Friday, February 29, 2008

Leap Day of a Leap Year

I should have remembered that extraordinary things do happen, as they do, on such an odd day.

What has happened?

Kenya. Koffi Annan has been successful.

Kudos to him. And to all the others that have been taking part in the negotiations.
Kenya was in diplomatic intensive care. And the diplomacy has been really intensive. I am surprised at the maturity of Kenyans. Such a huge excuse for war and they do not slip into one?

Why?

Cant put my finger on why this has been so.
Uganda, well, the army would be in charge. Very fast. Within a week of the chaos. Rwanda? You heard President Kagame’s opinion. Tanzania? Odd neighbors there. They do not seem to react like the rest of us.

Maybe we have changed. Coup d'etats are no longer that fashionable. If it doesn’t happen in Kenya at such a provocation, will not happen in Tanzania, then seems the odds are that, well, they are out of favor.

The elders.

A funny idea that. So African that I wonder whose brain child it was. But it works. Or at least I expect that it has worked. I did not think that Annan could pull it off. He has had a lot of help, but he has pulled it off. Kudos to him.

Found out this morning that M7 was taking some of the credit. Personally, am doubtful. He showed very early on that he was partial. At least that is what I think. Any wonder that it was Kikwete and Mkapa of Tanzania at the final signing ceremony?

Now, I know who will be my nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize 2008. Either the Elders collectively, or Annan.

But we are not very sure that the peace will hold, though, knowing Kenyans, I think it should.
Kenya, out of intensive care onto the general ward. Careful, the general wards in Africa have a tendency to make the patient chronically ill.

GayUganda

Racism and Political Correctness

For multiple reasons, I cannot get online. And I am feeling low, too low to do anything worthwhile.

Correction.

I needed my fix, the internet, and I have been frustrated for the last 4 hours. That is how long I have been trying to read material online.

OK, so my internet provider is having problems. Sometimes it is hard to remember that I am only one of the 4% in Africa who have access to internet services. Makes me feel like I have not eaten breakfast when I fail to access my email!

There is this story about racist, apartheid South Africa that I have been following. Just a few choice quotes.

“This is the real South Africa
White and black are shocked to discover how little the country has changed.”

“The surly white students, dressed in their uniform of tight shorts and rugby shirts, gathered at the entrance of the once exclusively white hostel and cast hostile glances at the visitors.

Black students hastened their pace or crossed to the other side of the road as they passed the main entrance of Reitz residence, named after a premier of the Orange Free State, one of the early Boer Republics.”

“a day after a home-made video showing male Afrikaner students forcing black domestic workers to eat dirty meat and drink soup into which they had urinated”

“Students and staff on the campus said that the incident, although the most extreme in recent times, was far from unique”

Billyboy Ramahlele, director of diversity at the university, said: “This is the real South Africa. That is what has shocked people about what happened here. The tragedy is these white boys don't even think they have done anything wrong.”

Pretty horrible stuff, isn’t it? And by the way, that account is sanitized. Made to do physical work indeed! The BBC account was more 'graphically descriptive' but I cannot get the text.

One of the things which I do not want to blog about. The reason is that I find myself very uncomfortable when I accuse white people of being racist. Fact. In Uganda, in Africa, we are so ‘xenophobic’ that this kind of denigration of another person because he or she is different is very common.

Yes, maybe I am an apologist. That is would be the charge, maybe 27th Comrade will raise it immediately. But I do like to extend my logic to embrace all that is in the world, not just a few instances. For example

A brother of mine, on being asked what a girl who had finished university was going to do, says, derisively, ‘ She is going to get married. She is a woman, what else is there for her?’

In school, I had two friends, from different ethnic groups. One used to inform the other sarcastically, at least once a day, that in days gone by, his ethnic group could not sit down to eat with the others. I am afraid to say I used to laugh with the others. It was a ‘joke’ to us. But in retrospect, what a terrible joke. A terrible insult. (When the Church of Uganda said they could not sit at table with the American church, I knew the Anglican Communion was doomed. Cultural considerations.)

In Uganda at the moment, when one speaks about ‘westerners, northerners,’ etc, everyone understand what you are talking about. Our faction-ism is so deeply entrenched I bet some Ugandans reading this are wondering what the hell I am doing relating a deeply, disturbingly, and severely racial incident to these day to day issues.

I will invite you to remember what happened in Kenya. Is it any different when one rapes another man, or kills and burns children in a church, or forcibly circumcises a person- simply because that other person is different from you?

It is normal to demonise and look down on another as subhuman if you can identify a particular difference between the self and another person. Is racism any different from sexism? I bet you all African males have been guilty of sexism one time or the other. I have. It is not 'politically incorrect'. But racism is politically incorrect. So it may be the bigger sin.

And the reason for this self assessment?

Don’t have to look far. I am gay. I wonder why I am so different in the eyes of others when I inform them that I am a homosexual. Those who would want to spit in my face because it is politically correct in Uganda to demonise a homosexual, I think that is the same attitude to the white boy who urinates on food and forces an elderly black woman to eat the food and piss.

Anyway, what do you think?

GayUganda

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Death of a Child


Morning seems to be a little strange. I got out of bed a little late. Had reset the alarm- daybreak is a little later, but as beautiful as ever.

Got out with the sun crowning the horizon, and a brilliant golden glow of morning all around. Seemed to promise a day of sunshine. But that has changed suddenly. The sun is behind clouds, and it is cooler than it was, apparently. Kampala’s temperamental weather.

Looking out over the valley that is home, I listened to the bird chorus. And children going to school. Struck by the fact that I am not perfect, and so is no one, however much we are conditioned to expect it, the world seems not to move in a perfect cycle. Yet there is still enough beautiful about it to make it worth the while living.

I mentioned a kid who was shot to death by a classmate. In America. Our violence tends to be more of the cut or burn style. (Ever thought that there is too much of it in the world? Why is it so? News is full of deaths that are surreal, cruelty which is too casually meted out.)

Anyway, this was a 15 year old boy, shot to death by a 14 year old classmate, in class. What a scene. Happened that the 15 year old was gay, and out about it. He acted gay. Maybe he did have a crush on the 14 year old, and made the mistake of telling him. And lost his life.

Reminded me of my teens. Years, and years, and ages ago.

Cannot say that I was a late developer, but I was definitely not very social. Gay identifying at 15? That would have been a real luxury. I was in the depth of denial at that time. The hormones had kicked in, but they had shown me something that I did not want to see. Girls were simply unattractive. Ugly, in fact. No pull.

So as others guys went into full overdrive, hormone driven course, I ducked into myself. Did not understand what was happening to me. Easy, I had no reference points. I was in an environment where the ‘sex is bad’ idea was a ‘universal truth’. I embraced it, and ran away from my subconscious thoughts. I did run hard. To religion, though it seems the hormones did not seem to follow the logic of the brain. Pesky hormones.

I learnt to hide, and I learnt to hide very, very well. Fact is, if one of my classmates at that time is told that I am gay, the incredulity is palpable.

Why hide? Learning that I am gay, admitting it to myself, in an environment which exhuded homophobia with every breath, every pulse of life, it was an impossible thought. Imagine, in one of those conversations, group of guys, rhapsodising about the attributes of such and such a girl, and me thinking, but this dude does look good. Easier to run away from it, get the reputation of being ‘saved’ and thus piously not indulging in such conversation.

