Uganda is … a jambula tree grows in Kampala

Jambula Tree” is an award winning short story written by Ugandan writer Monica Arac de Nyeko. It won the 2007 Caine Prize for African Writing, the preeminent prize on the continent for short fiction.  Arac de Nyeko is the first and thus far the only Ugandan to have won the coveted prize. Arac de Nyeko is also a member of FEMRITE, the Ugandan Women Writers’ Association.

“Jambula Tree” tells the story of two adolescent girls, Anyango and Sangu, who, for a time at least, `prefer’ one another. When their love is discovered, Anyango is sent abroad to boarding school, Sangu stays behind and becomes a nurse who leads a solitary life. The story is a letter written, perhaps delivered, perhaps never sent, by Sangu to Anyango on her return.

Their love is a jambula tree: “It had grown so tall. The tree had been there forever with its unreachable fruit. They said it was there even before the estate houses were constructed. In April the tree carried small purple jambula fruit which tasted both sweet and tang and turned our tongues purple. Every April morning when the fruit started to fall, the ground became a blanket of purple.”

The jambula tree is a real tree with real fruit and real cycles, and it is also the possible, the dream of shared love that extends in time to before the constructed spaces of human society and perhaps will continue beyond the lifetime of those spaces. It is part of the world, part of the earth, part of the sky, part of our story.

And yet …

“According to the framers of the Bill, a girl who prefers a girl is more dangerous to the society than officials who robbed millions of dollars meant to treat aids, malaria and tuberculosis patients in 2004,” wrote Joachim Buwembo in The East African, earlier this week.

Joachim Buwembo is a journalist of some renown, who has lived, worked and written in East Africa for decades. Currently a Knight International Journalism Fellow, working in Tanzania to improve coverage of poverty and development issues in that country, Buwembo has Managing Editor of The Monitor; founder of the Tanzanian newspaper, The Citizen; Kampala Bureau Chief for The East African; and editor of The Sunday Vision. Before that, he was a high school teacher in Uganda and Kenya. He has dedicated his life has to education through critical journalism and national debate. Joachim Buwembo is, by all accounts, a knowledgeable man, an experienced man.

Yet, with all that experience and knowledge, until recently Joachim Buwembo had had no opinion – good, bad or indifferent – about gay men, lesbians or homosexuality and had no reason to have an opinion. But times have changed: “Today, a Ugandan cannot run away from giving an opinion about homosexuality, after the national parliament was petitioned in a formal motion to prescribe draconian measures including the death penalty for the act.”

In this week’s op-ed piece, “Why we cannot turn a deaf ear to Uganda’s homosexuality Bill”, Buwembo uses reason to take apart the will to kill that underwrites the Bahati Bill. He has two main points. First, any addition to a penal code presumes a crime that can be judged, based on evidence and knowledge. In Uganda, very few can judge gay men, lesbians or homosexuality because very few actually have sufficient information, and even fewer know what the actual crime is. Second, there are real criminals and scoundrels about, men and women who have massacred and who have plundered. They go free.

That is Buwembo’s argument. Some see the argument as a bit of sanity and calm in a season of national gay panic and anti-gay hysteria. Others hear and read his as a `dispassionate voice…amidst all the nonsensical hype.”

But Buwembo is also a storyteller. He tells two stories. The first is the story of a dialogue: “In my many years of existence, I first recognised a homosexual only three years ago. I say ‘recognised’ and not ‘identified’ because I only have her claim as ‘proof’.” Where do nuanced differences between recognition and identification sit in the pogrom that is being planned for gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual and intersex Ugandans, and for their friends and loved ones? Who will adjudicate identity? Who will send Joachim Buwembo to prison for not reporting on a woman who claimed a lesbian identity as her own?

The second is the story of  two girls, the dangerous ones, the girl who prefers a girl, the girl who is preferred by a girl. I have been thinking of those two girls since I first read of the Bahati Bill and, even more, since I first read the Bill itself. For its target is the jambula tree, and all those who tell or read its stories.

The Bahati Bill violates human rights. At the same time, it attempts to silence the stories and murder the storytellers. Not the gay, nor the lesbian, nor the straight, not the this nor the that storyteller, but all storytellers. It means to stifle and kill creativity and creation itself. Who will send Joachim Buwembo and Monica Arac de Nyeko to prison, or to the gallows, for having written human stories of human spirit, love, and being?  Would we not rather taste of the purple fruit of the earth than swim, and drown, in the red blood of our sisters and brothers?

