Thursday, April 26, 2007

International Intolerance

I will be the first person to say that I don't know a lot about places in Southeast Asia. It doesn't particularly interest me. I know of its culture and some of it is interesting, but it's not really my bag. I'm more of a Latin America and Africa person, but this is not a discussion for now.

I bring up Southeast Asia as Richard Gere was in the space recently, helping to educate people about HIV and safe sex. This is all fine, but Gere went too far kissing Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty in public. Now, Richard Gere is wanted in Jaipur for his actions.

According to the judge who issued the warrant for Gere's arrest:

Gere and actress Shilpa Shetty "transgressed all limits of vulgarity" during their appearance at an HIV/AIDS event
Additionally, the judge went on to say that Shetty should have resisted Gere's advances.

Now, I have two major problems with this situation. Gere, who according to the above-linked article, is familiar with India and should know of his customs. Regardless, to suggest that he go to jail for three months for something as trivial as kissing someone on the cheek. More importantly, I am offended that Ms. Shetty is being condemned by her community for being overtaken by Gere. She should not be held in blame for the indiscretions of Gere. This whole situation stinks for everyone, but it's to be expected in a place where a caste system still exists.