Speak Up and Speak Out at Sochi!
We have all heard the comments about Russia’s new law banning non-traditional sexual relations which will be extended to, and include all athletes attending the 2014 Games in Sochi. This will be applied to anyone attending, be it athlete, spectator, vendor, or the man in the moon.
I have to admit that when I first heard about Russia’s return to the dark ages, as a heterosexual, I was quite “ticked off” because it goes against my central beliefs from a human rights perspective. As far as I’m concerned it is discrimination and harassment based solely on a person’s sexual orientation. Nothing more and it is totally wrong! It’s repressive and oppressive!
The Russian sports minister’s confirming that the country’s law against non-traditional sexual relations will be extended to any and all athletes attending the 2014 Games in Sochi, has rightfully so, given rise to a fire storm of controversy.
Public displays of affection by gays, such as holding hands or displaying a rainbow flag, are now banned. Violators face steep fines and jail time; foreigners face similar penalties plus deportation. This can only be seen as part of a wider and all-encompassing repression of gay people in Russia and a desire to extend it throughout the international community through the IOC and the Winter Olympic Games.
Outrage has poured out from the gay/lesbian community. Critiques from within have expressed opinions ranging from calling for a complete boycott of the Olympic games to participating while creating opportunities to speak out about the rights of gays and lesbians and highlighting Russia’s repressive law. Shared humanity or society as a whole should also be incensed by this overt example of discrimination and oppression. This is not the first time that the Olympics have been used to legitimize and create propaganda to sway the international community away from a state’s regressive policies. Continue reading
The tragedy in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec will go down in the annals of Canadian history as being the most horrific tragedy of 2013. Not since the Westray, Nova Scotia mining disaster of 1992, or that province’s Springhill mining disaster in 1958, has the country endured the loss of human life at this magnitude.
What makes this tragedy so different is that Mother Nature played no role in its creation. Sincere messages of condolence, concern and caring emanated from all corners of the world from elected officials across Canada, to the U.S. President and the Pope. But what is notably absent is a genuine expression of sincerity and condolence from the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway and more importantly from Edward Burkhardt, its CEO.
The handling of this catastrophe is a blatant example of crisis management gone wrong or better yet, not even having a plan. Continue reading