Main | Thursday, July 20, 2006

Iranian Mission Vigil: Moving/Frustrating

Yesterday's vigil at the Iranian Mission to the United Nations was moving and frustrating. We heard passionate and eloquent speeches about the appalling treatment of gays in Iran, but the speakers were frequently drowned out by passing traffic and horn honkers. Some sort of bullhorn or portable PA was definitely called for, but I suspect that may have required a permit of sorts.

Below: Some outfit called the League for the Revolutionary Party glommed onto the event.
Below: But most protesters stuck to the issue of Iran's treatment of gays.

Below: Mark Green, candidate for New York State Attorney General. Kudos to Green for appearing and speaking. Where was Sean Patrick Maloney?
Below: Many signs advocated for asylum rights for gay Iranians.
Below: Ann Northrop, lesbian/AIDS activist and talk show host, addresses the crowd.

Below: Ann Northrop. Below: Glams Against Genocide, I presume. Sweet boy. Below: Jonathan Tasini, labor organizer and Hillary Clinton senatorial opponent.
Below: Tom Harrison, of the Campaign For Peace And Democracy, speaks. Below: Some of the protesters displayed their signs to passing New Yorkers, most of whom hardly broke stride or missed a beat of their cellphone conversations as they passed. "I don't know. Something about killing gays."
Below: Artist Jason Rondinelli and his haunting recreation of that famous photo.
I noticed a very passionate young woman, she seemed to be a reporter, and she was interviewing attendees, asking them if they knew that there was some controversy regarding the facts of the hanging, whether we knew that some believed the young men not to be gay at all, that the father of a raped 13-year old boy had actually testified against them. I'm curious to know whom she represented. To his credit, I overheard a young man tell her, "Does it really matter if they were really gay? Iran has a death penalty against homosexuals!".

Sadly, the most memorable moment of the event came when a large construction vehicle came to a stop in the traffic. I happened to be standing in the street, trying to get a full picture of the crowd, so I heard the conversation of the two burly men in the truck.

Passenger: What's that?
Driver: Sign says something about killing fags.
Passenger: Yeah! Kill more fags!
Both: Ha, ha, ha! Woo!
Passenger: Give 'em a blast, man!

The driver leaned on his airhorn for five seconds while both men hooted. The crowd on the sidewalk mistook this noise as boisterous support for their cause and turn and hooted and waved back at the men in the truck, who drove off laughing.

UPDATE: More coverage from Andrew Sullivan, Doug Ireland, Michael Petrelis, Towleroad.

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