Thursday, October 29, 2009

Inside and Outside Uganda

It has been over whelming.

Humbling in fact. The reaction of the international community to the Bahati Bill. Of course the bill is vile. A viler legislative instrument I dont know. I have almost jokingly called it a 'Final Solution' Bill and compared it to Nazi German. Fact is, despite my crying wolf, this is such a stark fact that I am not embelishing, except in actually giving my hopeless sense of humour free reign.

Got across this article. Uganda's Outrageous New Sex Law. It is spot on. Tries to cover the hullaballoo, with what is happening within the gay community and the anti-gay sentiments in Uganda. More fair than I could ever be. I believe it is Australian Senate that a bill was introduced (and rejected) concerning the Ugandan anti-homosexuality bill. I have been calling out Christians. That is the biggest, strongest and most bitter anti-gay group in Uganda. Though those in Uganda call me anti-Christian, I am relying on some core Christian values calling them out in Uganda. And, I am happy to say that some outside the country are calling out those who believe like they do. Yeah, the bill is NOT Christian. I will continue saying so. And calling them out. Someone calls out on Rick Warren, the one of Saddleback Church, that hosts US presidential debates, and is a friend to Pastor Martin Ssempa, the prominent, anti-gay crusader.

Ssempa is politically powerful in Uganda. He has received various anti-gay awards, in recognition of his fight. And, he is well connected politically, a charismatic, populous speaker.
Calling him out, and confronting him on his basically unloving, unChristian stand hurts him where it is hurts worst. And, I am getting some indications that he is starting to feel the pressure. Please, please, continue the pressure. He is vulnerable. He doesnt understand it, but he is.

Ssempa is vulnerable because, simply put, he doesnt realise that his virulent, anti-gay hatred frightens his backers in the US and elsewhere. And yes, these are the people who will pressure him. They simply dont know what the guy is capable of, in the name of the anti-gay crusade. He is a fundamentalist in that way, and his backers are shocked to understand that.
Yes, Christians like Throckmorton are calling him out, again and again. And, they are asking the question, how Christian is support of this bill? That works. This beautiful, religious country of mine is very, very hypocritical. But one thing 'we' are so proud of is that 'we' are Christians. More Christian than the west which brought the religion. That is why they persecute us, unchristian gays. That is why they are shocked that they are suddenly considered less than Christian, when they want to 'wipe homosexuality from Uganda'.
A headline like this Uganda's Murderous Christians, strikes at the heart of our deeply held prejudices. And forces us to think, much more than when gug shouts on his blog. I am not a Christian, and I am happy I am confortable in my lack of faith. But, that very fact makes me a pariah here. Quite apart from my sexuality. When I tell a person that I do not believe, the double take that almost invariably happens amongst Ugandans is almost the same as would happen if I told them that I was gay. That is the Ugandan psych. We all must have a religion. And I must be less than human, because I dont. Sad that they dont take it as a chance to proselytise...!

Box Turtle is not optimistic that it will work. The calling out on Christians on their basic Christian values. That is possible. But, at the same time, it is the biggest leverage that I see to challenge these bigots.  Because, this is not just a battle. It is a war for their hearts and minds.

One thing that I have been convinced of by this vile bill, is the fact that, I as a gay Ugandan, I will never, ever, be safe in my country, Uganda, as long as this level of ignorance and blind hate continues.
I cannot fight them. I can only convince them that, if they know me, they will know how harmless I am. I am not going to turn them gay.
It is no whine. It is a statement of fact. This is a war that I cannot win, but that I must win.

But that is of what is happening outside the country.
Inside, in Uganda, the Parliament Committee on presidential affairs has been holding hearings on the bill. Yesterday, it was some of the religious leaders, who kindly offered that we should be put in prison, and not to death. That is their pious belief, and hope. We bad homosexuals need to stay alive so that they can turn us to god. I am not joking. I am telling it just like it was. The proceedings were on NTV, a public television, and, they were entertained by one preacher man who apparently 'survived' a gay advance. He actually raised the alarm before he escaped. What vile homosexuals are!!!! Death indeed!

Here are some of the comments from the Hon. David Bahati. You will forgive my 'english'... I was writing too fast, as a fly on the wall...

"We want to state that on 29th of April, myself and Benson Obua from UPC moved to intro a private member’s bill entitled Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009.  It came to house for first reading 14 October.  It came from 2 principles:  massive recruitment of young people, especially in schools, into homosexuality behavior.  It’s not a human rights, it’s a bad habit, and if we don’t act now, provide for preventative measures, then our country will sooner or later be in trouble.  We’ve seen a lot of attacks, especially from international civil society and it’s because not for any reason, but there are issues of accountability for funding and receiving.  More about funding.  It’s not a human right, we believe, because scientific research has indicated that first, on HIV/AIDS--males involved and females involved in homosexuality are prone to getting HIV/AIDS more than ordinary person, 3 times more prone.  Person engaging in homosexuality has reduced life expectancy of 20 years.  As males participate in homosexuality, over 6 years, they spoil their organs and in some cases are forced to put on nappies as children.  This is behavior that can’t go on.  It’s silent and creeping around in our society.  We have information that NGOs are being financed to promote this and existing legal framework, The Penal Code Act mentions “unnatural offences,” but given magnitude of problem, we can’t just leave it to “unnatural behavior.”  It’s not comprehensive or explicit.  Constitution prohibits same-sex marriage.  Why aren’t people fighting that in our constitution?  They want to engage in homosexuality but don’t want to get married.  Why are they adopting children?  There’s an evil creeping into our society, and they want to defend the homosexual family.  The best output of family is when it’s between man and woman."

It is a matter of fact that, as I re-read and listen to this justification for the elimination of my sexuality from beautiful, holy Uganda, I feel like strangling the guy. Serious.
But that murderous rage which he inspires just does not serve me. Please, as you write to him, be courteous. As Jesus said, 'Forgive them, for they know not what they are doing...!!!!!'

Apparently, there is a co-sponsor to the bill. And, this is what they had to say... Some of the things that they had to say.

"We strongly feel that homosexuality is unnatural, and every faith in this country testifies to this and it’s against all common sense.  Anyone trying to defend it has something wrong with them.  It’s causing destruction to this country, and we need to stem it.  Permit me to say we shouldn’t we be deterred from pressure from wherever.  We know there are powerful international NGOs and some from the international community don’t want this to go through.  The Commonwealth is trying to make sure that this strange culture is entrenched around the globe.  We have a fear that if we move ahead to pass, then the international community will deny Uganda aid.  This is some of the tactics being used.  We can do without aid as long as Uganda is morally upright.  So those kinds of things shouldn’t deter us.  Others argue that if passed in present form, it threatens the lives of almost everyone.  This is a big lie.  This bill targets defenders and anyone who works to promote homosexuality, but it doesn’t endanger human beings or Ugandans in general.

That is the state of mind of my country mates.

See, I am not going to embellish it, or comment on it. Other than to pick out this sentence. "We can do without aid as long as Uganda is morally upright."

and, maybe this one

"This bill targets defenders and anyone who works to promote homosexuality, but it doesnt endanger human beings or Ugandans in general" 

Am I a human being, or Ugandan? Not when I am gay... Am I missing something here? Or is it just because  English is not my first language?

Very sadly, this is what the majority of my country mates think.

Sorry for putting a dumper on you. But I believe it is important to see the outrage on the international side, and the self satisfied, pursuit of what is 'morally right' that is fueling sentiment in the country.

And, it is Ugandan MPs that are going to make it law.


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