There’s a story I know. It’s about the earth and how it floats in space on the back of a turtle. I’ve heard this story many times, and each time someone tells the story, it changes. Sometimes the change is simply in the voice of the storyteller. Sometimes the change is in the details. Sometimes in the order of events. Other time’s it’s the dialogue or the response of the audience. But in all the telling of the tellers, the world never leaves the turtle’s back. And the turtle never swims away…

[The truth about stories: a Native Narrative]

There’s other hadithi I know, like how I discovered this series of stories a few days ago, that reminded me that around dis time last year, a manifesto of revolushunary intent was quite magically (re)born through the collective wisdom of warrior kings and queens, archived in dis world wide web that we find ourselves meeting in again en again, en practised in many villages en urban spaces..

These articles made me so happy, not because of why they were written (in direct response to the African Commission for Peoples and Human Rights denying ‘observer’ status to the Coalition of African Lesbians) or their content per se, but quite simply because there were so many of them (TEN!) coming from a place of (anti-oppressive) solidarity, which is where the I,Sista.In.Solidarity manifesto came from……

These articles triggered me to reflect much more on the tasks we have of harnessing the power of our intersecting interests and resources.

 It made me so happy to consider that it was inevitable that I would read these articles, coz I have to admit to stalking Pambazuka news for the latest on the shifting boundaries of our social movements…the bigger point is, I’m ever more grateful for bredrin en dadas around the world, and significantly, on the continent, who are speaking BACK and working on the necessary elements of truth, justice and peace, with big love.

Check these stories out, and if you are, like me, in the diaspora, consider how you/we could share more resources with our bredrin and dadas on the continent, what strengths can we harness over here to build solidarity not only with LGBTI movements in Afrika, but all progressive social movements? Where do we position ourselves as allies?

Consider what it means as we commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, for queer & trans women in Afrika, for the indigenus women & trans folk of Turtle Island….

Recently Indian writer and activist, Arundhati Roy spoke of the Indian state:

‘Pity the nation that has to silence its writers for speaking their minds. Pity the nation that needs to jail those who ask for justice, while communal killers, mass murderers, corporate scamsters, looters, rapists, and those who prey on the poorest of the poor, roam free.’

We say pity that 53 African nation states – and we really need to emphasise this because a few people are deciding about the validity of our lives – feel they have to silence the voices of their innocent citizens who ask for justice and the rights shared by their sisters and brothers, fathers and mothers while ‘communal killers, mass murderers, corporate and political scamsters, looters, rapists, and those who prey on the poorest of the poor, roam free’!
………..

  1. The day the African commission disavowed humanity  Fikile Vilakazi and Sibongile Ndashe

http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/68947

2.  African commission should reconsider decision on Coalition of African Lesbians

http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/68946

3. The fallacy of human rights at the African Commission

http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/68949

4.    Are we not human?

http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/68955

5. If not, why not?   Doublespeak  on LGBTI rights at the African Commission

http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/68956

6. Face Down   

http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/68948

 7. Sexual orientation under the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights

http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/68953

8. Where can we find refuge and justice?

http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/68957

9. Lesbians can no longer be silent  Rose Wanjiku

http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/68958

10.   Let this group find comfort and safety here  Asha Ramgobin

Statement at the 48th Session of the African Commission on Human And Peoples’ Rights

http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/68960

  
[BROUGHT TO YOU BY PAMBAZUKA NEWS]

 

 ase……

 

Granny Boots presents the PROTEST BAHATI! party –

@issue: launch of Sistas in Solidarity (SIS)

@ issue: 15th October, 2009

 

FOR immediate PRESS RELEASE:            

Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG)  Condemn the tabled anti-homosexuality bill

 

As a network of human rights activists, working in the areas of sexual rights as well as other human rights issues, we write to urge you to oppose a repressive bill which was tabled in Parliament of Uganda on 14th October 2009.

This bill is a blow to the steady progress of democracy in Uganda. It proposes criminalization of advocacy and support for the rights of homosexual Ugandans.  It also prohibits any public discussion or expression of gay and lesbian lives and any organizing around sexual orientation.  In doing so, it violates the basic rights to freedom of expression, conscience, association, and assembly, as well as internationally recognized protections against discrimination.   The proposed bill intention is to divide and discriminate against the Ugandan homosexual population, and exclude them from participation in public life, which goes against the inclusive spirit necessary for our economic as well as political development. Its spirit is profoundly undemocratic and un-African.