The 15 year old, lucky that he was in another country? Yes and no.

I do believe that if I had acted upon my instincts at that age, with my classmates, I may have risked something as violent as death. But even more, I feared the rumours, the ‘reputation’.

Age has just taught me the wisdom of my choices. In a way.

I have read of places where it is acceptable and safe to be gay. Even to be gay questioning, but in this world of ours, it seems as if they are few and far between. I would have imagined that in the US, there would be relative safety. Not so. Yet they have made lots of progress in gay rights.

It has been a long journey, and it is still ongoing. At least it is not as violently oppressive in Uganda as it is in Jamaica, where homophobia is a very open policy. And at least I am not as young and clueless as I used to be. Got myself a man, living and loving him, and safe, in a way. Life is life, perfection is only in dreams, and though life is a dream, it is not perfect one.

So, what will happen to the 14 year old boy who was humiliated by a ‘homosexual’ advance? Prison for killing another child. A life violently derailed as much as it extinguished another one with the pull of a trigger.

Still overcast, the skies. And the sun is hidden. But I am sure it will shine through it all. It will be a bright day, and I am still alive. And yes, I have been blessed with love, and acknowledging it, even if the circumstances are not perfect.

GayUganda

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Hard Life

Late morning for me.

Was early to bed, or should have been. A heavy workday, plus a meeting where I listened without talking. Silence is sometimes instructive. But I decided to hike back on my way from the meeting.

Kampala is beautiful. At least, that is what I believe, so I state. One of its assets is an ambient, very comfortable temperature range and mercurially changeable weather. It was bright and sunny when I was walking home. Not too hot, just enough to raise a sweat, and soothe the working muscles, and make me appreciate the scenery. A few days since it rained. The roads have a coat of fine red dust which vaporises whenever a foot lands, or a vehicle passes. But rare is it for me to walk with my eyes on the road. I look at the sky, clear blue and cloudless it was. I look at the green of the hills, the big monuments to man (why is it that the biggest, most prominent buildings man makes are tributes to gods?) and the birds wheeling in the air.

Minutes after I was home, was hearing on an fm station that it was raining in downtown Kampala, and a squall, rainstorm had greyed the blue sky out. Yet that was also transient. There are parts of the city which must have got a wash from the rain goddess. But not my place, not home. Now, this morning, the weather is calm and cool. Both cool as in temperate, and cool as in beautiful. Not too cold, the breeze on the skin is like a caress, the waving trees in synch with the beating of the heart.

Ever listened to a bird sing? I live in a garden. And I am just starting to appreciate that many times my ears are closed.

Pure liquid notes. Repeated again and again. Poignant, sunny, sad- all that is in bird songs. Not in the chorus of the morning, that is a cheery thing. But listen to one bird split the air with a call. Listen to one touch a mate with a croon.

Of the world, Kenya seemed to have settled down. Temporarily. At least for a while. Something which amazes me, the army has not taken the chance to intervene, of course in the interest of ‘public good’. In Uganda, the army is so much part of civil life that the difference is unnoticeable. Kagame, president of Rwanda, suggested that the Kenyan army should intervene. Reflected the feelings of many concerned Ugandans. Both countries have an awe of the military. I am happy that our cousins to the east are not so enamoured. The politicians may be bloated, gloating frogs squabbling over the flies of the nation's innards, but words are much cheaper than lives taken in war. I pity Annan. The Kenyan politicians hate each other too much.

Prayers for Kenya are still necessary.

I am not sure whether the peace deal with the ‘Lord’s Resistance Army’ (LRA) is going to hold anytime soon.

In the meeting yesterday, I was silent, listening to the coping methods of one hard hit group of individuals. People living with HIV.

It is something that people have to survive. And I listened and learnt of the compromises that people make. Life itself, coping with life, with love, with family, friends, with getting onto medicines. The tiny, infinitesimal decisions which I do not have to think about, which have to be ironed out, on a daily, hourly basis. There were some who were affirming the fact that they were positive. It was interesting to compare the fact that the stigma of HIV causes those who are positive to be in a kind of closet. And to find the same kind of bitter sweet relief that I find in affirming my gay sexuality.

Its true, and amazing. Life is a challenge. When I look at the challenges I face, sometimes I forget that others have some more challenging problems.

Now, my love has decided that he has to choose my clothes for me. He says my sense of cleanness shames him. That I choose from the wash-basket, and from the un-ironed if he is not around to make sure that I don’t.

So, he lays them out for me. Problem, my sense of fashion and his do not always coincide.

But I would rather face that problem, than some that I might if I was someone else!

Enjoy your day, it is beautiful, and wonderful as is. Take some time to appreciate it.

GayUganda

Monday, February 25, 2008

Of love and Deception

Beautiful morning out. Very beautiful.

Sometimes I kind of think that it strikes me too much. The beauty of where I live. But can life ever be too much? Don’t think so.

Sunny weather, a clear sky, golden sunlight on green leaves. A calm and stillness all around. Can hear a goat or two, and some birds, doves cooing in the distance. Lovely sounds.

Came across this story at antipop’s blog.

Has a friend, relative, who had a lover. Caught the lover cheating 4 times, before she decided to dump him. He didn’t want to let go. 5th time caught him, well, with a man!

Must say I laughed my head off when I read it. I mean, this is real life for me and most other kuchus. To others it is a scandal that can blow them away, to me it is life.

I did wade into the discussion, and posted a link to the Israel story. Told her that she had been lucky.

How can I say this gently, honestly? We live in a closet. A closet of lies. Lies that we have to live on a daily, hourly, minute by minute basis. Yes, all humans do live in closets, but the kuchu closet is a terrible thing.

Don’t want your pity. Just a fact of life.

So, we have to lie, to those closest to us, about our very selves. No wonder they think that they have never known us when they find out. Its true, they don’t really know us.

But it is also true that it is not voluntary, to live in the closet. It is simply a matter of survival. A do or die fact of life.

Had a lover who was pressured into getting married. Wanted me to share his marital bed. I declined, don’t want that kind of heartbreak. And it was getting close.

My lover would kill me if he found me with another guy. But with a woman, he shrugs it off. He knows the pressure I am under to produce an heir. Pity that I am not so inclined!

Lives of double, triple deception, disjointed, dysfunctional. Part of why I am proud gay. Because not to be proud of what I am is to sink and drown in the pit of self loathing.

So, I have to have the option of telling the necessary lies. Every kuchu has to have it. A terrible life to lead, but that is life.

I salute you, all those who have bitten the bullet and have jumped out of that trap. Dont forget how bad it is for others. And dont judge them too harshly. It is a matter of survival. Necessary Lies.

GayUganda

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Poem on the Mind

Woke late, a poem on my mind.

Sunday morning. That means late out of bed, and even when it is as beautiful as it is today, still I was late out of bed. Spent some days not getting up with the sun. Bad habit- that of missing the dawn. Some of the best thinking seems to come with the change of night to light.

But Sunday morning has to be in bed. Obvious reasons.

Yes, it was a late night. No, I did not attend the UB40 show.

Was at Mateo’s a good part of the evening.