Dan Moshenberg, dmoshenberg@gmail.com

Black Looks: Uganda: To live without fear and in peace

Black Looks: Uganda: To live without fear and in peace

December 26th, 2009

Victor Mukasa of SMUG Uganda shares his experience as human rights defender and gives an overview of the criminalisation of LGBTI people across Africa. Finally he calls on everyone where ever they are to publicly denounce the anti-homosexuality bill which is before the Ugandan parliament. There are reports that President Museveni will intervene to stop the passing of the law. This cannot be relied on as for one thing he has yet to make public statement on the Bill. He has been vehemently homophobic in the past and there is no reason to imagine this has changed. Even the Archbishop of York has only managed a mild criticism of the bill though he claims to be working “behind the scenes” together with the Archbishop of Canterbury. Nonetheless his opposition seems to be based on the fact that laws are already in place and not an outright condemnation of the criminalisation of LGBTI people. This is pathetic and unacceptable from someone who is the second highest Anglican Bishop in the UK and a Ugandan by birth.

“As a background to my presentation, I would like to bring to your attention that 38 countries in Africa criminalize sexual acts between persons of the same sex under sodomy laws. These laws are in some states inherited by their colonial masters and for some Islamic states, these laws fall under Sharia law. The penalties for breaking these laws range between imprisonment for one year to life and in some countries, for example, Sudan and Northern Nigeria the penalty is death.

Recently, some African states, such as Burundi and Rwanda that did not have sodomy laws in their penal code acts have made efforts to include these laws. Burundi has managed to achieve this, while in Rwanda, a revision of the penal code act in which homosexuality is criminalized has been tabled in Parliament and could be passed as law soon. Uganda and Nigeria too have recently proposed legislation that further exacerbates already alarmingly harsh penalties for homosexuality.

In states that do not criminalize homosexuality and even in South Africa, the only country in Africa whose constitution recognizes sexual orientation and gender identity, LGBT people are increasingly facing violence and hate crimes. In most of these countries, religion is the instrument of oppression……….

I appeal to you all, to extend your human rights promotion work to all the corners of the earth. We cannot claim that we have been successful in our human rights work when people are still killed because they are gay, transgender, intersex, albino, indigenous, black, or poor. More urgently, as a Ugandan homosexual and transgender person, on behalf of all Ugandan LGBTI people, I appeal to you all to publicly denounce the anti homosexuality bill that is before Parliament.
”Continue Reading

Sokari Ekine writes and organizes at Black Looks: http://www.blacklooks.org/ . This post appeared originally at http://www.blacklooks.org/2009/12/to_live_without_fear_and_in_peace.html

Ota Benga: On Christmas Day, but it could be any day: Abahlalibase Mjondolo (AbM) 5

On Christmas Day, but it could be any day: Abahlalibase Mjondolo (AbM) 5
Sat, 12/26/2009 – 20:08

Reading about what has happened at Kennedy Road Settlement in Durban
makes me wonder. More like wondering and wandering from society to
society, from places in history and geography. Has capitalism become the
greatest laundering scheme, the greatest organized gang?

Going back to some of the most predatory roots of capitalism, one finds
children split from their families by the slave hunters. That was the beginning
of the splitting of humanity. A splitting apart long before Chinua Achebe saw it
with the arrival of the colonizers in Things Fall Apart. In spite of the endless
onslaught, healing has been going on, more often than not unseen, unheard
of among the pharisaic promoters/distributors of pacifying rewards.

Healers are always close by if one can see/hear/feel them

Spirit, breath, pen is all it takes

Ayi Kwei Armah helps those without go to

Healers in forests, healers in deserts,

They are everywhere

HealersbaseMjondolo

same as

AbahlalibaseMjondolo

Is it true, so goes one story,

That abahlali can turn up in your bank

Dry up your account?

Make the owner feel how it feels to be without money

In a land of honey

For the Richest of the richest

Who make money

Out of nothingest

Have decided to get rid of Abahlali

Before they desertify their bank accounts

For centuries the splitting went on

cooked in history books through

names always chosen by the same chefs:

Slavery, abolition, enlightenment, civilization

Capitalism, progress, Christianity,

Colonialism, apartheid, peace, development, competition, globalization, terror

some of these names were once sorted out by one of the greatest chefs of all,
under the name la grammaire des civilisations (later, in 1994, translated in
English as A History of Civilizations).

La grammaire des civilisations does not mention the splitting of humanity

despite the genocidal sequences of the 20th century whose names have not
been forgotten, but are fading fast…just like humanity:

Herrero, Armenians, Congo Free State, Nankin, Holocaust,
Hiroshima/Nagasaki, Indochina, Rwanda, DRCongo.

In the eastern part of DRCongo:

Violence, rape against women, babies

followed by unthinkable atrocities.

Committed just for the sake of might is right always.

And so, now, in the hearts, veins and brains of the land of Sobukwe, Biko,
Madiba,
Splitting of humanity has been taken to a new level

reminiscent of darker and darkest times

Questions arise:

Germany in 1933? Kolyma/gulag tales?

Nankin? Kassinga? My Lai?

Hiroshima/Nagasaki by other means?

Questions arise:

For what?

In the name of what?

In the name of the richest of the richest

At Kennedy Road/Durban

The answers came:

Showing the poorest of the poor

They are nothing unless they submit

To the most powerful, the most brutal

If they do not submit

They shall be silenced

Forever if necessary

Healing, once said S’bu Zikode,

Is more powerful than any lethal force.

