Friday, 3 April 2009

Helem in New York

Georges Azzi of Helem, the Lebanon's LGBT rights group, addressed a gathering in New York.

Azzi made clear that the struggle for equality is part of the wider resistance in the Arab world:

Helem opened its center to people displaced by the Second Lebanon War in 2006. The majority of those who sought refuge were Shiite Muslim, and Hezbullah representatives visited the center and other shelters to ensure they were receiving care.

"If it’s possible in Lebanon, its possible anywhere." Helem members also participated in marches and other protests against Israel’s incursion into the Gaza Strip earlier this year.

A front page article in Helem’s annual newsletter accused Arab leaders and the United Nations of "enjoying a massacre done with bestiality-something they don’t see every day." The article further opined the scenes from Gaza caused people around the world to demonstrate and even riot in the streets.

A handful of people walked out of a panel discussion at the LGBT Center in lower Manhattan on Tuesday on which Azzi was a panelist after a journalist asked him about the article.

Azzi was quick to point out it attacked the Israeli government-and not Israelis themselves. He added, however, he feels Helem has a responsibility to show what he described as solidarity with Gazans and those who spoke out against the Israeli incursion.

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