Letter to the Editor - Regarding Sanctions on Egypt - "Bullying is NOT the Solution"
The following letter to the editor appeared in the May 23, 2003 issue of the New York Blade (www.nyblade.com). It is in response to the article, "House Democrats Urge Sanctions on Egypt for Gay Persecution" (May 9, Washington Blade and New York Blade).
The article can be found at:
Letters to the Editor - May 23, 2003 - New York Blade
Protest Egypt, yes, but don�t impose sanctions
To the Editor:
The article �Putting pressure on Egypt� (May 9) reports that U.S. Rep. Barney Frank is pushing for �sanctions� against Egypt to protest the governments continued crackdown on gay men. The article also implied that I was in support of sanctions against the state of Egypt.
Barney Frank�s letter to members of the House of Representatives urges members to �withhold any support for a U.S.-Egypt Free Trade Agreement.� This does not equal �sanctions,� which would imply that all economic and social support to Egypt would be halted.
While it is true that Egypt is the second largest recipient of US foreign aid, it is presumptuous and haughty to assume that withholding economic support will force the Egyptian government to stop its persecution of gay people. It is even more alarming to argue that �sanctions� would solve the moral dilemma that the Egyptian government finds itself in today.
One must only look at Iraq, to see the devastation that �sanctions� can cause, where innocent civilians were punished, while dictators and tyrants who ran the government lavished in their luxury. The United States government cannot use its economic super-status to win the support of governments without taking into account the impact that such policies would have on the civilian population.
Additionally, our foreign policy agenda should be viewed through the lens of human rights and the promotion of civil society and democracy. By failing to recognize human rights treaties and other international agreements in our current �war on terrorism,� our own government is indirectly supporting the persecution of LGBT people around the world, who see the United States� hypocrisy and follow it.
We must stop viewing our country as the moral arbiter of the world. This only perpetuates the view that America is arrogant and fails to acknowledge our country�s own history of persecution, violence and oppression (towards LGBT people, women, and racial and religious minorities). Instead we must all come to an understanding that the reasons why LGBT human rights violations occur around the world is a complex mix of culture, politics and religion.
There is no simple solution to stopping the persecution of gay men in Egypt. But one thing is for certain: Asserting our economic power in the world to influence the actions of other governments will only fail and will further lead to the isolation of the United States from the rest of the world.
Founder & director
Al-Fatiha Foundation for LGBTIQ Muslims
Al-Fatiha Foundation is a US-based organization dedicated to Muslims who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, questioning and those exploring their sexual orientation or gender identity.
For more information visit our web site at http://www.al-fatiha.org
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Al-Fatiha Foundation is part of a global grassroots movement of LGBTIQ Muslims and queer Muslim organizations.
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