poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Gay Uzbek Journalist Waiting for Release

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan (AP) - A gay journalist whose conviction for sodomy and having sex with minors has been internationally condemned as politically motivated may have to wait up to a month before his early release, a prison official said Saturday.

Demonstrators and human rights activists had gathered outside a Tashkent minimum-security prison where Ruslan Sharipov is being held, expecting him to be freed. Their protest was broken up by a plainclothes security officer, who pulled banners from their hands and broke them over his knee, shouting homosexual epithets as other police looked on.

Sharipov was convicted in August 2003 of sodomy, sex with minors and involving minors in anti-social behavior and sentenced to 5 1/2 years. An appeals court overturned the last charge in September and reduced the jail term to four years.

The Uzbek Foreign Ministry said in March that Sharipov could be freed June 11, or Friday, under a presidential amnesty that would further reduce his sentence, but the decision was apparently put off a day.


How Ronald Reagan changed my life
Greg Butterfield    
Worker's World

President Ronald Reagan figures mightily in my own political development. I was a junior-high and high school student during his regime.

My first memory of genuine political consciousness is sitting in front of the television in the early 1980s, listening to Reagan attack welfare mothers. My own family was on welfare, like millions of others, not because of any personal failings, but because of the cruel workings of the capitalist economy Rea gan championed. There were no jobs.

As a child in a rural, virtually all-white area of Northern Wisconsin, I couldn't yet understand the racist implications of Reagan's welfare bashing for millions of oppressed families in the ghettos from Los Angeles to New York. But I knew an attack on poor people when I heard it. That night he, and capitalism, made an enemy for life.

I remember the humiliation my parents felt at the time, forced to grovel every few months to keep the meager government assistance coming so my brothers and I could eat. I remember what happened a few years later, when Wisconsin Gov. Tom my Thompson (now a Bush cabinet member) followed Reagan's lead and eliminated assistance for thousands of poor families. I remember how that winter we had to eat raccoon carcasses meant for dog food because there was nothing else.


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