Enough of the liberal pieties on Sochi and gay rights
Neelika Jayawardane | February 10th, 2014


The Guardian‘s website decided to have a rainbow “G” in its title during the past few days in order to support LGBT rights, and to thumb its nose at Russia (a few other news broadcasters/outlets did, too), just as Google did last week with its rainbow doodle. I’m sure they feel very pleased with themselves. But did they do anything symbolic in support of Nigerians, Ugandans, Malawians, Zambians when they needed support most, when the hate that US televangelists were funding throughout subsaharan Africa was coming to fruition, in tandem with opportunist political manoeuvres by savvy local politicians? Nope. These are powerful corporations. They can do a whole hell of a lot more than include pretty pictures and colours in “support” of causes (this sort of gesture is similar to other inane nonsense like buying red stuff to spread “awareness” of HIV and AIDS). Google and the Guardian: what about doing something substantial, like countering the monies that US evangelical churches siphon to African countries with funding for the LGBT communities in those key warzones?

Russia’s disgraceful treatment of LGBT people has also given US liberals a fake moral premise to take the piss out of Russia (see US internet passim – reporters have even started making stuff up to get hits). These are the same people who have nothing to say about the US’s own anti-LGBT laws, who are uncomfortable saying anything about how political prisoners like Chelsea Manning have been relegated to the rubbish heap of US history, while those whose actions she spoke up against remain quite free to receive my taxpayer dollars as part of their salaries/retirement. While companies with cute graphics project themselves as serious, sophisticated, ultra-modern advocates of LGBT rights (and don’t do “evil”), they are just old-fashioned nationalists who do nice things that don’t cost them politically or financially.

This just in: the Cold War is over, people. And anyway, that war was actually fought in Africa and South/S.East Asia all along. For all the morally superior US Google-liberals, over the weekend one of our readers posed a question for you: “Should other countries boycott if the US hosts an Olympics because of its drone program?”

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35 thoughts on “Enough of the liberal pieties on Sochi and gay rights

  1. This article is spectacular.

    1. The U.S. Evangelical movement is not the government.

    2. The writer seems to have picked the evangelical movement as a point of argument at complete random, aside from the fact they deem it ‘bad’.

    3. Calling The Guardian and Google ‘powerful corporations’ and thus implying they are remotely similar is dumb.

    4. Wait, the Guardian should start sending funding to disadvantaged countries now? Then this would somehow justify them as…….. a newspaper? Or Google as a search engine? Will they then be permitted to take a stance on issues?

    5. So, the ‘liberal media’ shouldn’t be criticizing Russia, because the U.S. still have their own issues with LGBT prejudices? Those very prejudices are being criticized on a daily basis by the ‘liberal media’.

    6. Comparing the drone program to the oppression of the LGBT community in Russia is just…… I give up.

    7. Actually, no I don’t. Putting out a message expressing opposition to the Russian government’s behavior? That is literally ALL THAT THE GUARDIAN CAN DO. THEY ARE A PAPER. IT IS THEIR JOB.

    8. Google putting a LGBT banner on their site is actually a big deal. Although a lot of it doesn’t go to the right people, there is a stinking amount of money in Russia that is invested worldwide. Many of the companies like Google and Facebook working out of Palo Alto got the money needed to expand to their scale they are at through Russian investment (see ‘The Boy Kings’ by Katherine Losse), and they continue to exist partially because of these funds and a relationship with those investors. That’s before we even consider that they exist under the scrutiny of multiple governments and vested interests that aren’t Russian who will be alarmed by the choice to try and ‘send a message’. Putting that banner up took a risk far beyond their obligations, and is a show of support that they entire world will see every time they turn on a computer.
    This website is a joke. Read something else.

  2. Such self-righteous BS. First, equality is neither a “liberal” or “conservative” issue. Next, every person gay or hetero should be distrusting of government and corporations pandering. However, the attention is aimed at Russia now because they’re hosting the Olympics now. Nigeria, Uganda, Malawi, and Zambia aren’t hosting the Olympics or any major world events. This pathetic op-ed is just an attempt to minimize LGBT oppression.

    • As an LGBT individual I disagree. “rainbow-washing” as some call it has often been used like “green-washing” as a strategy to pander to neo-liberals (especially those who have a sizeable market presence). Not only is it used for corporate benefit but it has been used in situations like the Isreali-Palestinian conflict to further demonize one side. What this article is saying is that it’s a shallow effort if they don’t also spend some time raising awareness to lesser known oppression (and harsher) of LGBT individuals (Nigeria etc).

  3. The anti-Russia propaganda is obviously because Russia is a rival to US/Western hegemony over Central Asia and especially the energy resources of the region. It is all geopolitics and imperialism. US liberals are morons who are utterly mesmerized by identity politics navel gazing.

  4. Couldn’t agree more with you, so sick of the whole “hey, let’s troll Russia and its situation with gay rights” bandwagon. Not a homophobe in the slightest and I happen to live in a country that is considered “friendly” towards the gays.

    Let me start off by announcing this breaking piece of news – it is NOT illegal to be gay in Russia. Is it the best country to be gay in? No. Is it the worst? No. Stop acting like it is.

