Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Jacob, Jacob, Wherefore Art Thou?

Why has President Zuma of South Africa, who visited Uganda for a few days this past week, not condemned the Ugandan Genocide Bill?

The bill in question, which is still being debated in the Ugandan Parliament and - if passed, will condemn millions of innocent Ugandans to death simply for being born gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex - and simply for being a favorite scapegoat and target for the hatred of an increasingly virulent homophobic agenda in Uganda. This legislation will also effectively turn many heterosexual people into criminals just for not reporting the existence of GLBTI colleagues, parishioners, neighbors, clients, family and friends to the authorities and for "harboring criminals".

This bill has over the past six months drawn the ire and outright condemnation of churches, companies, advocacy groups, the UN, and governments from countries all over the world - except the largest, most prosperous and influential country in Southern Africa. A country, whose Constitution promises dignity, equality and legal protections to everyone, but in this case - specifically pertaining to sexual orientation and gender identity. A country, whose government has thus far completely ignored all requests from advocacy groups in South Africa to speak out on this issue, and to add its voice to the weight of condemnation from those countries who are concerned with the welfare of the human rights of the Ugandan people.

Of course, this Bill - which seems likely to be passed, is more drastic than the current anti-gay laws which stop short of instituting state-endorsed mass murder, but are in themselves, quite drastic and make a mockery of the concept of human rights. Of course, it is because of these "shortcomings" that the new Bill was proposed - and welcomed by politician, clergyman and commoner alike.

I checked all the newspaper reports on JZ's visit to Uganda that I could find - including mention of his speech - and NOTHING about the genocide bill! Not a word! But I did notice a lot of mention of South African government investment and involvement in supporting the Ugandan regime and about increasing future SA investments in Uganda! I also saw mention of some SA companies and role players investing in Uganda - which included our famous MTN - the so-called "better connection"! Let me just state for the record that because MTN has pointedly ignored the situation there, without even so much as condemning the Ugandan government for its actions - I will NEVER support MTN again!

I and others have been asking for months why South Africa's government has been ignoring our questions and requests to speak out on the Ugandan issue. Email and fax campaigns by SA GLAAD and others have gone unanswered and unacknowledged, while the same government has given us, repeatedly, reason to doubt their enthusiasm for gay rights and equalities enshrined in our own Constitution.

Why? Why have they stonewalled us? Why have they failed GLBTIQ South Africans and Ugandans alike? Why have they forsaken the commitment in the SA Constitution to equality, dignity and human rights?

Read between the lines - investment, business opportunities, repaying Uganda's president for helping liberation movements during the struggle years, uniting against former colonial powers, and last but not least - the sticky and enticing promise of cheap OIL.

It is about many things - but I think it is mainly about GREED.

Is the humanity and human right to liberty, equality, justice and decent treatment of the Ugandan and South African pink communities just not shiny enough to attract his attention, or to compete?

Is the world watching this? Are they watching South Africa sell our Ugandan family's lives down the river? Are they watching our President trade his silence and complicity for a bag of coins?

Am I disappointed? Yes I am. Am I surprised? Not one bit. I am glad of his visit to Uganda, though. Why?

Because even though he failed us as President and even though he and the ruling party have failed the GLBTI people of Uganda, his visit has generated coverage of a speech which contains NOTHING about the Bill - or about Ugandan GLBTI human rights - and listed some of South Africa's economic and business interests in Uganda - and what SA has been doing there for the past few years, while remaining completely silent on blatant human rights violations - and highlighting this silence.

I am repulsed by the kind of mentality which can claim to want to "boost moral regeneration" by considering lewd propositions from fundamentalist groups of the same ilk that influenced Uganda to pass murderous laws, to bombard the SA public with increased religious programming - but which refuses to speak out against horrendous crimes against ordinary people.

I am outraged by a government which calls works of art pornographic and which seeks to limit freedom of expression on the excuse of "morality" and yet when an opportunity to prove how "moral" they are, they side with abusers of human rights and those who glorify acts of terror - and show solidarity with those who commit crimes against humanity. I am utterly and profoundly shocked by the sheer hypocrisy of those who claim moral high ground and trade human lives and dignity - and forsake the downtrodden - for the sake of power and wealth.

