I would disagree here. I do think that the point in Mr. Fry's letter is larger than simply fingerpointing a specific community. I also think that Mr Fry does appreciate the difference of culture, education or political understanding between say English and Russian people. Does he kid himself into thinking that Mr. Cameron would actually promote a ban on the Russian Olympic Games in 2014? Does he want to insult Russian people for the sake of insulting them? I doubt it. But I find quite appropriate that he draws a parallel with the situation in 1936.
The very idea of education is, to me, tied to the possibility of putting things in perspective, voicing an opinion and disagreeing, even if it disturbs the general sense of comfort. Or precisely because it does so. It may appear as insane as Dr. B's frenzy in Stephen Sweig's the Royal Game. It is nevertheless as necessary. Mr. Fry's letter goes beyond supporting the LBGT community. It goes back to sheepishly accepting something which is obviously wrong. A lot of people preferred to look the other way in the 1930s because, amongst others, French and English governments repeatedly supported the idea that Hitler could be controlled. Because, somehow, his theories would not, could not be applied as such. Or because his strong grip on politics and economy was perceived as helping stage a recovery in a country on the verge of collapse. Silence was, is the real crime. Because Germany was a different country, because the 1929 crisis had hit Germany in a very harsh way, leading to the collapse of Weimar and the rise of the nazis. Because Jewish people were a minority and antisemitism rather widely spread.
Or simply because there has always been this disturbing admiration for the alpha bully.
Mr Fry's letter will certainly not change Russia, not will it alter the course or location of the 2014 Games. But not saying that something which goes against all the values of education and humanism is wrong would have been quite sad and quite cowardly. It was not necessary to be Jewish in 1936 to sense the wrong of the situation. It is not necessary to be gay in 2013 to do so again.
At the same time watching the next Jesse Owens in a skiing outfit win four medals in 2014 could be quite entertaining...
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