by Lithuanian LGBT Rights Organization / LGL
Reposted from the LGL site with permission
On January 18th, 2015, a member of the Lithuanian Parliament (the Seimas), Algirdas Vaclovas Patackas publicly warned the Board Chair of the national LGBT human rights association LGL that the organization is “playing with fire” and that its activities might result in a “black, repulsive and totally unacceptable response” similar to what “happened in Paris.” The statement by the MP was issued as a response to the organization’s humorous suggestion to store 10-litas notes as LGBT souvenirs in the wake of the switchover to the euro on 1 January 2015.
In the message, initially published by the right-wing news portal alkas.lt, the MP accused the LGL’s Board Chair Vladimir Simonko of “a provocation” that might result in “dead bodies.” “For black, repulsive and totally unacceptable challenge-provocation you might face no less than a black, repulsive and totally unacceptable response. Because in Lithuania, as in every land which calls itself Christian, not everyone turns the left cheek; there are many, who believe in the principle “an eye for an eye,” i.e. the main cause of what has happened in Paris” – warned the MP. As a result, the MP Patackas urged the Board Chair of LGBT organization to “cancel the provocation.”
“Because in Lithuania, as in every land which calls itself Christian, not everyone turns the left cheek; there are many, who believe in the principle ‘an eye for an eye,’ i.e. the main cause of what has happened in Paris. And hardly anyone in Lithuania would bear an inscription ‘I am Simonko’.”
— Seimas member A. V. Patackas
LGL immediately approached national law enforcement officials with a request to investigate comprehensively the alleged threats to the organization. According to the LGL’s Board Chair Vladimir Simonko, the news was highly disturbing. “Despite the fact that this message is directed to me as the head of the organization, all staff members view this message with great unease. If these allegations are real, we place our trust in the national authorities. If this is some sort of a “joke,” I believe that MP Patackas has a very poor sense of humor, which is totally unacceptable in the light of the recent tragic events in France,” said Mr. Simonko. LGL is of the position that in case MP Patackas has any information about planned attacks against the organization or its staff members, he must share this information with law enforcement immediately.
MP Patackas is the author of the controversial draft amendment to the Lithuanian Criminal Code that would remove criminal liability for homophobic hate speech. The proposed amendment states that the “criticism of sexual behavior or sexual practices, convictions or beliefs, or persuasion to change this behavior, practices, convictions or believes cannot be per se qualified as harassment, humiliation, incitement to hatred, discrimination or incitement to discriminate.” On December 16th, 2014 the draft bill was returned to its drafter for the improvement.
An English translation of the statement by MP Patackas:
A. Patackas: A warning to citizen Simonko.
An announcement appeared in the press that LGBT and its leader, that is Simonko, intends to distribute ten litas banknotes with a playful note that Darius and Girėnas are gay. If two men standing next to each other seem to appear to be gay, there is a name for it – paranoia. LNK television also spoke about this intention in an overly playful, supposedly indignant tone, and mocked an exasperated Gražulis, but not the author of this provocation. This piece of news, however is not playful, it threatens no less miserable consequences than the recent massacre in Paris. Everything there also began in a playful manner but ended with dead bodies, because words hurt like a knife.
Will there be another attempt to “expand the boundaries of freedom of speech?” We say in advance – it will fail. Lithuania is not France where in the Parisian Bastille and the communes the heads of Marie Antoinette and Robespierre were chopped off, many priests were killed, nuns were desecrated, and the secularist state recently revealed its black side. Lithuania was not all that (except in the Czarist and Soviet periods, but the occupiers did it). Lithuania has its heroes, noble men to be respected by every normal Lithuanian for their deed and especially for their testament for young Lithuania that will remain of eternal value.
This is why citizen Simonko must be warned – stop, it is neither witty nor playful – you are playing with fire.
For black, repulsive and totally unacceptable challenge-provocation you might face no less than a black, repulsive and totally unacceptable response. Because in Lithuania, as in every land which calls itself Christian, not everyone turns the left cheek; there are many, who believe in the principle “an eye for an eye,” i.e. the main cause of what has happened in Paris. And hardly anyone in Lithuania would bear an inscription “I am Simonko.” Fight to satiety for your colored rights – every citizen is entitled for it by democracy – but in a civilized, non-provocative way.
And still, who are you, citizen Simonko, to dare to make fun of a fellow citizen, his sacredness and values? Who taught you and what values were instilled by your family? You live in Lithuania, but you speak Lithuanian with an accent. Apparently you first heard of Darius and Girėnas when their images appeared on the litas. But you are a citizen of Lithuania, so you must always act responsibly and civilly.
So, wishing namely citizenship based on common sense, but insisting to cancel the provocation, disrespectfully
Note from the editors of Defending History:
It is unsurprising that an anti-LGBT tirade unbecoming of a parliamentarian from a European Union and NATO member, would also mention the tragic events of the czarist and Soviet periods, passing over in silence the Nazi occupation. Perhaps the honorable MP associates that occupation with happy thoughts.