Mr Zuma, your speech in the Ugandan parliament mentioned unity and "moving closer" to Uganda. You mentioned nothing about the cruel policies being enforced by the Ugandan government - which violate human rights by every definition of the term. You would have the people of South Africa believe that stronger ties and even unity with impoverished neighbors who have inferior concepts of human rights and inadequate perceptions of the value of human life - are more important than the very principles which you seem keen on trading away - and that this is somehow a good thing for all concerned!

Mr Zuma, because of your actions - and your lack of good moral character as President of South Africa, I am well and truly ashamed of my own country, it's president, your government - your failure to defend the Constitution of this country and the mandate it places upon you to protect the lives, dignity and rights of ALL your citizens and those of countries which you deal with on our behalf. And of course, of all those social groups and businesses - and their owners - still involved in Uganda and only interested in where the next immoral blood-soaked Rand will come from.

I FOR ONE, WILL NEVER SUPPORT MTN AGAIN - nor any other company whose services I can do without which I discover to be complicit in imposing misery and oppression on people like me. And I don't want oil from Uganda - or anything else from there which costs the dignity, freedom and human rights of people like me - and which causes those behind the terror, oppression and destruction of innocent lives to profit in any way.

All right, we cant actually boycott Eskom for supplying Uganda. We cant exactly stop paying taxes to the SA government for stabbing us in the back - at least, not without getting into trouble with the law. But we CAN boycott the companies operating in Uganda and supporting a murderous regime intent on killing the Queer community in that country. Even if that means no Coke, no beer, no DSTV and changing bank accounts and other service providers. Right?

I hope so. I have heard of a condemned person paying their own executioner - but this is taking things a bit far.

This oppressive crackdown on the human rights of GLBTI people in Africa seems to be spreading, like a cancer. Even in the murders in Kenya last week, it was minority groups who were targeted - and specifically people seen as different - us - the gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender and intersex - and anyone with the moral character to stand up against mob-rule and violent fanaticism. This lapse in humanity is eating away at the illusion I had only just started believing in, called "ubuntu" - an intrinsic part of what we have only recently come to call "the South African Dream". Well the shocking truth is that the dream is hanging on by a thread - it is rapidly morphing into a blood-soaked nightmare.

Surprisingly, South Africa has also been involved in Zimbabwe for the past decade, and President Zuma was recently there too, brokering cooperation between Tsvangerai and Mugabe. And, we hope - promoting the morality which cherishes, nurtures and protects a culture of human rights and the value of human life, dignity and equality - and all the values we hold dear in a constitutional democracy.

Of course, I have never read or heard anything from our government condemning anti human rights practices in Zimbabwe either - and whenever they try to dismiss criticism for not speaking out against human rights violations, they claim to not have "the right to interfere in the workings of other sovereign nations". Yet despite this claim, they have been doing this whenever it suits them - just not whenever it affects the well being of those they obviously do not care about.

What I found even more shocking, was the news article reporting that Morgan Tsvangerai, leader of the Opposition and the Prime Minister, has joined Mugabe in denouncing gay rights and their inclusion in the new Constitution of Zimbabwe.

I have personally, and as part of advocacy organizations, consistently condemned Mugabe for his fanatical grip and obsession with remaining in power to the detriment of his entire country, even running the economy into the ground in the process. I have also condemned his attack on the humanity and dignity of his GLBTI citizens and his claim that being gay is "un-African" when in point of fact it is his personal twisted brand of "morality" which is that.

I have consistently supported Morgan Tsvangerai and his MDC in the pursuit for a new government, his battles against the intimidation and oppression of Mugabe and the Zanu PF, and his talk of freedom from tyranny, an end to corruption and equality before the law.

Until now, it seemed they could never agree on absolutely anything.

Until now I thought the flame of freedom and democracy burned bright in Zimbabwe. Now I see it is instead their country which is burning.

Until now, I had been cheering Tsvangerai on - but no longer.

In Zimbabwe, this anti-human rights sentiment - and in Uganda, Musseveni's talks about "the dangers of the re-colonization of Africa" are a dire harbinger of the emerging mindset in the 21st century Africa - unity - and unity at all costs - and the elimination not only of diversity, free thought and human rights - but just the diversity, free thought and human rights they don't think people should have.

What kind of liberation group would fight for freedom, justice and equality not for ALL people - but only for themselves while joining their own adversaries in oppressing others? Perhaps the same as fundamentalist religious groups who proclaim their God's love of all people - and the same God's hatred of people they dislike - in the very same breath?

