Homosexuality, Colonialism, Human rights, and why David Cameron is wrong about everything…

Oh Dear, Prime Minister David Cameron is embedded in a firestorm of controversy, and Africans are pissed at the Brits once again. Mr.Cameron declared that the issue of homosexuality in Africa will be,’one of the factors that determine our aid policy’, and that African nations ought to revisit some of their atrocious human rights record on the issue of homosexuality. Lastly, any development from western countries will consider the issue of homosexuality laws as preconditions for development aid. A human rights based structural adjustment programs, if you will, is what Monsieur Cameron has in store for our backward gay-hating African brethren. 

Look, who can possibly object to a campaign that is directed at curbing the anti-human, and melicious campaign against our homosexual African brothers and sister. Well, actually, I know some who will object to this…

However, brace with me folks, I’m about to use ‘big english’ and ‘go in’ as the cool kids say on Monsieur Cameron’s derrière. Let’s compare some facts and notes before we start blackmailing the darkies. Numero uno, many of the anti-homosexuality laws in Africa are remnants of Africa’s past as Europe’s bitch as colonized peoples. Number two, much of the controversy surrounding homosexuality in Africa is built on Uganda’s proposed bill that will give their homosexual citizens the death penalty for surfacing dormant homo-erotic feelings engaging in homosexual acts. One can appeal to racist and colonialist thinking and automatically assume that these type of laws can only come from the feeble mind of an African. Or, we can be intellectually honest and address the real root of African’s dirty dance with religious fundamentalism and conservative values…Hmm…could it have anything to do with this….

The Evangelical movement, born and bred out of the Good ole U.S.A, has captivated African audiences for a while now. Starting with baby Bush’s HIV policy that promoted abstinence as the best policy against HIV/Aids, many bat-shit crazy Christians have made African nations their own Sims-styled petri dish for an experiment in moral utopia, and it is because of these influences that many Africans are appropriating anti-human philosophies.

But wait a minute, why single out the treatment of homosexuals as the litmus test for Africa’s  experiment with human rights. The treatment of women is about several degrees above the treatment of malaria-carrying mosquitos. Minority religious groups, and even children are victims of Africa’s flirtation with religious madness (They burn children in Nigeria for witchcraft. I wish I was kidding.). We have megalomanic leaders who spend more time popping bottles in Europe rather than, I don’t know, err, say, GOVERN? yet, this is the single issue that manages to inspire ire amongst liberals and purveyors of human rights. Me ponders, is the issue of sexuality in Africa simply a smoke screen to justify a homage to that old ‘parent-imbecilic african child’ dichtomy that worked so wonderfully in the past. It seems the patronizing and borderline racist need to parent Africa lives on, and is written in every nuanced rhetoric expressed by Cameron and many westerners.

After all, we are incapable of economic, social, and political development on our own, its only fair that David Cameron helps us along the social evolution process by blackmailing us, and send us kicking and screaming into modernity. It’s for our own good. Africa has a long journey to realizing democracy and civil liberties. But so does Arizona. The need to continually single out Africans and hold them to a moral test failed by the rest of the planet is orientalist and intellectually dishonest at best.

I will finish off by reminding those with similar sentiments to Monsieur Cameron that South Africa has had same sex marriage legal since 2006, while the first of lady of civilization,  England, is still debating the issue and hopes to have it resolved in 2016. Let that be a lesson to all of you who think they have Mama Africa figured out. We have problems, but it is our problems. If you want to help, start by not thinking like this….

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8 thoughts on “Homosexuality, Colonialism, Human rights, and why David Cameron is wrong about everything…

  1. All your points are well-made. Yet surely generally it’s simply not true that “this is the single issue that manages to inspire ire amongst liberals and purveyors of human rights” as opposed to women’s issues. I’d say the reverse: if you look at the activities of Western liberal aid-oriented bodies, they *always* push women’s issues to the forefront – indeed it’s become a commonplace that this prevents aid agencies & other well-meaners from efficiently helping members of societies they perceive as excessively partriarchal. Charities such as Amnesty International are extremely women-focused, while giving only modest (albeit still welcome) coverage to gay issues. Women’s issues are far less contentious than gay issues, even among progressives.

