Friday, July 25, 2008

Glasgow East

Keeping quiet about it at the moment. Surely by election losses are (even with big swings) not uniformly indicative of the outcome of the next General Election.

Congratulations to COC and FELGTB

Congrats to the two latest groups awarded consultative status at the UN to represent LGBT issues of concern - COC from the Netherlands and Spain's FELTGB.

Louise has already blogged (in a more timely manner....) and it is well covered on the ILGA Europe web site.

This is an important breakthrough at the UN where several other NGO's (including ILGA-Europe) have already been agreed after a long struggle with plenty of opposition. The latest vote on FELTGB was 22-20 with 9 abstaining, so still quite narrow margins but with strong advocacy from the EU countries and several African and Asian countries voting in support or abstaining.

Other recent international developments include:

The decision by the Council of Europe to incorporate work on sexual orientation and gender identity in its committees. This is a major step of great significance give that the Council of Europe includes all EU member states but also many countries not part of the EU (e.g. Russia).

Similarly the Organisation of American States also recently adopted a resolution to endorse the need for action to protect people on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Also recently the ETUC has published "Extending Equality - trade union actions to organize promote equal rights, respect and dignity for workers regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity"

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

How much did ordinary people know?

I was genuinely thrilled by news of the arrest of Radovan Karadzic. It comes after the installation of a new pro-EU government in Serbia only recently, itself born of political instability following the West's recognition of an independent Kosovo.

I was thrilled until I saw footage on More 4 news tonight.

It showed the Serbs leading off groups of Muslim men (the youngest was 16). They lay them down (film footage continuing) and shot above their heads. Then they stood them up and walked them further into the woods and shot them standing up (Channel 4 froze the footage at the point just prior to the execution), remaining civilians were required to carry away those who had just been killed before they themselves were blindfolded and shot in the back of the head.

It was terrible, painful, distressing viewing. It showed graphically that the Nazi time did not irrevocably end in 1945 but was allowed to resurface in recent times.

As has often been asked of "ordinary Germans" in the Nazi time, how many of us knew?

I'd wager a fair number. I know that I did. Our governments did, but didn't act except to restrain Bosnian Muslims from defending themselves while 'ethnic cleansing' continued unhindered. (This changed after the West finally lost faith in modern day appeasement of mass slaughter and started bombing Serbia and later intervened in Kosovo).

Remember Srebrenica, remember Sarajevo.

We knew. It happened on our watch.