While western hypocrisy stinks to high heaven, I am, nevertheless, a big fan of those freedoms, which, when we keep the reactionaries at bay, are an integral part of our culture here in Europe. It was, therefore, with interest that I read today on ‘Democracy Now’, that “Iceland has a new prime minister a week after the Icelandic government collapsed following protests over the nation’s devastated economy. Johanna Sigurdardottir took power on Sunday. She is believed to be the first lesbian to ever head a nation.”(1) Now, I am not familiar with the situation everywhere else in Europe but I can talk with some authority about the situation in Germany and with Guido Westerwelle, head of the liberal FDP, very possibly the next German Foreign Minister, having “come out” some time ago, and with, the ethnic Turk, Cem Özdemir from the Green Party also destined for high political office, it would appear that we live in quite inclusive societies. This is our reality and as Klaus Wowereit, the homosexual Lord Mayor of Berlin said when referring to his sexual preferences, “es ist gut so” (it is good that it is like that); “our reality” I mean, a reality where we live in societies where increasingly few people are excluded because of race, religion or sexual inclination.
Of course, we do have a small problem and it might just be that Johanna Sigurdardottir or Guido Westerwelle have to make an official visit to Saudi and on my last reading of the Saudi statute book, I do believe that they bury homosexuals alive in the desert kingdom. The evidence would indeed, seem to suggest that on this very small planet, we all inherit very different worlds and very different realities. However, when all is said and done Europe is a nice place to be at this point in history and it is nice to live in a place where real tolerance does, at times, shine through and does have a chance. Oh and apropos “tolerance”; I once heard that it was a bourgeoisie invention. Perhaps, perhaps, but I would have to say that it was one of the things, flawed and faulted as it is, they got, more or less, right.
The picture shows, the lesbian, Johanna Sigurdardotti.