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“By turning a blind eye to hateful homophobic rhetoric and violence, Russian authorities are sending a dangerous message as the world is about to arrive on its doorstep for the Olympics that there is nothing wrong with attacks on gay people,” Tanya Cooper, a Russia researcher at Human Rights Watch, told the New York Times.

Human Rights Watch Releases Video Showing Anti-Gay Attacks in Russia – 2/4/2014.

Russia: Gay Men Beaten on Camera – YouTube – 2/3/2014.

Sochi: Eyes on the Money

Probably, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s strategy with the $50 billion investment in Sochi and hopes for a glamorous Winter Olympics is to play to global business and profit motive while hoping that the demons and ghouls attending the Syrian Civil War stay away.

Related: Putin’s Russia: Sochi Or Bust – Business Insider – 2/1/2014; MOSCOW: For Putin, Sochi Olympics carry big risks, rewards – Business Breaking News – MiamiHerald.com – 1/29/2014; Scandal in Sochi: The Most Expensive Winter Olympic Games Ever | Vanity Fair – 2/2014; The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi Cost $51 Billion – Businessweek – 1/2/2014; etc.

The other blindside involves an eastern European-type drift into resurgent nationalism, which is nothing new for Putin’s Russia; in fact, it could be leading the pack.

(Is there a Russia –> Syria –> Iran –> Hungarian Jobbik relationship in place)?

The gay thing, rather like the Jew thing, signals other things that are never good.

Related: Putin is losing the Sochi Olympic game – Jackson Dhiehl – The Washington Post – 2/3/2014.

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The Russian President’s decision to sign a law prohibiting ‘the propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors’ last summer probably made sense to him at the time. This measure, along with one that bans the adoption of Russian children not just by homosexuals but also by heterosexuals residing in countries that have gay marriage on the books, is reportedly supported by 74 per cent of Russians. And Putin has for years been able to get away with much worse: invading (and still occupying) Georgia, fuelling Assad’s murder machine, rigging elections, jailing journalists and opposition activists. Other than the odd bleat of protest from the European Union or US State Department, all that has had few serious consequences.

But Putin can’t have anticipated the magnitude of worldwide outrage that would pour forth in response to his gay propaganda law.

Sochi Olympics: Why picking on gays has backfired so horribly for Vladimir Putin » The Spectator – James Kirchick – 2/1/2014.

For the vast expanse of research available as regards homosexuality in nature and in humanity, all may be bypassed by way of a simple binary: is mankind to pursue exclusivity amid infinite possibilities for discrimination or is the world — or perhaps the intellectual leadership of it — to pursue a course in inclusion with appreciate and tolerance for as much differentiation as may be possible with peace?

I’ve added to the sidebar of this blog four of the values and virtues I feel most relevant to developing a more peaceful global village — compassion, humility, inclusion, integrity — but I’ve added a wildcard: “empathy”.

The possession of empathy in human affairs would seem not only not given but more likely absent than present around the world.

In the west, actors, artists, and writers encounter the concept early, and those who may favor color, engineering, mathematics, and pattern over social drivers in their arts may dispense with this imaginative element potential in their own humanity and go on to make things that have presence  in a language absent of a great part and potential in humanity.

Others, especially actors and writers, have always before them the challenge of inhabiting someone else’s perspective.  If they haven’t that ability — or ability to cultivate empathy and live a few moments in other shoes — they will not be actors or writers or even, really, very good humans . . . which might bring us back to Putin, Sochi, Syria, and gay bashing in Russia.

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I had not intended to write about the gay community at all this morning, but in the way of the web and social networks, some set of items and opportunities always appears in material streaming across the desktop, and it happens that some things come together and one works with the themes.

Had the suspect in a Seattle nightclub fire chosen a straight bar for a target, the post about it on a conflict-analyzing blog would not have had the cast it took.

The same applies here with Sochi.  The news turns up this facet of Russian nationalism — Islamic Jihad compulsively persecutes gays and, whaddayaknow, Russian nationalists do too! — and one merely makes note of the observation.

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