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Friday, 16 October 2009

Uganda: What can we do?

Map of UgandaImage via Wikipedia
Source; GayUganda

You know, it is kind of funny. We have foreseen this bill for ages. I mean, Nsaba Buturo has been trumpenting it for years. He wanted to arrest us when we first had a press conference. He wondered how come we had been able to have this press conference. He was told that, as Ugandans, we had broken no law, holding a press conference.

Then, the government had the will, (it is politically a good thing, with elections coming in two years), but, it is not popular outside country, with the west, with whom we are friends! Much as we would like to be, we are not an island. That is why this bill is supposed to reject any international agreements that don’t go along with it.

My lover is distraught. He is depressed, and asking me for contingency plans to get out of the country. He wants a Plan B. He is unhappy, and disappointed. But am damned if am going to do that. This is my country. As much as it is Nsaba Buturo’s or Ssempa’s.

So, contingency plans when we are caught, or arrested, or the police is closing in? Of course…

And what happens when one is arrested? Be like Brian, and die at 20?

Not many major options. But, we can do something.

For me in Uganda, as a gay man, I can continue writing this blog. Soon, the Honourable Minister will seek to get my id from Google. And maybe he will get it. But then, I hope my friends put pressure on Google not to cave in on that.

And, though it is a matter of fact that we can do very little in Uganda, we can still do something. Oh yes, not run out of the country, though that may have to happen. But, even when we are in the country. We are front line soldiers. Literally. Of course we do have some huge weaknesses. But we can still fight, and not roll over and be stepped on. Oh well, the courage of one who has no other option... Is that courage?

We don’t want this bill to become law. Unfortunately, it will most likely become law… Uganda’s parliament is a rubber stamp for govt. And, this bill has the support of the government, though, pressure from donors and international community forced the government to use a ‘Private Member Bill’ knowing that the popular homophobia in the country will ensure its passage.

So, what can we do?

* We can educate our friends. All other kuchus; about the law, the fact that we don’t have to fall foul of it, and how to help those who do. And how to fight it. There is too much ‘ignorance’

* We can educate people who are allies, who can be our allies.

* We can highlight, document those of us who fall prey to these laws. Ours are the martyrs stories. I hate the ‘illogic’ of martyrdom. But, I am willing to use it, as long as am not the martyr. Just have little to fall back on.

And what can our friends do?

It is funny, we seem so helpless, but we are not. No country is an island.
So, the major drivers of this ridiculous bill are people with standing. The government, the church and other leaders. They are all ridiculously susceptible to outside views.
So, what can we do? What can our friends do?

* The bloggers who have refused to be friends of mine… Why don’t you shout for me, Princess, Comrade 27… Iwaya, and the others who read this blog surreptitiously? Why? Come on, do you also think that I am so bad that I deserve death for making love with my lover? And you other ‘bloglorren’? Yeah, I know I have steered clear of you. But so what? Am relatively free here, and I have been talking ad nauseaum about my sexuality… So, why don’t you take up my cause for me…! Tall order, ha ha ha.

* Any other Ugandans, who happen to read this, do you really think that I am so bad that I should be killed for making love to my lover? Isnt that a mite over the top, even for Ugandans?

* If you are a Christian, do you in truth agree to the death sentence that fellow Christian Dr James Nsaba Buturo? OK. it is a matter of fact that this bill is being driven by the fervour of Christians, and in the name of God and country. And, the Pentecostals and Anglicans in Uganda are the prime drivers.
So, engage other Christians, about this, less than Christian behaviour! (Or else I will bash you, and them…!)

If you are outside the country, why, that is very good. Your congregation can be made aware of all the good things that some Christians in Uganda wish some sinners called gay Ugandans. I am sure your outrage will help. A letter, a protest match, questions to leaders of Uganda, religious and otherwise traveling outside the country. This is a moral question, how can they justify killing me because I am gay, living in a gay relationship with another gay man?

* Ok, what of gay people in other countries. You are our friends. Yes, we dare to ask our gay brothers and sisters for help, especially when our countrymates believe we should be patriotic enough to ‘die’ in the name of their moral uprightness, for god and country.
  • Tell your local gay group about it.
  • Organise protests, big and small. Educate any who doesnt know about it.
  • Write letters of protest. Be courteous, (the framer of the bill says that we homosexuals want to kill him. He says we have already written him ‘threatening’ letters.)
Who should you write to? Why, the Members of Parliament of Uganda… the Speaker, the President, the Attorney General. Express your concern. Why not? You are a private citizen of another country outraged at a law that seems to be too much. And why the hell punish people for loving each other? In my view, with the bill out, this is already a public thing. So, well, let them know your concerns.

* But, you also have political representatives. Those who represent you…, not me. They most likely don’t know what is happening in Uganda the backwater. And they will remember when your leaders ask them what the hell is happening. I bet you even a Republican member of the US Congress would be setback by the anti-human views of his conservative friends in Uganda. Help us tell them, inform them. You do have clout. Yes, you do. Use it.

* Do you work in an HIV prevention or treatment organization? This bill targets gay men. And, can you imagine the stigmatization of a person who is HIV positive and has gay sex in Uganda, and automatically this guy is supposed to face the death penalty? What does your organization think about that? What do you think about it? How can you help to raise awareness that this is happening in Uganda… the presumed pride of Africa in HIV prevention? Yes, I am inviting you to tarnish the country’s image. It is in a good cause, I want to be alive!!!! Don’t want any legalized, judicial murder of me just because I am different.

Ok, that is my thinnking. Course, it is flawed. Who ever claims to be perfect?!
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