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04/19/2007


Archbishop Desmond Tutu: Put Blair And Bush On Trial

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Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the anti-apartheid warrior, Nobel Peace Prize recipient and general mensch, this weekend published an editorial in The Observer explaining his decision to pull out of a scheduled appearance at last week's Discovery Invest Leadership Summit, in Johannesburg. His reason: Tony Blair would be there. Tony Blair, according to Tutu, shouldn't be onstage in Johannesburg. He should be on trial at The Hague. George W. Bush, too. Probably some others.

Archbishop Tutu's editorial begins with a sentence that is neither grammatical nor historical:

The immorality of the United States and Great Britain's decision to invade Iraq in 2003, premised on the lie that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, has destabilised and polarised the world to a greater extent than any other conflict in history.

Surely Archbishop Tutu means to say it was the conflict itself, and not its immorality, that did the "destabilising"? (And didn't the Austro-Hungarian declaration of war against Serbia in July, 1914, cause at least as much trouble?) Archbishop Tutu calms down a few paragraphs later, writing:

On what grounds do we decide that Robert Mugabe should go the International Criminal Court, Tony Blair should join the international speakers' circuit, bin Laden should be assassinated, but Iraq should be invaded, not because it possesses weapons of mass destruction, as Mr Bush's chief supporter, Mr Blair, confessed last week, but in order to get rid of Saddam Hussein?

The cost of the decision to rid Iraq of its by-all-accounts despotic and murderous leader has been staggering, beginning in Iraq itself. Last year, an average of 6.5 people died there each day in suicide attacks and vehicle bombs, according to the Iraqi Body Count project. More than 110,000 Iraqis have died in the conflict since 2003 and millions have been displaced. By the end of last year, nearly 4,500 American soldiers had been killed and more than 32,000 wounded.

There are no satisfactory answers to Archbishop Tutu's questions, as a tired-sounding Tony Blair seems to acknowledge in his rebuttal:

I have a great respect for Archbishop Tutu's fight against apartheid – where we were on the same side of the argument – but to repeat the old canard that we lied about the intelligence is completely wrong as every single independent analysis of the evidence has shown.

And to say that the fact that Saddam massacred hundreds of thousands of his citizens is irrelevant to the morality of removing him is bizarre ... his slaughter of his political opponents, the treatment of the Marsh Arabs and the systematic torture of his people make the case for removing him morally strong. But the basis of action was as stated at the time.

In short, this is the same argument we have had many times with nothing new to say. But surely in a healthy democracy people can agree to disagree.


Tony Blair Won't Comment as Liberian President Says She Prefers a Society That Throws Gays in Jail: VIDEO

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Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf tells The Guardian she won't sign any law decriminalizing homosexuality.

"We like ourselves just the way we are...We've got certain traditional values in our society we'd like to preserve."

The interviewer then turns to former British PM Tony Blair, and asks him about how he feels about Prime Minister David Cameron's recent statements to African leaders instructing them to respect the human rights of LGBT people.

Blair smiles nervously, but refuses to comment.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

PonponMeanwhile, in Liberia, Archie Ponpon (pictured) and Abraham Kamara, two activists with Movement for the Defence of Gays and Lesbians in Liberia (Modegal), have been confronted by angry mobs in recent weeks, causing them to seek safety at the police station.

When the two activists tried to get their organisation officially registered by the government, Mr Ponpon says their "article of incorporation was denied".

"We wrote to the president complaining, but she has not responded," he says.

The home of Ponpon's mother was burned down: "He suspects it was an arson attack by people who do not support his stance. 'Since this incident, my mother has been in hiding,' he says."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Tony Blair Won't Comment as Liberian President Says She Prefers a Society That Throws Gays in Jail: VIDEO" »


News: Annie Lennox, Winona Ryder, Lightning, Wikileaks

 road Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys and other celebrities have put their tweeting on pause until they raise $1 million for the Keep a Child Alive charity before World AIDS Day.

Annie  road Annie Lennox on life actually being easier if she were gay: "It's not like I think being gay could be an alternative, 'cos it isn't. I sometimes wish it would have been 'cos it would have made life easier...I think that for 90, maybe even 95 per cent, of women, men are a huge disappointment in relationship terms."

 road The Kimpton hotel group tops gay and lesbian traveler list: "Of all the hotel brands, (Kimpton is) the most active in LGBT community," Paisley says. "They have a website, they sponsor tons of events and they advertise in gay and lesbian media."

 road Lesbian couple bravely come out publicly in Botswana where homosexuality is illegal.

 road Christopher Hitchens and Tony Blair debate religion. Says Hitchens: "Once you assume a creator and a plan, it makes us objects, in a cruel experiment, whereby we are created sick, and commanded to be well."

 road Jake Gyllenhaal and Taylor Swift get caffeinated.

 road Q&A with the cast and crew of John Cameron Mitchell's new film, Rabbit Hole.

Lightning  road 309,959,570 lightning strikes.

 road Entertainment Weekly declares The Walking Dead “the best new show on TV.”

 road Winona Ryder on the "gay" controversy surrounding her upcoming movie The Dilemma: "It's just crazy because I'm very sensitive to that issue and if I thought something was offensive I wouldn't want to be part of it. Plus all my gay friends use that word all the time so [protesters will] have to go and give them a hard time too."

 road The latest Wikileaks documents are here.

 road Apparently some people have enough spare time that they can go about claiming ownership of the sun.

 road Sarah Palin's new book - the Cliff Notes version.


