Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Uganda: Hate + Fear + Money + Power = Death Penalty For Being Queer = Disaster

I've been struggling with what to say about this whole Uganda debacle going on - where that country is debating making a new law that would not only outlaw homosexuality, but apply the death penalty for those found guilty of being queer. And not just for Ugandan citizens IN Uganda, they're talking about extraditing queer Ugandan Citizens from other countries so they can kill them at home. Oh, and if you're a Ugandan, and you KNOW that another Ugandan is gay, and you don't report them within 24 hours to the police so they can be arrested and then killed... then YOU can go to jail for up to 3 years!

It's so horrible, it almost seems like it can't be true.

And then, it turns out that these American consultants - these "Ex-Gay" charlatans visited Uganda and held a conference where they shared with the Ugandan lawmakers their own particular brand of hate - that all Queer people are evil, are choosing to be evil, and something must be done...

And from that, Uganda gets the idea to create their new death-penalty-for-gays law.

The shame of this is enormous, and there's more than enough to go around.

There was an editorial in the NY Times urging for Uganda's foreign aid to be cut off if the law goes into effect - which I thought was a good idea. And then I read this article, by Andrew Mwenda, a Ugandan journalist, which explained how foreign aid was actually holding Uganda back.

But I still think it's a good idea to threaten to take the money from them. It's a threat to the people in power, and those are the people that can stop this law from happening.

So yeah, block the money.

That's a good first step.

I wonder if there's some pressure that can be brought to bear on the Americans who went to Uganda to spread their message of intolerance and hate.

Rachel Maddow tried to get one guy, who in his book quoted a completely discredited scientist who made up numbers to "prove" how bad gay people are, and yet he couldn't admit his role in the nightmare that's unfolding in Uganda.

And none of the influential Americans who might have sway in Uganda are doing anything to stop this from becoming law there. Not even Pastor Rick Warren (remember him?) You can check it out here, where the awesome Rachel Maddow gets into it:

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It's a crazy phenomenon where people see that the way for them to hold onto power is to feed on other people's fear of the unknown - of people that seem "other."

Right Wing politicians do it in our country all the time, using people's fear of homosexuals trying to "recruit your children" to raise money for themselves.

The Nazis did it to solidify their power base - rally everyone around a common "enemy" - anyone that wasn't just like them. Remember the famous poem by Holocaust survivor Martin Niemöller?


First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out.



Fear cultivated breeds hate.

People in power work that hate to grow their wealth.

And to keep that wealth and power, especially when they're not solving the real problems of poverty, hunger and power-less-ness in their countries (the U.S.A., Nazi Germany, Uganda) - they need a distraction for all that pent up frustration and anger of the masses.

So they preach hatred of others - of foreigners. Of Queers.

But that recipe, Hate plus Fear plus Money plus Power equals Disaster.

And in Uganda, that's what's happening now.

I hope the world has a huge outcry to stop this.

But even more, I hope Uganda stops it themselves.

It's like watching a re-run of Nazi Germany's Nurenberg Laws, that slowly stripped Jews of all their rights.

The world took too long to intervene then, and 6 million Jews and millions upon millions of others died in the Nazi's drive to "purify" their land.

How many Queer Men and Women are going to have to die in Uganda before this madness is stopped?

We must express our horror, and stand up to say

No!

Never Again.

NO!

What can you do? There are three petitions you can sign:

1. To Uganda's United Nations Representative, Deputy Chief of Mission (U.S.), and U.S. Ambassador

2. To President Obama

3. The Human Rights Campaign's petition (you can get to it from here) that's specifically for your member of Congress - urging them to sign on to two Congressional letters that are being circulated by the LGBT Equality Caucus in the House of Representatives:

* A letter to President Obama expressing the gravity of the situation in Uganda and asking him to speak out publicly against this proposed legislation.

* A letter to President Museveni of Uganda urging him to use every means possible to convey to leaders in Parliament that this appalling bill is reckless in both intent and possible impact, and should be withdrawn immediately.

