The Right to HATE Speech.
The right to speech is important. We are human and varied.
And, I am a gay African. On the continent, there are quite a number of countries and places where being gay is not something you can talk about openly. In my lovely Uganda, speaking positively about sexuality other than heterosexuality is thought to be ‘promotion of homosexuality’, and the deities help you if you dare do that in the country.
But, there is speech, and there is Hate speech. I don’t even want to term it ‘free’ speech. Because it is speech that is supposedly ‘innocent’ but is used to harm and bind and leads to acts of hatred.
Remember the Interahamwe in Rwanda in the early 1990s? The majority Hutu population incited and encouraged to go out and ‘kill the cockroaches’. And, they did. More than a million people perishing, killed by their own neighbours in a sanctioned mass madness.
Of Arizona in the US…, land of ‘unfettered speech.
His speech qualifies as hate speech. And, in his country, with its checks and balances, he can and does air it. When one, in the name of religion, lauds the massacre of more than 50 of his country-mates (Orlando nightclub) …., well, what defines the difference between love and hate?
But, like quiet a lot of others like him, in the name of religion, and of freedom of speech, he seeks to spread his ideas to other countries.
Britain said no. Not even to transit there.
Africa has been a very healthy ground for American evangelists. And Mr Anderson was due a tour, to South Africa. They also said no, thanks. Why? Because, in spite of the right to freedom of speech and of religion, there are problems when you incite to kill in the name of those freedoms.
I should know. The Ugandan ‘Anti-Homosexuality’ bill/Act was crafted after such an evangelical outreach by one Scott Lively.
Mr Anderson entered Botswana, and, he did get onto a radio station…., and taught how his scriptures preached death to homosexuals.
A few years ago, these events would have been impossible to imagine. I mean, when Scott Lively came to Uganda for his ‘Anti-Homosexuality Crusade’, he had conferences in Kampala, addressed members of parliament. And, he was heard and honoured.
I salute the South African Government Minister Malusi Gigaba and the South African Human Rights activists. Because they flagged the visit, and the Minister acted.
I salute President Ian Khama of Botswana, who, on hearing Anderson calling for the killing of Gay Batswana quickly bundled him out.
Gay rights in Africa have indeed come a long way. We still have a very long way to go.
But when our brothers and sisters in authority dare to hold our best at heart instead of those who preach hate’s right to preach….,
then, and only then, is there true movement towards Gay Liberty in Africa.
Am pretty sure Anderson would be welcomed in Uganda with a red carpet and would be invited to parliament and to see the Ugandan president.
And, because of that striking contrast, I salute South Africa and Botswana.