Dear  be/loved peeps…..

 How do we harvest the resources we have to share with our communities, across time and spaces? How do we harness the powah! of the all those intersections of our diversity to mobilise continental Afrikans and those in the diaspora in re-constitutional-i- sing our political and social systems to sustain not only all Afrikan people’s liberation, but all our living relatives?

[like real tox we all know many gifted en loving folks in our communities that are hungry to gain more balance, grounding en wellbeing while serving the frontlines in their hoods, many of us have be/come familiar with weariness en ‘thick’ skins, with living ‘cheque’ to ‘check’, en sacrificing ‘personal’ time for collective sowing, planting en harvesting bounties that shrink en swell according to imperialist currencies and the commitment of warriors….truthIS  there’s always a crisis in the horizon..day before yesterday it was the prime minister spewing hatred in a call to arrest gays and lesbians, and those hours of panic en fear, a few weeks ago it was the (slow) burning of witches, every day it’s the po’ and indigenus people’s struggle]

[http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/Kenyanews/Arrest-gays,-Kenyan-PM-orders-10670.html]

Real tox: who en where are the ones who are willing to harvest the powah! of our love for Afrika(ns) to rebuild sustaining and sustainable united villages, cities en states of Afreeka that hold us ALL safely? are the questions too massive to reason en organise through, outside of OUR  social movements? or are they too specific? what is the appropriate scale to work through on a small-ish blog on the world wide web? what are the right questions to galvanise each other to seek ourselves out and support our family en comrades mo?

in the (t)here en then en now, in solidarity with LGBTTIQ folks in Kenya, what creative sustained resistance and renewal can we magically craft and organise in response to the increasing backlash to Queer/trans communities in East Afrika?

Like that public call of hate for mo’ state-sanctioned homophobia, and quite explicitly for mass allegiance to our persecution…. that kinda shit gets people killed, and Dear Raila, he knows that very well, so today, en tomorrow en the moons en years after, it would be amazing and much needed to hear more voices calling for mo’ than a public retraction, en organise with more bodies to advocate for and serve queer/trans communties all over Afrika

coz this shit is Raila’s hateful call and Bahati’s Bill , Burundi and Rwanda, Nigeria and South Afrika, Ayiti and Jamaica,  it’s about 53 African nations (that technically really should be states) denying observer status to the Coalition of African Lesbians and upholding coloniser’s/foreign laws so shamelessly….

the bigger point is, dis solidarity ofcourse is much more than media campaigns or pointing fingers, it’s bout working collectively on sustaining ourselves en our growing movements, en harvesting all the wealth we do have…..hadithi kama

African women’s decade: strategic opportunities http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/69053

Ayiti: reclaiming sovereignty http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/69025

Western Sahara: the forgotten conflict

The Western Sahara conflict with Morocco is one of those almost forgotten conflicts. It is one that is an unbelievable 35 years old – and still the Moroccan government remains intransigent. A Moroccan About a World around him reports on recent uprising in one of the camps in Laayoune the main city in occupied Western Sahara. Prior to this King Mohammed VI had accused Algeria of human rights violations against Saharawis in Tindouf camps ignoring his country’s central part in why they are there in the first place.

‘The violence was triggered when a battalion-size security force descended on the camp in the early hours of Monday in an attempt to raze it and disperse its residents using tear gas and water cannons. The protests seeped into Laayoune and resulted in substantial material damage and loss of life as a group of the camp’s residents that an official Ministry of Interior statement described as wanted criminals and subversive agents clashed with the security forces. Black smoke bellowed over the city and debris littered its arteries. The number of people injured and killed could not yet be confirmed. According to the BBC, about seventy people have been injured and over ten have died.’…..read more @ http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/69060

na pia…..

What powah! does reclaiming indigenus knowledge en spirituality have for harvesting all those intersections of our diversity?

….not against flesh en blood

 Sister Outsider

check dis….

Mr Odinga on Sunday said that police should arrest anyone found engaging in such behaviours and take appropriate legal action against them.

“We will not tolerate such behaviours in the country. The constitution is very clear on this issue and men or women found engaging in homosexuality will not be spared,” Mr Odinga said.