Now, all of a sudden - more than ever - Zimbabwe reminds me of a closing line in George Orwell's classic "Animal Farm" that says: "The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

Africa has gone mad. Again. Or still. I can't make up my mind which applies.

Of course, if you live in SA, you need to ask yourself what all this - the ANC's new "morality vote", Zuma's homophobic stance, the government's support of groups such as the NILC and its failure to live up to its claims of "morality" and failure to speak out in defense of human rights - may mean for the future of our rights in our own country. It is a question I have been pondering deeply for some time now, with increasingly dark answers forthcoming.

More than just the opportunity to speak out against these stark crimes against humanity has just gone down the tubes, Mr Zuma. Care to guess what else has?

South Africa's human rights record.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Shock Treatment

I would like to praise the Canadian authorities for apprehending Dr. Aubrey Levin, aka "Dr. Shock" - a man who is believed to have fled to Canada to avoid facing the Truth and Reconcilliation Commission in the 1990's - and for launching an inquiry into his activities in Canada - and also for investigating charges of human rights abuses from when he was in South Africa.

I welcome the fact that all criminal cases in Canada in which this person has participated as an "expert" witness for the prosecution, are currently being reviewed. Who knows, there may be innocent people sitting in prison or mental institutions because of his prejudice. I also applaud the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta for suspending Levin’s license to practice (that's really great - I really, really like that part). I also applaud Canada for the over-all thoroughness evident in the way this sensitive issue is being handled. I can guess how long this would take over here in sunny South Africa.

Firstly, the case itself would probably be put off until sometime after the Soccer World cup - because we all know how much more important that is than boring old human rights - giving it another six months for the public to forget it ever happened, so that the bail appications could go off without a noisy protest outside the court room. Then, it would probably take six more months to find the missing dockets, if ever - and then, like another prominent homophobe in this country, Mr Levin would probably be impossible to locate to be subpoenaed for his court appearance.

The cynical side of me would expect to find him occupying a government office in a South African embassy, perhaps in Burundi or Rwanda - seeing as the job in Uganda is already taken - by Jon Qwelane.

It is amazing that people can commit hate crimes, and just conveniently not show up in court when they are charged to - and nobody, not even the Government or Judicial Authority it seems, can do anything about it - other than to offer them a job as a foreign Ambassador, of course.

But let me just default on paying a television licence - or a parking fine - and see how quickly I get dragged to court. Clearly I am not important enough (yet) to warrant a get out of jail free card. But I am working hard at it, and one day, who knows? Perhaps one day I might even manage to become a Premier of a South African province who needn't bother to pay 17000 zar in speeding fines over a four-year period - and still expect whistle-blowers to be investigated for "corruption".

Were the matter of Levin (and also Qwelane) not so utterly disappointing, and mixed with human tragedy - I would roar with laughter - and as anyone who has heard me (a rather large blonde female) roar with laughter, could tell you - that is funny indeed.

Naturally, I express my genuine heartfelt sympathies and solidarity with the unfortunate Canadian victims coming forward. Apparently there are 29 of them now. I laud the bravery and ingenuity of the man who broke this case wide open by recording the alleged offence electronically - after his earlier official complaints were disbelieved and ignored. (I wonder how many times this has happened in the past - without the benefit of such a recording?) It is indeed a pity that the technology which brought about Levin's undoing in Canada did not exist at the height of his power in South Africa. I can well remember the heightened paranoia about information security back in the old days, when mobile phones crossed the line of science fiction and into the pockets of everybody - including civil servants. You couldn't even take one into a meeting back in those days. Now people casually while away boring lectures on MXIT.

For years now, Aubrey Levin has threatened publications and investigators with law suits to dissuade them from pursuing investigations into his activities, and relying on the legal premise that he has not been found guilty and therfore has to be innocent - and yet he has never been charged, has intentionally avoided facing such charges - and has also therefore, never been proven innocent.

This man is now 71 years old - in fact, he has lived and lied his entire life getting away without facing the responsibility of his actions - for which other people have had to bear the consequences. Now that he is old, presumably wealthy (and nearly dead) he has finally been publicly unmasked and exposed. I dare say that it will be cold comfort for the families and friends of the people affected by him, but I would be glad of any comfort and satisfaction on their part if he were to spend his last years alone in a four-by-two solitary cell.