Over the recent months increased campaigns of violence have gone uncontrolled. The violence directed at Homosexual Ugandans has resulted in the unwarranted arrests of many people; there are eight ongoing cases in various courts all over Uganda of which four accused persons are unable to meet the harsh bail conditions set against them.  These acts of violence have now resulted in the deaths of several homosexual people, such as Brian Pande at Mbale Hospital as he awaited trial. This bill aggravates stigma and hatred; and renders all promised protections enshrined in the constitution for all Ugandan citizens void.

 Religious leaders and policy makers have also exhibited very hostile attitudes towards otherwise peace keeping homosexual Ugandans by publicizing slanderous and hateful messages in the media, creating serious security concerns for the lives of SMUG network members

Uganda has repeatedly pledged to defend these fundamental freedoms in the Constitution; it has also signed treaties binding it to respect international human rights law and standards, including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.  As part of the community of nations forming sexual minorities we urge Ugandan parliamentarians and government to continue to respect these principles and reject this bill, which establishes a new and totally undemocratic level of policing private life. SMUG condemns both of these positions as undemocratic and unacceptable.  

These positions will further set a dangerous precedent and send a signal that any Ugandan’s privacy is unguaranteed -that all of our civil society could be put under attack.     If this bill is passed into law, it will clearly endanger the work of all human rights defenders and members of civil society in Uganda.

 This proposed legislation violates Uganda’s most basic obligations to the rights, and well-being, of its people. By signing international treaties and entering the international community, the Ugandan government has undertaken the obligation to promote and protect the human rights of its population, without discrimination on any grounds. As the Sexual Minorities in Uganda, we urge you to act on that obligation, and to further the growth of our democracy.  Kindly vote against this bill.

ISSUED BY

Sexual Minorities Uganda – SMUG

Sexual Minorities Uganda – SMUG is a network of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people’s organizations based in Uganda.

 

For further details, contact:

Frank Mugisha

Sexual Minorities Uganda – SMUG

Email:fmugisha@sexualminoritiesuganda.org

Tel: +256772616062

 

David Kato

Sexual Minorities Uganda – SMUG

Email: advocacy@sexualminoritiesuganda.org

Tel: +256773104971

 

Valentine Kalende

Freedom and Roam Uganda – FARUG

Email: vkalende@farug.org

Tel: +256752324249

I’LL STOP FUCKING SISTAS WHEN YOU STOP SLEEPING WITH RIGHT WING “CHRISTIAN” FUNDAMENTALISTS!

 

to the rest of the world.

did you hear the latest?

the bomb that went off at that mosque, in Pakistan earlier this morning?

 

en a couple of days ago… that anti homosexuality bill, the one that was coming for many moons now,

 that got tabled in the parliament of Uganda, on Wednesday October 14th.  Have you heard about Bill 18?

 

we’d like to get your feedback.

I uploaded the bill onto the a is for pages….read it (again)

 

and no! spammers, or anyone confused by the brashness and vulgarity….this post does not depict (live) sex acts or images.

 

(although I wish it did, I would really rather be watching good porn than writing about how my sistren and bredrin have had a witch hunt called on them, this persecution is not new. but it’s enough of it already. time’s up! as another warrior sista said)

 

Wathint abafazi!
Wathint` imbokodo uzo kufa!

 

read the lines of the bill, and, then read between the lines. Who wrote those words? What is the context? what are the real issues at play?

Feefifofum, wethinks we smell a U.S fundamentalist Christian. They are after all one of the most likely suspects.

We propose that Family Life Network issues an official retraction to Obama en the people of Uganda, because they are the ones that have paid for this bill. these are their ideologies. take your “foreign”-ness, en we don’t want your money.

it is  YOU PEOPLE,  who are the PROBLEM.

Do you remember that anti-gay conference from March 5-8 that they organised? do you remember all that backlash, en the subsequent arrests and death(s)? Do you remember George/ina? and do you remember when Burundi introduced similar laws? It was jus’ a few moons ago……..google it…we propose a class action suit by all queers & trannies in the States against the Family Life Network. they are the ones that masterminded this bill. that is their brand of christianity.

George/ina was not just a harbinger of the heightened backlash to queer/trans organising, but a symptom en consequence of the unsupportive climate for queer/trans rights. Google the stories. There are many more incidents we can share with you…..

 about the assaults en murders of queer & trans people in East Afrika. unfortunately, many of those very people who’ve been abused are also, often, too scared of the backlash, to advocate for our full human rights. it’s a vicious cycle.