Listen to Raila

“Any man found engaging in sexual activities with another man should be arrested. Even women found engaging in sexual activities will be arrested,” the premier warned.

Speaking at a public rally at the Kamukunji grounds in his Nairobi’s Kibera constituency on Sunday afternoon, the Prime Minister cited the recent population census results which put the ratio of men to women equal and wondered why people should engage in homosexuality.

“This [homosexual] kind of behaviours will not be tolerated in this country. Men or women found engaging in those acts deserve to be arrested and will be arrested,” he told the crowd.

He said leaders who were propagating rumours of same sex marriages in Kenya during campaigns for the new Constitution had failed miserably because Kenyans did not buy their propaganda.

“Those were lies from leaders who wanted to confuse Kenyans to reject the new law; the Constitution is very clear on that matter. It does not state anywhere that same sex marriage is legal in Kenya,” he added.

The Bill of Rights under chapter four of the new Constitution states that: “Every adult has the right to marry a person of the opposite sex, based on the free consent of the parties.”

A move by Uganda to introduce a Bill calling for long jail terms or death penalty in some cases of homosexuality received international condemnation, with US President Barack Obama describing it as “odious”.

He said: “But surely we can agree that it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are, whether it is here in the United States or… more extremely, in odious laws that are being proposed more recently in Uganda.”
But notwithstanding Obama’s remarks, homosexual acts are now illegal in Uganda and attracts jail terms of up to 14 years in prison.

Read more: http://www.capitalfm.co.ke/news/Kenyanews/Arrest-gays,-Kenyan-PM-orders-10670.html#ixzz16pge8BvV

[and that is the story of how Raila tried to score cheap points, and took another brutal blow to his leadership, going to show yet again, what he sealed in ink when he accepted his position as prime minister, that he is not the rightful leader of our beloved country Kenya, maybe the other Agwambo, but dis one here o…..he dun make too much war o, it’s time for him to go O, no? in the spirit of….]

Ubuntu

many possibilities……

eudy2a word from the blogger: I’m re/posting this because I think Patrick is talking about some important strategies…for the West. I’m not advocating for east afrikan queers & trannies to go out onto the streets and hold hands (jus yet) because I fear it’d be putting people in needless danger.

What I would strongly urge though is for queers & trannies in Canada, the U.K, the States….. to organise protests in solidarity with east afrikan communities. These past few weeks have been filled with backlash.

Uganda. Bill 18. Rwanda. Article 217. Kenya. 2 gay men were arrested in Mombasa & 2 lesbians were arrested in Kisumu… more on that in the following posts…

repost: Patrick Strudwick, The Guardian UK, Tuesday October 20th

I came out of the closet when I was 14, but rarely have I held another man’s hand in public. I’m a pragmatist. The feeling of cosy belonging might be delightful in theory, but as a gay person, it’s not that simple – it necessitates a constant risk assessment of one’s surroundings.

Which may explain why my hands are sweating. I’m standing outside The George and Dragon, a gay pub on east London‘s Hackney Road, waiting to meet a man who has agreed to walk hand in hand with me. You might think that these days people would barely notice. But things have changed. We’re in the midst of a new wave of anti-gay hate crimes: since April there has been a 14% rise nationwide in attacks on gay people. There were four homophobic murders in London last year; last week Ian Baynham died a fortnight after being attacked in Trafalgar Square. In summer mobs of youths besieged gay bars in east London. And, just a few metres from where I’m standing, a 21-year-old man was left paralysed last year after a gang stabbed him repeatedly. Gay people are getting scared. I’m scared.

The man I’m meeting is Dave Atkins, the mercifully tall and broad founder of A Day in Hand, an organisation dedicated to encouraging gay people to hold hands in public. “You have to go out and do it,” he booms. “It’s the only way things will change.”

He grabs my hand. We pass an elderly woman who stares straight ahead. Next come a couple in their 30s with two young children. They seem incomprehensibly absorbed in what their toddler is doing. A man saunters by. He clocks our clasped hands before looking away. Was that a hostile look?