I would like to point out - as does the following newspaper article from 2000 - an entire decade ago, the blatant inaction and apathy which has overshadowed this matter from the very beginning, and which has allowed this unpleasant and most distasteful situation to spread outside the borders of South Africa.

"Some of the charges against Dr. Levin are not new.

The War Resister, a publication of the Committee of South African War Resisters, first blew the whistle on him in January 1987, for his alleged use of forced aversion shock therapy against gay conscripts. Untouched by Charges of Abuse Ten years later, in June 1997, South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission named Levin for possible "gross human rights abuses" for the same reason (no mention was then made of the 'sex-change' program). However, the Commission apparently made no effort to serve him a subpoena. By then, Levin was already in Canada. Levin could still be prosecuted in South Africa for his alleged human rights abuses because he never applied the Commission for amnesty, nor was granted it.

Dr. Levin is not the only apartheid-era military psychiatrist linked to human rights abuses who continues to practice."

I find the last sentence particularly significant: "Dr. Levin is not the only apartheid-era military psychiatrist linked to human rights abuses who continues to practice."

Not the only one. And yet, have ANY of these practitioners ever been charged or convicted for their crimes?

Why not?

Reading the plethora of online articles on this case, the reams of claims, accusations and potential charges of abuse of human rights and assorted crimes against humanity which can and should be leveled at Levin - and resolved in a legal arena - as well as the stated support for this case as far back as 1987 - by so many organizations at various times, ranging from the SA Council of Churches to other social groups in a "coalition, which represents more than 74 lesbian, gay, transgender, and bisexual organizations in South Africa" - I wonder why this man was allowed to go unchallenged and unpunished for so long?

By his own actions, this man helped to prolong the oppression of the Pink Community in South Africa, when the SA government began to legislate the decriminalization of homosexuality as far back as 1969 (!!!) - and he, Dr Aubrey Levin - then a TRAINEE psychiatrist - assured Parliament that this was "not necessary" because HE could "cure" gay people with shock therapy!

I am loathe to say that even modern quacks who make the same dubious claims, cannot show one shred of actual evidence to back themselves up, not even with less traumatic techniques as those employed at the time - and that this entire "ex-gay" concept has been convincingly shot down and buried forever by medical authorities worldwide.

Imagine - were it not for Levin and his pie-in-the-sky claims, homosexuality in South Africa might likely have been decriminalized as far back as 1969! This in itself shows me that Levin's intentions towards the pink community have never been anything but malicious and hostile.

Levin's methodology of "aversion therapy" became outdated and obsolete when homosexuality ceased being viewed as a "mental illness" in 1973. In fact, it is nothing less than a recognized form of torture. Yet his work in the SA Military was allowed to continue right through the 1970's and 80's - why were these blatant violations of both the Geneva Convention and the Tokyo Agreement allowed and even allowed to be covered up after the fact?

Why did the Truth and Reconcilliation Commission let him off the hook so easily? Why were these charges not made? Why was he allowed to leave the country and why was he not extradited to face trial?

Numerous Apartheid medical figures responsible for torture and medical "experiments" performed on political prisoners during the Apartheid period - solely on the grounds of race, remain imprisoned to this very day - yet this man never even faced charges for strikingly similar crimes based solely on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity! This gives an alarmingly skewed perception of the value of the human rights of the pink community alongside those of other specific social groups in South Africa.

The TRC never charged Levin and the charges suggested never so much as included specific charges of abuse against the pink community.

This shocking failure on South Africa's part should not be forgotten.

This decades-long fiasco highlights the fact that once again, South Africa has failed its GLBTIQ citizens and their families - and now another country has to fix it for us. Damn, I feel so proud to be a South African!

I would like to close by expressing my disapointment and shame at the obvious fact that people in another country have been harmed because of the failings of a process which should have been resolved in South Africa at least ten years ago - but I am hopeful that Canadian justice will run its course and set things right, in the name of justice and human rights - and that "Dr. Shock" will not be allowed to hurt anyone again.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Please Take Action!

Thanks to all who have taken this up!

Below is a form drawn up to send to the SA govt, Canadian govt and the UN human rights desk.

Thanks again!

