27.1.07

ROBERT FLYNT

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ΕΥΡΩΒΑΡΟΜΕΤΡΟ: ΚΑΝΟΥΜΕ ΔΙΑΚΡΙΣΕΙΣ ΚΑΙ ΤΟ ΓΝΩΡΙΖΟΥΜΕ

Διακρίσεις, η σκοτεινή πλευρά των ευρωπαϊκών κοινωνιών
του Γ. Δαράτου (ΑΥΓΗ, 23/1/2006)
Οι κοινωνικές, επαγγελματικές, οικονομικές κ.λπ. διακρίσεις με βάση το φύλο την εθνότητα ή τη φυλετική καταγωγή, την ηλικία, το σεξουαλικό προσανατολισμό, την αναπηρία, τη θρησκεία ή τις πεποιθήσεις, ανθούν στην Ευρώπη και την Ελλάδα σύμφωνα με τα αποτελέσματα πανευρωπαϊκής δημοσκόπησης (ευρωβαρόμετρο) που δημοσίευσε χθες η Κομισιόν.
Σύμφωνα με τα αποτελέσματα αυτά το 64% των Ευρωπαίων και το 76% των Ελλήνων πιστεύουν ότι οι διακρίσεις είναι διαδεδομένες στον τομέα της φυλετικής (εθνοτικής) καταγωγής των ατόμων. Το 41% των Ελλήνων και το 40% των Ευρωπαίων θεωρεί ότι οι διακρίσεις είναι διαδεδομένες με βάση το φύλο του ατόμου, ενώ το 68% των συμπατριωτών μας θεωρεί ότι είναι διαδεδομένες με βάση το σεξουαλικό προσανατολισμό (50% των Ευρωπαίων πιστεύει το ίδιο πράγμα).
Οι διακρίσεις υφίστανται πιστεύουν οι Έλληνες σε ποσοστό 47% και 43% αντίστοιχα εξαιτίας της ηλικίας και της θρησκείας (46% και 44% για τους άλλους Ευρωπαίους), διακρίσεις λειτουργούν στη χώρα τους λένε οι Έλληνες εις βάρος των αναπήρων (56%) και των αλλογενών (47%). Διαδεδομένες είναι οι διακρίσεις λένε οι Έλληνες σε ποσοστό 37% εις βάρος των ατόμων διαφορετικού σεξουαλικού προσανατολισμού (ομοφυλόφιλοι, λεσβίες κ.λπ.), ενώ το ποσοστό των Ευρωπαίων είναι 31% και σε ποσοστό 36% εις βάρος των ηλικιωμένων από των 50 ετών (38% των Ευρωπαίων).
Το 75% των Ελλήνων διαπιστώνει ότι η αστυνομία ελέγχει περισσότερο τους αλλοδαπούς από τους ίδιους (55% των Ευρωπαίων κάνει την ίδια διάγνωση).
Για το 85% των Ελλήνων η ομοφυλοφιλία είναι ένα θέμα - ταμπού στη χώρα μας (48% των Ευρωπαίων έχει την ίδια άποψη), ενώ το 84% των συμπατριωτών μας θεωρεί ότι είναι δύσκολο σ' έναν ομοφυλόφιλο να μιλήσει ανοικτά για τον σεξουαλικό προσανατολισμό του (68% των Ευρωπαίων έχει την ίδια άποψη).
Το 77% των Ελλήνων θεωρεί ότι η ομοφυλοφιλία συνιστά ένα μειονέκτημα μέσα στην κοινωνία μας (το 54% των Ευρωπαίων συμμερίζεται αυτή την άποψη)
. Μειονέκτημα θεωρούν οι Έλληνες να είσαι γυναίκα μέσα στην κοινωνια σε ποσοστό 18% σε αντίθεση προς τους άλλους Ευρωπαίoυς που θεωρούν την "ιδιότητα γυναίκα" μειονέκτημα σε ποσοστό 33%. Μειονέκτημα σε ποσοστά 77% και 66% θεωρούν οι Έλληνες να ειναι ένα άτομο Ρόμα (Τσιγγάνος) ή ηλικιωμένος άνω των των 50 ετών με αντίστοιχα ποσοστά για τους άλλους Ευρωπαίους το 77% επίσης και το 69%. "Κολλημένοι" κάπως περισσότερο στο χρώμα του δέρματος των ατόμων εμφανίζονται οι Έλληνες που πιστεύουν σε ποσοστό 69% ότι με τα ίδια ακριβώς τυπικά προσόντα (διπλώματα, γνώσεις κ.λπ.) οι μη λευκοί έχουν λιγότερες πιθανότητες να βρουν μια εργασία από τους λευκούς, ενώ το 57%, πιστεύει το ίδιο πράγμα για τις δυσκολίες να βρει εργασία όντας διαφορετικής φυλετικής προέλευσης. Τέλος, όπως ακριβώς και για τους μη λευκούς το 68% των συμπατριωτών μας πιστεύει ότι οι ομοφυλόφιλοι έχουν δυσκολίες να βρουν μια εργασία.
Επίσης, η μεγάλη πλειοψηφία των Ελλήνων θεωρούν ότι χρειάζονται περισσότερες γυναίκες σε διοικητικές θέσεις (85%, έναντι 77% στους 25), άτομα με αναπηρία σε θέσεις εργασίας (89% έναντι 74%) γυναίκες ως μέλη στο κοινοβούλιο (84% αντί 72%) και άτομα άνω των 50 ετών σε θέσεις εργασίας (76% αντί 72%). Τα στοιχεία της δημοσκόπησης καταδεικνύουν επίσης ότι στη χώρα μας είναι λιγότερες από την Ε.Ε. αναλογικά οι θετικές απαντήσεις εκείνων που πιστεύουν ότι χρειάζεται μεγαλύτερη εκπροσώπηση εθνικών μειονοτήτων στο κοινοβούλιο (23%, έναντι 44% ο μέσος όρος).
Σε ό,τι αφορά τη μάχη κατά των διακρίσεων οι Έλληνες σε ποσοστό 76% θεωρούν ότι κύριο ρόλο παίζουν το σχολείο και το πανεπιστήμιο (μ.ο. 42%) οι γονείς (57% έναντι 40%) και τα μέσα μαζικής ενημέρωσης (35% έναντι 34%).
Η ελληνική κοινή γνώμη τάσσεται υπέρ της ιδέας να ληφθούν μέτρα για ίσες ευκαιρίες στην απασχόληση. Ειδικότερα, 9 στους 10 συμπατριώτες μας επιθυμούν τη λήψη μέτρων για άτομα με αναπηρία (96%), για άτομα μεγαλύτερης ηλικίας (95%) και για ισότητα των φύλων 94% έναντι 79%. Σε άλλη ενότητα της δημοσκόπησης αναφορικά με τη γνώση της ύπαρξης νόμων κατά των διακρίσεων και τα δικαιώματα όσων πέσουν θύματα διακρίσεων ή παρενόχλησης, ένας στους δύο Έλληνες δηλώνει άγνοια. Το 54% των συμπατριωτών μας υποστηρίζει ότι δεν γνωρίζει τα δικαιώματά του κατά των διακρίσεων και μόνο το 38% απαντά θετικά.

26.1.07

ΑΠΕΙΛΕΣ ΚΑΤΑ ΤΗΣ ΖΩΗΣ ΤΟΥ ΠΡΩΤΟΥ ΖΕΥΓΑΡΙΟΥ ΑΝΔΡΩΝ ΠΟΥ ΠΑΝΤΡΕΥΤΗΚΕ ΣΤΗ Ν. ΑΦΡΙΚΗ

Death Threats Against First Gay Couple To Marry In S. Africa
365 Gay.com - 23 Jan 07
The first same-sex couple to legally marry in South Africa have become the targets of death threats and hate mail.
Vernon Gibbs and Tony Halls exchanged vows before a marriage officer in George, in the Southern Cape, shortly after the marriage law went into effect last month.
But since then they have received what the couple describes as "countless" threatening phone calls and mail.
"One caller told us 'you might have been the first to get married, but you'll be the first to die," said Vernon Gibbs-Halls.
He said that they also had received two anonymous cellphone calls. How the callers got the cellphone numbers is not known.
The hate messages were reported the calls to the police, but "it was water off a duck's back," he said.
The backlash against the Gibbs-Halls is being blamed for a low number of same-sex couples who have wed in South Africa. The Department of Home Affairs said only 84 same-sex couples had tied the knot since it became legal, compared to an estimated 5 000 opposite-sex couples.
Still the Gibbs-Halls say that the threats should not keep gay and lesbian couples from marrying.
Vernon Gibbs-Halls points to dozens of positive e-mails they have received congratulating them from around the world.
South Africa in December became the fifth country to legalize same-sex marriage, following the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada. In the United States, gay marriage is legal only in the state of Massachusetts.
The legislation followed the 2005 ruling by the Constitutional Court that denying same-sex couples the rights of marriage was unconstitutional.
LGBT rights groups say they expect the number of couples marrying will increase dramatically next month in time for Valentines Day.

ΝΤΕΣΜΟΝΤ ΤΟΥΤΟΥ: Η ΟΜΟΦΥΛΟΦΟΒΙΑ ΕΙΝΑΙ Ο,ΤΙ ΚΑΙ Ο ΡΑΤΣΙΣΜΟΣ

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Tutu stands up for gays
Tony Grew, Pink News - 19 Jan 07
Legendary anti-apartheid campaigner Archbishop Desmond Tutu has urged his fellow Anglicans to focus on the problems facing Africa and stop obsessing over gay issues.
Dr Tutu told a conference in Nairobi that the God he worships does not consider the position of homosexual clergy to be more important that AIDS.
The former Archbishop of Cape Town is attending the World Social Forum in Kenya.
After decades of eloquent resistance to the apartheid system in South Africa, Tutu led the newly democratic nation's Peace and Reconciliation Commission.
"I am deeply disturbed that in the face of some of the most horrendous problems facing Africa, we concentrate on 'what do I do in bed with whom,'" he told a news conference in Nairobi.
The Anglican church in South Africa is the only one on the continent that has a liberal attitude towards women priests.
Most African churches are implacably opposed to gay or lesbian clergy and regard homosexuality as biblically forbidden.
Dr Tutu, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, told journalists that gay hate was the same as racism.
"For one to penalise someone for their sexual orientation is the same as penalising someone for something they can do nothing about, like ethnicity or race.
"I cannot imagine persecuting a minority group which is already being persecuted."
His comments come in the week that is has been reported that Nigeria, the continents most populous state, is set to pass new laws prohibiting almost any public demonstration of homosexuality.