This time it’d be much worse, in my view this is the “white” ages, the Victorian & McCarthy era all rolled into one dali-esque nightmare of extreme wight wing ideologies. the logical extension of imperialist ideology.

 because, this time,  even activists will lose the precious few rights we have to advocate en organise for queer/trans rights.  This shit is for real……..

There will be more imposed silence. And the people who can, will run away.

En there’ll be many more who’ll stay…..en then what?

At some point we have to question how long we can sanction state sponsored homophobia. en we have to address the big elephant in the room. neo-colonialism…….

we propose that this is one of those times when the (divided) LEFT in Ifrica, and throughout the diaspora, should have a massive orgy. seriously! and we’ll refute the bill based on just one argument. that these laws are not our own. and those identities they explicate are not indigenous. we have the evidence. we have U people. and, most importantly, we have the TRUTH.

OUR bias should be made clear. i’m writing with the assumption that we’re organising in solidarity with the queer/trans activists and communities of Uganda. I would like to pretend that this is all a hoax. a really bad joke. but that’s the shit folks.

we ain’t gonna agonise too much though, been getting organised for a long time now…..soobax

en there’s many of us people…

and we’re not going to tolerate complacency en wilful ignorance, anymore…..

 

This post is in protest of Bill 18.

These views are (not)  my own.

these words are not supposed to be taken as endorsed by wordpress or any organisation in particular.

that should be a given.

 

but I warn you, there are many people behind these words.

(there are many sistas en brothas working on solidarity.

why jus’ yesterday a group of (mostly) sistas,  talked and organised in response to this very bill.

This post is jus’ a prelude to a sustained campaign….a check in, a call to arms)

 

Wathint abafazi!
Wathint` imbokodo uzo kufa!

that is what we have to say in response to your dividing and oppressive tactics

 we will not stand for this blatant violation of all our rights.

the bill has WESTERN. CONSTRUCTION. Emblazoned.

 

The arguments are imported.

paid for en sealed with the blood of our people.

 

the origins of those (very/specific)  laws you’re upholding are imperialist.

 

Infact the mama of these sodomy laws,

first tried out, (as a colonial/imperialist project) by the British in India,

jus got repealed a few days after it was official that Uganda was working on tabling this very bill.

Thursday July 2nd.

 

that’s a fact.

 

dear bahati,

your weak arguments wouldn’t hold up in any (true) court of law.

your claims are bogus.

your intentions are dubious.

and that private members bill is

again, in full violation of  (global) human rights,

en, of our rights as Afrikan ctizens.

 

it’s simple as that.

 

we’re just ordinary people, and you’re using all a dis “foreign” terms to describe us.

 

homosexual? yes, i know many. but i’m not one. i still want the right to promote OUR rights.

lesbian? not for me anymore. but I don’t want you to tell people to (curative) rape en murder my sistas.

bisexual?  that’s SOOO GAY!

 

get over the binaries already. I am (much more than) a  wo/m/yn.

i prefer two spirited. or try mukhanatun, khanith or sangoma.

to each one their own, and we’re  adamant about all our rights in this “rainbow soup” of identities.

 

and bahati, while you’re on that pot of poison you’re cooking for  LGB,  let us also introduce you to T & I…

I know you don’t much like their transgressions either, let’s burn en kill us all

because..tell us bahati, who told you all these facts about US? who told you so?

 

we don’t need another stonewall. leave that to “a people’s hirstory of the U.S”

what we need is to stop being exploited in this fight for power.

 

we need to reclaim our (indigenous) afrikan identities. need to know our true cultures.

because we are INDIGENus. and this ‘ting we do’ is not new.

 

it is also true that we need allies.

we need you (en I).

we’re recruiting…(sistas in solidarity, en, brothas in solidarity, protesting this anti-homosexuality bill on the grounds of afrikan liberation.)

 

big brother.

Obama..

you jus’  waxed poetically political about LGBT  rights at the fundraiser gala dinner hosted by the Human Rights Campaign.

Saturday October 11.

that’s a fact. 

 

dear obama, i throw you the challenge. pay attention.

we are U people.

 

you know…..Kogello is historically connected with Uganda. all us Afrikans are.

you should do something more about your apparent support for queer/trans rights.

 

here’s something else to add on to your list……publicly denounce Bill 18! and demand an apology from Family Life Network.

we’re taking them to task in their meddling and corruption of our affairs.

we want them banned from Uganda.

 

here, some thing else for you add to that list, another chance

to actually do something (more) to deserve that prize.

