'Ground Zero' for Homophobia
Varadarajan, Tunku, Newsweek
Byline: Tunku Varadarajan
A Closer Look
The sartorial irony could not have been more delicious: on the day after news broke that a French magazine was set to publish a paparazzo's snapshot of a topless Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, she was photographed more heavily draped than at any other time in her charmed life. Even as Kate and her husband, Prince William, filed a suit against the magazine, Closer, alleging a "grotesque" invasion of privacy, the royal couple paid a visit to the Assyakirin Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, as part of a nine-day diplomatic waltz through Southeast Asia. In deference to local sensibilities, the princess wore a long white full-sleeved dress with an Islamic piece de resistance, a gauzy white headscarf, thereby offering an image that is as demure as the picture in Closer is (one presumes) unabashed.
Aseem Trivedi is a political cartoonist who specializes in provocation, a trait not rare in his tribe. In one of his works that passed judgment on the rampant corruption in the Indian Parliament, Trivedi, 25, replaced the three lions that make up India's national symbol with wolves. This so incensed the Mumbai police--more intent on upholding India's reputation as an intolerant democracy than Trivedi's constitutional rights--that they arrested Trivedi, charging him with "sedition." After he refused to post bail, Trivedi was locked up, spending a few days behind bars before the Mumbai High Court ordered his release. The court rebuked the police witheringly, if awkwardly: "How can you arrest people on frivolous grounds? Today you attacked a cartoonist, tomorrow you will attack a filmmaker and then a writer."
A descendent of three British prime ministers has been jailed in Kampala for producing a play sympathetic to homosexuality. The producer, David Cecil--named after his grandfather, the historian Lord David Cecil--was arrested for "disobeying lawful orders," which required him to get government permission before staging a performance with gay themes. The play, called The River and the Mountain, is a tragicomedy about a businessman who is hacked to death by his employees after they discover that he is homosexual. …