An estimated 127 queer men and women* were arrested in Bahrain this weekend at a party:
An undercover agent paid the 20 dinar [$53 --Ed.] entrance fee and was allowed into the hall where he saw dozens of cross-dressers drinking and smoking shishas. More patrols were called in and 127 people were arrested in the police swoop, the daily said.
Initial investigations have revealed that the gays were either Gulf nationals who came to Bahrain for the party or were living in Bahrain and flocked to the hall in Hidd. The organisers are being held separately.
In this brave new world, people who commit a crime clearly deserve whatever punishment the state can dream up. We've seen people pumped full of electricity for not letting go of a microphone while the rest of the country laughs, people tortured when they haven't even been convicted of anything while Americans shout for harsher treatment, and prominent liberals ask for the death penalty for the crime of HIV nondisclosure. If people know behavior is illegal and they do it anyway, well, any punishment is their own damn fault.
And before you assume that I'm siding with the Bahraini police just because these people are queer, then think again. Sodomy's technically legal in Bahrain, so clearly the police aren't homophobic. These folks committed a real crime:
Neighbours, complaining about the late night noises emanating from the sports hall in the traditional fishing village, had alerted the police who sent a patrol to verify the claims at around 2.30am.
Lock 'em up, torture them, and we shouldn't take the death penalty off the table. Don't do the crime if you can't do the time.
*Reports are using the word "gay" but they also mention that "dozens" of people there were wearing women's clothes and wore make-up. It's not a Western society, I don't know how people identified, etc., but clearly the queerness caused the problem. While sodomy is legal in Bahrain and has been since the 70's, vague laws against immorality are used to repress homosexuality and transgenderism.
One local report is also calling it a "wedding," which is what homophobic regimes usually do when they do a mass arrest at a gay party - they call it a wedding hoping it'll turn people against those who were arrested, since people's ability to party should be dependent on the arbitrary goodwill of a country's population.
Stephen Colbert was riffing on a similar theme last week. I don't know what to say about people today. We Americans have always had people who use "bleeding-heart" as an insult and mock people for caring about others, but it seems like it's just much worse today. There's no logical argument to make people care about other people's well-being, since it's one of those fundamentally human emotional reactions, we're going to have to find other ways to get people to care about others, even people who've done something wrong or illegal.