25.1.07

ΟΙ ΟΜΟΦΥΛΟΦΙΛΟΙ ΣΤΗ ΝΙΓΗΡΙΑ

Με τη Νιγηρία έχουμε ασχοληθεί αρκετές φορές στο παρελθόν. Σήμερα θα αναδημοσιεύσουμε δυο άρθρα, ένα του 2002 κι ένα του 2007, μέσα από τα οποία φαίνεται καθαρά ότι η κατάσταση έχει χειροτερεύσει δραματικά και εκτός από την ελευθερία τώρα βρίσκεται σε κίνδυνο και η ίδια η ζωή των ομοφυλοφίλων, αλλά κανείς, πλην των ΛΟΑΤ οργανώσεων, ούτε στην Ευρώπη ούτε φυσικά στην Ελλάδα δεν λέει και δεν πράττει το παραμικρό για να αποτρέψει την εξέλιξη της αφρικανικής αυτής χώρας σε ένα τεράστιο Γκουαντάναμο για τους ομοφυλόφιλους.
Μόνο που σ' αυτές τις περιπτώσεις η σιωπή σημαίνει συνενοχή.
Ας το θυμούνται αυτό όσοι δηλώνουν ευαίσθητοι στο ζήτημα των ανθρώπινων δικαιωμάτων. Κι ας ντρέπονται.
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The Nigerian Closet
by Eric Beauchemin (2002)
Homosexuality is often regarded in Africa as a Western import. Several southern African leaders have made statements in recent years designed to reinforce this image. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, for instance, has described homosexuals
has described homosexuals as worse than dogs or pigs.
But according to the president of Alliance Rights Nigeria, a gay organisation, homosexuality has always existed in Africa. "In some cultures in the northern part of Nigeria", says Erilou – who like most other Alliance Rights' members uses a pseudonym – "there are people called dan daudu which is a typical Hausa term. It means men who are wives of men. In olden days, to show your immense wealth, it was easy to have a harem of wives. But to show that you were truly rich, you had to keep a stable of men. You had to take care of your dan daudu and their families – if they had them – and be like a mentor to them. These wealthy men would have sexual relationships with these dan daudu. What else is homosexuality?"
Erilou, who comes from a village about 40 kilometres from Lagos, recalls speaking to his grandmother about the subject. She told him that when she was young, there were men who used to behave effeminately like he does.
"She told me those men were called gbowo. Those people, she said, were very good orators. They were musicians and poets and did the finer things in society. They were not the hunters or warriors, the macho type of people. But they did the finer things, the things that made people enjoy themselves."
Meeting places
Alliance Rights is trying to fight the hostility of the general public toward homosexuality. Gay bashing and verbal abuse are not uncommon. Recently, a mob burned down a bar frequented by gays on the Lagos beachfront. Other bars have since emerged, but generally gays and lesbians in Nigeria meet at parties and friends' houses.
Young people who discover that they are attracted to the same sex tend to hide the fact from their friends and family because they are often ostracised or even thrown out of the family home.
Alliance RightsSince its inception, Alliance Rights has focused its efforts on making gays and lesbians aware of the organisation's existence. It has organised various seminars and its members have taken part in international conferences to network with gays and lesbians elsewhere in the continent and the rest of the world. Alliance Rights has also carried out seminars in a few secondary schools in Nigeria's commercial capital, Lagos, on HIV/AIDS. It hopes to set up a sports club and attend the next Gay Games.
The organisation is discretely lobbying members of Nigeria's National Assembly to decriminalise sodomy. According to Erilou, the president of Alliance Rights, "people in government know that there is homosexuality in Nigerian society and even in high levels of the government. But because of political considerations, they have to tread softly. We respect that and are willing to be patient. It will take us a long time to reach the same level as South Africa (where homosexuality has been legalised), but we will get there. Nigerians are bold. In the end, we are certain we will win."

ΝΙΓΗΡΙΑ. ΜΙΑ ΧΩΡΑ - ΓΚΟΥΑΝΤΑΝΑΜΟ ΓΙΑ ΟΜΟΦΥΛΟΦΙΛΟΥΣ

Nigerian anti-gay laws about to pass
Pink News - 18 Jan 07
New legislation currently being debated by politicians in Nigeria could be the most serious crackdown on the rights of gay and lesbian people since the Iranian revolution.
The proposed laws are presented as a defence of marriage, but gay activist Peter Tatchell argues they seek to remove the few rights sexual minorities have in the troubled African state.
"The Prohibition of Relationships Between Persons of the Same Sex, Celebration of Marriage by Them, and for Other Matters Connected Therewith," is the title of the bill.
It has been approved by the Nigerian Federal Executive Council and is now before the National Assembly. It is expected to be passed and become law shortly.
Civilian government only returned to the country in 1999.
The president, Olusegun Obasanjo, controls the Executive Council and his Nigerian People's Party has a majority in the both the Senate and House of Representatives.
Although a centrist party, they derive most of their support from the Christian south of the country, and the Anglican church played an active role in promoting this legislation.
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell contacted PinkNews.co.uk to draw attention to the nature of the new legislation, which has the active backing of other Christian churches in Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa.
"The bill is primarily concerned with banning same-sex marriage, but its sub-clauses go much further," Mr Tatchell said.
"They will strip lesbian and gay Nigerians of their already limited civil rights.
"The bill outlaws almost every expression, affirmation and celebration of gay identity and sexuality, and prohibits the provision of sympathetic advice and welfare support to lesbians and gay men."
"This draconian measure will outlaw membership of a gay group, attending a gay meeting or protest, advocating gay equality," Mr Tatchell claimed.
"Donating money to a gay organisation, hosting or visiting a gay website, the publication or possession of gay safer sex advice, renting or selling a property to a gay couple, expressions of same-sex love in letters or emails, attending a same-sex marriage or blessing ceremony, screening or watching a gay movie, taking or possessing photos of a gay couple, and publishing, selling or loaning a gay book or video."
In May 2006, British human rights minister Ian Pearson expressed outrage at the legislations and said, "we plan to raise our concerns with the Nigerian authorities."
Despite the protests of governments and human rights activists, the Nigerian government have pressed ahead with the new laws, which are in contravention of various international treaties.
Homosexuality is already illegal in the country. Nigeria's criminal code penalises consensual homosexual conduct between adults with 14 years imprisonment.
This law was originally introduced by the British colonial administration in the nineteenth century.
In addition, Sharia law, which was introduced in northern Nigeria in 1999, outlaws "sodomy," which could be interpreted to mean any sexual contact between men.
The Anglican Church, who have a huge powerbase in Nigeria, have been key in promoting this bill.
The church has been increasingly vocal about its disapproval of the position of women and gay men in the English and American churches.
The Nigerian Church has already deleted all references to Canterbury from its constitution in defiance of Archbishop Rowan Williams.
The new law carries an automatic five year jail sentence for those who break it.
"The bill currently being debated in the Nigerian parliament, is the most comprehensively homophobic legislation ever proposed in any country in the world," said Mr Tatchell.
"We appeal to gay and human rights groups worldwide to take urgent action to press the Nigerian government to uphold international human rights law and to drop this draconian legislation."

24.1.07

ΠΕΡΣΙΚΗ ΟΜΟΕΡΩΤΙΚΗ ΖΩΓΡΑΦΙΚΗ

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16ος-17ος αιώνας
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Muhammed Quasim (1627)
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Riaz i-Abasi (1630)
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17ος-18ος αιώνας

ΟΙ ΜΟΥΣΟΥΛΜΑΝΙΚΕΣ ΧΩΡΕΣ ΚΑΙ Η ΟΜΟΦΥΛΟΦΙΛΙΑ

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Holy hatred? Penalties for homosexuality in Muslim Countries
By Anissa Hélie
I was born and raised in Algiers, of a French father and an Algerian mother. Having access to both cultures made me realize early on that racism as well as sexism were all pervasive on both sides of the Mediterranean. It took me a few more years to come to the conclusion that homophobia was just as widespread.
Amnesty International counts at least 83 countries where homosexuality is explicitly condemned in the criminal code. Some 26 of these are Muslim. This means that the majority of Muslim countries, including supposedly 'liberal' ones like Tunisia as well as dictatorships like Sudan, outlaw same-sex relationships.
The seven countries in the world that carry the death penalty for persons presumed guilty of homosexual acts, justify this punishment with the shari'a or standard interpretation of Muslim jurisprudence. Though not always applied, the existence of the death penalty makes sexual minorities extremely vulnerable.
The state is not alone in practising repression. Communities and families have a part to play. In the Philippines, for example, in 1998 'Muslim militia' launched an anti-gay campaign on the island of Mindanao during which gay Muslims were terrorized, beaten up, and ordered to leave or be castrated.
Jordan does not specifically outlaw homosexuality either, but violence, harassment, persecution and extrajudicial or 'shame' killings are not uncommon.
Sex and tradition
Same-sex relationships do take place, even in the most repressive countries.
Sometimes, the very segregation of the sexes allows for intimacy between people of the same gender without it being considered abnormal. For women, cultural patterns may allow particular opportunities for intimacy: it's fairly acceptable to share a bed with your female cousin, your best friend and so on. And traditional women-only ceremonies may actually enable rural lesbians to make regular contact with other women.
Culture is not, therefore, always against us and there are positive examples of same-sex relationships to be found in different Muslim cultures. Nor is invisibility always required. For example, in some traditional travelling theatres and musical groups in Pakistan, the younger men who play female roles sometimes live as a couple with the group leader. Among such communities, male couples may live love relationships quite openly. There is also an entire body of poetry in local and Urdu literature that is clearly based on male love, yaari.3 Such examples should not make us forget that homophobia is prevalent, as well as systematically promoted by conservative forces - everywhere.
Conservative manipulation
"The Qu'ran clearly states that homosexuality is unjust, unnatural, transgression, ignorant, criminal and corrupt," declares the Jamaat-e-Islami, an extreme right politico-religious party in Pakistan.
In fact, the Qu'ran is far from clear on the issue and the controversy regarding the position of Islam and homosexuality is ongoing. For some people, homosexuality is 'unlawful' in Islam; for others, the Qu'ran does not clearly condemn homosexual acts.
The only actual reference to homosexuality in the Qu'ran can be found in the sections about Sodom and Gomorrah. While the harsh punishment inflicted on the people of Sodom and Gomorrah at the time of the prophet Lut is for some people a clear proof that Allah meant to eradicate homosexual practice, others argue that there is no specific punishment for homosexuality. The people of Sodom were punished for 'doing everything excessively' and for not respecting the rules of hospitality. They insist that it is not the Qu'ran itself that brings condemnation of homosexuals but rather the homophobic culture prevailing in Muslim societies.
In the Women Living Under Muslim Laws Network to which I belong, we maintain that 'fundamentalism' is not a return to the 'fundamentals' of any given religion. We believe that 'fundamentalists' are extreme-right political forces seeking to obtain or maintain political power through manipulation of religion and religious beliefs, as well as other ethnic, culturally-based identities. And the rise of 'fundamentalism' is a global phenomena which affects not just Islam but all major religions.
Extremist religious leaders and their followers target sexual minorities and women first. They focus their offensive against homosexuals as well as others who transgress boundaries of 'acceptable' behaviour. The very same rhetoric is used to justify repression against homosexuals, feminists or 'different' women - who all are systematically denounced as non-Muslim, non-indigenous.
Both extremist religious leaders and state officials are likely to demonize sexual minorities, often as a means to distract from economic crisis or political controversy. For example, one of the very first victims of Algerian fundamentalists was Jean Sénac, a gay poet assassinated in the early 1980s. Also in Algeria, Oum Ali, an unmarried woman living alone with her children in the Southern town of Ouargla, was stoned and her house burned down in 1989, killing her youngest son. These two incidents occurred long before the 'official' beginning of the conflict; they reveal the untruth of Algerian fundamentalists' claims that they only resorted to violence in 1992 after being robbed of victory by the Government's cancellation of elections. In fact they targeted both homosexuals and women earlier on- but there was hardly anyone to stand up for such 'second class victims'.
Why sexuality?
Why is sexuality and sexual conformity the focus of so much attention by fundamentalist forces? A possible answer is that people making individual choice appears as a challenge: autonomy - especially for women - is seen as a threat.
It is interesting to note that in past centuries Arabs attributed homosexual behaviour to the bad influence of Persians. Today, it's much the same story, though the characters may change. In June 2000, Malaysian Foreign Minister Syed Hamid Albar stated that homosexuality was 'against nature' and - following a call by Human Rights Watch to ban Malaysia's sodomy law - insisted that: "We can't amend the country's laws merely due to calls by outsiders".
Not just a local or national phenomenon, fundamentalism has taken on a global dimension. Extremist religious leaders from various faiths are coming together to oppose sexual rights. By 'closing ranks', coalitions of Christians, Muslims and other fundamentalists affect the international agenda .We saw the effect of such alliances on women's reproductive rights at the Cairo Conference on Population and Development in 1994. Such alliances also blocked the recognition of the rights of lesbians at both the 1995 World Conference on Women held in Beijing and the review of the Beijing Platform for Action in June 2000.
Of course, similar coalitions influence local political agendas. Take Britain, a secular country with a very vocal extremist Muslim minority. A Muslim-Christian alliance was recently formed to oppose the repeal of Section 28 - a law introduced in 1988 which forbids the 'promotion' of homosexuality in schools as 'a pretended family relationship'. At a conference in May 2000, religious spokesperson Dr Majid Katme stated that "lesbianism is spreading like fire in society. We must vaccinate our children against this curse". He is supported in this view by Sheikh Sharkhawy - a senior cleric at the prestigious Regent's Park mosque in central London - who publicly advocates the execution of gay males over the age of 10 and life imprisonment for lesbians.
At least as worrying is the support for fundamentalist politics by the so-called 'free West'. The help extended by states pretending to defend democracy is not a new phenomenon. Imam Khomeiny was resident in France for several months in 1978, just before going back to Iran to lead the 'Islamic' revolution. In Afghanistan, the CIA not only trained the Taliban but has also 'admitted bringing 25,000 Arab volunteers to fight … against the Red Army'. Incidentally, both those countries - Iran and Afghanistan - currently sentence homosexuals to death.
What does that teach us? First, that the hypocrisy of most political leaders knows no limit: their ever-changing definition of 'fundamentalism' allows them to turn against their allies of yesterday, who, if guided by moral values, they should never have got involved with in the first place. Second, it is obvious that economic and geo-strategic concerns always prevail. We can only regret that there are so few allies at the international level who are ready to compromise their interests in order to defend the rights of women and sexual minorities.
Strategies of resistance
Despite a threatening environment, sexual minorities are organizing and becoming more visible in Muslim countries and communities. For example, much research is being carried out to interpret religious texts. The Qu'ran is being re-examined by gay, or gay-friendly, theologians and believers in order to break the monopoly of male homophobic interpretation. To counter the stereotype of homosexuality as foreign, others are engaged in reclaiming homoerotic literature.
Another positive example is found in Lebanon, where homosexuality is illegal, but a popular weekly TV programme (Al Shater Yahki) has been focusing on sexuality since 1997 and includes gay voices. The fact that they speak from behind masks gives a measure of the risks involved.
Nevertheless, new solidarity associations are being set up (see Action page 28). These organizations are, for obvious security reasons, often located outside Muslim countries and communities. Most of them, however, connect with either individuals or groups within Muslim countries. Whether mainly political, social or religious in their motivation these organizations all aim at breaking the isolation faced by sexual minorities. In Muslim countries and communities, sexual minorities have only just begun Threats of violence and accusations of betraying ones culture and religion has discouraged many from taking a public stand. However, more and more people are rejecting the idea that violence against sexual diversity is 'divinely sanctioned'.