    I would say gay rights issues have been pushed forward so unexpectedly in an African direction for an oblique reason: the whole ‘war on terror’ has made gay rights a one-stop test for whether your country is modern and progressive and broadly secular, in the model of the liberal west, or reactionary & dominated by repressive religion – the Islamist model. Much like the way in World War 2 Abstract Impressionism was championed as ‘American & individualist’ precisely because it was the opposite of Hitler’s pseudo-classicism. So suddenly David Cameron is eager to make treatment of gay people a breaking-point.

    Sub-Saharan Christian Africa, also, is an arena where someone like Cameron can hope to have an influence. He’s not going to even try to raise the issue of gay rights in a country run under Sharia law because such a country has no secular tradition, ideology or aspirations (well, the citizens probably do, but not the rulers). In that context the progressiveness of South Africa is surely an element: there it is; it can be done.

    Also, we’re in a time of divergence, where western European countries are giving their gay & lesbian citizens pretty much equality, and too there is much progress in India & China, two huge & dynamic non-Western cultures who are going to play a large role in the future of the world. And then there are a clutch of African (Christian) zealots going the other way: not only not removing homophobic laws but trying to introduce much more extreme ones – & this blatantly as a distraction tactic for general mismanagement & oppression. The homophobia is of a piece with the witchcraft craze – the search for occult reasons for economic failure & social disorder.

    Perhaps one could add that Britain is like the ex-smoker: now it has discarded the old bigoted laws it sees how unhealthy they were, and is keen to press what it has learned on those still lighting up in the wind and rain outside the office door.

    • Excellent points John….but heres a question that puzzles me..I would argue that we are more reluctant to discuss women rights in africa than homosexuality.

      Sure we have no problem criticizing the middle east and its appalling treatment of women, but then again, islam is an easy target. With Africa, I feel it is much more tricky. We have this complex, about stepping out of bounds when it comes to Africa, and largely connected to women rights.We tend to take a realist approach with the fear of sounding orientalist if we comment on thier traditional or cultural values.

      I find those of us in the west are more comfortable critiquing the rights of homosexual Africans because it allows us to kinda deal with our own right wing factions in our respective countries, and we often use africa as a punching bag for our frustration with the rights of homosexuals throughout the world. Africa is an easy victim…

      • Perhaps on both fronts (Euro/UN gay-positive progressive & homophobic/sexist sub-Saharan African zealot) there is the realisation that homosexuality is a straw man issue, which makes it a perfect arena for political posturing; whereas addressing women’s rights is likely to trigger a seismic shift in a society.

        If a state grants gay folks full equality it makes, in point of fact, very little concrete difference to the lives of most citizens. They imagine, as people used to here, that letting people be themselves will trigger some weird cataclysm, but then they find it doesn’t: life goes on pretty much exactly the same. Only a small percentage of the population will ever desire to live same-sex-loving lives: for them the difference is concrete (& colossal).

        Whereas on the other hand, if you change laws to empower women in ways they were subordinated before, that affects everyone (including gay & lesbian folks). Gay rights *seem* scarier; women’s rights *are* scarier.

        I’m still not entirely convinced we struggle to speak of women’s issues, but if it’s so, I would tentatively say that in the west we have the difficulty that our progress seems not to have led to unencumbered fulfilment (an achievement well worthe exporting) but to uncertainty, unhappiness, dissatisfaction & social callousness – as one can see reading any popular women’s magazine.

        For myself I am sure that a strong push for gender equality is, in any case, an essential prelude to gay freedom.

        • “I’m still not entirely convinced we struggle to speak of women’s issues, but if it’s so, I would tentatively say that in the west we have the difficulty that our progress seems not to have led to unencumbered fulfilment (an achievement well worthe exporting) but to uncertainty, unhappiness, dissatisfaction & social callousness – as one can see reading any popular women’s magazine.

          For myself I am sure that a strong push for gender equality is, in any case, an essential prelude to gay freedom.”

          I think your last sentence sums up my sentiments perfectly. I think many people overlook the interconnectedness of
          the women rights movement and the push against civil, social, and political heteronormativity. I was abit rough with Cameron, but he was
          merely a sacrificial lamb used to put a spotlight on recurring theme of babying and policing Africa. Trust me, I am the first one to
          endorse a public spanking of Africa and its atrocious human rights record on the issue of homosexuality, but Africa also has an equally deplorable, if not more atrocious human rights track record when it comes to labour, women, and child rights. I feel our continent is pardon my french, but a
          clusterfuck of religious, neo-colonist, and post-civil war madness. I’m the first to admit we need help. But Africans do not need to be
          blackmailed into the 21st century. If this is what we’re doing now, I can think of many more societies more deserving of this scrutiny, some even in the 1st world.

