June 10, 2004
Next stops -- Stockholm, Riga, Tallinn, Minsk:
St. Petersburg - This Russian cultural capital joined the 4th
Moonbow International Human Rights & Homo Culture Festival June 5-6 - the first time the city is sharing the "moonglow" of this annual
solidarity event on both sides of the Baltic Sea.
"This international get-together is important for us and we
sincerely hope this will be an annual event," says Alexander Kukharsky, of "Krilja" -- the oldest Russian gay rights organization and host of the event.
"We are pleased to get the chance to explain that the situation in
Belarus is worsening drastically for all non-government organizations in
this Eastern European dictatorship," adds visiting Slava Bortnik of the
Amnesty Belarus LGBT group. "We still feel sure we will be able to hold
the Moonbow in Minsk in August."
"Your meeting is very important. And we hope to co-operate in the
future," maintains Boris Souvorov, of Amnesty Moscow in a written
message to the gathering -- breaking the long silence of the Russian AI
groups on Nordic and other international efforts to discuss homo
questions on Russian territory.
"We in HAI (Homosexual cultural workers in Nordic sections of
Amnesty International hope that our Russian, Belarus and other
colleagues will join us in a sharp protest against Amnesty Europe's
chocking decision to drop homo questions from its priorty list - coming
at a time when neo Nazis and homophobic politicians and media are
attacking lesbians and gays all over Europe, " says Bill Schiller, also
chairman of Tupilak (organization of lesbian & gay cultural workers in
the Nordic area).
Carl-Johan Kelberg, former chairman of the Swedish Humanists,
told delegates about the decades-long and steady support of the the
world-wide humanist movement for lesbian and gay rights - a sharp
contrast to the sometimes eractic support of others.
"Spirit of Montreal" on Display in Eastern Europe
"This is the first opportunity in Eastern Europe where we have been
able to explain the aims of Montreal Rendez-Vous games, homo cultural activities and a giant human rights conference in 2006 - following the first meeting international committee of lawyers, judges,
parliamentarians, professors and human rights activists.
"We are convinced that the committee and the Rendez-Vous
organizers will give a special emphasis to Eastern Europe - knowing that so many are on the barricades risking their safety and even their
lives," says Bill Schiller, the global committee's Nordic representative.
"Unlike the Gay Games planned in Chicago in 2006 which excluded
human rights events, the "Spirit of Montreal" stresses that this is an
essential part of a global gathering - and fund-raising is underway to
make sure that Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe will be
well representated.," Schiller concludes.
The next Moonbow 2004 phases include Stockholm: July 25-August 1,
Riga August 6-7, Tallinn: August 13-15 and Minsk: August 28-29.