23.1.07

Η ΟΜΟΦΥΛΟΦΟΒΙΑ ΧΤΥΠΑΕΙ ΚΟΚΚΙΝΟ ΣΤΗ ΜΑΛΑΙΣΙΑ

Malaysian Ex-PM Says Gays Should Not Lead Mostly Muslim Nation
Anthony Cuesta, GayWired - 6 Jan 07
Gays should not govern mostly Muslim Malaysia, ex-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said in a court filing, challenging a lawsuit by his former deputy who was sacked amid allegations of sodomy.
"I strongly believe we cannot have a prime minister who is homosexual," Mahathir said in the 48-page statement seen Saturday by The Associated Press. "Malaysia is officially an Islamic country."
According to the Associated Press, Mahathir fired his deputy Anwar Ibrahim in 1998 alleging he was involved in corruption and had engaged in sodomy — an illegal act in Malaysia — after Anwar publicly denounced Mahathir's economic policies during the Asian financial crisis.
Anwar was sentenced to 15 years in prison on charges of corruption and sodomy in 1998. A successful appeal in Malaysia's top court against the sodomy conviction set him free in 2004.
The AP reports that in his statement, Mahathir said he knew his former deputy was gay because Anwar's speechwriter, Munawar Ahmad Anees, admitted in court that he had engaged in sodomy with Anwar. Munawar served six months in prison for the crime.
According to The New Strait Times, on Jan 27 last year, Anwar filed a defamation suit against Mahathir over his statement pertaining to Anwar’s sodomy charges. Anwar alleged Mahathir uttered defamatory statements at a press conference in Suhakam’s premises on Sept 9, 2005.
Anwar claimed the words meant he was a homosexual, he engaged in activities contrary to Islam, he was a pervert, unfit to hold office, had criminal tendencies and was dangerous to Malaysian society, reports the Times.
Mahathir retired in 2003 after 22 years in power.

ΟΙ ΟΜΟΦΥΛΟΦΙΛΟΙ ΣΤΟ ΑΦΓΑΝΙΣΤΑΝ

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Kandahar's Lightly Veiled Homosexual Habits
Society: Restrictions on relations with women lead to greater prevalence of liaisons between men, a professor says.
By MAURA REYNOLDS, KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (Los Angeles Times April 3, 2002)
In his 29 years, Mohammed Daud has seen the faces of perhaps 200 women. A few dozen were family members. The rest were glimpses stolen when he should not have been looking and the women were caught without their face-shrouding burkas.
"How can you fall in love with a girl if you can't see her face?" he asks.
Daud is unmarried and has sex only with men and boys. But he does not consider himself homosexual, at least not in the Western sense. "I like boys, but I like girls better," he says. "It's just that we can't see the women to see if they are beautiful. But we can see the boys, and so we can tell which of them is beautiful."
Daud, a motorbike repairman who asked that only his two first names and not his family name be used, has a youthful face, a jaunty black mustache and a post-Taliban clean shaven chin. As he talks, his knee bounces up and down, an involuntary sign of his embarrassment.
"These are hard questions you are asking," he says. "We don't usually talk about such things."
Though rarely acknowledged, the prevalence of sex between Afghan men is an open secret, one most observant visitors quickly surmise. Ironically, it is especially true here in Kandahar, which was the heartland of the puritanical Taliban movement.
It might seem odd to a Westerner that such a sexually repressive society is marked by heightened homosexual activity. But Justin Richardson, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, says such thinking is backward--it is precisely the extreme restrictions on sexual relations with women that lead to greater prevalence of the behavior.
"In some Muslim societies where the prohibition against premarital heterosexual intercourse is extremely high--higher than that against sex between men--you will find men having sex with other males not because they find them most attractive of all but because they find them most attractive of the limited options available to them," Richardson says.
In other words, sex between men can be seen as the flip side of the segregation of women. And perhaps because the ethnic Pushtuns who dominate Kandahar are the most religiously conservative of Afghanistan's major ethnic groups, they have, by most accounts, a higher incidence of homosexual relations.
Visitors might think they see the signs. For one thing, Afghan men tend to be more intimate with other men in public than is common in the West. They will kiss, hold hands and drape their arms around each other while drinking tea or talking.
Moreover, there is a strong streak of dandyism among Pashtuns males. Many line their eyes with kohl, stain their fingernails with henna or walk about town in clumsy, high-heeled sandals.
The love by men for younger, beautiful males, who are called halekon, is even enshrined in Pashtuns literature. A popular poem by Syed Abdul Khaliq Agha, who died last year, notes Kandahar's special reputation. "Kandahar has beautiful halekon," the poem goes. "They have black eyes and white cheeks."
But a visitor who comments on such things is likely to be told they are not signs of homosexuality. Hugging doesn't mean sex, locals insist. Men who use kohl and henna are simply "uneducated." Regardless, when asked directly, few deny that a significant percentage of men in this region have sex with men and boys. Just ask Mullah Mohammed Ibrahim, a local cleric.
"Ninety percent of men have the desire to commit this sin," the mullah says. "But most are right with God and exercise control. Only 20 to 50% of those who want to do this actually do it." Following the mullah's math, this suggests that between 18% and 45% of men here engage in homosexual sex--significantly higher than the 3% to 7% of American men who, according to studies, identify themselves as homosexual.
That is a large number to defy the strict version of Islam practiced in these parts, which denounces sex between men as taboo. Muslims seeking council from religious elders on the topic will find them unsympathetic. "Every person has a devil inside him," says Ibrahim. "If a person commits this sin, it is the work of the devil." The Koran mandates "hard punishment" for offenders, the mullah explains. By tradition there are three penalties: being burned at the stake, pushed over the edge of a cliff or crushed by a toppled wall.
During its reign in Kandahar, the Taliban implemented the latter. In February 1998, it used a tank to push a brick wall on top of three men, two accused of sodomy and the third of homosexual rape. The first two died; the third spent a week in the hospital and, under the assumption that God had spared him, was sent to prison. He served six months and fled to Pakistan.
Apparently to discourage post-Taliban visitors, the owners of a nearby house have begun rebuilding on the site. "A lot of foreigners came and started interviewing people," says Abdul Baser, a 24-year-old neighbor, who points out the trench where the men were crushed. "Since then they have rebuilt the wall."
But many accuse the Taliban of hypocrisy on the issue of homosexuality. "The Taliban had halekon , but they kept it secret," says one anti-Taliban commander, who is rumored to keep two halekon. "They hid their halekon in their madrasas," or religious schools.
It's not only religious authorities who describe homosexual sex as common among the Pashtuns.Dr. Mohammed Nasem Zafar, a professor at Kandahar Medical College, estimates that about 50% of the city's male residents have sex with men or boys at some point in their lives. He says the prime age at which boys are attractive to men is from 12 to 16--before their beards grow in. The adolescents sometimes develop medical problems, which he sees in his practice, such as sexually transmitted diseases and sphincter incontinence. So far, the doctor said, AIDS does not seem to be a problem in Afghanistan, probably because the country is so isolated.
"Sometimes when the halekon grow up, the older men actually try to keep them in the family by marrying them off to their daughters," the doctor says. Zafar cites a local mullah whom he caught once using the examination table in the doctor's one-room clinic for sex with a younger man. "If this is our mullah, what can you say for the rest?" Zafar asks.
Richardson, the psychiatry professor, says it would be wrong to call Afghan men homosexual, since their decision to have sex with men is not a reflection of what Westerners call gender identity. Instead, he compares them to prison inmates: They have sex with men primarily because they find themselves in a situation where men are more available as sex partners than are women. "It is something they do," he notes, "not something they are."
Daud, the motorbike repairman, would concur that the segregation of women lies at the heart of the matter. He says his first sexual experience with a man occurred when he was 20, about the time he realized that he would have difficulty marrying. In Pashtuns culture, the man has to pay for his wedding and for gifts and clothes for the bride and her family. For many men, the bill tops $5,000--such an exorbitant sum in this impoverished country that some men, including Daud, are dissuaded from even trying.
"I would like to get married, but the economic situation in our country makes it hard," Daud says. Daud talked about his sex life only in private and after being assured that no photos would be taken.
"I have relations with different boys--some for six months, some for one month. Some are with me for six years," he says. "The problem is also money. If you want to have a relationship with a boy, you have to buy things for him. That's why it's not bad for the boy. Some relationships need a lot of money, some not so much. Sometimes I fix a motorbike and give it to him as a present."
It is not easy to conduct homosexual affairs, he admits. Home is out of the question. "If my father were to find me, he'd kick me out of the house," Daud says. "If you want to have sex, you have to find a secret place. Some go to the mountains or the desert."
Opinions differ as to whether homosexual practices in Kandahar are becoming more open or more closed since the Taliban was defeated. For instance, after anti-Taliban forces arrived in the city in early December, some Westerners reported seeing commanders going about town openly with their halekon. But that has changed in recent weeks since Kandahar's new governor, Gul Agha Shirzai, issued an order banning boys under 18 from living with troops. Officially, the ban is aimed at ending the practice of using children as soldiers.
"It is not that way," says one of the governor's top aides, Engineer Yusuf Pashtun, objecting to the insinuation that the boys may have been used for sex. The governor's order said only that "no boys should be recruited in the army before the age of 18," he adds.
Still, the anti-Taliban commander, who is close to Shirzai, acknowledged that one goal of the order was to keep halekon out of the barracks. The move simply drove the practice underground, he says.
Zafar, the doctor, says that in the community at large the Taliban frightened many men into abstinence. "Under the Taliban, no more than 10% practiced homosexual sex," he says. "But now the government isn't paying attention, so it may go back up to 50%."
But Daud thinks the opposite may happen. If coeducation returns and the dress code for women eases, men will have fewer reasons to seek solace in the beds--or fields or storage rooms--of other men."As for me, if I find someone and see she is beautiful, I will send my mother over to her" to ask for her hand in marriage, Daud says. "I'm just waiting to see her."
..
**************************************
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Secrets and Traditions
Despite the apparent homosexual behavior of the men in the story, same-sex attraction is, paradoxically, scorned in the Afghan culture. Truly 'gay' men and women deeply hide their secrets and seek no attention. Homosexuality is not understood as anything natural or acceptable and the idea of mutual same-sex pleasure or romance is alien to the vast majority who have never encountered such ideas.
It's impossible to accurately analyze the motives of the Pashstuns who favor young men. Most of these 'daddies' are essentially straight but, lacking status in their meager lives, feel a certain 'swagger' of social enhancement for having a trophy boy.
As for sexual pleasure it's hard to say if it's anything other than pleasurable anal penetration for the the dominant partner, his role being the same as with a woman; his masculinity remains unquestioned. It's improbable he would reciprocate the pleasure for the submissive younger partner since it would mean being passive and therefore unacceptable to his manly self-image.
For some of these married-with-kids men, it's also possible that some of them are really gay and this traditional conquest of younger guys serves their secret very well. It'easy to understand that such a partner would desire to go further than his straight peers in returning the pleasure--and possible romantic affection--to his companion. It would seem an ideal arrangement for a closeted person.
But even here the gay man runs a risk since the younger man is probably heterosexual and knows (after comparing notes with his own peers) the roles and limits expected of both of them. If the young one suspects the older one enjoys the intimacy too much too often or if he goes too far (perhaps switching positions) suspicions and rumors might arise. And there could hardly be a greater fear than being exposed as a homosexual and humiliated in front of one's family, friends or community. For the authentic gay man, sexual desire can put him in harm's way whether he lies about his truth or is truthful about his lie.
(Αναδημοσίευση σχολίου από το site Gay Afganistan)

