18 February 2010

Africa Screams (Part One)

AFRICA SCREAMS
STEVEN and TIWONGE,
JAILED for LOVING EACH OTHER

Warning: This post contains sexually explicit material that may not be suitable for younger readers.

MATTHEW 5: 11-12
(Jesus Christ said) Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in Heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Without a doubt, Uganda's pending law to impose the death penalty on homosexual citizens is the worst case of African heterosexism I've heard about lately! Which isn't to say there aren't plenty of other cases! Let me tell you about a few of them. Reuters News Service reported this disturbing incident on 29 December 2009:

Two men who became the first Gay couple to marry in Malawi were arrested and charged with public indecency, the police said Tuesday. The men, Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, publicly wed in a symbolic, traditional ceremony on Saturday and were arrested Monday night. Homosexuality is banned in Malawi and carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.

The Chimbalanga-Monjezas have since been vilified in the local press, humiliated in the courtroom, beaten up in jail, and threatened with violation of their body cavities. The police want to brutally rape them with anal probes in order to find "evidence" of homosexuality! Can you even imagine the degree of suffering these defenseless men are enduring? If they can survive the cruelties of the Malawian "justice" system, they'll still have to endure unbridled scorn from members of their own community. May God protect them both!

A few days ago, this ugliness was not only repeated but amplified in Kenya, the ancestral homeland of US President Barack Obama. This report comes from the website www.LiveJournal.com:

Kenya has become the latest African nation to generate headlines with anti-Gay actions. After last year’s proposal by a Ugandan lawmaker to put some Gays (sic) to death, and the arrest of a same-sex couple in Malawi for allegedly celebrating their betrothal, Kenyan officials acted to prevent a planned celebration that reportedly would have marked the union of a Gay couple. The ceremony was to have been conducted at a private residence not far from Mombasa, a resort town, reported the BBC in a February 11th article. However, local authorities stepped in following reports of the purported Gay union. Said Chief Hussein Swaleh, "I was shocked." Added the Chief, "I won’t allow it."

In a second incident, an anti-Gay mob organized by politicians and religious leaders in the Kenyan district of Kilifi chased three men, a supposed Gay couple and another individual, through the streets of the town of Mtwapa. Police had to intervene to save the men . . . the vigilante action, called Operation Gays Out, was spearheaded by Sheikh Hussein Ali and Bishop Laurence Chai (who said) "We thank God for saving this town from being turned to Sodom and Gomorrah . . . we may (have been) doomed had (these) criminals managed to conduct their evil exercise within our neighborhood" . . . Chai and Ali publicly called for the government to close any night spots catering to Gays (sic), and Ali swore further violence against (them), urging residents of Mtwapa to attack them.

"Operation Gays Out"? Politicians and preachers leading a mob? Calls for random violence against same-gender-loving Kenyans? What barbarity! Mtwapa sure sounds like a modern Sodom to me, what with predatory townspeople menacing the innocent! If I were Sheikh Ali or "Bishop" Chai, I wouldn't start breathing easy yet; the threat of eternal doom hasn't moved farther away from them, it's drawn much nearer! Their kind of hateful doings never fail to get Satan's attention!

Speaking of that hideous "death to Gay people" bill, it's been roundly denounced by international human rights advocates. The rising chorus of criticism now includes Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama. As a result, the bill's future is somewhat in doubt; thank God for that development! However, some Ugandan clergy are going to bizarre extremes to keep it alive. The following information was posted to the blog towleroad.com 17 February 2010:

In January (it was) reported that anti-Gay pastor and Rick Warren buddy Martin Ssempa had held a screening of Gay porn to scare up support from the (Ugandan) public for the pending anti-homosexuality bill. He held another screening today, after police blocked plans for his Million Man "Kill the Gays" March. The screening took place in a packed Kampala church. AFP reports: "The screening was attended by around 300 supporters crammed into an evangelical church in the Ugandan capital after plans for a 'million-man march' were thwarted by police. 'We had planned to have a million-man-and-woman march in Kampala, but unfortunately we were told that we could not . . . because of security concerns,' Martin Ssempa told the crowd. 'The major argument homosexuals have is that what people do in the privacy of their bedrooms is nobody's business, but do you know what they do in their bedrooms?,' the pastor asked. Ssempa then displayed a slide show of Gay pornographic pictures. 'This one is eating another man's penis,' the pastor said, before going into even more graphic descriptions . . . Ssempa is Pastor Rick Warren's right-hand man in Uganda."

