Wednesday, December 23, 2009

South Africa must demand an end to Uganda anti-gay Bill

By Micheal Trapido

I’ve lived in Africa my whole life and I’m acutely aware of the danger that a person’s sexuality can hold for their personal liberty and sometimes even their lives. This continent has an intolerance that eclipses anything seen in the rest of the world and when it comes to the gay and lesbian community, it can often prove fatal.

In Zimbabwe we have heard the ranting of President Robert Mugabe on the subject while here in South Africa we’ve seen the polls indicating overwhelming disregard for this community, but what is happening in Uganda brings a sense of terrible foreboding.

If they pass their anti-homosexuality Bill it will send a signal to the rest of Africa that this draconian legislation represents the future on dealing with gays and lesbians. It’s a move that would find a sympathetic ear among far too many — probably the majority — of the inhabitants. From Darfur to Rwanda we have seen that genocidal behavior — once started — is exceedingly difficult to stop.

As things stand, homosexuality is only legal in 13 African countries and a punishable offence in 38 others. Accordingly, a whole host of intolerant countries stand ready to receive legislation along these lines.

In his article Gay Ugandans fear harsh new anti-homosexuality law, Henry Wasswa paints a bleak and terrifying portrait of what this legislation will mean and how it came about.

“Gays and lesbians there have been hiding their identities for decades for fear of social discrimination and harassment by the authorities but the number of openly-gay people is believed to be increasing. Anyone failing to report a homosexual act committed by others would face up to three years in jail. People including relatives and friends sheltering gays and lesbians or failing to report them to the authorities also face jail terms of up to five years, the Bill says.”

This is how genocide begins — first you isolate the victims and then you compel those who are reluctant to assist you into doing so. Rather than put their own lives at risk, people will either turn a blind eye or actively participate.

Of course the Ugandan authorities will claim that they are not going to enforce these laws unreasonably and that they are simply there to protect the people. Senior government officials have even said that the death penalty provision will be reviewed in Parliament.

This needs to be put into the context of the proposed Bill:

•Gay men and lesbians will be sentenced to life imprisonment for having sex with willing partners with the death sentence if it’s sex with minors
•The death sentence would also apply if the offender suffers from HIV/Aids
•The death sentence applies as well if the victim of the act has physical or mental disabilities
•The owners of premises where homosexual acts are committed get seven years
•Anyone convicted of broadcasting, producing or disseminating pornographic material to promote homosexuality gets seven years
The Ugandans are telling the United Nations, European Union and the United States — who are jumping up and down about this — that the death penalty will be reviewed by Parliament.

Have another look at those punishments and consider how you would feel if your life was to be either snuffed out or reduced to living in a prison cell with criminals simply because of your choice of partner.

That the government can table and — in all likelihood — pass legislation that befits the Nazis on Jews and Gypsies is unbelievable. What happened to all that waffle about “never again?”

If Africa wants more say at the United Nations and the G20 then the time to start jacking up this continent’s woeful human rights and disregard for others is long overdue.
For once let South Africa stand up and be counted. Instead of ignoring or endorsing this disgraceful legislation, condemn it in the strongest possible terms and suggest sanctions if it is to continue.

Act like a regional power and do the right thing.

5 Opinion(s):

Cracker Americanus said...

If the South African Infantry is as white as the American Infantry you will be sending white men to die for people who could care less and are acting as a sovereign nation. Looks like time for the Uganda homosexual population to move to South Africa.

Anonymous said...

@CA - the infantry is 99.9% black. So no worries to send them anywhere dangerous.

WHITEADDER said...

What do this countries do to child rapists ?

Anonymous said...

I want to quote your post in my blog. It can?
And you et an account on Twitter?

Viking said...

@Anon

You can always quote anything you like from ILSA, with link or refs of course :)

will look into Twitter ...