pays big time – and are doing it again, this time in different circumstances. During a visit to Italy, Colonel Gaddafi made a controversial speech scaring European with millions of ‘poor and ignorant’ Africans invading it, unless it does something. That something is once again extortion. Give me €500 a year to protect my borders, he asked the EU and I’ll ‘protect’ you from the Barbaric invasion.

Anyone with some common sense would not fall into this trap. Unlike the Bulgarian government, if the EU forked money to the Dictator, this time it would not take place to uphold the life of country nationals, but to deny the rights of non-Libyan Africans refugees to seek asylum. One should also include the fact that considering the extreme corruption that takes place in Libyan institutions many people will still ‘leak in’ if they have some cash.

By the time of writing EU officials have shunned these proposals or at least have been non-committed. Except for one country’s foreign minister. Our own Dr Tonio Borg, has told us it takes two to tango. In other words that we should appease Colonel Gaddafi and fork out the extortion money.

While writing this, it still hasn’t completely sunk in that apart from the disrespect for human rights, Dr Borg is putting Malta’s position towards Libya like that of a small Sicilian restaurant owner in front of a Mafia Don.

Thanks, but no thanks Dr Borg.