Mateo’s. It is a favourite for quite a number of people. The football, the crowd, the noise and music, the packing. And the feeling of freedom under the expanse of sky. I think part of the reason the city crowd likes it is the fact that it is not too open. Yes, the bar spills over to the sidewalk and beyond, but then it is like the whole street becomes an extension of the place. With the tall buildings a ‘wall’, confining the view in the distance. I was struck by the way that the deep brown bulk of ‘UCB’ building (Cham Towers) seems to fade into the black blue of the sky. Maybe it is my eyes, but it was a striking sight- the sense of a mammoth building blending into the dark of the night. A bulk barely noticed, more noticed than visible.

The papers?

They are there usual depressive selves.

Why do the stories of the rampart corruption depress? Because they are reported day to day, and everyone knows that nothing will be done about them. Even the most blantant, barefaced, stealing. As long as it is the government that loses.

Check out these headlines in the Monitor. Govt paid Asians twice for properties; Finance pins hopes on police in pay scam. The New Vision is …

One good thing, the rebels in the north have signed a permanent cease fire. What is not so good about it- it is apparently the fourth time that they have signed such a deal. We will wait and see.

Yesterday, at Mateos, was looking at a kid, boy about 10-11 years, lugging round a bathroom scale. He puts it on the ground and whosoever wants steps on it. Payment 100 Uganda shillings per person. About 0.05 USD. (Sorry, I don’t know your ‘cent’ system. Only metric…)

Not the usual street urchin, dirty clothes and all. The clothes were a bit smart, casual like. Shoes on his feet, school socks. Most likely a school going kid who has to work for the family’s needs. Time check, inching to midnight, Saturday.

Yeah, life is rough. I was struck by the thought that my pity is useless to the boy. Yes, some of the guys and girls were definitely cheating him. Not giving him the money, and he was having to beg for it. The whole thing is thinly disguised begging. But remember that the kid is, at that particular moment, surviving. Doing what he can for his family, aiding in the survival game that is so central to life’s continuance. Thinking of that, I found myself saluting him. I did work as a child, true. But I am proud to remember that I did contribute to the survival of my family.

Yes of course, the street urchin’s chances and risks are not optimal. I would like to improve them. I cannot. But I cannot just cripple him with my pity. The strength which he has found to do something to survive is laudable. And instead of pity, I should be happy for him.

Not condescending happy. But acknowledge the fact that, he is a child, in worse conditions than I am, and surviving.

So, the day being so beautiful, I will enjoy it.

Be well, and smile, it is a beautiful day out.

GayUganda

Saturday, February 23, 2008

African Homosexualities


Came into the city early today.

A bright morning. The sun is in an almost cloudless sky. Deceptively so, there is a haze.

Coming from home, wanted to dodge the jams on the main roads into the city. Passed the road past Namirembe Cathedral. I did like what I saw.

The city, Kampala downtown, is in a hollow between hills. A huge hollow. Namirembe hill is one of the ‘edges’. And this morning, passing on that road, the view was beautiful. Sun clear to the east, a ball of light. In the hollow, a mist, a haze that covered all the details of the city, except for the taller buildings. Jutting out of the mist and haze like some strange futuristic city.

Don’t know why I hesitate to call it smog, but it may well be.

Nevertheless, it looked beautiful.

Now, the haze is still there. But the sun is out, a summer bright. Interesting when I hear on the fm radios that we are going to have lows of 20C and highs of 25. We have an equable weather pattern that we fail to notice. It is so, comfortable. Or ambient? This is the kind of weather which (ahem) needs no clothes. They are superfluous. And cover all the beautiful bits.

Yesterday, I was forced not to be on the net. Seems as if the addiction runs deep. I felt bored and in need of a fix.

Settled for a file that I had downloaded sometime ago. It is about African Homosexualities.

Bet you have had the stories that we are ‘noble savages’. Homosexuality was a disease that spread with the coming of the ‘colonialists’.

Bullshit.

It is very interesting how, in the interest of political correctness we are very willing to swallow barefaced lies uncritically. I must admit that I know very little about sexuality. But I know that it is pure idiocy to claim that a people did not have a particular kind of sexuality, that it was a perversion that came from another culture.

I know, Museveni fell in the trap, saying in 1999 that there were no homosexuals in Uganda. So did the President of Iran, very memorably in 2007.

Idiocy, in the name of political correctness.

Can you imagine Benedict XVI justifying the persecution of Galileo and the burning at the stake of Copernicus? Because they said that the earth moves around the sun, and not vice versa. Benedict is the current pope, by the way.

Anyway, so, there we were, noble savages, untainted by homosexuality, until the ‘colonialists’ stepped in.

Not so, says this paper, and it goes on to exhaustively compile evidence of the different African sexualities, as the anthropologists reported them. It is weird reading.

And refreshing.

There is something demeaning in being told that one is a pervert, and that one learnt this perversion from ‘foreigners’. I believed it, though I had not slept with any foreigner. I thought it is because I had read about it in ‘foreign’ novels! Sigh, I was once young and foolish.

My lover was luckier. He just thought that he was the only living man who was attracted to other men. Took him a long time, and visiting the city to realise, well, that there are others like him!

I will put a link to the paper here.

But there is another hilarious story, in Uganda. From one of our ‘elite’ schools. Sorry for those of you who attended King’s College, Buddo, but this Buddo Scandal was too hilarious for me to leave out of my blog.

Imagine, this scandal involves (of course) some foreigners, the Royal Family of Buganda (ahem), and other notables. Remember the Uganda Martyrs. Those who had refused the demigod Kabaka Mwanga access to their bodies, because they had become Christians. Delicious scandal! As to the authenticity, you be the judge.

If you can access the reference is here

Journal of African History, 47 (2006), pp. 93–113. f 2005 Cambridge University Press

‘SUBTERRANEAN EVIL’ AND ‘TUMULTUOUS RIOT’ IN BUGANDA: AUTHORITY AND
ALIENATION AT KING’ S COLLEGE, BUDO, 1942
BY CAROL SUMMERS
University of Richmond

If you cannot access it, why- just send me an email and I will be glad to share!

Good reading to you all, if you dare read those references. Please don’t tell Pastor Ssempa, he may sneak in here and read them!

GayUganda

Friday, February 22, 2008

Time

Time inching to midnight. Less an hour or so.

Blogging of course, else I would be preparing to get into bed. He is cooking, I am in the sitting room. Nice and cozy, am in my birthday suit. Very comfortable.

Music on the radio, the purr of the fridge in the background. Outside it is a full moon. Brilliant. There is some haze, but not too much. Wish I could sit out, but that wont do.

I intended, did write a piece about the Church of Uganda, and the eminent break up of the Anglican Communion. Wanted to post it, but am not able to.

Controversy. No, I am not shrinking from it. Not one of the things that I will not discuss.

--

Now, he is near me.

This thing called love, sometimes it amazes me. A chemistry that is undeniable.

--

Had forgotten to update on the Senegal arrests.

The guys were released, and then there were riots in Dakar, Senegal

Garbage bins were set on fire as organizers in front of the Grande Mosquee de Dakar demanded that all homosexuals in the country be rounded up and jailed.
When police ordered the protestors to disband some in the crowd began throwing stones. At that point police fired teargas into the crowd.

"We want homosexuals to be wiped out in this country," said organizer Cheikh Tidiane Ndiaye. "We will continue to fight for Senegal to become a Muslim nation."

