Thursday, January 27, 2011

Shock in the System: David Kato Kisule

I am at work.

Fact is, my concentration is terrible. Bits and fits, that is when I can concentrate. Seems as if everywhere I turn, I see, think, hear, know only what has happened to David.

My partner was the first to hear the news. I was in the bathroom. And, his shout made me rush out to investigate. It was then I got an sms. From someone else.
No, it did not sink in last night.

My partner was crying. Me, too hardened. Have to express my emotions in different ways. But, I was unsettled.
My partner went, with a few others, to the police in Mukono, and from there to David’s home. Where he was killed. Speculation was rife about what had happened. Yes, David was much more open than I am. He used to say that he was the first ‘out’ gay Ugandan. Indeed, I saw one documentary in which he featured, filmed at his place, which he was still building.

Sad. He built the house. Has barely used it a year. He moved in, as is common here, before the house was ready. But, that is life.
Shit. It is hard. Life, it is hard.

So, of course we are scared. Too many rumours swimming around. Too easy to do something that we would regret later. Now, maybe it is just time to cry and mourn our loss, however we do that.
My partner I left in bed this morning, as I came to work. I know, I can barely concentrate. Thanks to the luck that it is very, very light.
My partner was up the whole night, following the news. I had to sleep. Or, I had to try and sleep. I know, I went to bed, and was awake for most of the night, till he rung me at near to six. Just before my alarm went off.

I am at work…. but, my mind is just not here.

We need to celebrate his life. Maybe that will take our minds off the desperate vulnerability of ours.... how quickly, how easily we can lose all, in the name of nothing, or something.
But, it is a matter of fact that he lived his life. And, was happy. A gay man in Uganda.

I happen to have gone to school with him. Funny. Same schools on a couple of occasions. Different classes. Days long gone, it seems. But, he was like one of those guys you know, faces in the mass of others. Was lost to sight for long years, until he came to one of our first partyies.....

LOL, those were the days.
We held a party in total secrecy. And here comes this stranger who we were not sure of, who wants to be part of us. I didnt remember him from school...., and, even if I had, I was a gay man in Uganda. Caution inbuilt, rubbed in day to day.

David was insistent. He wanted to attend the gay party. Held in a gardens somewhere on the outskirts of Kampala.
I wanted to tell him no. My partner, who was the chief organiser, was ambiguous. And, misled him.... Gave him the wrong address. Poor David had to use his nose to find where the rest of us where.

No, am actually not feeling bad about that. Paranoia is necessary. It is basic to survival, where we are.

But, David enjoyed the party. And, he was soon into the kuchu community. Diving deep.

No bad things talked about those who die? Well, that doesnt take me into account. David was a typical Ugandan gay activist. Persistent, in the face of adversity. Ruthless to get what he wants. Patient, when he needs to. A temper that would erupt when he found himself put in a tough situation.

And, of course, there was a time that he used to drink like a fish. Literally used to live in a bar.

We all have our quirks. And, living, working, doing what we do in Uganda, we are sore, wounded animals, fighting on, barely taking the time to heal, even when we should. That was David.

There was a time when we had to send delegations to tell him it was becoming too much. The drinking. We didnt seem to know how to help him. But, he had kind of calmed down. A bit. But, he was still much above a social drinker.

Times when he lived in Masaka. Was actually a headteacher there, if I remember correctly. Then he moved to Nansana, where he seemed to always have problems with the locals. He was too open as a gay man. He would drink, and challenge them. And, he opened his house to the likes of other gay people when they felt threatened at their homes. The likes of George Oundo, if I remember well. And others.

Then he got a place in Mukono, and started building his house. The house where he was brutally murdered, just yesterday.

Hang them....! His was the face on the front page. Next to Bishop Ssenyonjo.

Sigh... nostalgia....

Maybe for the days when he was still alive to pester us with his demands, his beliefs in what he wanted to have done. He was a doer, and, in a difficult environment, he was an achiever. With scanty resources, he did what he could, and did it fairly well.

Of course he was a human being. Cantankerous, devious, quarrelsome.

But, he was a human being, a fighter, going to the police cells to look for those accused of being gay. Going to court to stand up for our rights. I know Paul Kagaba was that one guy who seemed to be his nemesis. Kagaba says that David 'recruited' him into homosexuality. When I knew Kagaba, he was a full grown man, with his faculty around him, and he seemed to be very into men. And women.... So, maybe the 'recruitment' didnt fall very far afield!!!!

Kagaba is ex-gay. Ssempa's new face of the ex-gay.

Even George Oundo knew David. Wonder what he would say now that David is dead? He used to go out on TV, much as Kagaba does today, to name the names of us bad gays.....

No. Is not the time for that.

Today is time to celebrate the life of a human rights activist, whose life, that basic human right of all, was brutally cut short. Just yesterday.

I talked to David the other day, on phone, about his hacked email. We were worried about that seeming non entity now......!

Kato David Kisule. RIP. Wonder where his twin is.

RIP, David



Tamaku said...

Thanks for sharing the memories. RIP David

paulocanning said...

We are all in shock. But we shouldn't be. This is exactly what they want, us dead.