“Let’s go up here,” I say, leading Dave into the Boundary estate where those mobs are rumoured to have come from. We pass a group of youths. They appear to find their iPhones more compelling than the sight of two interlocked homosexuals. At Whitechapel market a pair of bargain hunters glance first at us, down at our hands, and back to the two-for-ones.

Then something shocking happens. We turn into a quiet side street. Dave and I are engrossed in our conversation. Suddenly I jolt with the realisation that I have forgotten we are holding hands. “That’s the Holy Grail,” says Dave, “being so comfortable you don’t even think about it.”

We head into the West End and provoke nothing more than a cursory glance. Our final destination is Trafalgar Square. Last month, Ian Baynham, 62, was kicked to death here. There’s a din coming from somewhere – a man is on the first ridge of Nelson’s column preaching the message of the ‘Good Book’. “Let’s climb up next to him!” I cry. The sight of a preacher on Nelson’s column with two gay men holding hands next to him is starting to draw crowds. A lesbian couple spot us, scramble up and join our silent show of defiance. “The Lord will save you,” says the preacher. He didn’t save Ian Baynham, I think.

“I’m genuinely surprised,” I tell Dave afterwards as we say our goodbyes. “I was expecting at least some nasty comments.” “You see?” he replies, beaming.

But I know that today I was lucky; that at night things could have been different.

global human rights

  GALCK3THE GAY AND LESBIAN COALITION OF KENYA

October 18, 2009

RE: Solidarity with SEXUAL MINORITIES UGANDA in regards to Bill 18 – Anti Homosexuality Bill 2009

We, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer persons  of the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya, wish to show our support and solidarity with the LGBTIQ community of Uganda and Sexual Minorities Uganda as they face uncertainty following the tabling in Parliament of the Anti-Homosexuality bill no 18.on the 14th of October 2009. We note that this proposed legislation, if passed, will be a breach to the fundamental rights and freedoms of all LGBTIQ persons of Uganda.

Further, this bill seeks to control and dictate every Ugandan’s sexuality and gender expression by criminalizing consensual same sex relationships and self identities .The belief that homosexuality is unnatural and a threat to traditional family values is promoting false prejudices that target the LGBTI community and render them vulnerable to acts that are in violation of their rights as citizens, which in turn degrade the value and efforts put in achieving a democratic state of Uganda.

As Kenyans who risk facing the same legislative discrimination, considering the shared borders and legal jurisprudence of the East African community, we are pledging our infinite support and adding our voices to demand that the Ugandan parliament refrain from passing this bill into law. Additionally, we encourage the East African community to challenge these appalling acts directed towards minority communities and especially sexual minorities. We further condemn the justification of human rights violations in the name of morality and culture that go against the good will of all states that have signed and ratified the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

In light of the homophobic responses and reaction from the Ugandan government and its agencies and as an effort from the LGBTI community that raise awareness and challenge all forms of human rights violations perpetrated on the basis of one’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity (arbitrary arrests and detention, physical assault, emotional and mental assault, hate speeches and hate crimes ), we urge the government of Uganda to refrain from such acts and put in place mechanisms that address the issue of gender and sexual based violence against all Uganda citizens.

Regardless of our personal moral beliefs and values, our sexual orientation and gender identity we are standing up in solidarity with our Ugandan brothers and sisters to agitate for the respect for Democracy, the Constitution and its enshrined principles of human dignity, equality, freedom and justice for all.

In solidarity,                                                                                                                                                                    

Steering committee

For: Gay and lesbian coalition of Kenya

www.galck.org        

 For further information:

info@galck.org

poul85@gmail.com

+254 721 801 054

The Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya is a coalition of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) human rights organizations GALCK is registered as a trust (“Kenya Gay and Lesbian Trust”) and was established in May 2006.

GALCK is an umbrella organization and currently consists of five member organizations; “Minority Women in Action”, “Ishtar MSM”, “TOMIK”  “Gay Kenya” and “Transgender Education and Advocacy – TEA”. Additionally, there are four organizations mainly out of Nairobi whose membership is under consideration.

The vision of GALCK is a safe and enabling environment for LGBTI organizations and individuals in Kenya.

