Friday, February 7, 2014

Who will pretend then that we have to wait for apologies to gay people if we watch them persecuted?

Anti Gay Russia, Sochi, Valentine's Day, there is a huge wave about the rights of a  people whom many do not want to hear about much. The gay and homosexual communities. 

I followed with interest what happened when writer Binyavanga Wainaina of Kenya came out with his story. He told the world that he is gay. He released a lot of information online. Social media and other media in Kenya took up the issue.

The divide is clear and sharp. There are no such people that exist and if they do, they are from the deepest or the worst of evil one can find. Many called upon human rights activists to classify these people as worse than animals. It was dark. 

Theology was used for scathing attacks. Friends were lost on Fb and some continued to write how let down they felt that this person whom they have "trusted" the blogger her is not CONDEMNING this dirt hard. It was a night to remember and to be remembered. A time to keep on saying... our concern is the human being, the human being. Human Rights. Human Rights. 

It only got darker. We quoted good Pope Francis to no avail. We were slammed for changing God's command that a man shall leave his ... and to a woman. It is so plain to some how people must be they are envied. We stuck on at least that the Pope has said love homosexuals, but we were still hanged. In fact, not so far away are we from some excommunication from our friends doors. The church does not matter any more.

In Still Sings The Nightbird, there is a chapter titled Lesbian. It is about homophobia in the church. In this chapter, a church lay leader takes on Wam and tells her that she is a lesbian. Wam is astounded as she listens to a telling off like she had never heard before. One cannot say she is not guilty without erring. She just is not a lesbian. But this makes her learn there are some people who are. She is talking about a crush. They are talking about onany, lust, sodomy and bestiality. She is told Africans have to be protected from the possibility.

And then she wonders what if she had been one of them, would she have had to die?

I was just in time to hear the last words on news: " They are persecuted, killed because they are like you and me..." It was plain but it was powerful. I learned that it was a You Tube video against homophobia which had gone viral. Speaking was a gay person and listening was the world. Who is who was sending a support note to the speaker. I did not follow all the names.

But I woke up with a thought. A disturbing one. It was made up of several pictures. Here is the first one. 

Homosexuals were also persecuted by Hitler. Hardly anyone stood up for them in particular. They were in there between the Jews and the homophobia of the time.

We were taught in church that this was not something that people were but a socialisation which makes them so. The Catholic priest said it had nothing to do with a genetic formation. But why was it still something very peripheral and which needed justification if it was and in great numbers as the church says now? Was it something everyone tried to sweep under the carpet?

Desmond Tutu is outspoken on homophobia and supports gay rights. I read about a political party DRAAMA formed by gay and lesbian people in South Africa. They are killed there and lesbians raped to make them straight. These shocking facts have been reported and still Nigeria has made a law against them which includes imprisonment. So they are there and they are people everywhere.

Uganda stopped short of a similar law last month. It will be amended to include maybe not such a punishment but here again, people who say they are who they are will be arrested and imprisoned. Many of them have been stoned before, killed even.

In my work and travels, I have observed that there are people who cannot say they are anything else but homosexual. Every time the topic comes up we are told not to speak about them because they will disappear and leave the normal people around.

So the conclusion for me was, are we coming to a time when someone, many people will have to apologize the way we do or try to do in some places to the Jews and peoples who were persecuted? Have any of us been free of homophobia truly? How horrible is it to feel that we are of a kind which believing ourselves to be chosen, hated and mouthed anger, killed and tormented others. What do we know? Is there any pride in any homophobia whatsoever?

Is it impossible for so many to understand that you cannot defend humans and leave out some? Then you too will be discriminating?

As for those who say the gay and lesbian should just shut up and stop popping up 'to star' here and there with confessions of being this or that, have they ever belonged to a group that was not allowed to do some things or was discriminated upon when discovered to be this way or that? Have they felt how horrible it is to wear the disapproved tag or skin? If they have not, then they cannot know how important that these have claimed their power at least to show up, sometimes with fear yes, but stood up to say: I am this one, the one you cannot stand. Whose test is this? Who is on trial?

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