Christina
------------------
To whom it may concern,

It is with mixed elation, sorrow, anger and shame that LGBTIQ South Africans, their friends and family learned of the arrest of Aubrey Levin of Calgary, Canada. Levin has been described as South Africa’s own Dr. Mengele. Many are happy that he has finally been caught for something seemingly related to his alleged activities in South Africa - but there remains a great deal of unfinished business left behind. If the reports about him can be believed, it would seem that Aubrey Levin literally got away with murder!

He was not prosecuted in South Africa. He disappeared to Canada before any such charges could be brought against him and did not appear before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He has since avoided coming to South Africa because of the alleged risk that he may be charged. Justice might still not have been served in South Africa.

The charges he is currently facing in Canada are not nearly sufficient to make up for his alleged activities committed at 1 Military Hospital and the alleged heinous violations of the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender conscripts, conscientious objectors and others whom the Apartheid government considered undesirable. The charges he might face are as chilling as any which would be levelled against his Nazi namesake, who disappeared without a trace, never to be brought to justice.

We ask that Aubrey Levin not be allowed to go unpunished for his alleged crimes. We ask that he face the full might of Canadian law for his crimes there - and the full might of South African law here.

We are aware that Canada is not South Africa - that Canada cannot charge him for crimes committed in South Africa - all Canada can do is charge him for the crimes he committed there. Of course, it is up to South Africa to charge him here and ask for his extradition. We ask that South Africa do so - and that Canada cooperate with any such request. We ask that should South Africa not pursue this matter, that Levin be made to face trial under the auspices of the United Nations for crimes against humanity.

We demand justice for the alleged heinous crimes he committed with total impunity and under the full protection of the Apartheid government.

How many lives he might have destroyed exactly is unknown but it is estimated and believed by some that 900 LGBT people and others were subjected to his torture, botched and forced sex-change operations after his referrals and aversion therapy to "cure" gay conscripts - all of which took place long after homosexuality stopped being viewed as a mental disorder by the medical community. Many, many of his “patients” committed suicide.

Levin didn't appear before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the early 1990's - WHY was he not charged his alleged heinous crimes then? Why was he allowed to go free and carry on with his life?

Was it because he only committed these crimes against White people?

Was it because he only committed crimes against gay and transgender people?

Why did Canada allow the alleged criminal to emigrate into its respectable medical profession - and apparently to continue to spread his ugliness there?

Was it because transgender people in Canada still have no legal protections and are still erroneously classified as "mentally ill" and have to jump through all kinds of unreasonable hoops and hurdles just to get their gender reassignment done?

Please see the articles below for more detailed information on the alleged atrocities Levin committed while in South Africa. These have been well-detailed in numerous books and documentaries and personal life stories of some of his victims, and yet no definitive action has ever been taken against him.

We demand justice, if not only for surviving victims, but even more so for those who committed suicide and had their lives ruined and for their families and friends to find closure, and to restore the dignity of the South African LGBT community.

http://www.thegully.com/essays/africa/000825sexchange.html
http://www.q.co.za/news/2000/07/000728-sexchange4.htm
http://www.news24.com/Content/SouthAfrica/News/1059/abfc46690a994d92814c9b4ef9aa6bd8/26-03-2010-10-19/SA_psychiatrist_held_in_Canada
http://www.globaltvcalgary.com/world/story.html?id=2725348
http://zagria.blogspot.com/2008/07/aubrey-levin-1940-army-doctor.html
http://www.news24.com/Content/SouthAfrica/News/1059/abfc46690a994d92814c9b4ef9aa6bd8/26-03-2010-10-19/SA_psychiatrist_held_in_Canada
http://listverse.com/2008/09/07/top-10-unethical-psychological-experiments/
http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=13&art_id=vn20100328074402335C519301

(Your Name and details here:)


