in hindsight

Saddam Hussein Was a Terrible Man. But Was He Better For Iraq’s Gays Than What They Have Now?


We’re sure the Jamaicans might have something to say about it, but Iraq has won the prestigious award of being dubbed “the most dangerous place on Earth for gays.” For stuff like this. Congratulations!

“Life was better under Saddam,” argues LGBT Asylum News‘s Paul Canning, which, depending on how willing of a snowball argument you’re willing to make, is basically the fault of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. While Saddam Hussein was running the show, “Baghdad played the role that Beirut does now as a sanctuary for Middle Eastern gay life with clubs which men from the Gulf and Saudi Arabia flocked to. In sharp contrast, for the past six years Iraq has been the worst place in the entire world to be gay. Far, far worse than Uganda or even Iran. Hundreds of gays, lesbians and transgender people have been hunted down and killed in the most vile ways imaginable – and imagination is the right word. Doctors have confirmed reports of men have had their anuses glued shut by militia forces and others have accused the government of being involved.”

Of course the nations that involved themselves in Iraq, sending thousands of troops to topple Saddam’s regime, are stepping in to offer aid, right?

Our government, the British government, has turned its back on those who have arrived here. All have initially been refused asylum. The system instead has told them that Iraq is safe and they should go home. I am not making this up. Faceless bureaucrats in Alan Johnson’s department (and Jacqui Smith’s and John Reid’s before him) have had the front to write “Iraq is safe” on gay asylum letters.

Why? How? Because they can. Because no one, no gay MP, no LGBT group, no one has pressured them, forced them, to do otherwise.

It gets worse. Because of an “unfit for purpose” system, their claims take years to resolve, wasting untold amounts of taxpayers’ money as other bureaucrats and Johnson’s hired gun lawyers fight them to the bitter end despite the mountain of evidence that Iraq is a death zone for gays. In the meantime they survive on handouts as they’re not allowed to work. They are stressed out in ways those of us lucky enough to be born in the West cannot begin to imagine, fearing that Johnson’s agents will pick them up and put them on a plane to Baghdad.