Towleroad Guide to the Tube #731

TONY BLAIR: The former British PM talks about the late Princess Diana, and her commitment to HIV/AIDS.

GINGER: Remember Coppercab, the YouTuber who became YouTube famous for defending gingers with souls? He's back, and he's a Mad Hatter with a rap song.

ROYAL PUSSIES: Charles and Camilla have a laugh over a cat organ.

SUZANNE CLEARY and PETER HARDING: Bringing hand dancing into the 21st century. 

For recent Guides to the Tube, click HERE.


News: Craigslist, Quake, Jerry Brown, Tony Blair, Christwire

 road Nebraska man gets shot down by a woman in a gay bar, then attacks a gay man while using an anti-gay slur.

 road Photos from yesterday's 7.4 quake in New Zealand. Quake

 road Kanye West has written an olive branch of sorts for Taylor Swift.

 road Censored: Those in the US will no longer be able to access the "adult services" section on Craigslist.

 road Steve Jobs will disagree with you if you tell him that the new iTunes logo sucks.

 road Comedian Robert Schimmel succumbs to his wounds in Pheonix car crash.

 road The new Quantum Quest movie combines actual NASA footage with CG, which means that at least the real space footage will impress.

 road Why Jerry Brown thinks you should vote for him: My record is that of a pioneer. I appointed the first gay and lesbian judges in California and to the [University of California] board of regents. This was pioneering in the '70s. I signed the first nondiscrimination act…so I’m very proud of that. I don’t know what Ms. Whitman’s record is, but I’m a person who’s inclusive, who’s open to the diversity of California. And that will certainly be the spirit of my governorship.

 road Promo clip of the new season of Glee.

Christwire  road ChristWire.org is like The Onion if it focused only on conservative topics. The NYT Times reports that is "one big joke" but "Not the readership — which hit a high of 27 million page views in August — but the content, the opinions and the fake authors who write the stuff. Neither of the two founders is a conservative Christian. They are just like-minded 28-year-olds who met on the Internet, have never seen each other in person, and until this week had never given their real identities to a reporter."

 road Protestors in Dublin hurl shoes, eggs at Tony Blair.

 road Pastor defends his church which accepts people of all sexual orientations, in Maylasia where homosexuality is punishable by a heavy prison sentence.


News: Megamouth, Iraq, No Doubt, Tony Blair, Pope, Easter Eggs


 roadNYT reports 25 gay men have been executed in Iraq in past two months. Vigils to be held for slain gay Iraqis in New York this Friday and in London next Thursday.

Megamouth  roadExtremely rare megamouth shark caught, eaten in Philippines.


 roadDoes No Doubt's new track deliver? - LISTEN.

 roadColumbia, Missouri City Council passes domestic partner law in unanimous vote: "The legal recognition can allow partners to participate in health care decisions, burial arrangements and other matters. The law is not equivalent to legalizing same-sex marriage, and City Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe pointed out that private employers don't have to follow the registry."

 roadTexas Christian University to offer housing for gay students.

 roadTony Blair: Pope wrong about gays. "There are many good and great things the Catholic Church does, and there are many fantastic things this Pope stands for, but I think what is interesting is that if you went into any Catholic Church, particularly a well attended one, on any Sunday here and did a poll of the congregation, you'd be surprised at how liberal-minded people were."

 roadNPR's Terry Gross talks to Mike and Mel White from The Amazing Race.

Rhys  roadJonathan Rhys Meyers gets his game on.

 roadSix gay candidates were victorious in various elections nationwide on Tuesday. Victory Fund: "Salisbury, Maryland elected an openly gay mayor,  Jim Ireton. In Jacksonville, Illinois, Scott Hall won  election to the city council. Robert Garcia won a race for a seat on the Long Beach, California, city council. Shane Cohn will become the first openly gay alderman in St. Louis, Missouri. In Nebraska, Barbara Baier advanced to the general election in her bid to retain her seat on the school board in Lincoln. She is the state’s only openly LGBT elected official. Margaret Paul was elected alderman in the City of Berwyn, Illinois.

 roadIan Somerhalder looking more like a vampire every day.

 roadHugh Jackman "heartbroken" over Wolverine leak.

 roadI saw what you did: don't try to slip anything past the Jackdaw.

 roadOr this guy: the dude from Fringe.

 roadNYC rally tonight in support of Vermont marriage equality. Union Square 6:30 pm.

Tate  roadTate Museum extension design gets green light.

 roadActor Kal Penn tapped as White House arts liaison.

 roadSyracuse man indicted in hate crime killing of transgender woman Latiesha Green last November: "An Onondaga County grand jury handed down the indictment Friday, charging Dwight DeLee with murder as a hate crime, murder and a weapons possession charge."

 roadSwiss philosopher Tariq Ramadan causing controversy in Rotterdam over his defense of a "European Islam" and his perspective on gays and the role of women in society.

 roadGay families get invite to White House Easter Egg roll: "White House officials said that tickets for Monday's Easter Egg Roll event were distributed to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender organizations, but did not specify how many or to which ones. Representatives from Family Equality Council, Human Rights Campaign, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and other groups confirmed they were invited and encouraged to have their members participate. 'The Obama administration actually reached out to us as an organization, and said we want gay families there, and they are an important part of the American family fabric,' said Jennifer Chrisler, executive director of the Boston-based Family Equality Council, which is helping spearhead the effort to organize families to attend."


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