This belongs to the cartegory 'While you were sleeping'....
For various reasons, I have not been able to blog. But, am alarmed.
Friend of mine, an anglican, comes back from church this morning, with a curious tale. Had a visitor in church this Sunday morning. Dude was given 30 minutes to give a message. The message? The Anti-Homosexuality bill should become law in Uganda.
Apparently, when the topic became clear, the speaker was cut off... after five minutes. But, he was not stopped from handing out badges and fliers demanding that the anti-Homosexuality bill is debated in the parliament, and now. That it becomes law.
Yes, while we were asleep, a huge anti-gay campaign in happening.
The anti-gay pastors handed a 2Million signature petition to parliament just this week? Yes, they did. And, Pastor Martin 'eat da poo poo' Ssempa has been in parliament with slide shows. Not of gay porn, but, apparently to showcase the fact that the bill will help in preventing the spread of HIV. Because it is going to stop homosexuality in Uganda.
No. I am not kidding you.
And, speakers are fanning out all over the country. Schools. FM stations. And TVs.
What is happening?
That infamous bill was presented in this parliament. The international reaction was strong, and, it led to the government withdrawing support for the bill.
Now, elections for a new parliament happened. And, Bahati would have to present the bill again, in the next parliament, if it lapses in this parliament.
So, Bahati and co are doing a campaign. Pressure the outgoing parliament to make the bill law.
And, they are stirring up lots of dust. And, they have the strength of numbers.
This parliament has until May to conclude its business.
Should I be worried?
Well, the bill demands the death penalty for such as me. Serial offenders. Of course, life imprisonment when caught on a first offence. And, of course, this blog is a promotion of homosexuality. Which the bill criminalises.
They are telling the usual lies on FM stations and the media. We are recruiting. 800K UGX per recruit, apparently. Where is that money coming from? That we spread HIV. That we are recruiting in schools, etc. The usual effect of that is to stir up the anti-gay feeling. Of course, we gays are to blame for it.
But, rubbish the lies of us having bundles of money. Where is the money coming from for this apparently well coordinated, huge campaign? The anti-Homo campaign?
While we were sleeping.....!
Oh, God!!! Gug, thanks for keeping those of us in the international community aware of what is going on. It is too easy for us to fall asleep, and I appreciate your wake up call. I'll be sharing this post.
Oh Gug, I'm so sorry. :(
I spent most of yesterday pouring over the news of the Walk to Work protest and wrote it up for the Digital Journal here, "Tear gas and arrests: Birth of a Ugandan civil rights movement?"
I'm wondering whether the LGBT rights community there talks to this civil rights and social justice community now protesting food and fuel prices. Here in the U.S., the gay rights movement followed the American Civil Rights Movement for racial equality, and transgenders are still struggling to be wholly accepted within it, and to win the same legal protections.
I know that Besigye came out against the Bahati Bill, and said that Ugandans had more important things to worry about, and the UPC came out against it openly as well, though Olara Otunnu may not have because of all the rumors that he's gay.
Norbert Mao's people told me he also thought it was a big distraction, but he never made a formal statement that I know of.
Do you talk to one another? Do they perhaps, despite the rationality and support they have leant, have to consider you as a potential liability as they try to speak to a mass audience? Or are both communities just too besieged to dialogue much with each other?
Please write to me; I am very interested. I have been trying to understand the reactions to all this both here and there for a long time.
I would really like to interview you about this---by writing, question and answer-- since you don't want to identify yourself by your voice or your real name. So many know you by your writing now that no one would imagine I'd made you up.
Your blog is the first I've ever followed as an ongoing work of art as well as social commentary.
P.S. re David Kato: My impression, from video available on the Web, is that he was a small man, probably no taller than I am, 5'5", of slight build, and 47 years old. The young man said to have killed him with hammer blows to the head, because. he said, David Kato was trying to force him to have sex, was less than half his age, in his early 20s, and though I couldn't tell how tall he was, looked perfectly healthy.
So the suggestion that David Kato could have been even attempting to rape him seemed unbelievable on its face, but I haven't read anything pointing that out.
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