A ‘deep, dark, vileness’… the words of Steven Langa were made very famous after the anti-homosexuality conference. A ‘creeping evil’ as David Bahati repeatedly states. These guys are actually convinced of this thing. That there is an actual ‘gay agenda’- an organized evil force that has to be fought. Of course, all in the name of Jesus, or the appropriate deities.
And, do recent events tend to show that?
Malawi caving in to international pressure. Uganda stalling in passing its ‘Anti-homosexuality bill’? Here is one Zimbabwean newspaper’s thoughts on what happened.
Gays’ pyrrhic victory in Malawi
GAYS have won a victory in Malawi through coercion and arm-twisting of the Malawi government. Malawi succumbed to extreme pressure from the USA, Great Britain and Europe in general assisted by the secretary-general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon.
If the United Nations and western nations were as united as they are against the trampling of human rights in Africa as they have been united against the trampling of gay rights, Africa would have very few political prisoners
Oh, the language of the paper is rash, and bitter. Minorities, persecuted minorities tend to think that if others accept them, then it is better. Gay Africans usually find that we are not accepted by others, and others believe that supporting us will tarnish their own credentials. In Uganda, it is only the vileness of the anti-homosexuality bill as an attack on human rights that brought many human rights NGOs on board. They thought of us as untouchables before. But the bill was too vile. They did touch us then. Some feared, nevertheless. The Zimbabwean newspaper, not a supporter of Mugabe, continues its diatribe.
The Malawi gay couple knowingly broke the law against gay marriage; the pair was tried in a competent court of law, found guilty and sentenced according to the constitution of Malawi.In other words, the Malawi couple should still be in jail, from the writer’s point of view. They are evildoers, breakers of the law. Why were they released? [Shake of the head- the writer, the newspaper is Zimbabwean…!]
Africa, beware of the gay agenda, it continues. This is not pretty.
Africa, beware of “gayonolisation” (a form of colonisation). Why is the West so interested in sponsoring gay couple marriages and practices? The West is well known for long-term planning — with millions of Africans dying of diseases and wars, Africa will have no replacement for its dead if the entire continent is inhabited by unproductive gays.Hmmmmmm!
Now, we see where the gay agenda is leading. Africa is huge, rich in resources, with a small population. The gay agenda is geared towards turning all Africans into ‘unproductive gays’. Now, now, now, if I was the one who wrote those words, I might be accused of exaggeration. But, I have also been hearing the same sentiment again and again in Uganda. Minister Nsaba Buturo of Ethics and Integrity was fond of asking rhetorically, ‘What will happen when everyone is gay?’ Certainly, many fellow Africans believe that we gay Africans….!!!!!! Absurd. Silly, Stupid. But true. They do believe it.
And what of us gay Africans? Unpatriotic, fighting for the ‘western’ gay agenda…
Gays, for their part, should not crow at all for having won recognition of their unholy war because their actions are diverting attention from more serious human rights abuses all over the world. They are forcing their own acquired sexual preference on African countries.The whole article is silly. That is a fact.
But this is the kind of serious silliness which has to be addressed.
A gay African is considered a pariah, un-African, un-patriotic. We are vilified in church, mosque, the public spheres and the private. And, fellow Africans believe the lies of gay agenda etc.
Yet, it is also a fact that the recent events in Uganda and Malawi, and Kenya, did draw a seemingly disproportionate attention from the west. Why was that?
In part, I think it is because of the realization that a proxy war is raging in Africa. The American cultural wars. I believe that is the reason why the story had such carrying power in the US. The fact that, though the west is being accused of ‘exporting’ homosexuality, a case was made and literally proven, of the export of hate- homophobia. The war did go back home, to the US… and there, there were some real advantages.
The fact that Obama is US president and not G.W. Bush, the fact that the gay lobby in the US was feeling like flexing their muscles. And the fact that the EU takes matters of equality with European seriousness….