22.1.07

ΑΦΓΑΝΙΣΤΑΝ. Η ΟΜΟΦΥΛΟΦΙΛΙΑ ΣΤΟ ΠΛΑΙΣΙΟ ΤΗΣ ΠΑΡΑΔΟΣΗΣ

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Gay Afghanistan, After the Taliban. Homosexuality as Tradition
By Richard Ammon, Maura Reynolds and Lou Chibbaro (N.Y. Times, Feb. 2002)
Homosexuality and Lesbianism have no place in Islam. This issue is clear from the primary source of Islam, The Holy Quran. No Muslim scholar, Imam or a leader of a Muslim community can alter this injunction. A person committing such an act is in violation of God's Law and should seek repentance before God gives up on him or her. It was the people of prophet Lot (peace be on him) who started this evil act and were severely punished by God."
So proclaims a vigorously religious ‘imam’ from his Internet pulpit, making clear the position of the vast majority of Muslims regarding homosexuality. From the western shores of ancient Morocco across thousands of sandy Islamic miles to the far eastern islands of Indonesia, almost half the distance of our known world, homosexual behavior is pronounced anathema to the faithful. The sweep of condemnation of same-gender love is about equal to the sweep of eastern and western Christianity in the other half of the world. So the world, one would think, should be shorn of such an abomination wherein a man layeth with a man as a woman.
Sex and Scripture
Except it’s not. And the simple reason is that both of these imposed belief systems ignore and deny the natural varieties of the human psyche. There has always been heterosexual attraction and there has always been homosexual attraction.
To elevate and validate one over the other is to praise the left eye over the right eye. But simple and superstitious scribes of these faiths have written reams of florid, passionate and volcanic verses that embrace an artificial dichotomy of homo-and-hetero sexual and emotional orientation. Had they consulted the sentient beings in their tribes instead of magical and mystical oracles, burning bushes or delusional visionaries, the scribes might well have written more humane and precise books. Homoerotic affections, legends and myths run deep into the human heart and far back into the haze of history.
Besides its natural occurrence in our genes and neurons, another reason homosexual behavior and desire has not been stamped out by every conceivable type of secular cure and sacred persecution is that homosexuality serves both religion and culture well. It is perhaps one of the great anthropological paradoxes (if not hypocrisies) that the history and behavior of homosexuality has been carried down through fifteen centuries by gender-segregated Muslim cultures and, as well, by male Christian monastic confederations. (Does anyone seriously believe that sexual favors between altar boys and clerics began in the 20th century?) Men serving men is as old as the species and is found in many sacred and secular societies from the ancient Egyptians and Chinese to the sportive and warrior ranks of Greeks and Romans.
A thoughtful reader who engages in cross-cultural studies will not get far before they discover what many western lesbigay people already know about the indigenous and hidden homosexual tradition practiced, in local varieties, by countless unmarried and married men in Arab/Muslim countries.
In these cultures, homosexual activity serves as a temporary (yet valid and important) proxy stage of growth between puberty and marriage. Since there is varying but distinct social separation of the genders in these Muslim states, teen/young adult men develop special friendships and informal partnerships with other males, some older, some younger.
Within these dyads most adolescents have their first sexual experiences as they ‘practice’ on each other. Usually the younger partner takes the passive role and the older one the active role. Eventually, in their twenties and early thirties, most go on to exclusive heterosexual marriage. Others, to be sure, go on to marriage but maintain secret sexual liaisons with other men. Often these are men (and women) who are more truly attracted to their own gender but would not dare to reveal it.
Social Sexual Studies
In 1997, an important book was published on this matter. ‘Islamic Homosexualities: Culture, History, and Literature’ in which Stephen O. Murray and Will Roscoe, along with eight other authors, analyze the sexual shadows of Islam. One reviewer, Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum in Philadelphia wrote the following appraisal of the book:
"As with so much else in the sexual realm, Islamic norms differ profoundly from Western ones. The authors establish several points: (1) Islam treats homosexuality far less harshly than does Judaism or Christianity. (2) Sex between men results in part from the segregation of women and in part from the poetic and folk heritage holding that the penetration of a pretty boy is the ultimate in sexual delight. (3) Sex between men is "frowned upon, but accepted" so long as the participants also marry and have children; and also if they keep quiet about this activity. (4) The key distinction is not hetero vs. homosexual but active vs. passive; men are expected to seek penetration (with wives, prostitutes, other males, animals); the only real shame is attached to serving in the female role. (5) Youths usually serve in the female role and can leave behind this shame by graduating to the male role. (6) The great Muslim emphasis on family life renders homosexuality far less threatening to Muslim societies than to Western ones (Muslim men seeking formally to marry each other remains unimaginable).
"Dominant Sex with Boys
As if, coincidentally, to prove the validity of the Murray and Roscoe book, three recent stories about sexual practices in Afghanistan--usually a subject too sensitive for public discussion--came boldly from the 'Times of London', the 'New York Times' and the 'Los Angeles Times'. Each report portrays a custom of social/sexual behavior that stretches back into the thin pages of history.
As seen through today’s more politically-correct-sexually-sensitive-Judeo-Christian-western lens, the articles describe a sexual practice that falls outside most standards of acceptable behavior. This is, for some, an unsettling account describing the ‘taking’ of teen/young adult boys by strong-willed men--born into and hardened by the harsh conditions of war, deprivation, bloodshed and death--for the purposes of sexual pleasure and trophy gloating.
Nevertheless, these male-to-male conjunctions generally follow along old Arabic traditions. In most modern Islamic ‘cultural’ (premarital) homosexual behavior there is a mute understanding that sex is mutually consensual, temporary and that it’s a form of companionship, if not affection, among peers.
But an apparent distinction seems evident in this particular Kandahar variation as reported in the newspaper articles quoted below. The dating and courtship appears more coercive, more opportunistic and seems to take advantage of younger guys who almost have no other choice than to accept the money or gifts from bigger and more powerful 'commanders' whose bit of authority is bestowed by their gang-member status, their guns and the shattered legal/police system. The news reporters report did not (and could not) probe into the thoughts of these youthful men as they submit to these older 'patrons'.
A young native of Kandahar now living in Kabul was recently asked about these arangements. He replied that the older guys throw lavish parties where they "marry" their boytoys, showering them with gifts, especially weapons! Generally one guy is 15-20 years older than the other. The relationships can sometimes be very intense, and tend to last 5-6 years until the boy grows up and marries a woman.
(To be sure, there are many Kandaharis who oppose the practice. But poverty and power have always played crucial roles in shaping cultural behavior.)
Whether the activity is mutual or forceful, there is an almost universal attitude in these eastern cultures that such sexual indulgence is not ‘gay’, that is, it's not sex or love between two men who identify as homosexuals. (In Afghanistan it's common for the older participants to be married with kids.) Rather, in a collective mental shell game the meaning of sex is re-framed: heterosexual men engage in homosexual behavior in which the younger guy is not a ‘fem’ but obedient and passive and the older one is not a ‘butch queer’ but assertive and active.
What eventually happens to these Kandahar relationships? Some fade away, some stop when one partner marries or moves away, and some continue for years. In other other Muslim countries, the roles eventually change. As the older ones marry, the younger ones mature and become the dominant partner to a younger submissive friend. Or, as the reporter from the Los angels Times wrote, "sometimes when the halekon grow up, the older men actually try to keep them in the family by marrying them off to their daughters."
(To many western 'gay culture' observers, all this seems at first glance to be denial and self-deception. It stirs up, again, intriguing issues of homosexual identity vs homosexual behavior: does behavior define identity or is identity separate from behavior--and how do behavior and identity interface with sexual orientation...?)
Islamic ‘Human Rights’Framing all this role-playing and sexuality is another important facet of the Islamic prism to keep in mind as the 'Times' story is read. Despite the man-in-the-street assertion that Islam preaches love and peace among neighbors and strangers alike, Islamic governments over the course of history have often proven to be harsh and authoritarian. Little value has been put upon the dignity and rights of the individual. Expressions of protest, legal recourse and fairness, and gender equality have been poorly served by many of the domineering male-ruled governments under the flag of Islam. (Indeed, the Christian west is hardly free of its share of oppressive rulers and statutes as well.)
In another one of many recent books about Islam, Ann Elizabeth Mayer has written ‘Islam and Human Rights: Tradition and Politics’ (1998), in which she compares Islamic law with international human rights laws and concludes that these two are not compatible. This she attributes to the belief that Islam is divinely commanded from God and criticizing it is considered blasphemous.
The author goes on to make an unsettling observation: "Islamic ‘human rights’ can offer no means for protecting the individual against state-approved Islamic laws and policies that violate international human rights laws." Thus, Muslim theocratic states exist by asserting Islamic law over secular humanitarian law at the cost of freedoms of their citizens, female and male. The result is that violations of international human rights, especially for women and gays, are justified by oppressive governments using the ‘higher’ Koranic dictates.

