Michael Lucas' response on Egypt, the myth of Democracy and LGBT rights in Middle East

Fri. February 11, 2011 4:20 PM

michael lucas

Michael Lucas argues the importance of Egypt upholding peace treaty with Israel

As Egypt's embattled President Hosni Mubarak gave up his presidency Friday, it remains unclear what the historic developments mean for LGBT rights throughout that country and the Middle East.

As the uprisings - which eventually lead to Mubarak's resignation - were beginning, porn entrepreneur Michael Lucas wrote an op-ed piece for Advocate.com where he argued that true democracy in Egypt was a "myth."

In the Jan. 31 piece, Lucas warned that the Muslim Brotherhood is poised to fill an Egyptian power vacuum and that the ouster of Mubarak would eventually lead to "the most strict and cruel form of Sharia law on the entire Arab world."

"We're about to watch the most populous Arab nation go from one where gays and lesbians live relatively free, albeit discreet lives, to one where they'll be persecuted, targeted, scapegoated, and condemned to death," wrote Lucas.

Khalid Zaid, an Egyptian man who was granted US asylum for gay persecution in Egypt, took exception to Lucas' points and responded in a commentary published on Gay.com.

"It's true that the first thing they have promised to do is hold a referendum on Egypt's peace treaty with Israel," wrote Zaid. "Regardless of what anyone tells you, they are not part of a master plan to impose Sharia law on the entire Arab world."

"Inciting baseless panic about the creation of an Islamic, anti-gay, anti-Western regime is a reckless act stemming from fears over Israel's security and stability," he continued.

Lucas now responds to Zaid with further clarification and he argues the importance of Egypt upholding the peace treaty with Israel.

A response from Michael Lucas to Khalid Zaid as presented to the GoPride.com Network:

I would like to respond to Khalid Zaid's commentary on gay.com. But first, I want to make it clear that I'm not going to address his misunderstanding of my article. In fact, we both agree on the issue of how badly gay people are treated in Egypt. It's unfortunate that Zaid doesn't understand that I'm on the same page with him in that regard, which I thought I had made quite clear in my own article.

My problems with his article are the statements that "It's true that the first thing they have promised to do is to hold their referendum on Egypt's peace treaty with Israel. Most Egyptians according to the same poll would not vote for it." He then continues, "This is undoubtedly why they have been immediately and ridiculously labeled as extremists." Further- "Inciting baseless panic about the creation of an Islamic, anti-gay, anti-Western regime is a reckless act stemming from fears over Israel's security and stability."

He has no problem with Egypt not upholding a peace treaty with Israel, breaking their diplomatic relationship and not recognizing Israel as a country just like all the other countries in the Middle East with the exception of Jordan.

Zaid, as I do, cares a lot about the lives of gay people in Egypt. It's surprising to me that he doesn't understand that not upholding the peace treaty with Israel will obviously result in a bloody war that will probably take the lives of hundreds of thousands of people on both sides. Egypt attacked Israel five times and Israel defeated them, along with all the other countries that attacked its territory.

These days Egypt is armed with the most sophisticated American military technology, which they didn't have before. Without this powerful army during the Six-Day War, there were estimated upwards of 10,000 Egyptian casualties, but one can only speculate how many lives, including those of gays who are forced to serve in the Egyptian army, will be taken if war were to break out now.

Though there are some good facts in Zaid's writing, what you take away from reading the article is that the breaking of a peace treaty is a justified normality. In the good Muslim tradition, he doesn't care about Israel's security and stability. He insinuates that there is a conspiracy rooted in fear of losing Israel's stability. There is no conspiracy. There is nothing hidden about concerns for Israel's security. Without it, Israel would again be susceptible to attack from countries such as Egypt, against which they would, of course, retaliate. And this concern certainly doesn't preclude concern for the security of gays.

The peace treaty is a good thing, not a bad thing, both here and in general. Not upholding peace is a bad thing, a tragedy, since it basically equals war. This is the fact. It is universal, common knowledge.

Zaid fails to see that Israeli stability is in his own interest since it means Egyptian stability, as well. It is sad that he, persecuted as a gay man and now living in the US, he doesn't know it. He doesn't understand or want to understand that Egyptians and Israelis will both be swimming in blood.

Democracy cannot only be used at one's convenience. You can't pick and choose what you like from it in order to get your way on an issue. And you cannot treat a peace treaty like a piece of toilet paper. It is an important document that has to be given the proper respect that it deserves. It has meaning. Unless, of course, we want to go back to Nazi Germany where Hitler broke the Treaty of Versailles and went on the attack.

Referendums on such important matters are against international law. The referendum on gay marriage led to the rights of gay citizens in the US being taken away. And issues of peace are even more important than that issue. Zaid supports the breaking of the peace treaty (instated through the hard work of Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and United States President Jimmy Carter) because of popular opinion. That is not a strong enough cause. Referendums cannot be put up against peace treaties that have already been made. A mob cannot make that decision.