 

this one won’t even take that much.

en it’s your country’s mess too. it is  OUR  problem.

 as it’s American citizens who were involved in organising that anti-gay conference in March, actually they were instrumental in it’s convening. It’s public knowledge.

you need to speak truth to power. and actually do something about some of your promises. but we ain’t gonna hold our breath.

 

En  we’re not going to wait for our sistren en bredrin to die in response.

And  we really don’t want to be fighting you. 

our fight is not (just) with our people, it is with all oppressors.

 

In our opinion, in this, as with many other, matter/s, QPOC must unite.

 

Afrika must unite!

 

For you see we got our enemies confused, en we’re distracted en scattered.

that’s all we’re saying.

 

But wait, there’s the hope to express (still)

we wish parliament instead would table a bill on criminalising capitalism and neo colonialism with such conviction and ease.

know thy self. en know thine enemy.

WE are (not) the problem.

 

This post is in solidarity with the peoples of Uganda, in solidarity with queer/trans Afrikans everywhere.

 

This post is the logical response to a neo-colonial regime that takes on western constructions of homophobia in the persecution of it’s own people.

 

IT’S BEEN SAID BEFORE,

en it’s worth repeating….

(it’s important to speak truth. to power)

 

we  will be the one of the first to agree that…. 

these identities, homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, sodomite, transsexual, transgender….those are all just (considered) english words, birthed in particular contexts.

lesbian is just another word for  that island of lesbos. the poet sappho.

en, queer, is just reclaimed language. transformed through time with imperialism, globalisation en resistance.

 those are terms we’ve used to describe ourselves, and that have been thrust upon us

 

All identities carry political meaning. They are provisional.

And they’re being used in deadly ways in this bill.

 

Read through all the words, and you got (say it with us now),

 the western construction of homophobia.

that’s the (bigger) point and we’re sticking with it.

 

It’s illogical, to use the (very) western constructs that shape your understanding  of the abominations and perversions inherent in “homosexuality”,  to uphold the official insistence that WE are alien to our lands.

which is it? the foreign presumption of our need to be wiped out from existence, or our (apparent) non-existence in continental afrikan discourse? (en the intense modern need to therefore safeguard the peace of “straight” people. your position, dear bahati, is ultimately contradictory. and that is also a fact.

we know this.  I/we exist. en therefore….

I/we know many others who do too….

 

and we know that, to put it concisely, this  bill is  nothing more than bull shit.

We are working on zero tolerance for such corruption, lies, en blatant exploitation of our precious resources.

 

I/we can say that, because I/we are not in Uganda.

And I/we are  saying it, as queer/trans Afrikan activists, and  QPOC IN SOLIDARITY.

because I/WE are worried about the consequences for comrades en family of ours.

those in kampala and throughout Uganda.

 

because that is ME, that you are targeting.

 but it’s not, because I was one of those who ran away.

I had to….for my own safety, survival and wellbeing.

 

This protest is personal as our lives and work. 

we’re worried about the ripple effect for queer/trans Afrikans on the continent.

in the diaspora(s)…

 

 we are organising ourselves,

in the spirit of working on our own unity first.

 

 because if we don’t take up this fight,

who will?

 

so I’ll  pass some ideas that sistas gave me yesterday..there are many things we can do…

learn more about the situation. Talk about it with others. Talk to your mp. Write to Harper. Jack Layton. Michael Ignatieff. Get on radio. Write those op-eds on your blog, to theToronto Star, to Now…..do something more…

Roll those boycotts. Ban all Ugandan officials from travelling to Canada. And expedite the process for Ugandan refuges, if the worst happens. Get Egale to officially pay for all a dis, and have queer/trans afrikans in Canda lead the campaign. Work in solidarity with groups in Uganda.

(The official contacts in Uganda are SMUG &  Freedom & Roam Uganda. The numbers are in the previous post)

Start where you are.

en for our comrades en allies…stay tuned for the launch of the pan-afrikan (queer/trans) activist listserv.

 

We’ll continue building solidarity in more focused spaces. And we’ll work on sharing resources.

 Because it’s not just about this bill.

the bigger point is to re/build healthy, loving, sustaining and sustainable communities.

Afrika Huru!

 

It’s not a secret. Spread the word. We’re recruiting.

We’re working on our own petitions, and we’re planning ahead…

 

We’re  

SISTAS.in.SOLIDARITY.

(another name for the working group) 

with Uganda. and all (u) afrikan people