21.1.07

GEORGE DUREAU

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George Dureau, ΗΠΑ

ΟΛΟΚΛΗΡΟΣ Ο ΚΑΒΑΦΗΣ ΣΤΑ ΠΟΡΤΟΓΑΛΙΚΑ

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Konstandinos Kavafis
por Pedro Mexia
Konstandinos Kavafis é, com Eliot, "o maior poeta da primeira metade do século XX". Assim escreve Joaquim Manuel Magalhães na introdução ao volume Os Poemas (Relógio d'Água). Esta integral Kavafis (154 poemas), em edição bilingue minuciosamente anotada, é a terceira tradução portuguesa do colosso grego, depois de uma versão de Jorge de Sena (1970) e de uma antologia extensa de Magalhães e Nikos Pratsinis (1994), que aqui completam um projecto antigo.
Grego de Alexandria, onde nasceu em 1863 (morreu em 1933), Kavafis foi um discreto funcionário ministerial, um esteta melancólico e um homossexual descomplexado. Anglófono, fascinado pelo esplendor da Antiguidade Clássica, apenas publicou poemas em revistas e em plaquetes oferecidas aos amigos (a primeira colectânea em livro, póstuma, é de 1935). Há muitas razões que fazem de Kavafis um enormíssimo poeta 1) a serenidade clássica 2) a dicção segura e impecável 3) a tristeza aristocrática 4) a cooptação do mito como chave do presente 5) a escassez metafórica 6) o modo alusivo mas natural e elegante como regista episódios eróticos.
Nesta edição imprescindível, Magalhães e Pratsinis abordam todas as minudências linguísticas, onomásticas, textuais, métricas, rítmicas. Kavafis apresenta algumas complexidades ocultas, visto que utilizava diferentes níveis de linguagem e constantes cruzamentos entre uma erudição passadista e o quotidiano mais prosaico. Magalhães lembra uma outra dialéctica decisiva um magistral equilíbrio entre a impessoalidade e a dramatização (pessoalíssima).
Estóico e hedonista, Kavafis é o poeta da temporalidade em todas as suas facetas. E o poeta das vozes do passado e das vozes do presente "vozes íntimas, vindas da ruína, a do tempo, a do quotidiano, a do desejo, tentando atravessar essa ruína, tantas vezes em incitação da própria voz autoral, através de sonhos fúteis de grandeza, de tensas paixões que sabem encaminhar-se para o arruinamento. Contudo, todas essas vozes brilham, por muito que sejam baços, inglórios, derrotados os tempos e os momentos que procuravam a glória de um império, de um fim grandioso no perecimento, de um amor imenso tornado passageiro pelo destino"
(Αναδημοσίευση από την πορτογαλική εφημερίδα Diario de Notícias 28-9-2005)
Και ένα μικρό δείγμα τριών μεταφρασμένων ποιημάτων:
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CINZENTOS

Ao olhar uma opala meio cinzenta
lembrei-me de dois belos olhos cinzentos
que vi; haverá uns vinte anos...
.........................
Durante um mês amámo-nos.
Foi-se embora depois creio que para Esmirna,
para lá trabalhar, e nunca mais nos vimos.

Ter-se-ão desfeado - se vive - os olhos cinzentos;
ter-se-á estragado o belo rosto.
Memória minha, guarda-os tu tais como eram.
E, memória, o que podes deste meu amor,
o que podes traz-me de volta esta noite.

NUM LIVRO VELHO

Num livro velho - mais ou menos de há cem anos -
por entre as suas folhas esquecida,
encontrei uma aguarela sem assinatura.
Devia ser a obra de artista assaz forte.
Levava por título, «Apresentação do Amor».

Mas antes lhe convinha, «- do amor dos ultra estetas».

Pois era evidente quando se via a obra
(com facilidade se sentia a ideia do artista)
que para quantos amam um tanto higienicamente,
mantendo-se dentro do permitido de todas as maneiras,
não era destinado o adolescente
da pintura - com olhos castanhos de cor profunda;
com a beleza selecta do seu rosto,
a beleza das atracções perversas;
com os seus lábios ideais que levam
o prazer a um corpo amado;
com os seus membros ideais moldados para leitos
a que chama depravados a moral corrente.

FUI

Não me manietei. Dei-me totalmente e fui.
Aos deleites, que metade reais,
metade volteantes dentro da minha cabeça estavam,
fui para dentro da noite iluminada.
E bebi dos vinhos fortes, tal
como bebem os denodados do prazer.

20.1.07

RODRIGO: MANUEL NO ESTÁ SOLO

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Η ΠΑΡΑΓΟΥΑΗ ΑΠΕΚΤΗΣΕ ΤΟ ΠΡΩΤΟ ΓΚΕΪ ΡΑΔΙΟΦΩΝΙΚΟ ΠΡΟΓΡΑΜΜΑ

DIOS LOS CRIA, primer programa radial gay de Paraguay.
Dios los cría" es el primer programa gay-lésbico que se imite en el país por RGS Satelital. Ya lleva un mes y medio al aire y la receptividad de la comunidad homosexual como también de los simpatizantes es bastante buena, según los responsables.
El conductor, Andrés Vázquez (36), sin ningún tipo de temor, admitió al aire que es homosexual, convirtiéndose en el primer radialista que asumió su condición de gay. El programa va todos los domingos desde las 22 hasta la medianoche siendo la productora general Natalia Cabarcos.
-¿Cómo surgió la idea de hacer un programa exclusivamente para los gays y lesbianas?
-Desde hace rato se venía planeando este proyecto. Yo trabajo en promocionar los derechos humanos de los gays y lesbianas y no había un espacio de expresión para nosotros. Existe un estereotipo que somos loquitas y queríamos demostrar lo que somos. Así que en el programa "Dios los cría" pasamos informaciones legales, sobre salud, libros, entrevistas. Dejamos bien en claro nuestro estilo.
-¿Qué, por ejemplo, no se permite en el programa?
-No se permiten las agresiones ni en contra ni a favor, además, dejamos bien en claro que no es un programa de levante, ni para estar insultando a nadie.
-¿Hubo cierto temor para hacer el programa?
-En cierta manera sí. Es la primera vez que en Paraguay una radio brinda un programa gay-lésbico. Esto es un espacio de poder muy grande para nosotros, hasta logramos revertir algunas cosas.
-¿Cómo qué?
-Hace poco en el suplemento escolar de ABC una de las que escriben el escolar, una abogada al parecer, dijo que la homosexualidad es una enfermedad y desde hace años se sabe que no es así. Y remataba el artículo diciendo que se debía discriminar a los homosexuales y lesbianas. A raíz de esto hicimos una minicampaña, enviamos e-mail al Ministerio de Educación y logramos conseguir una reunión con el gabinete de la ministra Blanca Ovelar.
-¿Recibieron algún insulto durante el programa?
-Nada de nada, hay muy buena onda con los oyentes como también con las personas con quienes trabajamos en el programa, porque no todos son gays y lesbianas.
-Vos sos gay declarado, ¿verdad?
-Sí, lo soy. Comencé con mi familia, en la universidad y en el trabajo. Yo llegué a tener muchos problemas, pero no me importó. Muchos no asumen su condición por temor a la discriminació n, pero creo que de a poco se puede ir venciendo esos temores.
-Los temas musicales que pasan durante el programa son alusivos a los homosexuales y lesbianas.
-Sí, tocamos los temas clásicos de las discotecas gays, bajamos también del chat canciones que hacen referencia a nosotros.
-¿Cuál es el objetivo del programa?
-Tener un espacio en donde los adolescentes puedan expresarse. La homosexualidad es algo natural, no es malo ni bueno, es natural. Pasamos informaciones responsables, consejos legales, sobre las ventajas de usar condón entre otras cosas.
-¿Ya trataron sobre el casamiento homosexual?
-Como noticia sí. No soy partidario de hablar de matrimonio más bien de unión civil; yo estuve 6 años en pareja y cuando se debía operar, no pudo firmar la autorización en el hospital, porque no me reconocieron como pareja, ni tampoco quería que me quede con él, acompañándolo, pero finalmente lo logré.
(Αναδημοσίευση από το αργεντινό site SentidoG 11-1-2007)

19.1.07

ΓΝΩΡΙΖΕΤΕ ΟΤΙ ... 2- ΟΙ ΟΜΟΦΥΛΟΦΙΛΟΙ ΚΑΙ ΤΟ ΙΝΤΕΡΝΕΤ

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Γνωρίζετε ότι:
το 27% των ομοφυλοφίλων επισκέπτεται το You Tube τουλάχιστον μια φορά την εβδομάδα ( έναντι του 22% των ετεροφυλοφίλων);
το 33% των ομοφυλοφίλων χρησιμοποιεί το My Space ( έναντι του 28% των ετεροφυλοφίλων);
τo 75% των ομοφυλοφίλων ανήκουν στους ενθουσιώδεις χρήστες του διαδικτύου ( έναντι του 59% των ετεροφυλοφίλων);
Όλα αυτά τα μαθαίνουμε από πρόσφατη σχετική στατιστική έρευνα των Harris Intercative & Witeck-Combs Comunications.

