Last night Stephen Fry posted an open letter on his blog to David Cameron, Sebastian Coe and members of the IOC, asking them to boycott the next Winter Olympics, due to be held in Russia in 2014.
Fry’s comparison of Vladimir Putin’s current stance on the LGBT community to Hitler’s treatment of Jews during the 1936 Berlin Olympics is terrifying. As he states, “…the notorious Berlin Olympiad…provided a stage for a gleeful Führer and only increased his status at home and abroad”.
Putin’s stance on Gay Rights is utterly disgraceful, and Stephen Fry has once again used his intellect and influence for betterment of society, hopefully to some effect. Let’s hope the UK government listen, and let’s hope the Australian Government do so as well.
Fry also says “Any statement, for example, that Tchaikovsky was gay and that his art and life reflects this sexuality and are an inspiration to other gay artists would be punishable by imprisonment.”
Great gay men and women have created great art, and will continue to do so. To quell discussion about their sexuality being a key component to that great art is doing the artist a monumental disservice, and tarnishing their legacy.
To quote Fry’s idol Oscar Wilde, “The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.”
Here’s a snippet from Fry’s letter, to see the whole thing scroll below for the link to his blog.
Dear Prime Minister, M Rogge, Lord Coe and Members of the International Olympic Committee,
I write in the earnest hope that all those with a love of sport and the Olympic spirit will consider the stain on the Five Rings that occurred when the 1936 Berlin Olympics proceeded under the exultant aegis of a tyrant who had passed into law, two years earlier, an act which singled out for special persecution a minority whose only crime was the accident of their birth. In his case he banned Jews from academic tenure or public office, he made sure that the police turned a blind eye to any beatings, thefts or humiliations afflicted on them, he burned and banned books written by them. He claimed they “polluted” the purity and tradition of what it was to be German, that they were a threat to the state, to the children and the future of the Reich. He blamed them simultaneously for the mutually exclusive crimes of Communism and for the controlling of international capital and banks. He blamed them for ruining the culture with their liberalism and difference. The Olympic movement at that time paid precisely no attention to this evil and proceeded with the notorious Berlin Olympiad, which provided a stage for a gleeful Führer and only increased his status at home and abroad. It gave him confidence. All historians are agreed on that. What he did with that confidence we all know.
Putin is eerily repeating this insane crime, only this time against LGBT Russians. Beatings, murders and humiliations are ignored by the police. Any defence or sane discussion of homosexuality is against the law. Any statement, for example, that Tchaikovsky was gay and that his art and life reflects this sexuality and are an inspiration to other gay artists would be punishable by imprisonment. It is simply not enough to say that gay Olympians may or may not be safe in their village.
Don’t miss the rest of Stephen Fry’s open letter. Go to >> http://www.stephenfry.com/2013/08/07/an-open-letter-to-david-cameron-and-the-ioc/
Do you think Australia should boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia? Leave your comments below.
About the Contributor
Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.
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