How soon we forget
In a perfect world, we’d all know that 2017 meant decades and centuries of progress from the dark pages of history and the chilling memory of major societal flaws like slavery, segregation, and religious persecution.
Sadly, our world is far from perfect, and horrific new stories come out all the time that further inform us of the extent of terrible things happening around the globe and in our own neighborhoods.
In recent weeks, stories akin to the nightmares of WWII began emerging from Chechnya, a republic of Russia located in the south of Eastern Europe. Since the fall of the USSR, Chechnya’s history has been plagued with turmoil and war with Russia. While the Russian Federation is known for its stringent anti-LGBTQ policies, it seems things are already far worse in Chechnya.
In early April, reports from the region released claims of gay men being rounded up and arrested. If that wasn’t bad enough, the abductions were being done by thugs believed to be working directly for Ramzan Kadyov, the Head of the Chechen Republic.
It wasn’t long before outlets like the New York Times and the Guardian confirmed similar reports from their human rights contacts in Russia.
Naturally, Kadyrov was quick to deny the allegations. Whereas most leaders would deny them because of the disgusting human rights and morality violations at hand, Kadyrov offered that such an occurrence would be impossible in his country simply because there are no gay people in Chechnya.
““You cannot arrest or repress people who just don’t exist in the republic,” a spokesperson said. “If such people existed in Chechnya, law enforcement would not have to worry about them since their own relatives would have sent them to where they could never return.”
Homphobia is rampant across the Russian Federation and its republics; as this horrid story began to gain international attention, more photos and testimonies were leaked explaining the situation in graphic detail:
“Chechen police are snaring gay men by posing as gays looking for dates on social media sites, then arresting the victims and using the contact lists on their phones to discover more closeted gays. Once in jail, forced into dark cells so small they can’t even lie down, the men are mercilessly beaten in various ways, including having to run through a gauntlet of twenty men wielding bats aimed at the victims from the waist down.
“Some who survive are released to their families, a move that is usually a death sentence. Chechnya is a hotbed of Islamic honor killings, usually of young women, but of gay men as well. When gay Chechens who’ve somehow remained alive get out of jail, they are often taken by their male relatives to remote places to be killed and buried. No one even searches for them.”
This, itself, is terrible, but then we learned about the concentration camps…