Α ναι, και για τελευταίο ...το πιο ενδιαφέρον:
Το 36% των ομοφυλοφίλων διαβάζει καθημερινά μπλογκ ( έναντι του 19% των ετεροφυλοφίλων )

Ο ΒΑΣΙΛΙΑΣ ΚΑΙ Ο ΓΕΛΩΤΟΠΟΙΟΣ. ΜΙΑ ΤΑΙΝΙΑ ΑΠΟ ΤΗΝ Ν. ΚΟΡΕΑ

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Revisiting Gay Theme on Big Screen
By Kim Tae-jong
In "King and the Clown," the hit film set in the Choson Kingdom, a notorious tyrant king falls in love with an effeminate male court jester, causing deep anger and jealousy in his favorite concubine. This jester, who usually plays female roles in performances, in turn shares intimate feelings with another male clown.
The film deals with a homosexual theme, a taboo subject in Korean cinema. However, it is now expected to become one of the most commercially successful films in history.
The reason for its success may lie in its treatment of its homosexual content. The complicated relationship seems founded on an apparent love triangle between the three men, but the film avoids directly referring to it. Instead, the film is filled with ambiguous implications and does not contain intimate love scenes between male characters.
Some critics have pointed to Lee Jun-gi, the actor who plays the effeminate court jester, as a large reason for the film's acceptance, as his pretty face and sweet demeanor in the film prevents moviegoers from having a negative reaction against the homosexuality-represented.
The film hit the 5-million-viewer mark in 21 days since its release on Dec. 29, beating out other blockbusters such as ``King Kong'' directed by Peter Jackson and local film ``Typhoon,'' and it seems poised to reach the 8-million-viewer mark, if it continues on its current pace.
But does the film's critical and commercial success indicate that society has become more open to homosexual themes and sexual minorities?
``King and the Clown'' is based on an acclaimed play titled ``Yi,'' a fictional account of the true story of King Yonsan, or Yonsangun in the 16th century. It's a story about a tyrant king and his favorite court jester, Kong-gil, with the addition of fictional characters such as Jang-saeng, leader of clowns.
But whereas the play made the sexuality of the characters more explicit, the makers of the film version decided to take out most specific references to homosexuality in their film, said Chung Jin-wan, producer of ``King and the Clown.''
``When we finished writing a script for the film, we actually realized that it was too plain in terms of homosexuality compared to the original play. That's why we deiced to put in a kiss scene between Kong-gil and Yonsan,'' Chung said.
Chung added that the film definitely has a theme of homosexuality, but ``We didn't intend to make it a movie about gays.'' Rather, Chung said, they wanted to make the relationship more understandable to a larger audience.
Hahn Chae-yun, director of the Korean Sexual-Minority Culture & Rights Center, agreed that the film is a well-made gay-themed movie, but its success actually proves that people have still a strong prejudice toward homosexuality.
``It is just a matter of wrapping. People are just generous about what they find pretty without giving an attention what the reality is,'' Hahn said.
Comparing people's responses of ``King and the Clown'' and other conventional gay movies such as ``Road Movie'' (2002), she pointed out that people showed two extremely different standards on gay-themed movies, and it proves that they have still strong prejudice or pre-concepts against homosexuals,.
``Road Movie,'' which depicted the love between two homeless men, flopped commercially. And despite the efforts to shed light on the sensitive issue, it was said that it only attributed to raising homosexual phobia.
``Films like `King and the Clown' could help people re-think their attitudes to homosexuals, but they easily fail to apply what they were moved by through films in real life. They may have other stereotypes of homosexuals who are beautifully portrayed in films,'' Hahn said.
(Αναδημοσίευση από την εφημερίδα The Korean Times)

18.1.07

PATRICK ANGUS

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Patrick Angus, (1953-1992), ΗΠΑ

ΦΕΣΤΙΒΑΛ ΠΟΡΝΟΓΡΑΦΙΚΩΝ ΤΑΙΝΙΩΝ

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Athens Porn Film Festival
Μετά από την τεράστια επιτυχία που σημείωσε στο Βερολίνο το Berlin Porn Film Festival, η Proud Promotions και η Astra Production, υπό την επίβλεψη του Jurgen Bruning, επιμελητή του Berlin Porn Film Festival, παραγωγού του Bruce La Bruce, σκηνοθέτη και επί σειρά ετών Programmeer στην διάσημη Berlinale, διοργανώνει το Porn Film Festival στο Gagarin Live Music Space. Για 4 μέρες 18-21 ιανουαρίου 2007 το Athens Porn Film Festival μας οδηγεί σε ένα ηδονικό λαβύρινθο όπου κάπου μεταξύ τέχνης και πολιτικής, ονείρου και πραγματικότητας, θα γνωρίσετε τις τρυφερές και τις σκοτεινές πτυχές μιας αληθινής, αυθεντικής, καλλιτεχνικής πορνογραφίας. Ο όρος Post Porn (μέτα-πορνό) έγινε γνωστός χάρη στη pornstar, καλλιτέχνη και ακαδημαϊκό Annie Sprinkle. Με τον όρο post porn εδραίωσε ένα καινούριο επίπεδο σεξουαλικής αντίληψης προβάλλοντας την ευχαρίστηση, την ανεξαρτησία και την πρωτοβουλία σε σεξουαλικές παραστάσεις. Η Sprinkle παρουσίασε το σεξ ως μια queer φεμινιστική εναλλακτική ευχαρίστηση έξω από τα ασφυκτικά όρια της λογοκρισίας και του ταμπού. Σήμερα, θεωρητικοί των queer studies, όπως είναι οι Beatriz Preciado και Marie-Helene Bourcier επανεκτιμούν τον όρο post porn για να μπορέσουν να μιλήσουν ουσιαστικά για το σεξ σε μια εποχή υποκειμενικού φύλου, drag και κυβερνοχώρου. Tέσσερις ημέρες με Προβολές ταινιών, sex show, Performances/Πάνελ, dj's line up, ομιλίες, παρουσιάσεις, συναυλίες. Το φεστιβάλ θα φιλοξενήσει τους πιο πρωτότυπους, θαρραλέους, καταξιωμένους οραματιστές από τον κινηματογράφο, τη φωτογραφία, το θέατρο, τη μουσική, την καλλιτεχνική σκηνή, τον κόσμο του πορνό για να προβάλει και να ξεναγηθεί στην δημιουργική απενοχοποιημενη πορνογραφία που δεν βρίσκεις στα πατάρια του video club. Ηθοποιοί, σκηνοθέτες, καλλιτέχνες από ολη την Ευρώπη και Αμερική ακόμα και από την Ιαπωνία θα παρουσιάσουν την δουλεια τους και θα ανοίξουν τους ορίζοντες και θα δώσουν τις δικές τους απαντήσεις στις κοινωνικές και αισθητικές ερωτήσεις, του πως εκπροσωπούμε τον εαυτό μας ως σεξουαλικά όντα.
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Γιατί βλέπουμε τσόντες;
Γιατί να μην βλέπουμε τσόντες;
Γιατί να μη ψάξουμε για διαφορετικές τσόντες;
Πώς θεωρητικοποιούμε τις sex Performances/Πάνελ;
Πώς παράγουμε διαφορετικές τεχνολογίες του σώματος;
Πώς κριτικάρουμε χωρίς να λογοκρίνουμε;
Γιατί υποστηρίζουμε τα φετίχ;Γιατί σεξοποιούμε την απομόνωση;
Πώς εντείνουμε τη σχέση μεταξύ θεωρίας και πρακτικής;
Γιατί η "δύναμη" είναι ερεθιστική;
Γιατί λέμε οτι το σώμα είναι θύμα καπιταλιστικής τροποποίησης;
Γιατί απλά να μην "πηδάμε" διαφορετικά;
Γιατί εξυψώνουμε σε ύψιστη ιδέα την επιστροφή στη φύση;
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Για περισσότερες πληροφορίες και για το πρόγραμμα του φεστιβάλ μπορείτε να επισκεφθείτε το site: www.pornfilmfestival.gr

17.1.07

JOE OPPEDISANO: TESTOSTERONE

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Δυο μικρά αποσπάσματα από την συνέντευξη που έδωσε ο Joe Oppedisano στον Scott Dagostino (FAB Magazine, issue 311) με αφορμή την πρόσφατη κυκλοφορία του φωτογραφικού λευκώματος Testosterone:
"Gay fantasy” is what Joe Oppedisano calls his work. In the crowded field of male nude photography, Oppedisano’s shots stand out with their potent sexuality – an unapologetically- raw masculinity conveyed with rich colours and stark lighting. A fixture in European gay magazines, the New Yorker is finally becoming a name in North America.
The photographer gravitates towards “guys who are beefier and sexier” rather than the fashion world’s preference for “skinny and interesting” models. “I grew up playing football and baseball and running track,” he says. “I was always into athletic guys.” In the first collection of his photos, the aptly-titled new book Testosterone, Oppedisano takes his massive models into a world that’s “dark and dank and a little spooky. You turn a corner and see this big tattooed man. Is he going to fuck you or kick the shit out of you? There’s that question of should I go for it?”
He describes his work as “highly stylized and homoerotic” and it’s an artistry that prevents even his sexiest shots from being dismissed as pornography. He studied art history in Florence and was inspired by Caravaggio and other Renaissance painters. During a normal work day, he says, “I just started shooting with this really dramatic lighting. It’s very strong, very top-heavy. It accentuates the body and the muscles.” Another inspiration was less highbrow: “Black velvet paintings from the ’70s,” he laughs. “I love the bright colour and shadows.” Used in his own work, Oppedisano says, “all that muscle and flesh coming out of darkness is really romantic and sexy…I really saturate the hell out of my colour. The reds are redder, the blues are bluer. Everything is much more rich than it would be in real life, which makes it more cinematic.” (…)
While many photographers of male nudes strive for classicism – Greek statues by way of Leni Riefenstahl – Oppedisano’s tastes are more pop. “I find more inspiration in movies,” he says. “Did you see Batman Begins?” he asks. “Oh my God, that was so hot. Totally hot.” Having already done a ‘gay cowboy’ spread years ago [below], Oppedisano loved Brokeback Mountain. “The part when he spits on his dick to fuck him raw in the middle of the woods was genius! I couldn’t believe it!” After seeing the film, he says, “I’d have loved to do another gay cowboy shoot out in the woods somewhere but everybody was kind of going for that at the time so I held back.”It’s the pack mentality too often seen in publishing that Oppedisano pushes against. While preparing Testosterone, he says, the publishers “wanted me to reshoot the book, to be like a Bel Ami book, and I told them I wouldn’t do it. I would rather not have a book.” After a while, he says, “they realized that having guys in Dolce & Gabbana suits fighting in a boiler room IS much hotter than them naked and laying lifeless on a bed, pretending to be sexy.” Oppedisano wants “that really raw masculinity that you don’t see in other photographs of a guy looking pretty with his ass up in the air. Sure, you want to fuck him but after that, then what?” (…)

ΟΙ GILBERT & GEORGE ΣΤΗΝ TATE MODERN

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Με αφορμή το πρόσφατο ποστ του Αμβρόσιου για την έκθεση των Gilbert & George στην Tate Modern στο Λονδίνο θυμήθηκα παλαιότερη συνέντευξή τους στον Δ. Ρηγόπουλο (ΚΑΘΗΜΕΡΙΝΗ, 3-10-2001) για την πολυσυζητημένη τότε αναδρομική έκθεσή τους στο «Εργοστάσιο» της Ανωτάτης Σχολής Kαλών Τεχνών .
Και ξαναδιαβάζοντας τις δυο τελευταίες δηλώσεις τους αναπόφευκτα σκέφθηκα ότι …έχει ο καιρός γυρίσματα.

