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Stephen Fry: “An absolute ban on the Russian Winter Olympics of 2014 on Sochi is simply essential”

British broadcaster Stephen Fry has written a powerful essay telling the International Olympic Committee to condemn Russia’s ‘gay propaganda’ laws.

In it, he writes that the treatment of LGBT people in Russia is remarkably similar to the suffering of Jews before the Holocaust.

‘I am gay. I am a Jew. My mother lost over a dozen of her family to Hitler’s anti-Semitism. Every time in Russia (and it is constantly) a gay teenager is forced into suicide, a lesbian “correctively” raped, gay men and women beaten to death by neo-Nazi thugs while the Russian police stand idly by, the world is diminished and I for one, weep anew at seeing history repeat itself.’

He also writes: ‘An absolute ban on the Russian Winter Olympics of 2014 on Sochi is simply essential.

‘Stage them elsewhere in Utah, Lillyhammer, anywhere you like. At all costs Putin cannot be seen to have the approval of the civilized world.’

Fry added: ‘He is making scapegoats of gay people, just as Hitler did Jews. He cannot be allowed to get away with it. I know whereof I speak. I have visited Russia, stood up to the political deputy who introduced the first of these laws, in his city of St Petersburg.

‘I looked into the face of the man and, on camera, tried to reason with him, counter him, make him understand what he was doing. All I saw reflected back at me was what Hannah Arendt called, so memorably, “the banality of evil”.’

FILE UNDER: Human Rights


(All comments are reviewed before being published, and I review submissions several times per day.)

5 Remarks

  1. Stephen Fry: Please start a petition to all participating governments. Whether gay or straight – no athlete will be safe in Russia in this climate of hatred and fear.

  2. August 8th, 2013 at 1:21 pm
    Jim Steele says:

    He is 100% correct. Anyone who thinks the games are apolitical is lying to themselves. Going to compete in Russia is foolish. Pulling out as soon as possible is wise.

  3. I agree with Joan. I hope he takes her advice, I have already signed on to several others at this point.

  4. The International Olympic Committee has done this many times before. How about Berlin in the late 1930′s. Hitler discussed at Jesse Owens winning the gold. The world knew Hitler was an awful man but everyone went to that one anyway.
    Does anyone remember the Jimmy Carter Olympic boycott of 1980? The IOC just went on there merry way and had the event anyway.
    The IOC is an elitist corrupt organization that could care less about human rights. They are more concerned about the 50 billion it is costing the Russians to put on the next winter Olympics in a place where it does not snow that often and how much cash profit is in it for them.

  5. Russia’s Sports Minister Says ‘Calm down’ About The Olympics and Anti-Gay Laws and “Obey them”
    by Will Kohler

    Russian Sport minister

    Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told reporters on Thursday at a press conference in Moscow for the world athletics championships that gay athletes and organizations should “be relaxed” about the country’s anti-gay laws, and respect them.

    Mutko earlier this month warned that athletes and spectators would be subject to the anti-gay laws.

    Reuters reports:

    When asked how it would affect athletes competing in the championships beginning on Saturday and next year’s winter Olympics in Sochi, Mutko was dismissive of any concerns.

    “I want to ask you to calm down as in addition to this law we have a constitution that guarantees all citizens a private life,” he told a packed news conference in a Moscow hotel. “It is not intended to deprive people of any religion, race or sexual orientation but to ban the promotion of non-traditional relations among the young generation. All the athletes and organisations should be relaxed, their rights will be protected…but of course you have to respect the laws of the country you are in.”

    Yes, everyone you should calm down. Just as the world remained calm and unconcerned about Germany’s Nuremberg Race Laws during the 1930′s. Just as Germany had to protect the children and the German race from the scourge of Judaism, Gypsies and homosexuals.

    Even more appalling are the comments of Lamine Diack, the president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and a board member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) who said: “I don’t feel there is a problem whatsoever. There is a law that exists, it has to be respected, we are here for the world championships and have no problem whatsoever and I’m not worried at all.”

    That human rights can be dismissed so easily in the name of “sport” is disgusting.

    The fact that we are even fighting for a boycott instead of it automatically happening is sad statement on humanity indeed.

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