The mission is to promote recognition, acceptance and defend the interests and rights of LGBTI organizations and their members.

By Mongezi Mhlongo (BTM Senior Reporter)

RWANDA: As the Rwandan government sums up the process of reviewing that country’s draft penal code, the Civil Society Coalition on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people’s rights has expressed concerns about article 217 of the legislation which criminalises homosexual conduct.
 
This law which also seeks to bar any initiatives aiming to protect LGBTI rights has been strongly condemned by civil society groups in that country.

According to the Civil Society Coalition on LGBTI rights, a coalition formed to advocate for the removal of article 217 in the draft penal code, this section of the penal code is contradictory to the Rwandan Constitution and it is a violation of human rights.

The coalition also stated that article 217 is a “betrayal” of Rwanda’s recent history and the political drive of national unity, tolerance, inclusiveness and dialogue among the Rwandan citizens without discrimination.

Early this year, the parliament of Rwanda adopted Article 191 which states that any person who encourages or sensitises people of the same sex, to sexual relations or any sexual practices, shall be liable for a term of imprisonment ranging from five to ten years and a fine from 50 000 to 500 000 Francs.

Commenting about the Bill, Naome Ruzindana, Director of Horizon Community Association (HOCA) stated that LGBTI people are law abiding citizens who deserve peace and respect like any other Rwandan citizens.

“We feel very disappointed to be marginalized by our people, own country, state, society, community, civil society, stake holders, and our own families”, she said.

Meanwhile President Paul Kagame of Rwanda revealed plans to include a provision that would penalise homosexual conduct which appeared in Article 158 of the draft penal code of 2007 but was not passed into law.

Over the years Rwandan government has been mum about LGBTI issues, and the current bill comes as major blow for the LGBTI community in Rwanda.

By Nthateng Mhlambiso (BTM managing Editor)

aw59UGANDA – 16 October 2009: Frustrations are mounting among Ugandan gays and lesbians over the Anti-Homosexuality Bill tabled in Parliament of Uganda on Wednesday, prohibiting homosexual acts, distribution of gay related material, any public discussion or expression of gay and lesbian lives and any organizing around sexual orientation.

Sexual Minorities Uganda, an umbrella organisation of gay rights organisations has said that this “repressive” Bill is a blow to a “steady” progress of democracy in the country.

It stated that the Bill violates the basic rights to freedom of expression, conscience, association, and assembly, as well as internationally recognised protections against discrimination.

“its [the 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”, SMUG said in a statement.

SMUG revealed that increasing campaigns against gays and lesbians have led to severe violence resulting in many unwarranted arrests and several deaths of homosexual people.

I added “this bill aggravates stigma and hatred and renders all promised protections enshrined in the constitution for all Ugandan citizens void.”

Uganda has, according to SMUG, repeatedly pledged to defend these fundamental freedoms in the Constitutiom, has 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.”

“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”, SMUG said.

“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”, SMUG concluded.

REPOST:  spread this everywhere!

The Issue:

 pride africaThe Ugandan Parliament is now considering a homophobic law that would reaffirm penalties for homosexuality and criminalize the “promotion of homosexuality.” The Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009 targets lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Ugandans, their defenders and anyone else who fails to report them to the authorities whether they are inside or outside of Uganda. The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG) are calling for the swift dismissal of the bill and human rights protections for all Ugandans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

 

Background:

Uganda’s Penal Code Article 145a already criminalizes “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature” – a charge used to prosecute, persecute and blackmail LGBT people with the threat of life imprisonment. The new bill would specifically penalize homosexuality, using life imprisonment to punish anything from sexual stimulation to simply “touch[ing] another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality.” It also punishes “aggravated homosexuality” – including activity by “serial offenders” or those who are HIV positive – with the death penalty.

The bill criminalizes “promotion of homosexuality” in the form of funding and sponsoring LGBT organizations and broadcasting, publishing, or marketing materials on homosexuality and punishes these acts with a steep fine, 5-7 years of imprisonment, or both. Any person in authority who fails to report known violations of the law within 24 hours will also be subject to a significant fine and up to 3 years in prison – even when this means turning in their colleagues, family, or friends. More shocking, the bill claims jurisdiction over Ugandans who violate its provisions while outside of the country.

