August 25, 2003
1st Baltic Rainbow Amnesty meeting,
Moonbow 2004 to Expand Eastwards:
Riga -- The 3rd International Moonbow Homo Culture & Human Rights
Festival celebrated its 'moonset' in the Latvian capital August 22-23,
2003 with art, poetry, films, music and seminars -- after its tour of
Tallinn and Stockholm.
The event included the first Rainbow Amnesty Baltic meeting to
discuss ways of using homo culture to help break the silence of this
part of the human rights struggle. "This meeting was a very important
dialogue for us in Belarus, and we need concrete actions and
international solidarity to fight intolerance and discrimination based
on sexual orientation," says Olga Podunova of Amnesty Belarus. "We are very happy that the next regional LBGT Amnesty meeting in 2004 will be shared by St. Petersburg and Minsk."
"In Riga, our meeting was -- and will be -- very necessary for gay
artists and those who are interested in culture. We don't have so many such people in Latvia yet -- but then again, what's the right number then?! Thanks to all TUPILAK members who supported our meeting this year and 2 years ago!" states Latvian artist, Armins Ozolins, Moonbow festival organizer.
Other artists and photographers present or represented with their
work came from Latvia, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Austria included
the HOSI-Linz photo exhibit 'Journey from Mauthausen to Auschwitz to
Riga' on Nazi and neo-nazi persecution of homosexuals.
The Tallinn phase both opened the Moonbow festival with a
'moonrise' in May and included the week-end of August 9-10 --
also hosting the 3rd cultural session of the Nordic Homo Council
discussing Nordic co-operation on both sides of the Baltic. The
Stockholm phase (July 26-August 3) was an alternative, dog-tag free
festival -- on the sidelines of Stockholm Pride -- giving priority to
Next Moonbow to Shine also over Russia, Belarus
"We are very pleased with the increasing contacts and
co-operation, and are proud to announce that the 2004 Moonbow will have its 'moonrise' in St. Petersburg in May and close in Minsk and Gomel in the dictatorship Belarus in August. It is amazing that a dictatorship can survive so close to the West -- bordering the Baltic states of Latvia and Lithuania, says Bill Schiller of Tupilak (Nordic homo
cultural workers) and Moonbow co-ordinator.
"We are counting on our allies in the Helsinki Human Rights
Committees, the Nordic Rainbow Humanists,
HAI (Homo cultural workers in Nordic sections of Amnesty International), the Nordic Homo Council and
the Nordic Council itself to join us again next year to help Moonbow
expand eastwards," Schiller concludes.