Stephen Fry’s open letter to the Olympic committee: keep the Winter Games out of Russia.

Stephen Fry has penned a wonderful open letter to the British Prime Minister, the IOC, and others, Stephen Fry has asked that Russia not be allowed to house the Winter Games in 2014 on account of the country’s growing anti-gay fervor.

In an open letter to the PM, the International Olympic Committee and London 2012’s Lord Coe, he said Russia was “making scapegoats of gay people”.

The government said it was working closely with organisers to ensure the Games were free from discrimination.

In Russia, it is illegal to give under-18s information about homosexuality.

Fry wrote:

“It is simply not enough to say that gay Olympians may or may not be safe in their village. An absolute ban on the Russian Winter Olympics of 2014 is simply essential,” he wrote.

“Stage them elsewhere in Utah, Lillehammer, anywhere you like. At all costs (Russian President Vladimir) Putin cannot be seen to have the approval of the civilised world.”

And he’s right.  What is taking place in Russia right now is beyond inhumane.

Fry’s appeal to the Prime Minister was particularly well-written:

Mr Fry made a direct appeal to the prime minister at the end of the letter. He says he has the “utmost respect” for Mr Cameron and urged him to act on his instinct.

“As the leader of a party I have for almost all of my life opposed and instinctively disliked, you showed a determined, passionate and clearly honest commitment to LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) rights and helped push gay marriage through both houses of our Parliament in the teeth of vehement opposition from so many of your own side,” he wrote.

“For that I will always admire you, whatever other differences may lie between us. In the end I believe you know when a thing is wrong or right. Please act on that instinct now.”

Sadly, one of the openly gay Olympians does not share Fry’s sentiment:

Johnny Weir, the openly gay US figure skater, has told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that he would not observe any boycott of the Games .

“To attack Russia is silly. It’s not Russia’s public’s fault that their government is so bigoted and creating so many problems for a minority group,” he said.

If 85% of the country’s population didn’t oppose gay rights, he might have a point.  Countries are molded by their governments, and it is the government which must realize that human rights violations will not be suffered kindly by the rest of the civilized world.  And, in this case, the government is a reflection of the populace.

Being a part of the global community is a privilege earned with wisdom and compassion, not a right present regardless of how callous a nation might be.

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