Email Addresses:

pret@international.gc.ca, Pretoria-im-enquiry@international.gc.ca, pm@pm.gc.ca, info@parl.gc.ca, SpkrOff@parl.gc.ca, BrisoS@parl.gc.ca, info@cpsa.ab.ca, ttheman@cpsa.ab.ca, bward@cpsa.ab.ca, kgardener@cpsa.ab.ca, kmazurek@cpsa.ab.ca, kreed@cpsa.ab.ca, jswiniarski@cpsa.ab.ca, jlwright@cpsa.ab.ca, cmccann@cpsa.ab.ca, keby@cpsa.ab.ca, rdoyle@cpsa.ab.ca, lmoyles@cpsa.ab.ca, kstruski@cpsa.ab.ca, mstuffco@cpsa.ab.ca, sbarron@cpsa.ab.ca, msorochan@cpsa.ab.ca, dsunde@cpsa.ab.ca, bleisen@cpsa.ab.ca, kinsen@sen.parl.gc.ca, TTlali@justice.gov.za, CMsibi@justice.gov.za, deputyminister@justice.gov.za, info@foreign.gov.za, molobisk@foreign.gov.za, Edriese@foreign.gov.za, Bassonh@foerign.gov.za, Mashabaned@foreign.gov.za, Hattinghl2@foreign.gov.za, Rankhumisep@foreign.gov.za, sepanyamogalen@foreign.gov.za, Sitholer@foreign.gov.za, Montwedip@foreign.gov.za, jacobsd@foreign.gov.za, debeerj@foreign.gov.za, egale.canada@egale.ca, InfoDesk@ohchr.org, civilsocietyunit@ohchr.org

They Got Him In The End - Or Did They?

Dr Aubrey Levin, aka the Dr Mengele of Apartheid South Africa has finally run foul of the law. He was arrested in Canada last week for abusing a Canadian man at his practice. It seems that old habits die hard. "Dr Shock" as he was called back in the old days, used to torture gay and lesbian military personnel to try and turn them straight. Amazingly enough the folks at your local friendly neighborhood "ex-gay" ministry have been trying to that for decades too - and haven't been having much success either. Most intelligent people already know that it is nigh impossible to "straighten" what was made "skew" in the first place, to paraphrase an Afrikanerism. For those not smart enough to bluff their way out of Levin's grasp, (shouting "Praise the Lord, I'm healed!") he performed forcible sex-changes on them - and according to some sources, many of these were intentionally botched.

Only one thing can define such actions to me - an intense hatred.

I managed to just avoid him in my own term in the South African Army - luckily he had already left by then. I did my whole transition in the Army. It could have worked out very differently if he were still there of course. As it was, I picked up lots of horrific tales from "family" who had been there - or still worked in the military medical environment, of days gone by. All told me how lucky I was to have missed them.

There is one other question that bothers me - Levin appeared before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the early 1990's - WHY was he not charged and punished for his heinous crimes then? Why was he allowed to go free and carry on with his life at the expense of justice and the lives of more innocent people?

Was it because he only committed these crimes against White people?

Was it because he only committed crimes against gay and transgender people?

Why did Canada allow this vicious criminal who destroyed the lives of upwards of 900 people to emigrate into its respectable medical profession - and apparently to continue to spread his ugliness there?

Was it because Canada still doesn't place much value on the lives of its own GBTIQ citizens - and transgender people have no legal protections and are still erroneously classified as "mentally ill" and have to jump through all kinds of unreasonable hoops and hurdles just to get their gender reassignment done?

I wonder how many lives he has destroyed so far in Canada?

I wonder what it would take for the university of Pretoria to strip this monster of his doctorate? Public shame in the media? I wonder - because clearly the knowledge of 900 hundred ruined gay, lesbian, bi and transgender lives wasn't enough yet.

I know of people in SA and elsewhere who are still calling their relatives and friends to tell them how drunk they are from celebrating that this creature has been arrested in Canada for his crimes.

All his crimes? No, just one - his abuse of a 36 year old Canadian male patient. What about the 900 or so forced sex-changes during his time as OC of 1 Military Hospital? And all the torture and experiments strikingly similar to the activities of those Nazi mad scientists who experimented on their captives? What about all those broken people who committed suicide because of what he did to them?

I would be inclined to celebrate too, if I believed for a moment that the charge in Canada was enough to see that he would never see daylight again or breathe free air again.

I too would celebrate if I thought he would actually face justice for all the deaths, misery and injury he is directly responsible for. Allegedly, of course.

I could think of a good reward for Levin - the Mengele of Apartheid South Africa - hand him over to those he wronged - and give them carte blanche.

Is there any justice out there for people like us?

Let's see what the Canadians do with him.

I think we should all be contacting the Canadian Embassy - and Canadian advocacy groups to demand justice and to raise awareness of just what that man has been up to - both here - and there in their country.

