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Germany

Berlin advocacy group lights ‘Rainbow Flame’ in solidarity with LGBT Russians

Friday, February 7, 2014

BERLIN — Gay rights activists in Berlin on Friday cheered and waved placards reading “Stop Homophobia” at the lighting of an Olympic-style ‘”Rainbow Flame” that will burn for the next 16 days while the Winter Olympic games takes place in Sochi, Russia.

The project, by Berlin-based advocacy group Enough is Enough, is intended to highlight anti-LGBT violence and human rights violations in Russia.

The flame’s pedestal, located at the site of the Berlinale Film Festival in Berlin’s famed Potsdamer Platz public square, is guarded around the clock by at least two volunteer activists — a requirement of German law — and is surrounded by a canvas enclosure containing the text of Russia’s anti-gay law which took effect last June.

Alfonso Pantisano, 39, a Berlin-based freelance television broadcaster, co-founded the organization last summer after Russia adopted anti-gay laws designed to stop the promotion of “non-traditional sexual relationships” to children.

“Tonight’s action is a solemn vigil that will go on for 16 days and 15 nights until the Olympic flame in Sochi is extinguished,” Pantisano said.

The group has called on the German government “to take a stand and to do everything possible to ensure that [Russia's] law is abolished” because “Russia has once again veered away from democratic values.”

The statement notes that Russia’s anti-gay law runs contrary “to the commitments entered by Russia as a member of the Council of Europe and with the ratification of the European Convention on Human Rights.”

The group also is lobbying sponsors of the winter games to use the “power of their financial strength to do to position themselves clearly and to work for the defense of human rights in Russia. We recall that human rights are worth more than financial profit.”

The group currently has over 21,000 followers on Facebook and was also responsible for a wildly successful social awareness campaign in the German edition of GQ Magazine that featured heterosexual male actors and artists kissing.

The Rainbow Flame project is slated to cost the group an estimated $20,000 and is entirely funded by donations.

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28 more reader comments:

  1. Germany……fighting social injustices since….???? I guess you only have to attempt genocide without actually successfully completing it to realize, all people deserve the right to exist.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 10:47pm
  2. Because you know, Germany isn't trying to remove that from their history at all because they are obviously ashamed of it or nothing.

    Replied on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 10:51pm
  3. I guess so. Rather akin to people hitting rock bottom before realizing the only other place to go is UP, wouldn't you say? We can just add this to the list of progressive things they are doing in that country which we aren't doing in ours...

    Replied on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 10:55pm
  4. Germany has a troubled and horrific past at times, but I am proud of the strides Germany has made. It's not like our American history is spotless. Nothing can erase the past, but try recognizing the good of TODAY. It's called PROGRESS and GROWTH.

    Replied on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 11:03pm
  5. Yeah, it's better to commit genocide and still remain bigoted, like America.

    Replied on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 11:08pm
  6. Germany, fighting social injustices for 69 years now. The last war Germany initiated, ended in 1945...

    Replied on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 11:19pm
  7. WWII and the War Crimes committed were over over 60 years ago. Most of the people alive now weren't born then. I don't think it's fair to demonize the people of Germany for the actions of their parents and grandparents. The country has obviously seen the era of it's ways and attempting to do better.

    Replied on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 12:37am
  8. We built a nation on genocide and slavery. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Germany has come much farther than we in repairing their karma.

    Replied on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 4:18am
  9. Jeremy, Germany did not try to commit genocide. Only the Nazi's did that. You need to remember that Germany was the first country the Nazi's conquered.

    Replied on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 5:16am
  10. Germany has learned from what happened and has some of the strongest anti-hate laws around. I hope the US doesn't have to go that route. And - get over it! My dad was a POW in WWII, in Germany, but nearly everyone who had anything to do with Hitler is dead now. The stupid Neo-nazi morons are not just German.

    Replied on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 6:00am
  11. Every nation has an atrocity or two in its history. the human race has been on a learning curve since we stopped swinging in trees. the only way we can evolve further is to learn from past mistakes and to forgive and grow together

    Replied on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 10:29am
  12. Cant change the past.. but we can change the future!!! Thanks Germany!!!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 10:55pm
  13. almost proud to be German.. almost

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 10:56pm
  14. Ich bin deutscher Abstammung. Ich bin sehr stolz auf Deutschland. Die Geschichte ist nicht die beste, aber Blick auf die großen Verbesserungen, die gemacht wurden. Ich ignoriere meine amerikanischen Mitbürger, die zu dumm sind, um die Fortschritte zu erkennen sind. DANKE DEUTSCHLAND!

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 11:00pm
  15. Forgive but do not forget.

    Posted on Friday, February 7, 2014 at 11:00pm
  16. Thank you!!!

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 12:23am
  17. Thank you Germany!!!

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 12:37am
  18. wow

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 2:08am
  19. Blow a kiss to show your support to love whoever you want! Check out the Russian olympic mascot Mishkas eye opening journey around the world. #blowkissrussia #sotchi2014 #russia #lgbt #blowkiss http://youtu.be/DTQCvMnhPRc

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 2:54am
  20. Hahaha luuv it. In yo face with a can of mace Russia! Make u cry all over the place.

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 3:28am
  21. Boycott Russia and the Olympics!

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 3:35am
  22. Alright I confess, my words were not stated as effectively as I meant. What I was trying to say when I said “since when has Germany become an advocate for moral injustices”? I was trying to compare the Tea Party’s consuming use of Nazi propaganda tactics to promote their own intolerances under the guise of American patriotism. I apologize for any offensive remarks, and commend the Germans for being on the right side of history at this moment when America itself is culpable for equal atrocities and none of which can ever possibly compare to the events of one extreme socialist leader’s misguided attempts to dictate anyone’s right to exist.

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 5:36am
  23. solidarity is nice, but what we need is an underground railroad that will get GLBT Russians and Africans out of dangers and to safe countries who will take them in and adopt them as citizens.

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 6:15am
  24. I think Putin put a halt on Americans adopting Russians

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 6:22am
  25. Germany is now the shit :D Gellyfish Taylor what a complete 360 from about 80 year’s ago.

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 9:59am
  26. good to know :)

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 2:56pm
  27. Might want to think about the sayin’ that the ” Sins of the father shouldn’t be held against the sons( or daughters ) ! Ya Think..What about the American Genocide of the Native American Indians..like maybe in the sum of 12 million dead…cast not stones… ! A Veteran and An American..who hopes for Better from All People NOW !! Learn and do not forget, but DO BETTER OURSELVES !!

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 2:56pm
  28. Love this!!

    Posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 4:03pm