Ever since the horrendous Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 became a global sensation, I began following discussions regarding the bill that appeared in the worldwide blogsphere by creating a Google Alert for it. By far my most favourite blogs with regards to coverage of this bill have been Boxturtle Bulletin and Dr. Warren Throckmorton’s blog. On occasion I have left comments behind on some discussions that have ensued on those blogs.
On February 28th, 2010, Boxturtle Bulletin’s Jim Burroway posted an article titled Ugandan Religious Leaders, Human Rights Advocates to Petition Against Anti-Gay Bill in which he talked about how a group of Ugandan human rights advocates and AIDS service providers led by Anglican priest Canon Gideon Byamugisha, announced plans to present a petition to the Speaker and members of Parliament signed by more than half a million people around the world, opposing the egregious bill.
Among the first people to post a comment was none other than virulently homophobic Pastor Martin Ssempa, who said:
Ha Ha ha..Gideon Byamugisha a man who became famous because he got HIV/AIDS and told people that he got it!!!! Gideon is a shrill for homosexuals..an agent of colonialists and imperiealsits who have sent him with their signatures. He should be chased from our parliament and take those signatures back to his donors who bankroll his ANARELA.
I am sure he will get a per diem and that will be good for his pockets..his reputation will sink lower in the eyes of all right thinking Africans.
Other Ugandans joined the fray echoing similar homophobic sentiments. I felt compelled to say something. I posted the following comment:
Woah..many angry Ugandans posting comments today!
Thankfully, not all Ugandans are as hateful, intolerant and above all, ignorant as the homophobic mob making headlines all over the world, and posting inane comments like the ones above.
I stand proud as a Ugandan that recognizes the right of LGBT Ugandans. I cannot commend Cannon Gideon Byamugisha enough. I wish I had had the honour of placing my signature on that petition.
Several other comments were later posted by what seemed to be American readers, mainly ridiculing Ssempa (deservedly). Later another Ugandan, called James (not me!), decided to post a comment addressing me and attacking other Ugandans publicly opposed to the bill:
Oh Uganda, I love your National Anthem….it begins Oh Uganda may God uphold thee…we lay our future in thy hands……..and it goes on and on.
James Onen Fat Boy and the likes, we must stand and say yes every indigenous efforts to fight a vice which is like leprosy. Gideon Byamugisha who for long has eaten a lot of money out of sympathy for his HIV statusmust be reeducated. For long Gideon has misrepresented the nation and we the young generation cant allow such misrepresentation to go on. Fired from the Anglican Church, Sdenyonjo also called Bishop has found solace in homosexuality. I have nothing to write about this worn out man, there are no new developmental thoughts from this ageing “prelate”. I am grateful that we long committed the future of Uganda in the hands of God. That is a done deal.
Speaker Edward Ssekandi’s response to the gay sympathisers was enough to show the world our stand. Collecting more than 400,000 signatures from outside Uganda is no big deal in any way. that does not represent the thoughts of ugandans.
By the way How is Gideon’s moral stand? How did he get HIV/AIDS? Wasn’t it thru infidelity?
Rubaramira, how did he get HIV/AIDS? Wasn’t it thru raping women in the bush and infidelity? Let the truth now flow.
What followed was the most elegant rebuttal I have ever read. So elegant and sensible this rebuttal was, that it is what actually compelled me to write this post today. I want you to read what this person had to say. Responding to the above James (not me!) a commenter named TampaZeke wrote:
James, how sad the ignorance of so many of your people; how ironic, shameful and dangerous the twisted revisionist Ugandan/African history they are being taught by their foreign oppressors.
You sing your beloved national anthem about allegiance to a god that was forced upon you and you sing it proudly in the tongue of those who colonized you, ruled you, literally OWNED you all in the same breath with which you irately denounce the imposition of “Western” values on your country.
You defend your current anti-gay law as “protecting African culture from imported, pro-gay, Western, anti-African influence” all the while ignorant to, or ignoring the fact that it was ENGLAND, a WESTERN, NON-AFRICAN country that IMPOSED this COLONIAL law upon you in the first place, when you had NO law restricting homosexuality before their imposition.
You claim that Liberty and freedom of expression for UGANDA’s gay people, as it existed before your colonization, is an unwanted import from the West.
You are ignorant about, ignore or have been taught by WESTERNERS to hate the rich, historic, spirituality of Africa and the gods of your ancestors. You have for centuries been forced to adopt and worship the God of your oppressors and most recently you have become willing, yet unknowing, puppets to American fundamentalist COLONIZATION. In spite of all of this historical and contemporary fact, you manage to see your oppressors as your liberators and their western, foreign, bigoted, oppressive UN-AFRICAN laws as your Declaration of true Africanism.
The people of Uganda and Kenya are no different that any other oppressed, colonized people in history. They are submitting to the authority of foreign power, turning their backs on and even becoming hostile to their own history and culture and arts and tradition; replacing them with the values of their colonizers, their conquerors, their masters and demonizing anyone who speaks truth to the travesty.
I weep for you. I weep for all Ugandans. I weep for all Africans who are falling victim to these hateful, bigoted, Western, Africa-colonizing wolves.
May God bless Africa with the wisdom to resist the wolves who come to her shores carrying Bibles concealing daggers and crosses laced with poison.
Sinclair Lewis said, “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.”
I dare say the same is true for Uganda and Africa.
Indeed, a truly classic response to the tirade of a homophobe… minus the ‘May God bless Africa …’ part, of course.