Protesters chanted "Allahu Akbar [God is Greatest]".

And note the comments below.

“One of the defense lawyers in the case said that the international attention on the case may have backfired.

Attorney Ralph Monye said that the case might have faded away because gay sex offences were seldom prosecuted.”

A common problem. When we come out and say, treat us like human beings, we do risk a backlash. Increased homophobia. Giving our opponents political strength. But if we don’t, well, we continue being treated as less than human.

Of the Church of Uganda, well, first they will not attend the Anglican Lambeth conference;

14 Feb 08 The Archbishop of Uganda said today that bishops from the country will not be attending the Lambeth conference later this year.

Now they are threatening to break up the Anglican union

“"Anglicanism is just an identity and if they abuse it, we shall secede. We shall remain Christians, but not in the same Anglican Communion," Church of Uganda spokesman Aron Mwesigye said.

If you don’t know what abuse of Anglicanism is, it is the inclusion of people like me.

Well, that will also mean that we can invite the Episcopal Church in America to set up a branch in Uganda? I guess so. Where will gay Ugandans who are Anglicans be worshiping from?

GayUganda

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A quiet morning in Kampala.


Quiet. But I am far from the hustle bustle of the city. Am in the garden valley that I call home. And the sun is out, though softly, the clouds are low, though not heavy. And it is a quiet morning. So quiet that I can hear the song of birds now and again.

Music in the background, one of the FM stations. A vendor crying his wares. That is all the noise assaulting my ears. Apart from the sussulation of tree leaves in the wind.

Of the news, the red rug reports that Inzikuru, Uganda’s champion runner is divorcing her husband. Haven’t read the full story, (you guessed,) because it is in the red rug. I don’t know whether to trust or not.

Love is a beautiful thing. Its all roses and blooms, but roses have thorns. I try to remind myself of that all the time. I trust my partner, I do! But when the green dragon rears its head, well, sometimes I do show that I am jealousy. Like yesterday, and everyday!

Inzikuru. From the papers, I think she put on hold her running career last year to give birth. But now, seems the hubby was not very faithful. Typical African male. Correction. Typical male of the species.

Yesterday was talking to a friend. Gay friend. Told him that people expect me to play match maker. People I do not know send me texts asking that I match them up with someone else. I don’t see the logic. I am in a relationship, I don’t know so many who are not, and my blessing… Let me admit that it puts me in an uncomfortable position. How did I make it work? That is the question. How do I make it work?

I have not sat down to analyze it.

I love him. He loves me. Somehow, we have solved the problems that we have had in the last few years. And we have stuck together. Doesn’t mean that it is till death us do part. Yes, that is what he thinks. No, I am more realistic.

My friend told me to step back and think. People know me, know us, and they admire the fact that we are sort of ‘out’ and about as a couple. So, when they do want a relationship, they think I may know the magic behind it.

In the government, the Head of the executive has decided that the judiciary has learnt its lesson. After more than a year (could be two or three), he has decided that there are Ugandans to feel the vacancies on the judicial courts. Imperial presidency. Constitutionally they are not supposed to listen to him. So, he finds a way of making them listen.

Of the madman Kony in the north? Cannot believe it that the guy may go scot-free, after the misery of 20 years. But yes he might. Though the International Criminal Court may not agree.

It is a really beautiful morning. Inching to midday of now.

I have been following the American reality show of an election. Interesting reading. Will Hillary tear apart the Democratic party to secure the nomination? Die trying, the phrase is. Fascinating.

Reminds me of a ruling party MP in Uganda who was threatening to kill one of the Electoral Commission secretaries in Kalangala because she was not ‘following ruling party orders’. A little matter of an election which was rigged, annulled, and has to be redone.

I understand the fervent desire for change. When there is so much bare faced corruption which is winked on officially, reported and one hears of never ending ‘commissions of inquiry’, one wants change. Especially the youth. Enter a messiah who promises change. Obamania. But the ‘No Change’ slogan and forces are considerable and have to be reckoned with.

Change, evolutionary change, is a matter of necessity. How it happens is a problem. It is very interesting to draw a parallel between what is happening in the US, and in Uganda.

One thing I don’t want to change, the beauty of this garden city I call home. I want it to be as green, as mild, as wonderful and fascinating to my eyes as it is now.

But ‘every fair from fair sometimes declines’.

Like Obama, I will leave you believing that is original…

GayUganda

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

What makes a day beautiful?

I think it is my thoughts.

See, I didnt want to get out of bed this morning. For the last couple of days to be precise. No joy in the daybreak, no link to the birds singing. No magic where it should be.

So it was today, but I did get up. Late.

The day ugly outside, I sought solace in the computer. Cyber world.
Went on a long journey. Googled, surfed, shivered in cyber world.
Little joy in it. The news was there, interesting, but the interest was transitory.

Then it started raining.

It rained much of the morning. A constant drizzle and wetness which took hold of the day.

Looking out, my spirits lifted.

There is something in the rain that acts other than to dampen them. When it rains, especially when I am in Kampala, I love it. Truth to say, I have loved it for long, even when I was a child in boarding schools, in the wide 'dormitories' which were only shelters from the rain, but not the sun's heat, nor the wind from the lake.

I looked out over the valley I call home, looking at the trees wreathed in the spirits of mists. My spirits soared.

I decided to go for a long walk. A real long walk.

Took me past Makerere, the university. By then it was no longer drizzling, though the day was overcast. And warm. A warm wet hugging closeness that was more conforting than oppressive.
Through Wandegeya. A detour through the Katanga slum.

Ok, I admit, I like watching people when I walk. And to look at people, one just needs to walk the streets of Kampala. I looked. I ogled. I watched.

And I noted the run off waters, the rain scrubbed tarmac, the hustle and bustle. Invigorating, in a way that is wholy, deeply Ugandan. I have not traveled that much to have lost my awe of home. But it is something that makes my heart sing. With pleasure.

Even the Katanga slum does not pull me down. Though I am thankful I do not live there.

I was looking for beauty, and I decided that the road past the golf course would do.
I cannot realy, truthfully describe my feelings as I walked that couple of miles or so. Kitante Road, or Yusuf Lule Road. Dont know where the one stops and the other starts.
Its tarmac, dual carriage, on one side of Nakasero Hill.

Green, as green can be. A tamed beauty, though the wildness seems to want to escape the taming. The grass is a very deep green, going wild wherever it can. The trees are whole and tall and broad. Some are in the golf course proper, where the grass looks too tamed. But most are on the sides. Unencumbered by too much trimming.

I walked that length slowly, carefully. Thankful that there were so few people around. Just taking in the cool, humid air, and appreciating the expanse of green, and hills, and blue above, and, yes. The sun by then was out. And the clouds had vacated the skies.

Took me some time. Sometimes stopping to pen something down. Always looking up and down and across, feeling the weight of weeks disapear.

Didnt know that I was that stressed. The body knew it, and it reacted. And when I walked into downtown, I felt that my head was clear, like I had just taken a breath, a very long and cool breath of fresh air.

A late lunch, and well, here I am. Fresh in the evening like I should have been in the morning.
During my walk, a curious thing happened.

My mom phoned me, tells me to send my lover home- where mom lives, to collect some avocado.

