Saturday, December 19, 2009

I believe…

in people.
That should not be possible. At this very moment, a well meaning country mate, David Bahati has written a document which would see me in prison for life. Or dead, by hanging, as it is done in our country, Uganda.

He is a representative of us, the people of Uganda. And, together with others, representatives, they will sit in our parliament and make this the law of the land.

And, I still believe in people?

How can I not? All over the world, people who are like me have stood up to say no. There is something wrong with this.
The vast majority don’t know me, from ‘Adam’.
All that they know is that I exist. All they know is that I am under threat.
And, they have formed vast alliances, of many peoples, of many faiths, many colours, to make sure my countryman does not succeed.

Is there evil?
I say I don’t know. Truth, I cant decide, cant come to a philosophical consideration whether or not there is evil.
If there was evil, it would be made man in a countryman of mine, a ‘Pastor’ a man of God called Ssempa. For reasons unknown to me, he is passionately against all that are like me. It has been so for years. He is a powerful man, a leader, an opinion maker in my country. And, he is the epitome of evil to people like me in my country, Uganda.
I have watched with incredulity, as he used his considerable powers of persuasion and charisma to seek that one thing he desires beyond everything, to hurt a gay person. He is rich, powerful, well connected. A self made man, with a good education, he has one passion. One, wild, burning, flame of hatred. All things homosexual. All things like me.

For that he will lie, he will turn the crowd against one. He will scale heaven, descend the pits of hell, just to be sure he will hurt a gay person.
Why? why is this such an obsession for him?

I don’t know.

And, I believe in people?

I have just been out, seated on the roadside.
A balmy Kampala afternoon. I am in the suburbs. Un-surfaced road, the dust barely held down by the damp of last evening’s drizzle. The sun is hidden. Playing hide and hide beyond some towering clouds. Its cool, calm, silent down here.

I was reading a poem.

And, to my mind came the conviction that, indeed, life is beautiful.
Life is a wonderful thing. That is why we toil so much, to keep alive. That is why, even if death is a constant shadow over our shoulders, we try to stave him off, till the last.

I live in a picture perfect place of beauty. A garden country, a beautiful, lovely country.

Yet all this poetic beauty is nothing without the presence of people. Other human beings.

I looked at them, thinking of writing a poem. Looking at the kids who gaze at this guy in wonder, reading a book on the roadside. The boys, interested in girls, and I, interested in them. Flowers of beauty that strut their way up and down the road.

Beautiful cars, old and middle aged people. They stroll all past. And I, am silent, looking at them, seeing little but what they are.
Hawkers, peddlers festooned with all manners of goods. Walking shops, young men, and a few women, hawking their wares.

Indeed, it is a beautiful country.

So are the people, the mindless faces that may see me not, or, if they do, forget me the next instant. But, I believe in them.
They are, and I am one of them.

They are capable of the most mind numbing cruelty. I cannot deny that.
They are capable of shameless, cruel things.
And they are capable of the most heartbreaking manifestations of love. Compassion, feeling pain for each other, labouring, fighting, even dying for one another.
Even the most cruel person has someone they love.

I believe in people. Human beings.


(Written 12/18/2009 3:05 PM)

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