All of us should redouble our efforts for you guys in Uganda.

In solidarity.


Skorrdal said...

My heart is with you, dear friend.

Anonymous said...

RIP Kato. His work shall live on. Aluta continua

Anna Jonna said...

You are right when You write: "We need to celebrate his life." Maybe You will find some inspiration in:

say it as it is said...

It is such a Sad moment for us here in Uganda, Those of use who last saw David Last Thursday and spoke to him on fone on Monday and Tuesday morning this week, The memories are still so fresh, We are still finding it so hard to believe that in the next couple of days he wont be calling or texting or warning us of what is in the papers or out side our doors.

The words to describe David Kato will never be and will never run out of our minds because he is so dearly missed already. We jsut cant stop grieving for such a loss for the words "May his soul rest in peace" are just not enough to give us the strength to move on in such time.

good bye Kato

Anonymous said...

Condolences to this brave fellow from Sweden.

And my best thoughts and wishes to you and your
spouse, that you may stay true to each other until easier days rise in your country.

Iwaya said...

Kato's murder is sickening and frightening, first of all because it is plain murder and it seems on the rise-these seemingly senseless murders of people walking at night or who happen to live alone. But it is all the more sickening and frightening if he was murdered simply because he was gay.

Anonymous said...

Some news reports say he was shot, others that he was hit on the head with a hammer. Some say it was a criminal who was living with him who was responsible for his murder and some say it was a neighbour. Others say it was the neighbour who found him and helped him and called the ambulance. All very confusing to me, what really happened, has anyone been arrested?

Was he murdered because he was gay, or was he another iron bar victim like these poor souls also murdered in Mukono in the last weeks?

Let us know what what is really happening because the news reporters are all reporting different things and it is very confusing.

Anonymous said...

My heartfelt condolences for your loss, from a lesbian Dutch activist.

Leonard said...

We send our thanks for David Kato, for his activism, for his courage and for your courage, your friendship and that of your beloved--we are with you in spirit and spirit is a very powerful thing--sending love to all the Kuchus, our families, our friends in Uganda and beyond.

Leonardo Ricardo
Juan Carlos
Guatemala, Central America

gayuganda said...

Thanks all for your thoughts.

For Anon wondering about the so called 'iron bar' murders... I would say they must have changed their mode of operations.

David was attacked inside his house. And, it was broad day light. Matter of fact it was early afternoon.

These things are confused. i know. And, the police does not help because they are simply not interested enough, or equiped well enough to do any through investigation.

I dont know whether I will ever be satisfied with the results of any investigation... but, i would rubish any claims and links to the 'iron bar' murders.

Simply being in the same district is not enough. David was attacked in day time, unlike most, if not all victims of the iron bar killings.

Creutz said...

My condolences.

This reminds us in more liberal countries, that the fight for our rights is not over, until it is over for us all, everywhere.

You brave, brave people!


F Young said...

Hi gug:

I'm very sorry to hear about David Kato's murder. I can't imagine how saddening, frightening and infuriating it must be for LGBT's in Uganda, especially for his friends and colleagues.

The fact that some of those who grieve must go on as if nothing happened must make it even worse for them. Their helplessness and inability to talk about this must be very stressful.

I have a couple of questions. The house where he was murdered, had its address ben published in the tabloids? How can outsiders donate to Ugandan LGBT activists generally, and specifically to those who must make the funeral arrangements?

Take care, and be careful.

F Young

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing how you feel so beautifully, I don't know you and I didn't know David, but I just wanted to send my condolences and my solidarity. Please take care, you are in my thoughts in England.

Anonymous said...

I am moved....devotion and friendship. I do hope as time goes by the memories will stop hurting and become sweet. As they should.

Anonymous said...

Oh God.

Thanks for the wonderful tribute. He was a great man (though no saint!). I'm heartbroken.

Deeply grieving the loss of David and praying for all the activists in Uganda and everyone who is LGBT. May God keep you safe.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I´m so far. In Mexico city and I just knew the terrible situation that you guys live there.

I read about David and I feel really sad. English is not my languaje so I can not express in words what I feel, and how much I admire you all, who fight and resist for freedom and dignity.

Receive hughs and blessing, and share it with gays-brothers and sisters in Uganda.


Maricarmen, from Mexico.

Anonymous said...

Condolences to you all; may he rest in peace, and may you be strengthened to continue to resist.
In solidarity.

Ophelia Benson said...

Oh god I'm so sorry. Tearing up like mad, even though I didn't know him...but he sounds like a wonderful guy.

Be safe, be well. In solidarity.

Ophelia Benson
Butterflies and Wheels

Paul Rippey said...

My sympathy and solidarity to all Ugandans who stand for basic human rights, from an American friend.

Paul Rippey

Paul said...

My deepest condolences to you, and thank you for your balanced and engaging tribute.

Karen said...

My condolences to you. This is so sad.

Matty Smith said...

Love and condolences from a gay New Zealander. David was clearly an incredibly brave soul.

Missy Justice said...

