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Gay Syrian Calls for Gays to Join Fight Against Assad

Gay Syrian Calls for Gays to Join Fight Against Assad

Sami Hamwi,* the sole gay Syrian writing from inside that benighted country, has issued a call for gay people to join the fight against the Assad regime.

Hamwi, who is known to the author, writing for the website Gay Middle East (GME), says that many gay Syrians he knows have been reluctant to join the demonstrations racking the country not just because of the violence surrounding them but also because they think they are better off under the current regime.

An officially secular country, where homosexuality is illegal, Syria has a reputation as being tolerant of ‘discrete’ gays.

But Hamwi cites numerous instances where the regime has attacked gay people.

Cruising areas are where gay men often meet and where Hamwi first met other gay men and, he says:

“I was often harassed by policemen and/or secret police, who have always tried to intimidate young people to fulfill their sick needs of control.”

“In 1998, I personally witnessed a raid on a park in Aleppo. It was horrifying. People were beaten and dragged to police cars. I remember thinking that I have to run in order not to be identified as a “regular cruiser”. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the only raid I have witnessed.”

Many raids have happened since Assad was ‘elected’ in 2001. Hamwi says these amounted to campaigns in 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2010.

The campaign last year was “their most vicious campaign.”

“More than 35 men were arrested in a single gay party and were exposed to their families and communities. The lucky ones managed to escape to other countries, and the rest were left to face the social punishment.”

Amongst those who fled was a gay Palestinian who had spent four years in prison and “was severely tortured on trumped-up charges because he was gay,” according to Michael Luongo quoting Neil Grungras, the Executive Director of ORAM, the Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration.

However, writes Hamwi, when the ‘Arab Spring’ first broke out:

“Some of my gay friends shocked me with their ignorance of what had been happening to us, gay people, in Syria, and with their little remembrance of what has been happening to gay people over the last decade. Most of them have always known my political views and some of them stopped or at least avoided being in contact with me.”

“The last seven months have also revolutionised my homophobic friends’ views on homosexuality with more gays and lesbians joining our group of activists. I preferred to keep my sexuality hidden from them for years, and at some points I regretted it, especially now when I hear the words “gay” and “lesbian” spoken with lesser hate and more acceptance.”

“Nevertheless, I still find it too soon to dream of acceptance by those people who I admire for their courage because homophobic jokes and statements are still being made in the absence of other LGBT people. Yet, it is a dream this revolution has revived as well as many other long lost dreams.”

Hamwi writes that gay Syrians follow the lead of lesbian Syrians “who have more resilience to fight against this oppressive regime” which should be followed.

“Gay people of Syria should follow the lead of Syrian lesbians who have been fighting for freedom. It is the time for dreams, even though the most desired dream is yet to be accomplished.”

*Sami Hamwi is a pseudonym. Apart from his GME contributions, he blogs at Syrian Gay Guy.

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14 comments

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6:00AM PDT on Oct 11, 2011

Thanks for the article.

2:40AM PDT on Oct 11, 2011

Thank you for posting this. I send blessings and support to this brave man and hope that step by step we can move towards a world of peace, with acceptance and understanding for all the glorious diversity of expressions of love that humanity is capable of.

2:46PM PDT on Oct 9, 2011

Typical. The ZIONIST Elite know exactly what they are doing. Yes they will use even the marginal people of society like Gays to create desent. These Illuminati are the most cunning of devils you will ever meet. Long ago they have decided that all those countries in the Middle East will be beholding to the mighty valueless US dollar so they can manipulate the whole world by printing Fiat money out of nothing, bankrupting every nation as they print more or make a computor entry which avoids having to print it or even issue the folding or hard cash. Wake up my dear US friends and neighbours we are all being taken for suckers, misinformed, indoctrinated ,lied to and eventually they will cull the lot of us bar a few who are allowed to be their faithfull slaves and live off a few crums untill they don't want you any more.Do I make myself clear???????

1:19PM PDT on Oct 9, 2011

Syria is fighting for its economic, political rights. Goodness knows when its social rights will ever bee addressed.

12:44PM PDT on Oct 9, 2011

Good luck to them!

10:40AM PDT on Oct 9, 2011

If the LGBT community in Syria fears oppression under both the current regime and under the populist movement that is trying to displace it, then it sounds like a place that does not offer much hope to them. Whether the current crisis represents an opportunity to affect positive change for the Syrian LGBT community, I do not know, but that is perhaps the question that needs to be considered.

10:13AM PDT on Oct 9, 2011

Does he expect gay Syrians to fare better under the kind of Islamists NATO would install in power in Syria as they have in Libya?

8:57AM PDT on Oct 9, 2011

Thanks for the information.

3:50AM PDT on Oct 9, 2011

Good luck and never give up all gays and lesbians

3:16AM PDT on Oct 9, 2011

This brave lone voice deserves all the help he can get......God help him in his quest.

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