THE CLOSET OF FEAR: The systemic execution of gays and lesbians in Iraq.
The nature of the work to save gays and lesbians is so secretive that it cannot be coordinated through the Iraqi government or the NGO coordinating council. All the gays and lesbians I talked to confirmed that there are security risks at all levels; it seems unlikely they would all share the same unfounded paranoia, so I believe them. Unable to coordinate relief efforts through the NGO coordinating agency or the Ministry of Civil Society, gays and lesbians are left entirely on their own to operate a rogue underground railroad.
The otherwise personable and even liberal Iraqis and Jordanians with whom I talked, found homosexuality extremely unpleasant to even talk about. Faiza, an Iraqi refugee who is helping to organize empowerment programs for women in Jordan and Iraq, was dismayed when I told her I was looking to work with a relief agency to help gays and lesbians. "Why they help lesbians? Widows and orphans need help, and they help lesbian???" she said in broken English. Her perspective was one of complete disdain for any group of crazy westerners who would actually want to help gays and lesbians amidst such an enormous humanitarian crisis.
I also want to take this opportunity to call your attention to a new feature. I have added a 10 item list of posts I have recently read and wanted to share. It's near the bottom of the column to the right, and as I'm reading through my Google reader I simply click "share" and it it moved there. It's a nice way for you all to see what I'm reading any enjoying, as I simply can't blog coherently about everything I'd like to.