I am as out as I dare be, without telling mom anything. She has never asked me about him, though she knows I usually go visit her with him in tow. And most of the family knows (though it seems they are 'keeping the bad news from mummy')
Anyway, I grew up in Kampala, and of course was introduced very early to the joys of avocado in season and out of season. This is a garden city, and avocado is a weed that grows where and when it wants. A tree sized weed, that is. And we harvest it. By the bushel.
It does not awe me, not at all.

But my lover, he loves it. A lot. And he has always been telling mom to send him some fruits when it is in season. Beats buying it from the market.

Well, she rung, and she was asking for him. Must say that small fact makes me happy. The fact that she remembered, and that, well, she accepts him.

Oh gosh, on such small things is our happiness anchored. The love of family, its acceptance, and loving us, not as they would want us to be, but as we are.


GayUganda

Monday, February 18, 2008

Gay Africans and Arabs come out online

Aye, aye, fame at last!

Or at least I think it is fame. But then, what is fame? I am famous, because I am famous, eh?

This is the Yahoo article that an anonymous commentor was directing to. Reuters and Yahoo. Fame indeed.

Choice quotes, from yours truly...

"Oh yes, I do love the Internet, and I guess it is a tool that has made us gay Ugandans and Africans get out of our villages and realize that the parish priest's homophobia is not universal opinion. Surprise, surprise!"

Beautiful day, enjoy the week!

gug

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I live in a Garden


I live in a garden;

a wonderful, beautiful garden city;

Kampala
the beautiful-


I live in a jungle,

a wild green florid jungle

with trees green and leaves large

grass underneath, lush, green, dewy;



I live in an orchard-

avocado, mango, pawpaw, pear,

trees waving around me,

birds in the guava behind,



I live, a king in a palace-


Kampala
the Beautiful;

jungle garden city,


lush with leaves, green and dew


everywhere a tree, reminder of


green jungle past


that the concrete jungle of man


barely keeps in check;



I live in a garden

the valleys, hills, blue skies, waving trees

grassy soils and dusty roads

of Kampala the Beautiful.



©GayUganda 12 Feb 2008

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Obamania

Confession.

I have been hit with a strange new illness. Obamania.

It spread out, this time from America, crept across the Antlantic, and has suddenly struck me. I should have been more vigilant.

My mate, (he supports Clinton), saw it very early on. He accused me of it some 3-4 weeks ago? I denied. Impossible.

I am a rational thinking human being, who is not struck by such irrational fancies.

But I am spending so much time looking at news of the American primaries, and, I confess, looking up Barack Obama, that I must shamefully admit it.

I am star struck. Obamania

But, me, being me, I have to rationalise. This is why I am suffering this intriguing, uncharacteristic, un-understood, hopeless, much unliked, un-recommended ailment. Not in my words. But those of a 10 year old girl more than a couple of continents away.

Mrs. Obama told a story about meeting a 10-year-old girl at a rally in South Carolina.

"I need to tell you something," the girl told Mrs. Obama.

"Okay," Mrs. Obama replied.

"Do you realize that after your husband becomes the next president of the United States it will be historical?" the girl informed her.

"Yeah," Mrs. Obama told her. "But what does that mean to you?"

"It means I can imagine anything for myself," the girl said, breaking down in tears.

---

Any comment I add would be superflous.

GayUganda

Kampala Beauties


I must confess today I was feeling lazy. Not want to get out of bed.

But there was the added incentive. His warm body besides me.

Nothing like waking up in the morning, feeling new, and happy with love. I held him in my hands, loving him.

It wasn’t enough.

Slid onto him, hugging, skin to skin, feeling the thud of our twin hearts. Together.

I marvelled at how come it is that I still love him, love him so much, this long since we first met. Its like I would pull him close into my very skin, wrap my heart or let it kiss his, side by side as they pulse this life.

But the morning was also beckoning.

Fresh, a new morning.

Stood in the open doorway, letting the freshness displace the night air in the house. Moved out of the house.

The usual perch on the veranda from where I watch the birds was suddenly not enough. Inspiration struck.

I picked up my pen, notebook, and walked out. Been walking the roads, like a mad man, (my friend would say), stopping now and then to write down something. From the feel of the sun on my skin, to the diesel and petrol fumes poisoning the morning air.

Came back feeling up to tackling the world out there.

I respect Americans, but why do their children attack others in class? With guns.

Am a little puzzled. Some cases I can understand. Love spurned, maybe. One 14 year old killed a 15 year old because he was gay? In a way I can understand that. My sexuality does scare people so. And of this one, the one in Illinois who just walks into his class and opens fire? No motive. Least that is what they say. Or he may be off his medicines.

It is a crazy world.

Nothing made me as angry and self righteous as this. Read it yesterday, and I thought, this is a must blog issue. With no comment!

Unused hospital razed in Nigeria A fully-equipped hospital the government refused to open for two years burns to the ground in northern Nigeria.

I can imagine, a fully equipped hospital, un-opened for two years, because the President had not come to visit! Talk about Imperial Presidencies.

And in Uganda, Kampala. Another riot, this time in Makerere University. And, of course, Ugandans have been a bit slow in setting up their own Barack Obama support group. Sigh. It is done now.

(Maybe the fact that Bush is visiting Africa and not visiting Uganda has something to do with it!)

While walking this morning, looking at all the early risers, intent on getting to work, I was a bit saddened.

It is true that I have always had the same attitude. Too focused on getting to work to really look and see the beauty of what is around me. But that does not excuse blindness to beauty.

Wherever you are, remember that you do not need to look too far to see beauty in your world. It is there, unappreciated, till you open your eyes and touch it with your heart.

Have a great day.

GayUganda

Friday, February 15, 2008

Post Valentine


A beautiful day out. Really beautiful.

Maybe it is the fact that I am in a great mood. Beauty is a perception, and sometimes when it is this beautiful, and my mind’s clouds are threatening, I barely notice it.

Sun is out. Past midday, but not so bright. Not very hot. A breeze from the lake, some clouds in the sky, and the fitful stirring of the trees.

I am alive.

Yes, something to celebrate. Being alive in this super mad world of ours.

Woke up early, and felt the pull of the morning. It was so beautiful, the morning, I regretted why I had not come out much earlier.

Got my book on poetry, and wanted to read. Couldn’t read much. Wanted to look at the morning. Wonder why it was so pulling.

Nothing new in it. As usual, but the freshness of the air, the heavy hanging cloud which seemed to be holding in the heat. It gave a false promise of a day of rain. False, because deep in my bones, I felt that the sun would be out.

I live in a valley. Felt pulled, got out of the house, took a walk to the main road nearby. Too early for traffic. A few kids and workers off to work and school.

Calm, cool, quiet. I was at peace.

Felt so calm, I wanted to sit down by the road side and read my poetry, taking in the cool of the morning. Desisted. I am a weirdo, I know, but there are things which would brand me possessed.

Valentine’s day? It was beautiful.

The day was the day. The night, well, we went out. Sat outside Speke hotel. Dinner, but what was most striking was the beauty of the place. Under the trees, the night warm, the sky clear, cloudless, stars out, dimmed by the electric lights.

I sat with my lover at the table and drank in that beauty. I was really happy.

Don’t mind that some may have noticed my hand holding his, or touching him once in the while. It was a beautiful day, it was Valentine, and I was with the man I love.

