Saturday 4 March 2006

Prison exults with gay abandon

Such shameful activities
Hardly two weeks ago, could one not deign to comment on the bushman savagery masquerading as press freedom and Puritanical license that pervaded the Cameroonian press as they “outed” 50 supposedly gay men in authority.
What they did was so last Century, even further, so Wildean that the importance of being earnest turned into a feeding frenzy of scavenging hyenas at their most terrible.
This comes in within the atmosphere of the seething homophobia that has lead to the Nigerian executive and legislature to devote scarce democratic goodwill to putting a radically homophobic law in the statute books.
As one commentator put it, it could be a political trap for the 2007 elections since we know that George W. Bush in 2004, carried all the swing states but one that had the gay marriage law juxtaposed with the presidential elections.
As unAfrican as being in Africa
Homosexuality is presumably unAfrican; beside the point that South Africa has laws that prevent discrimination on the basis of expressed sexuality and allows gay marriage. It calls to question which part of South Africa is not African as any other African in land, people and society.
As usual, being tarred with the brush of homosexuality is the ultimate stigma; it was used to harass the first president of Zimbabwe Canaan Banana and the once deputy prime minister of Malaysia Anwar Ibrahim.
For the unconscionable, it is the dirtiest tool in the bag; it would make the protagonists of the Salem witch hunts look like pansies.
Whilst our belief systems do not necessarily align, the Nigerian Humanist Movement is doing well to bring a sampling of logic into this mass hysteria.
Outing for an inning
Well, this brings the topic to the fore; as one of the “outed” ministers sued for libel and defamation of character won the action which has lead to the editor of newspaper (L'Anecdote) being sentenced to four months in prison including a fine.
There is not to be so glad about in the judgment apart from the fact that someone so harassed with an outing has successfully defended himself against the stigma and the judiciary took a supposedly objective view of the matter.
However, if the judiciary was not necessarily objective but sided with authority to teach journalists a lesson; at least many would be a bit more circumspect on matters like this.
It is necessary to arraign a press that allows the truth to suffer on the altar of sensationalism.
Accused witch becomes hunter
I would hope that there are 10 more people wrongly accused by that editor and each pursue libel action individually till all such apologies to common decency are completely banged up.
It is the only consolation for others who live in terror and the induced schizophrenia of double-lives because the tyranny of the majority is not constrained by law or precept as is duty bound by any democracy.
The need for enlightenment
Homosexuality is not a race-specific trait, the biblical Sodom and Gomorrah from which homophobia draws its most potent tonic could have been anywhere in the world; just as it was not in Europe, Africa, Asia or America.
Basic religious exegesis also views Sodom and Gomorrah in terms of them being inhospitable which could very well read as intolerant and bigoted. The Scriptures are too much of a double-edged sword to trifle with.
Homosexuality is about people everywhere and their pre-dispositions – only real enlightenment would take us out of the darkness of Puritanical intolerance.
It might well constitute part of the great emancipation of Africa into what is well and truly the Twenty-first Century, beyond famine, beyond poverty, beyond hand-outs, beyond eternal incumbency, beyond tyranny, beyond wars; beyond refugees; beyond hypocrisy, beyond intolerance and beyond plunder.
Prison suits him
If I had one anecdote for the editor, it would be the age-old derisive prison joke – never drop the bar of soap – he had better get a face lift that would win Mr Ugliest Cameroonian.
I have no sympathy for those who terrorise harmless citizens with witch hunts, if I were the prison warden the key to his cell, once occupied and locked would never be found again.
Those who deny others the comfort of civilised society deserve no freedom, liberty or safety.

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