Για τις έννοιες του σοκ και της πρόκλησης: «Οταν διοργανώνονται εκθέσεις μας σε όλο τον κόσμο, εκθέσεις σαν κι αυτήν εδώ στην Αθήνα ή και μικρότερες, καταφθάνουν στα εγκαίνια τηλεοπτικά συνεργεία με δημοσιογράφους που αναζητούν τυπικούς σοκαρισμένους μεσήλικες, τους οποίους όμως ποτέ δεν βρίσκουν. Θυμάμαι στη Γερμανία μία ρεπόρτερ να ρωτάει με πάθος μία κυρία αν σοκαρίστηκε απ' ό,τι είδε. Kαι τους απαντάει, σχεδόν ενοχλημένη: «Οχι, καθόλου. Ξέρετε, έχω γίνει δύο φορές μητέρα». (George)
Για τη θεματολογία τους: «Εμείς απλώς οπτικοποιούμε θέματα για τα οποία μιλάει όλος ο κόσμος». (Gilbert)
Για την περιορισμένη κοινωνική τους ζωή: «Εχουμε συναντήσει εκατομμύρια ανθρώπους και αισθανόμαστε εξαντλημένοι. Θέλουμε ελεύθερο χρόνο για μας». (Gilbert)
Για τους πολιτικούς: «Τρομοκρατούνται με τη δουλειά μας. Kι αυτό είναι καλό. Για δύο λόγους. Πρώτον, σημαίνει ότι κάνουμε κάτι που αξίζει. Δεύτερον, γιατί δεν είμαστε υποχρεωμένοι σε κανέναν. Δεν έχουμε καμία ευθύνη απέναντί τους. Το μόνο που θέλουμε είναι να μας αφήνουν στην ησυχία μας». (Gilbert)
Για την Τέιτ Μόντερν: «Η Τέιτ Μόντερν βασίζεται σε μία παλιομοδίτικη, φασιστική ιδέα. Διαχωρίζει την τέχνη. Από τη μία, η Τέιτ Μπρίτεν και από την άλλη η Τέιτ Μόντερν. Αρα, για να υπάρχει η Τέιτ Μόντερν σημαίνει ότι στην Τέιτ Μπρίταν βρίσκει κανείς μόνο παλιά, ξεπερασμένα πράγματα. Είναι η ίδια ακριβώς ιδέα που συναντάς στα Μουσεία Αφρικανικής Τέχνης. Δεν μπορείς να διαχωρίζεις τους καλλιτέχνες βάσει της καταγωγής τους. Βλακώδες». (George)
«Οι εκθέσεις στην Τέιτ Μόντερν δεν έχουν επιτυχία. Το αντίθετο. Kι εννοώ τις εκθέσεις τις οποίες θα πρέπει να πληρώσεις για να δεις». (Gilbert)

16.1.07

LOVING ANNABELLE.

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Loving Annabelle is the controversial story of a Catholic Boarding School teacher, Simone Bradley (Diane Gaidry), who has an affair with her female student, Annabelle (Erin Kelly).
Simone is Saint Theresa's prized young poetry teacher who finds peace and security within the boarding school's walls. Surrounded by a lush atmosphere with little conflict, Simone has settled into a life of comfort and purpose educating her young female students.
Annabelle is a charismatic and enchanting new student who quickly draws attention for her rebellious behavior. Fearing Annabelle will influence the other students, rigid Headmistress (Ilene Graff), instructs Simone to keep an eye on Annabelle and get her under control.
Simone, however, quickly learns that the real challenge is not Annabelle's behavior but the attraction budding between the two. As Annabelle pursues her teacher, she unleashes the passion that has been locked deep inside Simone, who must decide whether or not to enter into an affair that could cost her everything.
Inspired by the 1931 German classic, MAEDCHEN IN UNIFORM, director Katharine Brooks's Loving Annabelle gives a modern telling of the “forbidden love” story that continues to be controversial to this day.
With stunning cinematography by Cynthia Pusheck, Loving Annabelle offers excellent performances from its female leads, Diane Gaidry and Erin Kelly, as well as a featured performance by Academy Award nominee/Golden Globe recipient Kevin McCarthy.
Loving Annabelle explores the complexity and controversy of love and struggle between two women who have every reason to deny their feelings. Blind to the world around them, the two journey into a love affair destined to change their lives forever.
(Αναδημοσίευση από το επίσημο site της ταινίας)

ΤΑ ΣΧΕΔΙΑ ΤΟΥ ΖΑΝ ΚΟΚΤΩ 1

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Jean Cocteau

15.1.07

ΤΑ ΟΜΟΕΡΩΤΙΚΑ ΠΟΙΗΜΑΤΑ ΤΟΥ ΛΟΡΔΟΥ ΒΥΡΩΝΑ

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Lord Byron´s Homoerotic Poems
By Dr. Clifton Snider
The first two poems below appear in The Penguin Book of Homosexual Verse (ed. Stephen Coote, pp. 192-93). They are both about a schoolmate at Harrow, John Edleston (spelled “Eddleston” by Byron), with whom Byron was deeply in love (see The Columbia Anthology of Gay Literature, ed. Byrne R. S. Fone, p. 219). Despite Byron’s reputation as a womanizer and a world-class object of heterosexual love, he was, apparently, throughout his life romantically attached to men. His handsome servant, William Fletcher, “was at Byron’s side from 1804, when Byron was sixteen, almost without interval until his master died” (Fiona MacCarthy, Byron: Life and Legend, p. 77). Byron had a deep love for Nicolas (or Nicolo, Byron's version of his name) Giraud, “a young man he [had] met in Greece, where he died in 1824 after joining the Greek revolt against the Turks" (see "If Sometimes in the Haunts of Men" (1812; written for Giraud and reprinted in Fone; see pp. 219 and 223-224; see also MacCarthy, pp. 128-29). In Greece, the last object of his love (which was not returned) was for his teenaged Greek page, Lukas Chalandritsanos ( MacCarthy, pp. 499 and 501). See the poem, “On This Day I Complete My Thirty-sixth Year” (1824), as well as "Love and Death" (1824) and “Last Words on Greece” (1824), below. All three were written for Lukas.
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The Cornelian (1807)

No specious splendour of this stone
Endears it to my memory ever;
With lustre only once it shone,
And blushes modest as the giver.
Some, who can sneer at friendship’s ties,
Have, for my weakness, oft reprov’d me;
Yet still the simple gift I prize,
For I am sure, the giver lov’d me.
He offer’d it with downcast look,
As fearful that I might refuse it;
I told him, when the gift I took,
My only fear should be, to lose it.
This pledge attentively I view’d,
And sparkling as I held it near,
Methought one drop the stone bedew’d,
And, ever since, I’ve lov’d a tear.
Still, to adorn his humble youth,
Nor wealth nor birth their treasures yield;
But he, who seeks the flowers of truth,
Must quit the garden, for the field.
‘Tis not the plant uprear’d in sloth,
Which beauty shews, and sheds perfume;
The flowers, which yield the most of both,
In Nature’s wild luxuriance bloom.
Had Fortune aided Nature’s care,
For once forgetting to be blind,
His would have been an ample share,
If well proportioned to his mind.
But had the Goddess clearly seen,
His form had fix’d her fickle breast;
Her countless hoards would his have been,
And none remain’d to give the rest.

from Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, stanzas 95-96
“To Eddleston” (1817/1818)

Thou too art gone, thou loved and lovely one!
Whom Youth and Youth’s affections bound to me;

Nor shrank from one albeit unworthy thee,
What is my Being! thou hast ceased to be!
Nor staid to welcome here thy wanderer home,
Who mourns o’er hours which we no more shall see—
Would they had never been, or were to come!
Would he had ne’er returned to find fresh cause to roam!
Oh! ever loving, lovely, and beloved!
How selfish Sorrow ponders on the past,
And clings to thoughts now better far removed!
But Time shall tear thy shadow from me last.
All thou couldst have of mine, stern Death! thou hast;
The Parent, Friend, and now the more than Friend:
Ne’er yet for one thine arrows flew so fast,
And grief with grief continuing still to blend,
Hath snatched the little joy that Life had yet to lend.

If Sometimes in the Haunts of Men

If sometimes in the haunts of men (1812)

Thine image from my breast may fade,
The lonely hour presents again
The semblance of thy gentle shade:
And now that sad and silent hour
Thus much of thee can still restore,
And sorrow unobserved may pour
The plaint she dare not speak before.
Oh, pardon that in crowds awhile
I waste one thought I owe to thee,
And self-condemn'd, appear to smile,
Unfaithful to thy memory:
Nor deem that memory less dear,
That then I seem not to repine;
I would not fools should overhear
One sigh that should be wholly thine.
If not the goblet pass unquaff'd,
It is not drain'd to banish care;
The cup must hold a deadlier draught,
That brings a Lethe for despair.
And could Oblivion set my soul
From all her troubled visions free,
I'd dash to earth the sweetest bowl
That drown'd a single thought of thee.
For wert thou vanish'd from my mind,
Where could my vacant bosom turn?
And who could then remain behind
To honour thine abandon'd Urn?
No, no--it is my sorrow's pride
That last dear duty to fulfil:
Though all the world forget beside,
'Tis meet that I remember still.
For well I know, that such had been
Thy gentle care for him, who now
Unmourn'd shall quit this mortal scene,
Where none regarded him, but thou:
And, oh! I feel in that was given
A blessing never meant for me;
Thou wert too like a dream of Heaven
For earthly Love to merit thee.

Love and Death (1824)

I watched thee when the foe was at our side,
Ready to strike at him--or thee and me,
Were safety hopeless--rather than divide
Aught with one loved, save love and liberty.

I watched thee on the breakers, when the rock
Received our prow, and all was storm and fear,
And bade thee cling to me through every shock;
This arm would be thy bark, or breast thy bier.

I watched thee when the fever glazed thine eyes,
Yielding my couch, and stretched me on the ground
When overworn with watching, ne'er to rise
From thence, if thou an early grave hadst found.

The earthquake came, and rocked the quivering
And men and nature reeled as if with wine.
Whom did I seek around the tottering hall?
For thee. Whose safety first provide for? Thine

And when convulsive throes denied my breath
The faultest utterance to my fading thought,
To thee--to thee--e'en in the gasp of death
My spirit turned, oh! oftener than it ought.

Thus much and more; and yet thou lov'st me not,
And never wilt! Love dwells not in our will.
Nor can I blame thee, though it be my lot
To strongly, wrongly, vainly love thee still.

Last Words On Greece (1824)

What are to me those honours or renown
Past or to come, a new born people’s cry?
Albeit for such I could despise a crown
Of aught save laurel, or for such could die.
I am a fool of passion, and a frown
Of thine to me is an adder’s eye
To the poor bird whose pinion fluttering down
Wafts unto death the breast it bore so high;
Such is this maddening fascination grown,
So strong thy magic or so weak am I.
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Louis Crompton, in Byron and Greek Love: Homophobia in 19th-Century England, has shown that Byron fled England not only because of the scandal over his affair with his half-sister, but also because of the repressive anti-same-sex laws in England, where the penalty for sodomy was death. Also, Crompton suggests that homosexual desire was one of the reasons he first went to Greece and the anti-same sex sentiment in England may account for the famous Byronic stance of lone defiance. The Oxford Anthology of English Literature, Vol. II, says that Byron was “fundamentally homosexual” (p. 285), yet that was not a fact generally taught over thirty years ago, at least not in my experience.

