August 14, 2009
After months of delay, Iraqi LGBT has finally published a financial accounting for funds raised and spent. Michael Petrelis has been far more active than me in following this matter, so once again I’ll just refer interested readers to his report here.
It’s a relief to know that donations requested to rescue desperate Iraqis isn’t being used to coddle exiles in London with luxuries. Still, the arrogance and attitude exhibited by the only visible leader of the group, Ali Hili is disturbing, to say the least.
Personally, I am considering future donations to HRC, or other internationally recognized groups.
July 10, 2009
After reading this report, I’m compelled to urge readers to do due diligence before donating to Iraqi LGBT. Despite assurances I received more than three months ago that the group would provide public accounting of its finances, that has not been the case. No one knows how much of the donated funds actually get to Iraq.
I’d like to think that no one is personally benefiting from the abuse and torture of our brothers in Iraq, but the fact that the group has responded to reasonable requests for financial reports by slamming the door on all communications, as has been done with Michael Petrelis, does not look good.
Note to Ali Hili: The people who are being hurt the most by your arrogance are the gays being targeted for torture and murder in Iraq.
March 31, 2009:
After posting this I became concerned about the lack of public financial accountability of Iraqi LGBT, a group of Iraqis living in exile who claim to be raising money to pay for safe houses for gays, lesbians and transgendered people in Iraq.
I have subsequently had contact with Ali, spokesperson for Iraqi LGBT; Josh Botham, an attorney representing the group in London; and David Grey, the producer of the video below. I am satisfied that this organization is worthy of my personal support and encourage others to contribute as well.
I cannot afford to send much, but what I can do, I will. Those with a PayPal account can also send a donation to their account at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I monitor numerous sites for news of interest to gays and lesbians. Those feeds are flooded with stories about the gay marriage debate, the Pope and condoms, and upbeat reports about gay pride advances in Serbia and elsewhere.
Nearly lost in this flood, buried and often overlooked, is the news about terror campaigns specifically targeting sexual minorities. There is no question that they aren’t easy to read or watch.
Right now, an unknown number death row prisoners are being readied for execution, 20 at a time, by hanging in Iraq, solely because they are gay.
Officials in Jamaica, a popular tourist destination, are sanctioning violence against gays and transgendered persons.
Zambian vice president declares existing laws are sufficient to “punish” homosexuals and urges: “If you have information about such people, report them to the law enforcement agencies…”
Meanwhile Entertainment Tonight-like stories of Melissa, Ellen and others opening their bank accounts to finance political campaigns in California, Vermont and other states dominate the gay news headlines.
Apparently, we American queers don’t want to acknowledge, let alone focus our awesome organizational powers to oppose scenes like this:
Two gay teens executed in Iran in 2005
Public lynching of a transsexual in Jamaica
I’ll ask again: Where is our outrage? Where are the marches? What the fuck is wrong with us?!
Pontificating for gay marriage rights while relegating these kind of horrors to the back page is the height of arrogance and selfishness on the part of all American gays and lesbians.
None of us are free until all of us are free.