          You brought up an interesting point when you suggested that Cameron can be an excellent tool for curbing some of the human rights abused
          in Christian-Africa. I agree with you,but the problems lays with the fact that he will not address the full root of ‘Christian Africa’s recent
          radicalization. If you closely inspect the proposed bill in Nigeria, and Uganda, you will see American conservative lobby groups
          pushing for these moral engineering schemes. Ironically enough, just like Cameron, they are using the issue of money, and aid as political leverage. In Conclusion, Africans need to stop extending our hand for Aid, and perhaps we may began to see some change. I just read an article
          that brought up an interesting point; instead of blackmailing to cut off aid to African governments, why not allocate those funds to grassroot organizations within these countries that work against these policies. That would be an amazing solution, if only Cameron and company were genuine in their efforts. I think all this merely a tool to justify the new scramble for africa. Once again, it is up to the west to civilize the barbaric African, now it is under the guise of liberalism. Maybe I’m being unfair and too cynical.

          • I don’t think you’re being unfair or too cynical at all! And it’s a very real wickedness in the world that right-wing American fundamentalists are exporting their own bigoted world-view to Africa along with wheelbarrows full of dollars, just as they did with their abstinence programme, which had already been shown to be an abject & often counter-productive failure in their own country. There are a plethora of grotesque so-called charities out there doing contemptible things in Africa (concisely & incisively written about in LInda Polman’s ‘War Games’), & ‘civilizing the barbaric African’ is very much in their minds.

            I do worry that trying to, as you say, blackmail African countries over gay issues may be counterproductive, tar gay & lesbian Africans as neocolonialist emissaries or products, & lead to worse ill-treatment & greater violence. Yet that kind of worry can become an excuse for not really doing anything – tho I think it’s a fact that western leaders of former colonial powers are not well-placed to lecture, hector & moralise (as one sees with Mugabe: every criticism is an opportunity for him to boost himself as standing up to the former imperial masters). In that context it’s great that the head of the UN isn’t a white westerner.

            Too, I think it’s made difficult by it being so obvious that Cameron (& most of the rest) aren’t in any way on Africa’s side, or on the side of Africans. While talk of ‘African solutions for Africans’ can often be a front for neo-nationalist, reactionary clap-trap, in the end it’s true that a culture has to evolve out of its own resources. Westerners seem endlessly surprised that when they try to trowel democracy onto a war-torn Arab nation that the citizenry promptly vote in a religious theocracy…

            Mind you, having said that, a good few advances for gay & lesbian people in the UK have come out of rulings from the European Court of Human Rights being imposed on our reluctant, reactionary but roughly democratically-elected government…

            I think as well as, as you suggest, targetting aid towards progressive bodies, it would help to boost progressive African voices: those many Africans who don’t feel that inept tyrants and hysterical religious zealots speak for them, represent their truth or essence, or the essence of Shona or Yoruba or Hausa or Somali culture. I guess one benefit of the histrionic homophobic discourse has been to make the subject one that can be spoken about. After all, if your preacher has been watching gay fisting porn & is shocking his congregation with descriptions on it, a taboo has definitely been broken!

  2. If one can generalise, what was the pre-colonialist view of homosexuality and women in Africa? If it was more inclusive/benign, it could be provide a positive contribution to Afro-centric self determination and development.

  3. absolutely disgusting and embarrassing tell me when did it become progressive to put ur penis in another mans area. Tell me??? are we gonna give them marriage certificates for that. marriage is between man and women and the result??? a child. its very simple if gays didn’t pick up diseases and could have kids and then it would be fine. Also those losers who advocate that they can adopt we are sending a dangerous message that adopting is for gays only.These gays are tricking us, they act nice and tolerant and positive only because they wanna to be accepted as poo pushers. I promise you all if they grow and legalise gays, then we will see men being raped all because a faggot got turned down. you want proof look at prison tell me i’m wrong. Don’t be sheep think carefully about what we are promoting. I think its only fair that pedophiles are get marriage certificates if we’re liberals to heart. Also who is the western world to talk down to every1 else???? who do they think they are like their human rights record is brilliant. Hypocrisy is the western worlds game open your eyes to reality.

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