14.1.07

ΜΑΡΙΟ ΒΑΡΓΚΑΣ ΓΙΟΣΑ: Ο ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΙΝΟΣ

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Mario Vargas Llosa ante la tumba del poeta Constantino Cavafis en Alejandría
Ο Μάριο Βάργκας Γιόσα στον τάφο του Κ.Π. Καβάφη στην Αλεξάνδρεια
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EL ALEJANDRINO
EL departamento donde el poeta Constantino Cavafis (1863-1933) vivió en Alejandría sus últimos 27 años está en un edificio venido a menos, en el centro de la ciudad, en una calle que se llamó Lepsius cuando habitaban el barrio los griegos y los italianos y que se llama ahora Charm-el-Sheik. Todavía quedan algunos griegos por el contorno, a juzgar por unos cuantos letreros en lengua helénica, pero lo que domina por doquier es el árabe. El barrio se ha empobrecido y está lleno de callejones hacinados, casas en ruinas, veredas agujereadas y -signo típico de los distritos miserables en Egipto- las azoteas han sido convertidas por los vecinos en pestilentes basurales. Pero la bella iglesita ortodoxa a la que acudían los creyentes en su tiempo está todavía allí, y también la airosa mezquita, y el hospital. Pero, en cambio, ha desaparecido el burdel que funcionaba en la planta baja de su piso.
El departamento es un pequeño museo a cargo del consulado griego y no debe recibir muchas visitas, a juzgar por el soñoliento muchacho que nos abre la puerta y nos mira como si fuésemos marcianos. Cavafis es poco menos que un desconocido en esta ciudad que sus poemas han inmortalizado -ellos son, con la famosísima Biblioteca quemada de la antigüedad y los amores de Cleopatra lo mejor que le ha pasado desde que la fundó Alejandro el Grande en el 331 a.d. Cristo- donde no hay una calle que lleve su nombre ni una estatua que lo recuerde, o, si las hay, no figuran en las guías y nadie sabe dónde encontrarlas. La vivienda es oscura, de techos altos, lúgubres pasillos y amoblada con la circunspección con que debió estarlo cuando se instaló aquí Cavafis, con su hermano Pablo, en 1907. Este último convivió con él apenas un año y luego se marchó a París. Desde entonces, Constantino vivió aquí solo, y, al parecer, mientras permanecía dentro de estos espesos muros, con irrenunciable sobriedad.
Este es uno de los escenarios de la menos interesante de las vidas de Cavafis, la que no dejó huella en su poesía y que nos cuesta imaginar cuando lo leemos: la del atildado y modesto burgués que fue agente en la Bolsa del algodón y que, durante treinta años, como un burócrata modelo, trabajó en el Departamento de Irrigación del Ministerio de Obras Públicas, en el que, por su puntualidad y eficiencia fue ascendiendo, hasta llegar a la subdirección. Las fotos de las paredes dan testimonio de ese prototipo cívico: los gruesos anteojos de montura de carey, los cuellos duros, la ceñida corbata, el pañuelito en el bolsillo superior de la chaqueta, el chaleco con leontina y los gemelos en los puños blancos de la camisa. Bien rasurado y bien peinado, mira a la cámara muy serio, como la encarnación misma del hombre sin cualidades. Ése es el mismo Cavafis al que mató un cáncer en la laringe y que está enterrado en el cementerio greco-ortodoxo de Alejandría, entre ostentosos mausoleos, en un pequeño rectángulo de lápidas de mármoles, que comparte con los huesos de dos o tres parientes.
En el pequeño museo no hay una sola de las famosas hojas volanderas donde publicó sus primeros poemas y que, en tiradas insignificantes -treinta o cuarenta copias- repartía avaramente a unos pocos elegidos. Tampoco, alguno de los opúsculos -cincuenta ejemplares el primero, setenta el segundo- en los que reunió en dos ocasiones un puñadito de poemas, los únicos que, durante su vida, alcanzaron una forma incipiente de libro. El secretismo que rodeó el ejercicio de la poesía en este altísimo poeta no sólo tenía que ver con su homosexualidad, bochornosa tara en un funcionario público y un pequeño burgués de la época y del lugar, que en sus poemas se explayaba con tan sorprendente libertad sobre sus aficiones sexuales; también, y acaso sobre todo, con la fascinación que ejercieron sobre él la clandestinidad, la catacumba, la vida maldita y marginal, que practicó a ratos y a la que cantó con inigualable elegancia. La poesía, para Cavafis, como el placer y la belleza, no se daban a la luz pública ni estaban al alcance de todos: sólo de aquellos temerarios estetas hedonistas que iban a buscarlos y cultivarlos, como frutos prohibidos, en peligrosos territorios.
De ese Cavafis, en el museo hay solamente una rápida huella, en unos dibujitos sin fecha esbozados por él en un cuaderno escolar cuyas páginas han sido arrancadas y pegadas en las paredes, sin protección alguna: muchachos, o acaso un mismo muchacho en diferentes posturas, mostrando sus apolíneas siluetas y sus vergas enhiestas. Este Cavafis me lo imagino muy bien, desde que lo leí por primera vez, en la versión en prosa de sus poemas hecha por Marguerite Yourcenar, aquel Cavafis sensual y decadente que discretamente sugirió E. M. Foster en su ensayo de 1926 y el que volvió figura mítica el Cuarteto de Alejandría de Lawrence Durrell. Aquí, en su ciudad, pululan todavía los cafetines y las tabernas de sus poemas y que, como éstos, carecen casi totalmente de mujeres y de parejas heterosexuales. No me consta, pero estoy seguro de que, en ellos, todavía, entre el aroma del café turco y las nubes de humo que despiden los aparatosos fumadores de shisha, en esas muchedumbres masculinas que los atestan se fraguan los ardientes encuentros, los primeros escarceos, los tráficos mercantiles que preceden los acoplamientos afiebrados de los amantes de ocasión, en casas de cita cuya sordidez y mugre aderezan el rijo de los exquisitos. Hasta diría que lo he visto, en las terrazas de La Corniche, o en los cuchitriles humosos que rodean el mercado de las telas, caballero de naricilla fruncida, labios ávidos y ojitos lujuriosos, a la caída de la noche, bajo la calidez de las primeras estrellas y la brisa del mar, espiando a los jóvenes de aire forajido que se pasean sacando mucho el culo, en busca de clientes.
A diferencia de la serenidad y la naturalidad con que los hombres -mejor sería decir los adolescentes- se aman entre ellos en los poemas de Cavafis, y disfrutan del goce sexual con la buena conciencia de dioses paganos, para él esos amores debieron ser extremadamente difíciles y sobresaltados, impregnados a veces de temor y siempre de ilusiones que se frustraban. Lo genial de su poesía erótica es que aquellas experiencias, que debieron ser limitadas y vividas en la terrible tensión de quien en su vida pública guardaba siempre la apariencia de la respetabilidad y rehuía por todos los medios el escándalo, se transforman en una utopía: una manera suprema de vivir y de gozar, de romper los límites de la condición humana y acceder a una forma superior de existencia, de alcanzar una suerte de espiritualidad laica, en la que, a través del placer de los sentidos y de la percepción y disfrute de la belleza física, un ser humano llega, como los místicos en sus trances divinos, a la altura de los dioses, a ser también un dios. Los poemas eróticos de Cavafis arden de una sensualidad desbocada y, pese a ello, y a su utilería romántica de decadencia y malditismo, son sin embargo curiosamente fríos, con cierta distancia racional, la de una inteligencia que gobierna la efusión de las pasiones y la fiesta de los instintos, y, a la vez que la representa en el verso, la observa, la estudia y, valiéndose de la forma, la perfecciona y eterniza.
Sus temas y su vocación sexual estaban infiltrados de romanticismo decimonónico -de exceso y trasgresión, de individualismo aristocrático-, pero, a la hora de coger la pluma y sentarse a escribir, surgía del fondo de su ser y tomaba las riendas de su espíritu, un clásico, obsesionado con la armonía de las formas y la claridad de la expresión, un convencido de que la destreza artesanal, la lucidez, la disciplina y el buen uso de la memoria eran preferibles a la improvisación y a la desordenada inspiración para alcanzar la absoluta perfección artística. Él la alcanzó, y de tal manera, que su poesía es capaz de resistir la prueba de la traducción -una prueba que casi siempre asesina a la de los demás poetas- y helarnos la sangre y maravillarnos en sus distintas versiones, a quienes no podemos leerla en el griego demótico y de la diáspora en que fue escrita. (A propósito, la más hermosa de las traducciones que he leído de los poemas de Cavafis es la de los veinticinco poemas que vertió al español Joan Ferraté. La publicó Lumen en 1970, en una bella edición ilustrada con fotografías, y, por desgracia, que yo sepa no ha sido reimpresa).
Ese es el tercer Cavafis de la indisoluble trinidad: el extemporáneo, el que en alas de la fantasía y la historia vivió, al mismo tiempo, bajo el yugo británico contemporáneo y veinte siglos atrás, en una provincia romana de griegos levantiscos, judíos industriosos y mercaderes procedentes de todos los rincones del mundo, o unas centenas de años después, cuando cristianos y paganos se cruzaban y descruzaban en una confusa sociedad donde proliferaban las virtudes y los vicios, los seres divinos y los humanos y era casi imposible diferenciar a los unos de los otros. El Cavafis heleno, el romano, el bizantino, el judío, salta fácilmente de un siglo a otro, de una civilización a la siguiente o a la anterior, con la facilidad y la gracia con que un diestro danzarín realiza una acrobacia, conservando siempre la coherencia y la continuidad de sus movimientos. Su mundo no es nada erudito, aunque sus personajes, lugares, batallas, intrigas cortesanas, puedan ser rastreados en los libros de historia, porque la erudición antepone una barrera glacial de datos, precisiones y referencias entre la información y la realidad, y el mundo de Cavafis tiene la frescura y la intensidad de lo vivido, pero no es la vida al natural, sino la vida enriquecida y detenida -sin dejar de seguir viviendo- en la obra de arte.Alejandría está siempre allí, en esos poemas deslumbrantes. Porque en ella ocurren los episodios que evoca, o porque es desde esa perspectiva que se vislumbran o recuerdan o añoran los sucesos griegos, romanos o cristianos, o porque quien inventa y canta es de allí y no quiere ser de ninguna otra parte. Era un alejandrino singular y un hombre de la periferia, un griego de la diáspora que hizo por su patria cultural -la de su lengua y la de su antiquísima mitología- más que ningún otro escritor desde los tiempos clásicos, pero ¿cómo podría ser adscrito, así, sin más, a la historia de la literatura griega moderna europea, este medio-oriental tan identificado con los olores, los sabores, los mitos y el pasado de su tierra de exilio, esa encrucijada cultural y geográfica donde el Asia y el Africa se tocan y confunden, así como se han confundido en ella todas las civilizaciones, razas y religiones mediterráneas?
Todas ellas han dejado un sedimento en el mundo que creó Cavafis, un poeta que con todo ese riquísimo material histórico y cultural fue capaz de crear otro, distinto, que se reaviva y actualiza cada vez que lo leemos. Los alejandrinos de hoy día no frecuentan su poesía y la gran mayoría de ellos ni siquiera conoce su nombre. Pero, para quienes lo hemos leído, la Alejandría más real y tangible, cuando llegamos aquí, no es la de su hermosa playa y su curvo malecón, la de sus nubes viajeras, sus tranvías amarillos y el anfiteatro erigido con piedras de granito traídas de Assuán, ni siquiera la de las maravillas arqueológicas de su museo. Sino la Alejandría de Cavafis, aquella en la que discuten e imparten sus doctrinas los sofistas, donde se filosofa sobre las enseñanzas de las Termópilas y el simbolismo del viaje de Ulises a Itaca, donde los vecinos curiosos salen de sus casas a ver a los hijos de Cleopatra -Cesáreo, Alejandro y Tolomeo- asistir al Gimnasio, cuyas calles apestan a vino e incienso cuando pasa el cortejo de Baco, inmediatamente después de los dolidos funerales a un gramático, donde el amor es sólo cosa de hombres y donde, de pronto, sobreviene el pánico, porque ha corrido el rumor de que pronto llegarán los bárbaros.
(Αναδημοσίευση από την ισπανική εφημερίδα EL PAÍS 24-02-2000)