Monday, January 31, 2011

Dialogue?



Do we dare believe that? Or is it just a war of words?

It has happening on two identifiable fronts. OK, on three. But, the first is almost negligble. With barely any investigation, the government is convinced that the death of David Kato was due to 'aggravated robbery'. Should I bias this further?
That Kato was staying with a known thief, who knowing that David was soon leaving the country, decided to rob him of the few things he had.... (leaving quite a few others...), and kill him in the bargain.

Now, that is the kind of insult to logic that I do not countenance at all. But, the government of Uganda being what they are, they are going to stick to that line. For a very long time.

I dismiss it as illogical, and leave the more unkind words in my mind.

But, death has this visceral shock effect. Suddenly, Ugandans are discussing homosexuality, and not with the vapid hate mongering of the other days. Of course, the Ssempas are there. And, they are talking as they do, often. But, other Ugandans are coming out and speaking, like they have never done before.


It is on the airwaves, the fm stations again. And, do not be mistaken, most of what I hear is the old homophobic things. But, there is a difference. It is less hate laced. And, those who are not homophobic are coming out and challenging the blind hatred.

Then there is this article from the Observer. Clearly sensitive, and friendly. These are the kind of articles, gay friendly, that would not be published like so, in Uganda. Ugandans are more used to the likes of the Red Rug and others like that, painting gay people like they are the worst colour possible, demons, with horns, and tails hidden somewhere.

Of course it helps a lot when there is Uganda's peers are pointing out, insistently, that we Ugandans are in the wrong. We are not insular. And, though many Ugandans may believe it is okay to kill gay ugandans, they are shocked that the rest of the world holds them in contempt. As less than 'civilised'. It is funny, I have always commented on our immense vanity. I never knew it could fall into my hands like this, as a weapon to use. Like this BBC report. And, yes, BBC is watched, by mainly those who have cable television in Uganda. The elite, the moneyed classes.
And, before you ask, growing up as a gay Ugandan, enduring the abuse and disapprobation, I have become very much less vain than the ordinary Ugandan.....
Maybe I should say that it is the 'elite', the opinion leaders who matter. And, they are quite vain of the good 'repute' of the country..... lol....!

Here is how the Christian, MP and rising star in the ruling party, mover of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill David Bahati mourns David Kato. There are some things which have clearly not changed.... and, that is the utter Christian compassion of David Bahati. Here is the quote.

David Bahati told journalists in Kampala today that though Kato's death is unfortunate, it should open Ugandans' eyes to the illegality of homosexuality.
Bahati described Kato as a humbled soul long and hard to see the future of children destroyed and marriages broken up by illegal acts.
He says though his death may have had nothing to do with his acts, it has everything to do with the financial resources set to these individuals by donors, which could have attracted the attention of the assailants.
The MP says the Police should not only investigate Kato's death, but also dismantle the illegal networks, particularly financial, which are being used to facilitate gay activities in Uganda, especially in schools. In Uganda most people feel like vomiting when they come across gay practitioners or activists.

Most interesting, and most fitting is the fact that actually, buried somewhere in all that venom is the compassion, mourning the death of David Kato. Surely, surely, Bahati is devastated. Crocodile tears . Much like Giles Muhame.... He is being his usual lovely self. Will not link to him, because, truly, Giles is an outstanding example of his pastor Martin 'eat da poo poo' Ssempa's classic teaching in Christian compassion.

Am sorry Christians. I know, the people above do not represent all of you.....

To atone for my cruel humour, I will try to examine real Christian compassion in the next post. Of course......

But, let me end this one with some interesting quotes from a Reuter's story. Kind of captures the ambivalent mood in the country at the moment.

In one sense, whether or not homophobia motivated David's killer is unimportant. A global spotlight has shone on the country in a way it rarely does and many Ugandans are unhappy with what it highlights.
------
Alan Kasujja, host of a breakfast radio show in Kampala, used his broadcast on Friday to urge Uganda to turn its back on homophobia and focus on other issues.
"I have tons of friends who are gay," Kasujja told Reuters. "These are people who I have gone to school with, who I have worked with. They are our brothers and sisters, our children.
"So am I supposed to join ill-informed, undereducated people who advocate for them to be ostracised? Sorry, I cannot be part of that," he said.
Alan says his listeners were divided over whether David was a victim of hate, or robbery. Though many listeners expressed reservations about homosexuality, they said that Uganda should not be known for violence.
Some texted the show, however, telling him to stop promoting "deviants", a reflection of a culture of hate that many say has been encouraged by the Christian right in the east African nation -- often funded by Christian groups in the United States.
Kampala's Red Pepper newspaper headlined its story on the murder: "Self-confessed bum driller murdered", accusing Kato of "luring" men into gay sex.
------
Two gay Ugandan men, poring over the newspapers on Friday morning, smiled ruefully when they saw the Red Pepper story and shrugged their shoulders.
"This is what we have to deal with day-to-day," said one, who did not want to be named. "But I listened to the radio this morning and I read Twitter yesterday and I felt some hope. Maybe this is so awful, it can change things."
The two friends finish their tea and push through the swinging doors of the cafe and out into the blistering heat.
One pauses and turns his head back.
"Do you promise you won't use my name?" he asks. "I know David didn't mind. But David ... David was... I don't know." He shakes his head sadly. "I don't know."

Just to remind you, the kind of broadcast that Alan Kasujja was allowed to do got a radio DJ (Gaetano) suspended a few years ago. And, if the anti-Homosexuality bill ever becomes law in Uganda, such a discussion will be completely illegal. Something that David Bahati is very anxious to have.

But, at least there is dialogue....!


gug

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gug..
I am not gay, but i deeply truly sympathize with you and your friends. David's murder --and to be clear, because he was gay-- has left me in a state of shock. I feel sorry that he was and you have been terrorized and made to live in a climate of fear denying you your most basic of God given rights.. because the "Christians" and "moralists" of this country feel their rights somehow supersede yours. I am Ugandan by the way. And the level of vitriol/ frankly hate disgusts me. I cannot have normal conversations with Ugandans about this without feeling angry beyond belief. Ugandans are vain. Yes! But we are also some of the most self righteous people i have ever encountered. Those throwing stones are adulterers and thieves of public resources let it be known. This country has real issues, but we spend our free time dictating who people have the right to sleep with. It would be comical if it was not a matter of life or death. Because someone's child, David Kisule Kato, just got murdered. I just want you to know that we are here...a few of us...ugandans that think you guys and girls are ok the way God created you. We share the outrage at the injustice of it all, and we want to help. And for now its not our voices you hear but the loud crazed hate mongers. I think this battle will be won in the private conversations, when people realize you live among us and you are our friends and relatives. That time will come. Its only a matter of time. In the meantime, be safe.

gayuganda said...

Thanks Anon,

As you understand, all friends, especially Ugandans, are very welcome. Especially straight Ugandans, I must confess.

John said...

I am not from Uganda but from Scandinavia. Have visited Uganda however on holiday. I am totaly devastated by Davids death. He fought for human rights and love and was treated like this. Its hearthbreaking. I dont cry often but I have cried for David. Will never forget David and after what these monsters have done to him it show more than ever before that the world need to stand together with you in your fight.

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