Gaddafi’s Last Stand

I awoke to the news that mad Gaddafi is dead. I would have preferred him to stand trial (a fair trial that is) but I understand why they put the old dog down. I went right off him when cocktails with the captain on board HMS Cumberland were called off at the last minute because the ship was diverted from Bodrum to Libya to evacuate foreign nationals. There was no rum punch or frigging in the rigging for us. It was enough to make me want to topple a dictator. As the Arab spring rolls into winter will Assad be next? I hope so. But, what of the medieval monarchs and mad mullahs in the rest of the Middle East? Their iron grip is likely to hold a while yet.

I wish all Libyans, Tunisians and Eqyptians genuine democracy, pluralism, secularism and respect for individual rights. Will I be holding my breath? Probably not.

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No Arab Spring for Syria

It looks like the Libyan nutter is finished. Good riddance to bad rubbish. What of Syria? I came across the blog of a young gay Syrian called Sami. He writes with great courage and eloquence about his plight as gay man in an Arab state – and his profound worry about his family as the Assad regime continues its march of murderous oppression. At first, I was a little suspicious after the hoax blog by a Syrian lesbian that turned out to be an American writer living in Scotland. Now, I’m convinced it’s genuine. As with the entire Arab world, being gay in Syria is illegal and punishment is severe. Of course, man on man action is virtually obligatory; access to the fairer sex is restricted before marriage, and sheep are hard to find in Damascus. Boys will be boys after all. Just don’t say ‘gay’. Well, at least they don’t string them up like they do in Saudi Arabia and non-Arab Iran so that’s alright then. Gay rights are human rights and human rights are thin on the ground for anyone in Syria right now.

Sami writes:

The regime is still killing in Hama – yesterday they started assassinating doctors to increase fatalities. They are slowly killing my nephew, and killing me in the process. The only image that is in my mind now is of his smile when he calls my name and says, ‘You draw a cat, I draw a dog’. Syrian Gay Guy

I posted a few words of support on Sami’s blog. It was the least I could do and a small, small thing I did as we watch the body count grow. To think young people were rioting in London for a new pair of Nikes. Let’s wish for a belated Arab spring in Syria.