The Pink Humanist Archive.Read past feature article

FOLLOWING the publication yesterday of an open letter to Prime Minister David Cameron by Stephen Fry in which he condemned the “toxic mix of shaven headed thuggery and bigoted religion” currently being used to terrorise LGBT communities in Russia, Nick Griffin, leader of the neo-fascist British National Party, told Fry to “get over it”.

The despicable homophobe and political pygmy, who once described gay people as creepy, said Russia’s decision to introduce anti-gay laws is because the country favours “traditional values”.

Griffin, MEP for the North-West of England tweeted the gay author, actor and broadcaster to say:

Some people & nations just favour traditional values – get over it! Russia has rights too.

In his letter, sent to Cameron, International Olympics Committee President Jacques Rogge and Lord Coe, Fry asked them to cancel the 2014 Winter Olympics scheduled to take place in Sochi.

He said:

An absolute ban on the Russian Winter Olympics of 2014 on Sochi is simply essential. Stage them elsewhere in Utah, Lillehammer, anywhere you like. At all costs Putin cannot be seen to have the approval of the civilised world.

In comparing events in contemporary Russia to the scapegoating of Jews in Nazi Germany, Fry said that President Putin:

Is eerily repeating this insane crime, only this time against LGBT Russians. Beatings, murders and humiliations are ignored by the police. Any defence or sane discussion of homosexuality is against the law. Any statement, for example, that Tchaikovsky was gay and that his art and life reflects this sexuality and are an inspiration to other gay artists would be punishable by imprisonment.

It is simply not enough to say that gay Olympians may or may not be safe in their village. The IOC absolutely must take a firm stance on behalf of the shared humanity it is supposed to represent against the barbaric, fascist law that Putin has pushed through the Duma.

Let us not forget that Olympic events used not only to be athletic, they used to include cultural competitions. Let us realise that in fact, sport is cultural. It does not exist in a bubble outside society or politics. The idea that sport and politics don’t connect is worse than disingenuous, worse than stupid. It is wickedly, wilfully wrong. Everyone knows politics interconnects with everything for ‘politics’ is simply the Greek for ‘to do with the people’.

He added:

I have visited Russia, stood up to the political deputy [Milanov] who introduced the first of these laws, in his city of St Petersburg. I looked into the face of the man and, on camera, tried to reason with him, counter him, make him understand what he was doing.

All I saw reflected back at me was what Hannah Arendt called, so memorably, ‘the banality of evil’. A stupid man, but like so many tyrants, one with an instinct of how to exploit a disaffected people by finding scapegoats. Putin may not be quite as oafish and stupid as Deputy Milanov, but his instincts are the same.

I am gay. I am a Jew. My mother lost over a dozen of her family to Hitler’s anti-Semitism. Every time in Russia (and it is constantly) a gay teenager is forced into suicide, a lesbian ‘correctively’ raped, gay men and women beaten to death by neo-Nazi thugs while the Russian police stand idly by, the world is diminished and I for one, weep anew at seeing history repeat itself.

The full text of Fry’s letter can be read here.

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