The bill effectively bans any kind of community or political organizing around non-heteronormative sexuality. It will lend itself to misapplication and abuse, and implicitly encourages persecution of LGBT people by private actors. HIV prevention activities in Uganda, which rely on an ability to talk frankly about sexuality and provide condoms and other safer-sex materials, will be seriously compromised. Women, sex workers, people living with AIDS, and other marginalized groups may also find their activities tracked and criminalized through this bill.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009 not only violates multiple protections guaranteed by the Constitution of Uganda, which ensures independence for human rights non-governmental organizations, but contravenes the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and other international human rights treaties to which Uganda is a party. This bill undermines Uganda’s commitment to the international human rights regime and threatens the basic human rights of all its citizens.

Join the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG) in calling for the swift dismissal of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009 and the protection of all Ugandans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

 

Contact:

 President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni
State House Nakasero

P.O. Box 24594
Kampala, Uganda
Tel: 256-41-343-311
Fax: 256-41-346-102
info@statehouse.go.ug

 Prime Minister Apollo Nsibambi
Post Office Building, Yusuf Lule Road

P.O. Box 341
Kampala, Uganda
Tel: 256-41-423-6252
Fax: 256-41-434-1139
ps@opm.go.ug

 Speaker of the Parliament Edward Ssekandi Kiwanuka
P.O. Box 7178, Parliamentary Avenue

Kampala, Uganda
Tel: 256-414-377-100
Fax: 256-414-231-296
speaker@parliament.go.ug

 Minister of Gender, Labour, and Social Affairs
Honorable Opio Gabriel

P.O. Box 1494
Kampala, Uganda
Tel: 256-41-510-732
ps@mglsd.go.ug

 Med Kaggwa, Chair of the Uganda Human Rights Commission
Plot 20/22/24 Buganda Road

P.O. Box 4929,
Kampala, Uganda
Tel: 256-414-348-007/8
Fax: 256-414-255-261
uhrc@uhrc.ug

 Directorate for Ethics and Integrity

P.O. Box 7142
Kampala, Uganda
Tel: 256-(0)41-430-1600
Fax: 256-(0)41-434-3177
info@dei.go.ug

 Mathisen Gørild
Chair of the Uganda Diplomatic Human Rights Working Groups

gorild.mathisen@mfa.nokampalawebcontact@state.gov

Send a copy to:

 Jerry P. Lanier, Ambassador to the Republic of Uganda
Embassy of the United States of America

P.O. Box 7007,
Kampala, Uganda
Tel: 256-414-259-791/2/3/5
Fax: 256-414-259-794
IGLHRC
communications+action.alert@iglhrc.org

Send an email and fax to:

 Perezi K. Kamunanwire, Ambassador to the US

Tel: 1-202-726-4758
Fax: 1-202-726-1727
pkamunanwire@ugandaembassyus.org

 Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda
Permanent Representative of the Republic of Uganda to the United Nations

336 East 45 Street
New York, NY 10017
Tel: 1-212-949-0110
Fax: 1-212-687-4517
ugandaunny@un.int

 

Sample Letter:

 Your Excellencies:

I am writing to express concern about legislation that would severely restrict the rights of Ugandan citizens, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and their defenders, in direct contravention of domestic and international law. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009 would not only reaffirm penalties for homosexuality, but would criminalize the “promotion of homosexuality,” including funding and sponsoring LGBT organizations and broadcasting, publishing, or marketing materials on homosexuality. Any person in authority who fails to report known violations of the law within 24 hours will also be subject to a significant fine and up to 3 years in prison – even when this means turning in their colleagues, family, or friends.