    The attention that gays/Russia are now receiving is NOT because of the Olympics, it’s because in this day and age with morons spending every waking moment on social media, everyone needs to feel important and have an opinion, a stance, to appear to be fighting to some sort of cause (have you noticed the sudden influx of pseudo vegetarians, vegans, people with made up sexualities (pan sexual?), made up genders (or lack thereof), animal rights extremists, etc?). So it’s the trendy thing to do right now, and everyone’s doing it. I guarantee you most of those people think it’s in fact illegal to be gay in Russia, which is not true. It’s exactly like Kony – retards with too much free time supporting a cause they have no clue about, just to be part of something.

    Let’s look at the facts, shall we? Russia is full of old religious people, is it really that hard to understand why it’s not really about rainbows and unicorns and cupcakes and glitter? The attitutude to homosexuality is hardly down to just a couple government guys. Give it a couple decades and the gay situation in Russia will improve automatically on its own thanks to the freedom of the Internet and the overall shift of attitude towards homosexuality across the globe, and decline of religion in the developed world.

    I can see the whole rainbow vomiting in Russia’s face as actually having an opposite effect on its citizens – they’ll probably grow even more resentful of the LGBT community, so yeah…

    I find it extremely hypocritical the whole “yay gays!” country collective pushing something down another country’s throat when they themselves have a ton of problems with the same issue. How about we fix our own countries before we try to fix others? How many gay teenagers still commit suicide in America due to extreme bullying? How many gay kids still get beat up on the streets of UK?

    And the most pathetic of all is the fact we all seem to have forgotten about all of the countries where being gay is truly horrible, which in Russia it is not. Yeah, why don’t we just ignore countries where being gay will get you stoned to death, or earn you a lovely cheerful “corrective rape”, because OH MY GOD we can’t throw gay pride parades in Russia, that is so much more important!

  5. The article is about politicized and propagandized selectivity of moral outrage. Powerful corporations and major media – such as, most certainly, the Guardian News Group – routinely deride ‘official’ enemies (and bete noires like Russia) with self-righteous indignation while routinely obfuscating or ignoring the comparable crimes of ‘our own’ teflon elites.

    None of that is news (read Noam Chomsky, Edward Herman, or Glenn Greenwald) and this piece merely highlights the latest batch of liberal hypocrisy – and does so lucidly.

    Liberals will always – always – take *feel-good* over *actual good*, because the latter is normally far less comforting, requiring serious work and radical questions. It’s much easier to reassure ourselves of our superiority by finger-pointing, while changing nothing about *our* lives, or how *we* live….

    Meanwhile the cozy living arrangements of privileged Westerners, ‘liberal’ or otherwise, across Europe and the US are buttressed by the most egregious human rights abuses, whether in the DRC, Saudi Arabia, China, or any other place we’re happy to poke fun at – or ignore completely – while our high-energy, high-amusement lifestyles are fuelled by *their* stolen wares, and *their* stolen lives.

    Great article, thanks. And the stream of hysterical indignation it’s provoked in the comments only testifies further to its troubling accuracy.

  6. I second the motion put forward by the author! Enough of those with white western privilege judging the cultures of others. When I am in America I cannot go through a day without person commenting unneeded on my clothing or the way I to wear my hair. In my home country, homosexuals are considered to be like pedophiles and rapist, it is our customs, yet I do not tell you you must consider pedophile ok in your western country.

  7. Televangelists are not the root of the problem. It’s not because these televangelists are popular that people develop conservative views about homosexuality. It is because they already have a deep-seated aversion to it that they gravitate toward the people who are telling them that they’re right to feel like that. In the same way that even secular people 50 years ago in Europe thought that homosexuality was a perversion.

    Polls in Uganda show that more than 90% of the population believes that society should not accept homosexuality. What exactly do you suggest Google and the Guardian do about that, and how exactly is it progressive to suggest that what the world needs is more Western companies interfering in the domestic affairs of African countries? Are you not aware that in Russia and many other countries, a gay rights organization that would get most of its support from other countries would be immediately labeled as a front organization for Western interests?

  8. Russia is evolving in terms of sexual orientation tolerance but it will take a while. In the mean time the same banking bloodlines, Rothschild, Warburg, Schiff, Kuhn & Loeb are hell bent on breaking up Russia, after Russia prevented the breakup of Syria to the same banking bloodlines.

    These banksters will use any means they can to smash up countries.

    Look at Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria et al.

    The deeper researcher may wish to study the Oded Yinon plan for more granular information.

  9. The world is spiraling at breakneck speed down the tunnel of corruption and idiocy and you are worried most about determining a severe enough punishment for persons not wearing the proper garb to celebrate pole smoking.
    Grow up!

  10. Neelika Jayawardane: I apologize to you for accusing you of trivializing LGBT oppression in reaction to this commentary – I was flat out wrong. Due to the excessive degradation I experience as a gay man, I can be extraordinarily sensitive about LGBT content online. Nonetheless, I was wrong to be so quick to accuse. I am sorry.

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