Here are some addresses, just in case you feel like doing so:

pret@international.gc.ca, Pretoria-im-enquiry@international.gc.ca, pm@pm.gc.ca, info@parl.gc.ca, SpkrOff@parl.gc.ca, BrisoS@parl.gc.ca, info@cpsa.ab.ca, ttheman@cpsa.ab.ca, bward@cpsa.ab.ca, kgardener@cpsa.ab.ca, kmazurek@cpsa.ab.ca, kreed@cpsa.ab.ca, jswiniarski@cpsa.ab.ca, jlwright@cpsa.ab.ca, cmccann@cpsa.ab.ca, keby@cpsa.ab.ca, rdoyle@cpsa.ab.ca, lmoyles@cpsa.ab.ca, kstruski@cpsa.ab.ca, mstuffco@cpsa.ab.ca, sbarron@cpsa.ab.ca, msorochan@cpsa.ab.ca, dsunde@cpsa.ab.ca, bleisen@cpsa.ab.ca, kinsen@sen.parl.gc.ca, TTlali@justice.gov.za, Msibi@justice.gov.za, deputyminister@justice.gov.za, info@foreign.gov.za, molobisk@foreign.gov.za, Bassonh@foerign.gov.za, Hattinghl2@foreign.gov.za,
Edriese@foreign.gov.za, Mashabaned@foreign.gov.za, Rankhumisep@foreign.gov.za, Sitholer@foreign.gov.za,
sepanyamogalen@foreign.gov.za, Montwedip@foreign.gov.za, jacobsd@foreign.gov.za, debeerj@foreign.gov.za,

GLBTI advocacy groups in Canada:

EGALE (Equality for Gays And Lesbians Everywhere) egale.canada@egale.ca
OUTLooks Magazine, Canada http://www.outlooks.ca
Public Service Pride Network (PSP) Coordinator@publicservicepride.ca
Canadian Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transsexual group ayronvillegas@gmail.com

References:
http://zagria.blogspot.com/2008/07/aubrey-levin-1940-army-doctor.html
http://www.news24.com/Content/SouthAfrica/News/1059/abfc46690a994d92814c9b4ef9aa6bd8/26-03-2010-10-19/SA_psychiatrist_held_in_Canada
http://listverse.com/2008/09/07/top-10-unethical-psychological-experiments/
http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=13&art_id=vn20100328074402335C519301

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bloed Skande

Bloed Skande - in Afrikaans, literally translated, means "blood scandal" - and yes, I think what is being done to the dignity, equality and humanity of gay and transgender people wherever discrimination is being enforced by blood services, is nothing less than scandalous.

I read the linked article "Transgender blood donors in New Zealand" on the topic of discrimination against gay and transsexual or transgender blood donors in New Zealand. The idiotic reasoning employed by the NZ blood service appears to match the callous stupidity of our own here in South Africa - although it must be said that while NZ employs a 5 year ban on such blood donors, SA "only" imposes a 6 month ban - although, no matter which way you slice the pie, if you are a gay male or transsexual or transgender individual who wishes to be a full-time blood donor - you are still expected to remain celibate as long as you intend being a blood donor.

The article was written by a transsexual New Zealander who encountered this prejudice and irrational thinking present in the NZ policy and laid it out in her article. "The 5 year penalty [on transsexual blood donors] was put in place," She said "because until I have my vaginoplasty done, all sex with my [heterosexual] boyfriend is considered homosexual . But upon gaining a vagina, sex with my boyfriend magically becomes heterosexual!"

Here is the clincher: "I asked whether or not I could engage in anal sex after my surgery. The answer was yes, it would be no different to a cis woman having anal sex (i.e. it [anal sex] does not disqualify women from donating blood). Again, the ownership of a vagina magically qualifies me, regardless of how I have intercourse."

"Next I asked why they would require me to be monogamous for 5 years when cis women could have multiple partners (men or women) over 5 years and it did not disqualify them from donating blood. The answer was that transgender people live 'colourful lives' and an anecdote about trans hookers on K road in Auckland was used as an example to bolster this statement. Therefore they couldn't trust that I hadn't been out selling myself, doing drugs or whatever, without doing some kind of background check."

"...I pointed out that I could probably walk in, pretend to be a cis woman, donate blood, then walk out..." "He acknowledged that I probably could do this, but they rely on the honesty of donors to prevent this happening."