That last line refers to the fact that Rick Warren, one of Barack Obama's favorite evangelists, has been in Uganda spreading his "purpose driven" anti-Gay message. The Saddleback mega-church pastor and best-selling author recruited local Bible bigot Martin Ssempa to help him disseminate hatred in Africa; but that certainly can't explain Ssempa's pulpit-profaning, blowjob-narrating, X-rated-movie-screening habits! Warren has issues for sure, but to my knowledge he's never stooped to this kind of sleazy tactic; Ssempa's feeble attempts to camouflage voyeurism would be hilarious if his intentions weren't so evil. Clearly, he is the sickest of sick puppies, and the same goes for anybody who'd willingly attend one of his perverted "church services"!

Reverend Rowland 'Jide Macaulay, an African expatriate now living in London, puts living conditions for African LGBT folk in perspective. The following excerpts come from an essay he wrote titled "Africa and Homosexuality":

Lesbians and Gay men of African descent, like myself, today struggle to affirm our identity because we have often been expected to deny our sexuality for the sake of surviving in our spiritual communities . . . not only does legislation prohibit homosexuality in many African countries, but its very existence is also denied . . . there is a continual attempt to deny that Gays (sic) and Lesbians make up a significant part of the population. “Gay culture” virtually does not exist from an African point of view. The subject of homosexuality is a huge taboo. Many Africans are in same-sex relationships, but very few will be open about their sexuality to their families . . . if it were possible to determine homosexuality at birth, many African parents would repudiate their homosexual children before they have the chance to live. It is commonly said in Africa, “It is better to have the corpse of my child, than for me to accept that my child is Gay.”

Have you ever heard anything so tragic?

As far as Africans are concerned, homosexuality is an abuse of traditional values. Homosexuality is seen as a sign of western sexual corruption and immorality. Some families believe that homosexuality is a result of occult activity, and others, that it is a disability. There are many cases where violence is perpetrated against Gays (sic) and Lesbians, and where family relationships break down. Those known to be Gay or Lesbian are seen as outcasts, bringing terrible shame to their family name and harming the families' values and reputation.

Lest you believe this kind of ignorance is just an African cultural trait, Rev. Macaulay fixes blame for widespread anti-Gay prejudice precisely where it belongs:

The Christian churches are among the worst perpetrators of homophobia, using the Bible to support their attitudes and arguments. The issues are preached about in ways that are difficult to challenge, and (they) cannot be openly debated in the pews. Counselling is usually offered to those known or suspected of being homosexual. The experience usually leaves the victim more confused . . . powerful organizations like the church, which could make an enormous difference, (instead) add fuel to the stigma and undermine all efforts to change attitudes. African Gays (sic)and Lesbians therefore go underground, leading to a lack of self-esteem, increased insecurity, loneliness and sometimes suicide.

I don't doubt it! Despite the fact that Gay Africans have taken their own lives, I would call them victims of genocide. Reverend Macaulay speaks to his own experience as a Gay man exiled from Nigeria:

The experience of an African Gay or Lesbian person living in exile in a foreign country is one of lost hope and a lack of representation. There are times when it feels that the entire world is against you. Gay Africans are not accepted by their own . . . African culture and are equally faced with oppression, prejudice, and low self-esteem. I have spoken to over 50 African Gays (sic) and Lesbians in the past two years. The conversations revealed that their lives seem worthless in a society that gives them little protection against the hatred (of) their sexual orientation.

Now that Rev. Macaulay has provided the context, let's look at concerns surrounding HIV transmission on the African continent.

"Africa Screams" concludes with Part Two.

1 comment:

  1. What I find is that it seems the worst homophobia is in African nations. With all the past things done to African people you think that they would understand.

    I agree that the homphobic churches are partly responsible for much of this. I also believe that the denial that there are gay people doesn't help either.

    ReplyDelete