Talk of being charmed.

News from Saudi Arabia. A woman who is going to be killed because she is a witch. Life is odd. You know, that is one of the worst accusations that can happen in the Ugandan country side. There is a law on the books against witchcraft in Uganda. So help me a god I do not know, but that law is there.

But few are prosecuted.

Worse. If there is such an accusation, the people take it into their hands. Out in the countryside. They kill the person. Mob justice.

(Yet the people go to some witchdoctors who are recognised. Don’t know why some are bad, and others are revered!)

In Saudi Arabia, it seems they are more sophisticated. The law is not there, the crime is non-existent, but an illiterate woman can be forced to sign a confession, and … It is a sick world, in more ways than one!

Talking of matters of faith, the Church of Uganda, Anglican, has confirmed that they will not attend Lambeth. I love Ugandans.

We are usually the ones in the lead. So, we Africans, (me exclusive), are breaking the Anglican communion over the homosexuality issues.

Don’t know what to feel about that.

Once upon a time, I was in the Church of Uganda. That is before I realised that I cannot inherit a faith with my genes. It has been a long journey. From there, through sometimes stronger belief, confusion, despair, and letting go.

Now, I no longer believe. Don’t know how I really feel about the Church of Uganda’s action. These guys (and they are guys, with only a smattering of girls) really believe that we are the worst kind of people. They do not talk to us. We are very inhuman beings, us kuchus. According to them!

Well, good luck to the Anglican Communion. It is a historical thing to happen. Last time such a thing happened was when? I know of the reformation, Martin Luther etc. So, is this a new split in the church?

Err, the land wars. Are they going to be cold or hot? They continue.

Ever heard of the words An Imperial Presidency? France comes to mind, Nixon’s days in America? Museveni in Uganda? I am no business major, but I do realise that the gentleman is giving a very good practical lesson in how centralisation of authority can cripple a country’s decision making. Taking the rubbish off the streets of the capital has to be signed off at the Presidential Palace!

Now, I have really digressed.

It is a beautiful day. Enjoy it.

GayUganda

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Day of Degrees


It is a day of degrees. Sun is out, but clouds hide it. Grey, yet light enough for me to appreciate that it is a beautiful day. It feels deceptively cold, bet the temperatures are in the mid twenties. It is the grey of the day and the lack of sun which seems to be cold. And when the wind stirs, fitfully as it is doing, it brings a whisper, a remembrance of coolness to the skin. For a second or so, then it goes. I think it is more humid than usual.

Ambient weather. An ambient temperature. Bet I could walk around naked very comfortably. Not too hot, not too cold, just fittingly, pleasantly, ambient temperature.

Valentine’s day today.

Unromantic me, I thought a good workout in the morning would do. You know, skin to skin, breathing him in, holding him like he is a part of me. It was appreciated.

But my more romantic half wants the day marked in a more special way. So, I will have to think about it!

My bones expect that the sun will be out in the afternoon, and that it will be a very beautiful sunny day.

No more rioting in Kiseka market. That was controlled, by the military police. Ugandans out there, ever thought that the country is militarising by degrees? Truth to tell, I was more comfortable with the un-inspiring khaki police and their AK-47s, than the guys in red and blue berets and camouflage uniform.

But they did control the riot. For now. Lets wait for the next one.

The MPs, parliament this time, are happy that they are big men. And women. So they are going ahead to claim privileges.

Power to them, I say! Till they are dressed down, of course.

The President says he is going nowhere. Life presidency? Will have to amend the constitution when he tops 75, if I remember well. A referendum in the future I think.

The ‘cold’ land wars are continuing. Depends on which papers opinion you take.

Same old, same old, same old things, huh.

But not to appreciate that it is a new day, a beautiful new day, is positively criminal. The sun is now out, like a shy girl’s smile golden, turning the green of the leaves to a green gold. And I am a alive, and appreciating life as is.

So many are the times that we forget the beauty of the day as is, because we are too involved in trying to make it better. Trying to make it in our sense of a heaven on earth. That is why love is so beautiful. One finds all the beauty of the world in the love of one human being.

Be in love, enjoy the world.

Happy Valentine’s Day

GayUganda

The Closet

I have reason to be thinking of the closet recently. The closet, that covered, deceptive existence which gay humans have to adopt, to survive.

In a way, there are more closets than just the gay closets. We humans tend to live in closets of existence, with a public persona, and a very private, intensely private persona that is let through only when we are ready. And never, sometimes.

A friend’s closet has caved in.

A kuchu friend. He has been outed.

And as his world collapses round him, I am drawn into the maelstrom. And, it is painful to watch as he denies it, desperately, trying to shore up the collapsing walls with his bare hands and fingers.

The closet.

A world of self knowledge, and denial.

Denying what we are. Denying it so forcefully, and so habitually that we also tend to forget that that is what we are. Senator Craig. I am not gay. Poor guy, when the closet collapses, and he is outed to the world, but he cannot, dare not, be gay.

A world of lies. Lying to those we love best, for fear that they will not be able to accept what we are.

A friend told me that he was once at table at home, and one of his brothers said he would kill a relative, do mortal harm to a relative who is homosexual. Another one challenged the talker, what if it was a child of his? The child would deserve death, he affirmed.

And a brother of his was at that dinner table, and he was gay, and he could not dare say that he was.

A world of several false existences, several false identities.

When I was discovering myself, that is how I lived. At home, I was the dutiful son, at work the dutiful worker, then there would be the times that I would don another identity and go out cruising. Looking for sex and love and connection, with people who were the same, living in closets that they exited once in a while.

A terrible existence. I could not, would not allow the different identities to mix. If I met a person who I knew in the ‘gay persona’, we would pass each other like strangers. I even had a different name, like everyone else.

Yet I had accepted that as normal, as natural. Denying myself the freedom that is a right to a human being.

It is wonderful to be out, to know that I am, and accept what I am. I have not been more thankful of that than in the last few days. Watching my friend try, with all his might, to stop the collapse of his world of lies. I sympathise, but I can only watch the struggles, and advise. When the closet collapses, voluntarily or not, just pray that you are ready for the storm. For it is a cyclone, hurricane.

Yet beyond that storm is a liberty and acceptance of one’s self that may be well worth the collapse of that closet. If the storm does not snuff out life, the walls crush our existence.

The closet for a kuchu in Uganda. A very necessary evil.

GayUganda

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Stolen Children, Stolen Childhoods, Stolen.


I have been following the headlines of this story for some time. (Without reading articles. That’s how to surf news.)

A genocidal policy that was followed against a race. And it continued for years, till the 1960s. Stealing children from their mothers and fathers. Forcing them to forget their past, and upbringing. A Nazi like policy which lasted for almost 80 years and more.

It is very hard to say sorry.

But for a nation it is always harder. Maybe the current Australian government should be commended for biting down on that bitter pill.

What do I know about the Aborigines of Australia? Precious little. Interesting to me that they are also called black. Don’t think that their skin is like mine, but cant fail to wonder. This is a sad article.

But I have promised myself not to duck the fact that we can be cruel. Very cruel.

We as in human beings.

‘Edwards, 61, still remembers the taste of blackberries in her mouth the day she was "stolen" at the age of four from her mother's arms by a welfare officer.’

