The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

under the boardwalk

Bidoun magazine editor Negar Azimi has a good piece in the NYT magazine today on homosexuality and repression in Egypt.

Maybe I just liked it because yellow press shill-artist Mustafa Bakry comes off badly in the lead, but Negar also deals in some refreshingly unjournalistic nuance. Whether she gets it right or not I don’t know, but her characterization of homosexuality and gay sex as an “unremarkable aspect of daily life, articulated in different ways in each country, city and village in the region,� sounds a little more plausible than that "we don't have those guys here" line that I've now heard once too often.

In fact, that's what much of the piece is about: the politically motivated rebranding of gay sex as a western perversion deserving of potentially lethal repression by security forces.

Makes one think that it's a pity that there aren't any gay politicians, no one at a senior level (say ministerial), who could speak out on behalf of a culture of personal rights and against the culture of crass politicking that surrounds the issue. Of course, that person would have to be well connected and virtually impossible to remove no matter what he said or did. Yep, pity there's no one like that around.

Three nice photos with Negar's article by one Ziyah Gafic.