Still catching up after several days out of town, I just came across James's bleat of last Thursday. An astonishing piece of writing, it intermixes events in the Middle East with his daughter's preparation for school the next day and his own nearly OCD rearranging of refrigerator magnets--no, I don't know how he does it, either--and suffusing every word with wit and fury and patriotism. No excerpt can do the piece justice, but here's a sample all the same:
Okay then. Here’s something you might not hear; the BBC ran this a few days ago.
"In post-occupation Iraq being gay, or even looking gay, can be a death sentence.
"It's very difficult to determine how many homosexuals have died in so called "honour killings" by their own families or in the hands of the militias. But a BBC investigation has found that law enforcement agencies are involved in ongoing, systematic and organised violence against gay people, while the government refuses to acknowledge it.
"Once targeted, most gay people in Iraq have nowhere to hide. There is only one safehouse in Baghdad which can house three people.
Aaaand I add that to the story about the Taliban killing a bunch of people because they danced, and think: forgive me if I add these anecdotes - isolated, non-representative, of course - to a large store of similar events, and draw some generalizations which may pop to mind when embassies are overrun. Again.
Forgive me if I note that one culture has a debate about allowing gays to marry, and another that seems to have concluded a debate about whether they should live.
And pardon the fargin’ hell out of me if I dare to note that the signature value of the West these days, Tolerance, is best exemplified in a tiny hangnail of a nation which stands apart in its neighborhood for letting gay people live lives, instead of gathering everyone else to watch their lives ended....