Reaping the Whirlwind of Hate

David Kato has been murdered. Given the climate of hate against LGBT people that has been encouraged in Uganda by both the State and organised religion*, it comes as no surprise. It still shocks though, and for those still in danger in Uganda, things must seem very dark at the moment.

* Oh, and, we really should not forget, the sorry excuse for a human being who goes by the name of Giles Muhame. As the Guardian reports:

He and other recent graduates of Makerere University in Kampala launched a newspaper late last year. With a circulation of fewer than 3,000 copies it would have remained obscure were it not for its anti-gay campaign.

For its 2 October issue, it pictured Kato and another man on the front page under the words “Hang them”, and the sub-headlines “We Shall Recruit 100,000 Innocent Kids by 2012: Homos” and “Parents now face heart-breaks [sic] as homos raid schools”. The paper promised to expose 100 gay people, and printed the photographs, names, and in some cases home areas, of people it claimed were gay. A few weeks later Rolling Stone carried another frontpage story with the headline “More homos’ faces exposed”, with the identities of 17 people inside.

I see that Mr. Muhame is reported to have said that “I have no regrets about the story. We were just exposing people who were doing wrong.”

I’m sure that he does have no regrets. People like him never do. They just continue to cause misery and to make the angels weep.

Further update: here are some other people, listed in a rightfully angry obituary who doubtless also have few regrets, but who should really recognise their responsibilities:

The responsibility for the repeated harassment, beatings, death threats and now possibly his murder lies with all those politicians and religious leaders around the world who have led the campaign of hate against LGBTIQ people: David Baharti who introduced the anti-homosexuality bill in the Ugandan parliament; the Red Pepper tabloid which like the Rolling Stone had published names of people they alleged were gay; Martin Ssempa who led the Ugandan national task force against homosexuality; Ugandan Minister of Ethics Nsaba Buturu who has rabidly spoken out against homosexuality; the following religious leaders who have fueled the anti-gay campaign in the region: Archbishop of Rwanda, Onesphore Rwaje, Archbishop Henry Orombi of Uganda, the All African Bishops Conference, Apolo Nsibambi of Uganda, Rev. Bernard Ntahoturi of Burundi, Archbishop Akinola, Pastor Mulinde of Trumpet Church Uganda, Bishop Lawrence Chai of Free Apostolic Churches of Kenya and Sheikh Ali Hussein of Masjid Answar Sunna Mosque and Nicholas Okoh of Nigeria; Peter Karamaga of the National Anti-Homosexual Task-force Uganda; President Museveni who has showed no support for gay Ugandans saying that homosexuality is a western import receiving support from other African presidents like President Mugabe and Mrs Museveni who in the same vein has called homosexuals an abomination to African culture; American Christian right pastors Lou Engle, Rick Warren, Scott Lively and Dan Schmierer of the ex-gay group Exodus International, for their continued support of anti-gay legislation; South African diplomat Jon Qwelane and President Jacob Zuma. Finally, responsibility lies with those in power in regional and international bodies who have refused to take a stand on homosexuality as a human rights issue. Last year, the African Union denied the Coalition of African Lesbians observer status. Around the same time, the UN General Assembly Human Rights Committee passed a resolution condemning extrajudicial executions, deleted from this resolution was an amendment that explicitly addressed protections based on sexual orientation.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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