Why are some gay causes more fashionable than others?
Quite rightly there is anger about the persecution of homosexuals in Russia. But quite puzzlingly there is silence about the prohibition of homosexuality in Abu Dhabi and other United Arab Emirate States. Article 80 of the Abu Dhabi Penal Code makes sodomy punishable with imprisonment of up to 14 years, and in 2005 UAE Justice Minister Mohammed bin Nukhaira Al Dhahiri reportedly stated “There will be no room for homosexual and queer acts in the UAE ... our society does not accept queer behaviour, either in word or in action”. Now comes news - see story above - that members of the Gulf Cooperation Countries, including Abu Dhabi which is part of the United Arab Emirates, are considering tests to identify and deny entry to LGBT travellers. The United Arab Emirates have a spectacularly bad human rights record which stretches far beyond LGBT prohibition. Yet, as I highlighted back in 2008, Abu Dhabi has a thriving international arts festival organised in conjunction with leading classical music management agency IMG Artists. Just a few of the high profile musicians who appeared at the 2013 Abu Dhabi Arts Festival are Joshua Bell, Bryn Terfel, Jiří Bělohlávek, Mariinsky Ballet and Orchestra and Plácido Domingo. In fact such is the magnetic appeal of the festival for performers that it would be easier to list the top classical musicians who have not appeared there since it was founded in 2004. Let's reprise the words of the UAE's Minister of Justice “Our society does not accept queer behaviour, either in word or in action”. Now can someone explain why there is not more anger about classical musicians endorsing Abu Dhabi's inhuman policies by appearing at its prestigious arts festival?
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