Sign all three petitions... Voice your outrage. Talk it up. Share the links with others. Get lots of people to sign!

Any more ideas of what we can do? Share them, and your thoughts, here in comments!

Thanks, and here's to making our world a better, safer place for all of us - including our Queer Brothers and Sisters, and the people who love them, in Uganda!

Namaste,
Lee

15 comments:

fairyhedgehog said...

I'm with you all the way, Lee. The petitions are asking me for a US state as part of my address which is a nuisance. I've posted on my blog with a link to here, so I'm hoping that I can at least encourage eligible people to sign.

Anne M Leone said...

Thanks so much for posting this information and links, and for helping to get the word out about this horrific law.

Lee Wind said...

fairyhedgehog,
I'm sorry that the petitions didn't let you sign, since you don't live in the US! Argh! This is really a global problem, and it's so important that voices are heard from all around the world! Thanks to you and everyone else for doing everything you can do to get word out and try to stop this disaster from happening.
Namaste,
Lee

Nandini said...

Unbelievable. Hope this is stopped before anyone gets hurt. Just signed the petitions.

fairyhedgehog said...

Old Kitty found a link for us where you can sign a UK petition! So I have.

HWPetty said...

This just breaks my heart. I signed all three.

But just to let you know, Rick Warren did address what Rachel Maddow and others had accused him of here:

http://www.alrcnewskitchen.com/eblast/others/091210_rickwarren.htm

I'm not his biggest fan, but he gets slight props for standing up against this atrocity. (Even though his letter is filled with sentiments I don't agree with at all.)

The Rachel Maddow piece had infuriated me, and I was looking for a letter to write angry letters to Warren when I found that rebuttal.

Lee Wind said...

HWPetty,
thanks for the clarification and the link to Rick Warren's letter - I'm glad he's now speaking out against this.
Namaste,
Lee

THALIA CHALTAS said...

Beautifully said,Lee. I'm with you.

nathaliemvondo said...

It is sad and unfortunately that situation isn't denounced enough, despite queers being in danger in several other countries. I heard accounts of schools in Africa where they were hunted down and killed...

Thanks for the posts and the links.

Jodie said...

Do you have any ideas where UK citizens can voice their indignation (petition wise I mean)?

angie said...

Good post, but there’s something I feel the need to add. Yes, this is horrible, but are we forgetting about all the other countries that already have the death penalty for gays?
• Iran
• Mauritania
• Saudi-Arabia
• Sudan
• United Arab Emirates
• Yemen
• Nigeria
All have laws making homosexuality punishable by death, and I assure you we’re as a country not going to stop trade with Saudi-Arabia any time soon. I think too much emphasis is being put on the American ministers and not enough on the cultural ignorance surrounding homosexuality and the queer community.

Kristen said...

Good heavens! Have we learned nothing from history? This is appalling. Thank you for bringing this up so that we may all add our voices against Uganda's fear and hate mongering.

kittens not kids said...

Thanks, Lee, and I'm off to sign petitions.

I found this article that links to the Fresh Air program featuring Jeff Sharlet, and it should be required listening for all of us. This group, The Family (which sounds so sinister!), is a highly influential group featuring a number of Congressmen and others. They - or one of their members, anyway - have been very influential in Uganda, re: this heinous law.

link here: http://www.talk2action.org/story/2009/11/25/132255/09

Sharlet's interview with Terry Gross was truly one of the most frightening stories I've heard all year - the kind and concentration of power in this group is almost beyond belief.

Wings in the Night said...

This is so scary. Cancer spreads. The cells of hatred find a place of comfort and grow. I agree with you. The key to actually doing something lays with the money.

But in the meantime, God help us all.

Bibliovore said...

Oh my god. I feel sick to my stomach at the thought of people being executed for love. Because isn't that what it boils down to? You love the wrong person, something you can't choose, so you lose it all. Horrifying. Thank you for publicizing this, Lee.