And of course, the paragraph that really got my blood boiling was this one:

"...the criteria is so blatantly discriminatory that I’m surprised they didn’t just say “dirty trannies can’t give blood” and be done with it."

Isn't it just like our blood "service" here in South Africa? And doesn't this just tie in nicely with the propaganda employed by conservative homophobic and transphobic groups who like to claim that gay and trans people are "anti-social" and don't want to help society - but in every way we try to express our involvement just like any other part of society, we are then separated, targeted - and called "dangerous", "risky" and "a threat".

These people are very adept in expressing their desire to both want their cake - and eating it as well.

According to this discriminatory line of reasoning, a heterosexual couple having anal sex (like many hetero couples do), would be having "homosexual sex" and be disqualified from donating blood - or would this very valid point (in my view) - be laughed at simply because they are heterosexual and because such rules simply do not apply to straights? Apparently this is not so in New Zealand - how is it in South Africa? Apparently anal sex is only "risky" if it is two males involved. Can anyone else see the lunacy in this deduction?

Hmm. Just what I thought - discrimination just doesn't make sense - no matter which way you try to justify it, does it?

I wonder what SA's blood service has to say about transgender people and heterosexual donors having anal sex? Does anyone know?

Will they treat you like a second class citizen and infer that you are "a dirty tranny" or "a dirty gay person"?

Do you know of any other social group who is expected to remain celibate in order to be a blood donor?

Do you know of any one social group that is EXCLUSIVELY at risk of spreading HIV? Or can anyone be infected with HIV in a multitude of methods?

Do you know of any other social group that is refused to be allowed to donate blood AT ALL simply because they are married, regardless of HIV status or whether they have been faithful or not?

Well, do you?

What excuses will the SANBS make if you confront them with the fact that an HIV test kit can deliver conclusive proof of HIV status within 10 minutes, and cost a whopping R17,00 per test? Will they say the tests are "not accurate enough"? Oh? But they are accurate enough to use at HIV test clinics all over South Africa - and to inform people that they are HIV positive - or negative and to send them for counseling?

Will they hide behind the excuse of not testing donors because "some people will donate blood just to know their status" - or try to hide the fact that they are either too lazy or cheap to test their blood stocks again before delivering it to hospitals to cut out the dreaded "window period"?

Don't you think the interesting fact that they take donated blood for FREE without the onus of testing the donor first - and then have the nerve to sell the blood for a tidy sum per unit, compounds the cheek with which they make this claim?

Do they really think that discrimination against gay and transgender people is "perfectly justifiable" while the exact same discrimination against Black donors was a PR disaster and a public embarrassment to them just recently?

Do they think this discrimination is perfectly fine and will stand up in court because "nobody cares" about gay and transgender people's human rights or dignity - or our equality or the triumph of facts over prejudice and common sense over bigotry?

Are they not gambling with the lives of those who receive blood by relying on the "honesty" of people who fill out a piece of paper?

Are they still going to hide behind the transparent excuse that "the safety of the receiver of the blood is more important than the rights or humanity of the donor"?

Do they still think that discrimination - and not blood and donor testing is the best way to protect the receiver of the blood?

Are they going to try to justify their bigotry, homophobia and transphobia with rhetoric and pseudo-scientific right-wing propaganda that will remind you of "Doctors For Life" arguing against the legal and medical "merits" of passing the still inadequate marriage equality laws of South Africa from a purely religious fundamentalist angle?

Find out. Ask them.

Oh, how I wish some legal professionals would volunteer their services in taking on this inexcusable bigotry and take these unashamed bigots to task for this disgusting homophobia and transphobia in South Africa.

I wish some lawyers or advocates with a sense of honor and pride and humanity and justice would stand up and say "I'm not going to take this affront to justice, human rights and dignity lying down" and take this matter up in the Equality Court.

I wish some fine upstanding legal and medical professionals would stand up in court and testify how biased, false and unreasonable the reasons which the SANBS uses to justify their bigotry and unfair discrimination, are.

Some things in life are not all about money and what the individual can gain from it - some things are important enough, I think, to give a little of oneself to benefit a whole community. It is after all, not as if we expect such legal professionals to go hungry while they do this - but it would go a long way to furthering the cause of justice, equality and human rights in this country - and of course, their own prestige as well.

The long and short of it?

As long as there is still unfair discrimination in South Africa, regardless of what group it is focused on - Apartheid is still alive.