Sunday, November 22, 2009

Uganda's gay "death penalty" bill a distraction

The City of San Francisco, CA, is united behind the right to love whom you love, how you love, if by nothing else.  This is international gay rights hero Harvey Milk's town; Harvey's bust graces the entrance to the City's legislative chambers and the Harvey Milk Democratic Club is one of the most influential here.

So, some San Franciscans have now turned their attention to Uganda, to protest its gay nightmare legislative proposal, which includes the death penalty for a list of offenses labeled "aggravated homosexuality."  Like other human rights activists around the world, they're responding to action alerts from the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, even though Central Africa is rarely on the radar screen out here on the Western edge of the Pacific, in a city now only 3.5% African American, with immigrant populations largely from Asia and Latin America.

I was glad to be able to share "Bahati's Bill, a convenient distraction for Uganda's government," a  Pambazuka News article, which gives Uganda's nightmarish legislative proposal a Ugandan and African context.    I hope that some will read it and understand that we need to protest not only the proposed law, in Uganda, but also the role of U.S. foreign policy, U.S.-based corporations, oil, and AFRICOM, the U.S. Africa Command, in "creating the conditions keeping so many Ugandans in poverty. . .," and thus, creating a need to scapegoat same sex lovers.

Bahati’s bill: A convenient distraction for Uganda's government

"As Ugandan MP David Bahati spearheads a campaign around the adoption of the homophobic 'Bahati's bill', Solome Nakaweesi-Kimbugwe and Frank Mugisha call for an unwavering rejection of a piece of legislation entirely against the interests of wider Ugandan society.  With strong suspicions of Bahati's financial backing by extreme-right Christian groups in the US, the bill seeks not only to establish draconian punishments for homosexual acts but also to actively encourage Ugandans to snoop on one another indefinitely for the supposed good of the nation. If homophobes like Bahati were really worried about 'protecting the traditional family', Nakaweesi-Kimbugwe and Mugisha argue, they'd concern themselves with tackling the conditions keeping so many Ugandans in poverty, rather than making scapegoats of homosexual people. The authors conclude that with an election approaching in 2011, the momentum behind the bill smacks of a none-too-subtle attempt to divert attention away from Uganda's true issues."

See also GayUganda, an exquisitely written blog, Sexual Minorities of Uganda SMUG, and,  Resist AFRICOM:

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