The negative repercussions of the bill in Uganda will be immediate and severe. It effectively bans the free association and expression that are necessary for a flourishing civil society, and creates a climate of fear and hostility that undermines the citizenship and solidarity of all Ugandans. It will lend itself to misapplication and abuse, and implicitly encourages persecution of LGBT people by private actors. Effective HIV prevention activities in Uganda, which rely on an ability to talk frankly about sexuality and provide condoms and other safer-sex materials, will be difficult, if not impossible.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill violates National Objective 5(2) of the Ugandan Constitution, which provides that “the State shall guarantee and respect the independence of non-governmental organizations which protect and promote human rights.” Moreover, it directly violates the right to equality and freedom from discrimination (Article 21), the right to privacy (Article 27), the right to freedoms of speech, expression, association, and assembly (Article 29), the protection of minorities (Article 36), and the protection of civic rights and activities (Article 38) to which all Ugandans are entitled. It also violates the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and other international human rights treaties to which Uganda is a party. This bill undermines Uganda’s commitment to the international human rights regime and threatens the basic human rights of all its citizens.

The Bill’s revocation of fundamental rights would also seriously undermine the country’s reputation and credibility in the international arena. Because it claims jurisdiction over Ugandans who violate its provisions while outside of the country, the Bill will strain Uganda’s relations with regional and international partners.

While people may hold differing opinions about sexual orientation and gender identity, the legislation before Parliament is an ineffective and fundamentally illegal way to express opposition to a minority group. In recognition of the importance of a diverse, dynamic civil society and the domestic and international commitments that Uganda has made, I urge you to swiftly dismiss the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009 and reaffirm the rights and responsibilities of all Ugandans.

Sincerely,

Name:
Organization:
Country:

tdot39 (40)Michael Madill, The Daily Monitor, Monday October 19th
Do you know the fear which arrives with the knock on the door in the middle of the night?  If you were an outspoken opponent of any government from 1962 until today you felt it even if it never happened to you.  Do you know the terror of women who lived through the civil war in Luweero or LRA atrocities in the north?  They went out every day knowing they faced rape and murder, suffering because they were women.

If you are a gay man or woman living in Uganda today, then you carry the same burden of persecution for your identity.  You risk death or torture or public humiliation at the hands of a community blinded by hate and religious dogma.  Your plight is about to worsen, since another bill making you illegal will soon pass into law.

Gay people are not the only ones who should fear the new bill criminalising homosexuality.  Measures which make who you are a crime are easy to manipulate.  It’s easy to persecute gay people in Uganda because they are a very small group which has no political or mainstream social support.

If you think those two groups deserve what they get, then recall the days not so long ago when you felt unfairly targeted for what you are.  The last 47 years were not kind to many of us.  So it is astonishing that we seem to have learned nothing about the importance of diversity to stability and development.

How will the new law be enforced?  Arrests and prosecutions will almost always result from denunciations.  Since you can’t tell a gay man or woman just by looking, everyone is at risk.  This puts power into the hands of the snitch, the aggrieved spouse or employee, the wronged friend or election opponent.  Once you are branded, the stigma and its judicial consequences will be hard to shake.  Are you prepared to suffer imprisonment and possibly physical violence because someone says the
y saw you commit an act or saw your name in an e-mail list?

If the odious bill on the table in Parliament is permitted to join its brethren in the law books, then it is fair to ask, who’s next?  Gay people don’t pose a threat to the government, but they are an easy scapegoat for inflaming public anger which itself can be manipulated against other groups which are a threat.  An election is coming soon, and there is little an embattled government likes better than to divert attention from its troubles or to neutralise its opponents.

Uganda would not be 47 years old if it were not for the contributions of all its people, whatever their identity.  We saw the affects of the expulsion of Asians in the 1970s.  We still feel the weight of discrimination against Northerners today.  Yet we so easily slip into the habit of hating those who are different.  

Repression is an expedient.  Today it is cheap and easy to make laws against gay people.  Tomorrow it may be cheap and easy to make laws against elections.  Today the majority participates because it can, and it hands the government increments of power and social control.  Tomorrow, when the government is stronger, the majority may not be able to resist if the government decides sterner measures are required to ensure peace, prosperity or social cohesion.

The reason we should all fear the easy hatred of legitimised gay bashing is that it puts the country on a path away from democracy.  The ease with which this bill is likely to become law will mark another step away from real pluralism.  The creeping fascism of social purification begins with the easiest pickings but never stops, and its result is always tyranny.

mmadill@oakton.edu