‘Tens of thousands of aboriginal children were forcibly taken from their parents under a government policy of assimilation from the 1880s to the 1960s. Those children are called the "Stolen Generations" or "People of the Bleaching".’

‘Edwards only discovered she was aboriginal decades later, when she received a telephone call from the sister she never knew she had, and was finally reunited with her mother in 1980.’

‘"It was believed that the aboriginal people would die out," said the author, the late Sir Ronald Wilson, in his report.’

‘The report titled "Bringing them Home" chronicled a litany of physical and sexual abuse of aboriginal children, many of whom were raised on outback government and church missions.

Interviews with elderly Aborigines tell of babies being snatched from their mother's breast by police on horseback and others being driven off, thinking they are going to a circus.

Black-and-white archival film released with the report shows rows of aboriginal children with empty faces, dressed in striped uniforms reminiscent of Nazi concentration camps, and others bent over sweeping the dirt with their bare hands.

Some aboriginal girls were put in white dresses and lined up to be inspected like virtual slaves by white foster parents looking for a healthy, strong child for domestic work.

Aboriginal boys were sent to outback cattle farms to work as free labor. Some boys were stripped naked and tied to a post in a yard and flogged for misdemeanors, said the report.

Aboriginal children were told to drink milk by some foster parents, so that they would eventually have whiter skin.

Edwards, who spent 11 years in a girls' training home in a small country town, said the Stolen Generations children were forced to forget their aboriginal past.

She recalls an aboriginal girl, whom she thought was mad, hiding under her blanket each night, desperately trying to remember her aboriginal language.

"She said: 'I was trying to remember my language under the blankets, and I just went all cold because I was being raised to think white and act white and keep myself clean, scrub my skin. Take the black of your skin'," said Edwards.’

And the consequences. Maybe still genocidal.

‘Today, thousands of adult Aborigines face a life of family breakdowns, drug and alcohol abuse, violence and mental anguish directly linked to the assimilation policy, said the report.’

Why does shit happen in this world? A perennial question. Don’t know how to answer it, since I started questioning why it does. One thing I do know, shit does happen. Always.

Yesterday, my lover and I were talking about a case of child abuse with a friend. Cant put the details on the blog. Gruesome.

My lover suddenly went off to the bedroom. Heard him sniffing. Went to find out what the problem was. He was lying on the floor, crying. Told me to go back to the sitting room where the visitor was left alone. Told me it would be ok.

Later, he told me that he was overwhelmed by the cruelty that we were talking about. Of parent to child, adult against child.

I told him that is why I want us to give our love, to children. For once he was not dismissive of the idea.



GayUganda

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Dawn

Dawn came with the alarm.

No. I set the time to later. Dawn is not as early as it used to be. Six is when I want to be out of bed. Six thirty is when it is light enough to read.

I don’t want to read by the harsh electric lights. At dawn, they break the peace. An intrusion into the softness of everything. So I switch on no lights when I wake.

Today the alarm woke me.

And as I turned over, I remembered that he was supposed to wake at six too.

Woke him up. An early morning appointment, and he was soon out of the house.

I love this part of the day. Stood in the doorway. Read a poem as I gazed out. And wrote one. And another. And I liked them.

Switching on the computer is an intrusion. Welcome as my mind seeks the world to know. Again.

I am a news junkie.

As stated, my MP was charged. As was another opposition MP.

The Kabaka, king of Buganda, is also on the war path with the central government. One of the other things that I have not been blogging about. I have written posts about it, which I feared to post. The closet is not only for those who are gay. Freedom is clipped everywhere that it is. Yet, why should I be restricted? The world that I live in, it is the real world. A harsh reality that will not be softened by the beauty of my perception.

The Kabaka of Buganda has been on a cold war with the central government for a few years. The war is heating up. Gradually, but dangerously. Another, very tribal conflict is looming. Or already is.

Beautiful Uganda. You make me cry, you are so beautiful, and so intent on self injury!

In Lira Hospital, the medics went on strike. And are still on strike? A small matter of unpaid wages. And patients are dying.

Life is the most precious asset that we are handed at conception, delivered at birth. We value it, apparently very little. Yet we do not have spares to it. And there is little that we can do to repair it in Africa, in Uganda, when it is broken. Sad that we handle it so flimsily.

My lover was looking over my shoulder, and is scared that I am putting these things on the blog. Why? Because I am skirting the ‘permitted’ edge of my freedom to be, as known by others.

Yet, I jumped out of one closet, I have realised that I am in another one when I do not have the freedom to think.

Freedom. It is a wonderful concept, yet most of the time, we do not realise that we are behind bars. Even those of thought.

It is a lovely morning, out. I will hold him in my arms, and hope that the sun shines always. On my country, and on my city.

Well, even if it rains, I will still hold him close. I love him.

What is more beautiful than love in life? I know little else. I am content.

GayUganda

Monday, February 11, 2008

Of the many things that I cant write about.


Just a by the way. My MP was arrested. 4 or 5 charges of sedition. And she was released on bail. Another opposition MP was released on bail. He was arrested on Friday, beaten during the arrest, (am not sure whether it was filmed). Man-handled badly, before he was escorted to jail.

It is funny how the police has this habit of arresting opposition figures on Friday afternoons. Just when the courts have closed. Means a night in jail. A weekend in jail, since the courts do not work on the weekend.

The crazy world of politics. A semblance of democracy, a hypocrisy to the creed of ideals, that is all that is necessary in our democracies.

--

Another of those things which I find hard to blog about. The thing that made me face my own reluctance to write on certain things.

The New Vision on Saturday was playing tabloid paper. Front paged testimonies of Ugandan truck drivers who had been raped in Kenya during the unrest.

It is a horrible thing to happen. Somehow, the idea of rape makes me go cold. No, contrary to what Ssempa goes around saying, I have never been raped. Not by any ‘sodomites’. Though I must admit to an assault once which had me on the cold edge of murder, once. Made me realise that I can kill. In anger, as well as in cold blood. Not a good bit of insight.

Yet rape is very common in my country. Marital rape is not rape. Not in Uganda. The man, after paying bride price, has the right to sex whenever and wheresoever he demands it. Culture stands firm on that.

The idea of a woman raped is ‘normal’. It happens, especially in times of war.

Rape of a man is a terrible thing to contemplate. In Uganda. There is no victim. The victim is judged guilty too. Harsh realities.

So, the New Vision played tabloid. Black headlines. Ugandan Drivers Sodomised.

I did not want to read what was underneath. I am a gay man. I know, or thought I knew the scapegoating which would be in the article. I did not read the paper.

Then I realised a curious fact.

The newspaper vendors put the papers on the sidewalks. Face up. Advertising.

the more lurid the headlines, the better. Attract the attention of the passer bys. You can imagine what the red rug’s headlines do.

Yet, on Saturday, the word ‘sodomised’ was more likely than not to be covered. By a stone or stick or anything playing paper weight. The poor vendors, and particularly women, were embarrassed by the headline.

I found it curious, and funny. And very much in character.

In the conscious of most Ugandans, a man raped was a very shameful piece of news. Yet Bukedde, and other local language dailies are always full of stories of women raped, girls ‘defiled’ and other heinous acts. And some of the most despicable photographs in New Vision have included hacked human beings, the red gore of cut throats and dismembered bodies.

