Most of you will have heard by now that our combined efforts to say 'NO!'to the bizarre planned anti-gay law in Uganda resulted in almost 450 000 signatures to the petition that was presented to the Ugandan Speaker of Parliament, Mr Edward Ssekandi. If you believe in God then one of those signatures is by definition, His! We were hoping for 200 000! Well done, but the battle has only just begun.
Whilst a standard email is circulating requesting more ongoing support, financial and otherwise, I have decided to write a short note to give you an idea of exactly why this bill is so bizarre, anti-religious, immoral and AFFECTS us all.
Here are 2 extracts from the proposed law:
2. The offence of homosexuality.
(1) A person commits the offence of homosexuality if-
(a) he penetrates the anus or mouth of another person of the same sex with his penis or any other
(b) he or she uses any object or sexual contraption to penetrate or stimulate sexual organ of a
person of the same sex;
(e) he or she touches another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality.
(2) A person who commits an offence under this section shall be liable on conviction to
imprisonment for life.
3.3. Part III of the Bill incorporating clause 7 to clause 14 creates offences and penalties for
acts that promote homosexuality, failure to report the offence and impose a duty on the
community to report suspected cases of homosexuality.
14. Failure to disclose the offence.
A person in authority, who being aware of the commission of any offence under this Act, omits
to report the offence to the relevant authorities within twenty-four hours of having first had that
knowledge, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding two hundred
and fifty currency points (2500 US$) or imprisonment not exceeding three years.
(“authority” means having power and control over other people because of your knowledge and
official position; and shall include a person who exercises religious. political, economic or social
The above clearly expressed clauses mean that the following can easily happen to YOU.
Imagine that you are on a bus entering Uganda on a dream safari holiday. The chap next to you finds you attractive (as happens to all of us on planes and buses!) and fantasises about where things may go. After chatting for a while he places his hand on your knee. In the next seat sits someone who has strong homophobia and decides to report the event at the next police road block.
You and your friend are arrested. based on the evidence of the claimant, you receive a $2500 fine for not reporting a homosexual act and the other guy gets life imprisonment. Oh, by the way, he is also tested for HIV and if found positive gets the death sentence. It is that bizarre!
However, if you are a single woman traveller and some guy on the bus hassles you and keeps trying to grab your leg, your have no legal protection. Why? Because Uganda is a heterosexual, family oriented country that tacitly accepts that it is ok for married men to have affairs and additional wives as long as they are the opposite sex.
Those who advocate this law, includes the Ugandan contingent and some pretty serious, mostly US based evangelical Christian groups. They also often criticize the opponents of this law as being from the morally lax West, yet by any logic this simply does not hold.
Either you believe in God or you do not. If you are a Christian, as most Ugandans are, then you must abide by the word of Jesus, that all life is sacred and we may not kill. If you are part of the group of humans who reject the supernatural then you will also understand that the unstoppable secular global movement towards increased civilization and respect for human and animal life and their right to life is the opposite of barbarism. This is and has always been the way the world progresses. You can be true to your faith or true to right action or both in Uganda. Both exclude the death penalty and anti-human actions.
The Speaker asked of the journalists in public, 'How would you like it if your son or daughter arrived at home with a boy or girlfriend of the same sex?'
My answer to that is simple: 'Sir, if my son or daughter came home with their same sex partner I would (and have) welcomed them as people who are celebrating the greatest gift we have, that of Love. Any less, I do not deserve the honour of being a parent.'
..and from the not so wild frontier.....
The rain is visiting us more regularly now. Maybe this is the beginning of the Big Rains. Or, maybe, the Little Rains. I had heard much about these monsoony happenings when we first came to Kenya, but am still waiting to experience anything that can be defined as more than 'a rainy day or two'.
So it was that I was typing away in my dungeon studio in our own corner of the Rwandan jungle (so to speak), that the pitter patter of rain drops on my window drew my attention. It was rather more a 'dee dee dee dee..dee..dee dah dee dee..dee dah dee dee..dah dah dah...
I am still sitting here wondering if there is something more to this than a great jazz beat. Maybe somebody is trying to send me a message?
Could it be Morse Code? I listened again and sure enough the same rythym and blues came through my window. A meaningful coincidence? Maybe...but maybe not. This time I wrote it down as a series of dots and dashes. It looks like this: .... . .-.. .-.. --- - .... .. ... .. ... --. --- -..
I also found a morse code chart! Have fun!
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