The Real Self-Haters

We get a lot of liberal gays coming to tell us that we’re a troupe of self-haters here at “How can you be gay and conservative at the same time?!?” they scream. “That’s like a Jew calling himself a Nazi!”

I routinely become very irritated with those people because they’re being exactly what they call conservatives: closed-minded, intolerant bigots who can’t listen to anyone but those they agree with. Well, they’re being out-classed, and by the same people they tie their allegiance to. In fact, I daresay they’re all in the same boat on this issue.

Roxana Saberi is an American journalist. She was arrested by the Iranian government earlier this month for allegedly buying bootleg wine. A few days later, Iran said that she had been arrested for working as a journalist in Iran without a permit. On April 19, after a one-hour trial, she was convicted of espionage and sentenced to eight years in prison. Now, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian “president”, stated publicly that Saberi was to be allowed a full defense. However, when it came down to the trial, neither Saberi nor her lawyer were informed of the date or time of the trial–neither knew until the trial had been underway for fifteen minutes, and according to reports from Saberi’s father they found out about it by accident. In one hour, without being allowed to defend herself at all, Saberi was sentenced to eight years in Evin prison, notorious for its political prisoners and believed to be the dumping grounds for many Americans and other international prisoners still being held illegally by the Iranians.

Many are calling this an outrage, and rightly so. Why couldn’t they get it right the first time they arrested her? Why couldn’t they decide what they were arresting her for? And a full defense? Come on. It was a farce and the Iranians know it. They wanted nothing more than an excuse to throw another Westerner in prison. If they can’t attack us outright, they’ll go the back way. Kill all infidels–one way or another.

But some of those calling Saberi’s imprisonment and non-trial an outrage have long been outspoken opponents of the sanctions against Iran. They’ve demanded that we be more “diplomatic” somehow in our dealings with the extremist theocracy (this while they accuse Bush of founding a “theocracy” in America and screaming that we weren’t more diplomatic with Iraq). We shouldn’t impose sanctions over their nuclear program, they say, because they’re just generating energy. Get out of Iraq, stay out of Iran. Can’t we just keep to ourselves?

Sure…the problem lies with the Iranians. We never started this fight. Yet again, we’ve forgotten that we’re dealing with a culture that believes it is their mandate from their god to kill anyone who does not adhere to Sharia law. They don’t recognize any international law, let alone the laws that govern the countries of the people they’ve tossed in prison to rot. But we’re supposed to be the diplomatic ones. Someone please tell me how you restore diplomacy with a nation that isn’t interested in diplomacy?

In the line of work I’ve been in for most of my life, I’ve learned that there are many people in this world who don’t want to be reasonable. They want what they want and they’re not going to stop until they get it. How do you talk down an inmate who is in prison for the rest of his life while he’s got your partner in a chokehold with a knife in his hand? That guy has nothing to lose. What do you say to him when he knows that no matter what, he’s going to be behind bars for the rest of his natural life? How can you make things worse for him?

Now apply that principle to the extremists in Iran. They believe Allah will be angry with them if they fail to do what they’re doing. How do you argue with that? What do you say to a person who believes their god has commanded them to kill anyone who refuses to convert to their religion? With Western Christians you can at least sit down and have a civil conversation. As much as I’m sure most of the gay community would like to believe Christians are the extremists, I’ve had more meaningful conversation with the Christians I know than I’ve ever seen occur with some Muslims in this world, particularly in Iran.

Jeneane Garofolo proved she is a self-hater by claiming that any and all disagreement by white people is racism. Many a congressman and senator has admitted self-hate by demanding that, many generations after the fact, we pay reparations to certain races for crimes we never committed. And a small horde of Americans have admitted self-hate by demanding that we try diplomacy long after it has failed with a people who have enjoyed watching us sputter and trip over ourselves trying to follow their dance. Roxana Saberi deserves more support from the American people. But the real self-haters are never going to acknowledge her need because it would be tantamount to admitting that we’ve been wrong all this time–and Iran really can’t be reasoned with.

The real self-haters would rather go to their graves defending themselves with words than ever put up their dukes and fight.