What am I doing?

Trying to reconcile myself to the world that I live in.

I write of the beauty of my country. I tell of the beautiful things that happen to me. But that is not real life.

Life is a tough, harsh reality which daily faces me, us, as human beings. Cannot run away from it in the beauty of language. Have to balance.

Life is a rose bush. Blooms and thorns balance.

Though sometimes the thorns shade the blossoms.

On a lighter note, today’s New Vision had a hilarious cartoon. Our nemesis as gay Ugandans are two gentlemen. Nsaba Buturo (Minister of Ethics and Integrity) and Pastor Ssempa, gods ordained moralist and anti-homosexuality campaigner.

Well, the cartoonist kindly reminded them to take their crusade across the border to Kenya. Apparently, it is very necessary amongst those, er, heathens.


GayUganda


Things I dare not write about


They are many, and interesting. Some strange, some too personal. For some I cannot get the language to give them justice.

For some it is just being prudent.

I am gay. That in Uganda is enough of a black mark. Too much of one for me to blog about politics.

Being gay does not make me a-political. Just prudently silent. The blog is hosted somewhere in the Americas. But a few do know who I am. And of course, with the myriad ‘security’ organisations in Uganda, I would be a fool to assume that my authorship is unknown.

Yet my self censorship sometimes goes a bit too far.

There is this interesting political discussion that is going on.

A member of parliament. (There I go again, self censoring.) My member of parliament has thrown a gauntlet at his Excellency the president. (I am not sure, but calling him anything but that may be ‘seditious’ according to the law of the country. But I can call Bush a fool, without risking arrest. At least I think so.)

Anyway, MP Kamya has done the unthinkable. Called the president out on things which are widely rumoured, but wisely un-said. The sectarian divisions in the country, the question of his parentage- err., whether or not he is Ugandan by birth. It seems to be a very sticky point with him.

The old man (senile, from the strangeness of some of his decisions, including this one), has reacted with anger. And has vowed to take her to court.

Beti Olive Namisango Kamya. My member of parliament, because I happen to live here at this moment.

She is a courageous woman. Women in Uganda really began their emancipation with the current president’s tenure. She was one of the pioneers. A firebrand politician. Had to give up her job when she was dissatisfied with the politics. Joined the opposition party.

She is re-known for the fierceness of her courage, the fact that she will say what needs to be said. And she is good at organising.

In Uganda, being in the opposition, is like saying you are in rebellion to the government. The police arrest you on any pretext, you find yourself fighting useless cases in the courts, and you may suddenly find that you have ‘raped’ someone. Serious. Ask the political leader of the opposition.

(Good thing I can say that I am gay. Would be ridiculous to be accused of raping a woman and my defence is, well, I am gay! Not in Uganda)

I have carefully not read the ongoing fracas. Too frustrating. The birth order of the president is nothing to me. His ethnicity is not worth a bowl of spit. He is an African, as is the lady. Fighting about it in the papers is ripping glaring holes in the fa├žade of our unity. The ethnic problems that have gripped Kenya are too superficially buried in Uganda. They are waiting for the smallest touch of the trigger, and we shall be wrapped in more fierce flames than are burning in Kenya at the moment.

Strange to put it like so.

Yet, though I see that clearly, it is a fact that I can do next to nothing. Egos are involved. Monumental egos. The president is fighting a war of public opinion which was lost years ago. And he is becoming increasingly unreasonable in some decisions.

God help Uganda.

©GayUganda

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Content


I would live on a desert island

alone with my thoughts,

a book of poems-

a pen that runs not out,

and paper to write;


I would live like a king

alone in the majesty of words

and not a drop of water

or handful of food would I crave;

though my body pines away

to the dusts of the air


I would live, content.


©GayUganda

Saturday, February 9, 2008

That I Would


to write like so, bird song

each note so high, just right

every verse a thread, woven, just so-

in muse’s song of poetry, the verse,


to pour out my heart, skein of thought

the roiling fog mist emotion

captured, dancing, eternally living

in immortalized verse;


that I would, living on earth

this very short life;

that I would, in life living know.






(c)GayUganda

Friday, February 8, 2008

Police frees five held in Senegal gay wedding scandal

Five people detained this week in a probe in Senegal over alleged death threats against the editor of a magazine which ran an article on a homosexual wedding, have been freed, police said Thursday.

A source in the police criminal investigation division said the five were released on Wednesday evening.

Among the suspects is a Frenchman, said the same source.

"The release does not mean that they have no case to answer. It is only part of the investigations, the process is ongoing," she said adding that other suspects are being hunted down.

The pro-government Le Soleil on Thursday reported that among the alleged fugitives were a Ghanaian, an Ivorian and two Senegalese.

A police official said the five suspects had been questioned over "gross indecency and marriage against nature".

According to local media, the suspects were rounded up following death threats against the editor and a photographer for the magazine Icone, which published a story last week on a same-sex wedding.

The Icone story graphically illustrated with pictures of two men exchanging rings and several dozen guests whose faces were partially blackened.

Homosexuality is outlawed in Senegal, a majority Muslim country in west Africa.

Under Senegalese laws acts "against nature with an individual of the same sex" are punishable with a maximum penalty of five years in jail and a fine of between 100,000 CFA francs (150 euros, 225 dollars) to one million francs.

A Dakar-based pan-African human rights body RADDHO, has meantime expressed its concern at the "hatred of homosexuals" displayed through the country's public media.

The case is the start of "a disturbing rise in homophobia and hatred of homosexuals in public opinion (in Senegal)".

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Hope


The morning would be called dull, today.

Its nine, but the sun is behind a curtain of cloud. Grey and cold. The air barely stirs. It is quiet.

The seasons seem to be out of season, again. Just a couple of days ago, the sun was very bright, the red dust from Kampala’s roads had invaded every part of the house and we were in the bloom of summer. Now that summer seems to have taken a wink, a distance, a time out.

The world seems to be moving on in times usual flood. Super Tuesday was and is gone. Hamas sent another suicide bomber into Israel, and the underwater internet cables which were cut a few days ago are being repaired.

And yes, in Uganda, in what is supposedly a democracy, a bill which the populace and the parliament is against was introduced in parliament by the government. The security presence in Kampala was phenomenal. To quell any popular show of discontent.


Life’s a dream;

I’m yet to wake.


My mind has been weighed heavily by the events in Senegal, and in Egypt.

Why? This is what is usual. Maybe I am just low of spirit. Somehow, they seem to have become more of a load to my mind than usual.

--

Here comes my love. He does sense my low spirits. Lies down behind me, puts his head on my shoulder.

Warm, comforting, peaceful.

That is what love is. Something beautiful, a flower of peace and calm, though you are in a raging storm of pain.

Sometimes, many times, the world seems crazy, and I can make no sense of it. It is dull with the pain of many people, and senseless happenings. Somehow, hope still rises in my breast, in that of others.

Pain is, but pain will not cut off hope, nor will love not grow in a desert.


Hope is an oasis in a desert

a green garden in a sea of sand.


Hope is a fountain of honey,

drink of water on a day of thirst.


Have a good day, wherever you are. Because the day is good, and beautiful, and it is something that is uniquely its own to you. Happiness is a well of hope in your heart. Tap into it, and have a good day.

GayUganda