I just got the news a few hours ago and it's so upsetting for me as a Ugandan American. I didn't grow up there but still I feel a connection to Uganda and it hurts that the country that birthed my parents would deny me the right to love my woman if I were to bring her there with me. It's frightening and it's unacceptable and I don't know what can be done to fix it but I'd very much like to be a part of any efforts to remedy this terrible situation. I know that it is impossible to change the feelings of these people but can we at least make it so they can't harm us and even KILL us? Rest in peace Mr. Kato.

Darksmiles said...

RIP David. Condolences from America. I don't know what else to say - I'm so angry and sad all at the same time.

Edwin Black said...

In London UK, the media focusses on Andy Gray (an insignificant sports pundit) who made a derogatory and sexist remark about a woman. There's uproar! Meanwhile: a gay man, David Kato, is murdered in Uganda. If these are the values of liberal western society whereby the media spotlght ignores human tradgedy then I want no part of it. It's totally skewed.

GUG, I'm really sorry for what happened to your school mate David and it is an outrageous thing to occur in this so-called enlightened age. I was showng your blog to my poet friend Roger Taber who was equally shocked and saddened. I only hope that you don't dispair and find courage.

I stand by what I said in my blog regarding Giles Muhame. He is a very dangerous individual and there is now blood on his hands. I wonder how this man sleeps at night in the knowledge that he has helped to facilitate murder.

If God exists, I only hope he/she has the compassion and mercy to forgive Giles Muhame for his inhumanity.

Anonymous said...

I am so in shock as well. RIP David Kato

Anonymous said...

My condolences to you and all gay people in Uganda. Standing with you in solidarity, from a gay Filipino in Cambodia.

alex said...

my thoughts are with you & your community during this home. i'm wishing you safety. RIP David

Ugandan girl said...

I had never met the man, but i heard about him so many times more among friends than enemies and today i even hear about him more than ever. As much as others are quick to judge, David lived his life the best he could be and taught many about acceptance, understanding and above all love.

May his soul rest in eternal peace.

Anonymous said...

it shock to many of you and it is real apit but one should not forge stories of their making that he was killed because he was guy that is awrong speculation of people's mi side i belive it was these iron bar men bse they are mostly allocated in that area were he has been staying or his partner killed him as neighbours claims.
even if am shocked but this act should not be practiced its against our law and the Bible.David may God for give ur soul for going against his lawRIP

Edwin Black said...

Anonymous..sorry, but you're talking a load of bollocks.

Anonymous said...

DAVID LIVED HIS LIFE. He will be remembered by all. For those who speak of the bible, "thou shall not kill" is a commandment. We activist from the Caribbean who ha dthe pleasure of meeting, seeing or even hearing of David Kato was blessing cause he was an extraordinary man.
Our love and condolences form the Caribbean

Nyanja. E said...

My condolences to you. This is so horrible,we shall always remember you my dear.We thank you for being there for us. Rest in peace my dear.

Geoff Coupe said...

It comes as no surprise, but it's shocking all the same. For those of us safe in countries where human rights extend to GLBT folk, it is difficult to appreciate the full extent of what you must be going through. Keep strong.

LuLu McPharlin said...

My heart is hurting as I think about your situation there. When I read this story in the NY Times, I was shocked to hear about the attitudes toward homosexuality and pending legislation, and so very sad to see this kind of hatred sparked in the name of Christianity. It sounds like David was a very strong and valiant person.
Much love to you and yours,
Linda from U.S.

Anonymous said...

Very sad ending for a brave man.David just wanted his freedom and peaceful life,to do what he did in a homophobic country asks for a great amount of strength and courage, he will never be forgotten.May he rest in peace and for the gay community and for those who love David may God give u the strength and healing through this difficult time.

muhammadrazzaq said...

England kept themselves alive in the one-day series against Australia in Adelaide, winning by 21 runs to stay in with a chance of winning the series.

Anonymous said...

i wish i had the courage like him.but well, i am too shy to tell anyone that i am naturally gay.

Hélder António said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hélder António said...

Hi, gug.

You, your mate & all kuchus of Uganda have my deepest sympathies on the cruel death of David Kato Kisule.

Here is my post about David, his terrible murder and homophobia in your country:

Best wishes, gug.

gayuganda said...

Thanks all of you, for your comments, strength of love to us all. We thank you.

Unknown said...

I am a pacifist, but I'm tempted to say that to prevent this sort of outrage from continuing, you fellows might want to take such strong measures to protect yourselves, as individuals and as a group, that no fool would even think of attacking you.

SEO Company said...

I know that Christians in general who have difficulty hearing what Maher said that because A.) He's Bill Maher and B.) The majority of Christians will not be able to hear what he said without getting a little to the defensive. I was putting Christians in the eye ... and their own material.

Anonymous said...

Homosexuality is as natural as heterosexuality when will people learn.
RIP David Kato. He was on Dutch tele today in the documentary the sunny side of sex.

Anonymous said...

David RIP but remember wat u were doing on this earth was against the bible!!

Muhammad Ejaz said...

Thank you for sharing this insightful article about David Kato Kisule. It's crucial to remember and honor the voices of activists like him. On another note, I've been researching budget-friendly mobile phones lately, and I appreciate any recommendations or insights on this topic. Keep up the great work with your blog!

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