Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Footnote on Violence in France: NOM Condemns Violence on "Either Side," Frigide Barjot Claims Anti-Gay Violence Caused by State Promoting Gay Marriage

A quick footnote to what I posted earlier today about the violent protests that continued in France yesterday following the passage of the marriage equality bill in the French national assembly: in that posting, I wrote, "As far as I know, NOM hasn't issued any statement at all deploring the violent actions of protest that continued in France yesterday following the passing of the marriage equality bill."

And now, in a comment responding to my posting, Chris Morley has very helpfully provided a link to a statement by Brian Brown of NOM yesterday which states, "We condemn in the strongest possible terms violence by anyone on either side of this debate."

I find that phrase "violence by anyone on either side of this debate" curious, don't you? I'm wondering: have any of you readers seen photos of people like Wilfred de Bruijn, whose face was beaten to a bloody pulp by anti-gay thugs in Paris recently, who were attacked by the "other side" (i.e., the pro-marriage equality side) in this debate? Me, either.

And so why is Brian Brown speaking of "violence by anyone on either side" when the only and persistent violence going on in France over these issues is from the anti-gay side?! Talk about bearing false witness--not to mention taking away with one hand what you just offered with the other, when it comes to facing the real violence in France these days, and who's perpetrating it.

Chris also links to a tweet of Catholic anti-gay leader Frigide Barjot yesterday, which states, "N'est-ce pas un problème que le vote d'une loi suscite autant de haine et de violence chez les sympathisants?" 

Well, no, Ms. Barjot, it's not, in fact, a surprise to find a vote for a certain law eliciting hate and violence towards those who promote that particular law. Please let me educate you a bit about this matter. Allow me to explain to you some things I saw growing up in the middle of the historic struggle for civil rights for African Americans in the U.S. South in the 1950s and 1960s.

Every time a law was passed or a court decision handed down which assured rights to African-American citizens of the South who had long been denied rights, that law was met by violence. People were beaten, shot, disappeared--people who supported rights for African Americans had all these things done to them.

Crosses were burned in yards of people who showed sympathy for African Americans in their struggle for rights. African-American workers were punished by being fired if they opened their mouths to support the civil rights movement. These things happened in my own town. Those working against the rights of people of color used tactics of intimidation like plastering my high school with lurid flyers predicting the demise of white Christian civilization when the school integrated. They threw rocks at school buses carrying black children to white schools in my town.

They tried in every way possible to undermine laws and court decisions that granted rights to citizens of color, and they freely resorted to violence when other tactics didn't work. A black teenaged boy was murdered in my own community by three white teens in what was largely regarded as an act designed to intimidate black citizens of my community when school integration took place.

So, no, Ms. Barjot, I don't buy your analysis (echoing the shameful, mendacious analysis of the Cardinal Archbishop of Paris) that the violence now taking place in the streets of France is reactionary violence protesting the violence of laws and court decisions that offer rights to a minority group. The violence you and your Catholic group have been feeding and egging along: it's nothing but plain old fascist violence designed to stop a human rights movement in its tracks.

It--and you--are ignoble in the extreme. Please stop trying to depict yourself as a defender of human rights who "loves" the human beings whose lives you're putting at risk.

You're anything but the opposite of that. You're the opposite. You're a shabby bit-player in a drama of prejudice and discrimination that is as old as the hills, and as predictable as fever with the flu.

P.S. I apologize to any readers who may be offended by the photo of Wilfred de Bruijn following his attack by anti-gay thugs in Paris. Since he himself shared the photo with the world via Facebook, I think it's important to hear what he's telling us via the picture and his comments about what happened. 

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