Monday, November 2, 2009

Implausible Deniability

Kenya, a country where homosexuality is a criminal offence and gay people are called "un-African" and "a disease imported from the West" is about to launch a census of gay people in the country. Is this really to fight HIV, or are there more sinister forces at work?

Supposedly this initiative is intended to curb the rampant HIV infections, made much worse by illogical and un-scientific religion-based "abstinence only" education policies which only serve to keep rural people ignorant and also to force sexual activity underground, regardless of sexual orientation.

Homosexuality is categorized as a crime carrying a penalty of 14 years imprisonment in Kenya. Sounds to me like a good way to purge gay folks from society - hold a census so you know where to find them and then cart them off somewhere to a gulag. I'm surprised the nice folks in Uganda didn't think of that yet, but hey, they are neighbors, so perhaps they are talking about these things?

They call it a "census" - which will result in a list of all GLBTI people in Kenya - and they seem dependent on people "reporting their friends" - in a country where simply being gay can result in a 14 year jail term. Yes, I would call it sinister.

What makes it all the more interesting is if you examine the extent that foreign evangelical groups have infiltrated African culture. Groups such as "Focus on the Family" have a presence in these countries, as do African Enterprise and good old Frontline Fellowship. Right wing evangelicals have been pushing an anti-gay policy coupled with slanderous and dehumanizing propaganda for decades now - it is bound to boil over sooner or later.

What makes me so mad is the West says nothing, does nothing. They did nothing for the gays in Zim, they did nothing for the gays in Jamaica or Iran, or Iraq - why would they bother in the case of Uganda? We are the group everybody seems to find convenient to despise, to sacrifice and to give up to whatever fate befalls us. Is there no justice for us?

I would like to see more attention focused on countries such as Iran where gay people are murdered by the state for their sexuality; Iraq, where an unrecognized genocide rages at the hands of militia; Jamaica, where GLBTI people are being murdered piecemeal and Uganda, where GLBTI people are a terrified minority facing untold horrors at the hands of a government-sponsored tyranny. Of course, there are loads of other countries where all seems quiet, but the personal liberty required to be ourselves is denied none the less.

I am not suggesting countries take up arms against such states, but I am suggesting that where international laws protecting human rights are lacking they be implemented or strengthened; and where they are not being enforced they be renewed. Membership and benefits to membership of world bodies such as the UN, EU and AU should be dependant on adherence to such laws.

If human rights are neither safe nor recognized, then what do such groups have to offer?

The world stood against Apartheid and isolated South Africa politically, socially and economically for close on 30 years - are GLBTI lives not as precious as those they fought to save and protect?

All we can do is warn the world, and point out the obvious, but if they won't listen and a wave of genocide and other assorted crimes against humanity engulfs us, they will claim they "never saw it coming" and "who knew?".

We did.

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