Yet, you know, the reason I think a gay person in the west will support a gay African is because we do identify with one another. The times when gay people were killed, imprisoned, castrated, vilified- those times are not too far gone in the memories of most gay people in the west. Yes, Iceland may have gone the full course, but in Britain, Section 21 is still remembered. The Nazi extermination camps and pink triangles are not merely part of history. They are a very recent vileness. Stonewall, and the post Stonewall anger is still ongoing. I think (or would like to think!) that a gay person in the west understands the ‘less than human’ contempt that many people think we are.
During the times of Reagan, HIV raged as the US government did little, (at least that is what I have learnt from recent history!). So, gay men did what they could. They became the HIV activists. The cost was in lives of friends, lovers, acquitances lost, but the lesson was re-learnt, re-emphasized that we gay humans have to fight, and fight for our very survival.
Those lessons, the fight for gay EQUALITY rather than rights, that to me explains the phenomenon of gay comradeship, across the races, countries, continents. We are different. Adversity, persecution, that makes us the same. And will continue in the near future, I bet. Not any depraved, evil ‘gay agenda’. Just a simple, desperate, need to be understood as different, but equal; also human.
The newspaper is The Zimbabwe Standard. And to be fair, it a letter, not the paper itself. From one F. Mhlanga, of Mavingo.
You can add online comments, or write a reply. (yes, that is a hint).
"Yet, you know, the reason I think a gay person in the west will support a gay African is because we do identify with one another. The times when gay people were killed, imprisoned, castrated, vilified- those times are not too far gone in the memories of most gay people in the west."
Yes, that is right, we identify with one another, but it is not only because of the common struggle. It is also that the gay personality is universal. It cuts across cultures and the gay subculture reflects that. Ever notice how drag shows are so similar the world over, in Beijing, London, Manila, New York or Cape Town?
And for Uganda, there is also another reason we identify with ane another, your writing.
When you talk about your feelings and your relationship, your personality comes across and it is instantly recognizable to a gay man. Your circumstances are very different, but, otherwise, you are very similar to the gay next door.
You provide a very valuable service to Ugandan LGBT's because of that.
Excellent post - I like your comment on the export of homophobia as opposed to homosexuality from the west [US]. See this week's Pambazuka News.
Good morning and congratulations! I'm Brazilian, and came across your blog almost casually. I'd like you to know how desperate I feel about my own powerlessness to cooperate in some way, whenever I read news from the present official homophobia wave in Africa.
Of course no human group has ever been pure tolerance and non-oppression, however it is quite clear, from the experience of a mixed society as we have in Brazil, that from Africa we inherit mostly human warmth, understanding and flexibility, and that most discrimination, intolerance, inter-human oppression we inherit from the European matrix, without or mostly WITH the disguise of Christianity, both in catholic or protestant versions.
So I feel you really touch the heart of the matter when you write: "... though the west is being accused of ‘exporting’ homosexuality, a case was made and literally proven, of the export of hate- homophobia."
And that applies not only to the present-day sittuation, but rather to the whole history of Northern (better than "Western") influence in African societies, be it through invasion, colonisation, mission and the foreign formation of African leaders. This impression was further reinforced, by the way, by the reading of Stephen O. Murray's and Will Roscoe's studies collection "Boy Wives and Female Husbands: Studies of African Homosexualities" (St. Martin's Press, 1998).
So I guess you could find your most powerful campaign axis precisely in that: contrary to what the Northern-minded political leaders tell, intolerance to homosexuality is a betrayal to the properly African values and cultural heritage.
And that idea could be expressed in short but precise campaign mottos or the like, such as "tolerance is African, discriminating the different is an imported vice" or "living with the different is African, discrimination and repression are imported vices" - and so on.
Of course I am not really inside your reality, so I may be speaking nonsense, but please understand this lines as a heart-felt statement of being-together with all you brothers and sisters who are going through such difficult times on the sacred Mother-of-All Continent.
A warm African-Brazilian hug, and...
THE FORCE BE WITH YOU! :D
PS: I linked this post and transcribed my comment in my new blog in English (the main one is in Portugese). It is quite new and doesn't have many visitors yet... but it can be one more voice, anyway.
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