Is the GAH (Gang against healing)

Trying to prove all of the AbahlalibaseMjondolo wrong

AbM is like a young baby, born in 2005

Being raped till it submits to might is right

Questions arise

Will the sun still rise?

We had been promised a new dawn

quickly

Re-baptized renaissance

Quickly evaporated

Has everything been inverted?

Will the sun still rise in the East?

Is the West willing to set?

Accelerated, from splitting to the next stage

With the help of the nuclear mentality

Reducing humanity to dust

Hoping that healers

Shall be pulverized in the process.

Questions arise:

Where is the world headed for when

Apartheid has been relayed by former victims

To make it sweater on the

Richest of the Richest

and harsher on the

Poorest of the Poorest?

Questions cannot be silenced:

Could it be that splitting has now entered its most lethal phase

Gone beyond the point of no return

Saying no to Reconnecting with the Disconnected

As called for by Ayi Kwei Armah

In his Eloquence of the Scribes?

Keep listening

To answers coming

From the quiet ones

Keep listening to

Abahlali relaying

The silenced ones

These words almost did not see the light of day

It moved out of sight on October 18 2009

With apologies

Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, December 25, 2009

Jacques Depelchin

Jacques Depelchin is CAPES Fellow (2007-9) (Brasil) and Co-founder of Ota Benga Alliance for Peace, Healing and Dignity (www.otabenga.org). Among other works, he has authored Silences in African History: Between the Syndromes of Discovery and Abolition (Dar es Salaam: Mkuki na Nyota Publishers, 2005).

Abahlali baseMjondolo is the South African shackdwellers’ movement (http://www.abahlali.org/).

“On Christmas Day, but it could be any day: Abahlalibase Mjondolo (AbM) 5” first appeared on the Ota Benga site: http://otabenga.org/node/180. Thanks to Ota Benga, Abahlali baseMjondolo, Jacques Delpechin and Raj Patel for their ongoing work and collaborations.

Dennis Brutus died quietly in his sleep today

Dennis Brutus died quietly in his sleep today:

“Statement from the Brutus Family on the passing of Professor Dennis Brutus

“Professor Dennis Brutus died quietly in his sleep on the 26th December, earlier this morning. He is survived by his wife May, his sisters Helen and Dolly, eight children, nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren in Hong Kong, England, the USA and Cape Town.

“Dennis lived his life as so many would wish to, in service to the causes of justice, peace, freedom and the protection of the planet. He remained positive about the future, believing that popular movements will achieve their aims.

“Dennis’ poetry, particularly of his prison experiences on Robben Island, has been taught in schools around the world. He was modest about his work, always trying to improve on his drafts.

“His creativity crossed into other areas of his life, he used poetry to mobilize, to inspire others to action, also to bring joy.

“We wish to thank all the doctors, nurses and staff who provided excellent care for Dennis in his final months, and to also thank St. Luke’s Hospice for their assistance.

“There will be a private cremation within a few days and arrangements for a thanks giving service will be made known in early January.”

(Thanks to Patrick Bond for circulating this.)

For many, young, old and anywhere in between, Dennis has been a presence, a gentle and insistent education into the beauty of the persistent struggle for social justice and into the need to remember that social justice emanates from and builds on love, laughter, beauty, understanding, sharing, humanity.

Dennis first came to the attention of many with his collection Letters to Martha & other Poems from a South African Prison. Here’s one of those poems, “Letter 18”, dated 20 December 1965. Hamba kahle dear greatly daring poet hamba kahle sala kahle.

“18

I remember rising one night
after midnight
and moving
through an impulse of loneliness
to try and find the stars.

And through the haze
the battens of fluorescents made
I saw pinpricks of white
I thought were stars.

Greatly daring
I thrust my arm through the bars
and easing the switch in the corridor
plunged my cell in darkness

I scampered to the window
and saw the splashes of light
where the stars flowered.

But through my delight
thudded the anxious boots
and a warning barked
from the machine gun post
on the catwalk.

And it is the brusque inquiry
and threat
that I remember of that night
rather than the stars.

20 December 1965”

Dan Moshenberg, dmoshenberg@gmail.com

Abstract Space: Pinned

I have pinned an anatomical drawing of myself to my heart, the way my mother would pin the seams of a dress together before she ran it under the machine.
I put my fingers to the words “labia minor” to the word “clitoris” my hand over the word “vagina.”
I might feel like fucking, I might not. It is my choice isn’t it? 

Well I remember when I wanted it, I remember when I didn’t. In detached marriages with the sighing sheets and dented sat upon sofas.
Me spread wide in the pages of a pornography magazine, and how am I to know what teenage boys and men everywhere are thinking when they see me, like this? I can’t censor their thoughts, can’t say you know I didn’t mean this, but I can’t really help it anymore. Sticky debasing blurred fingers, and right now in thousands of boy bedrooms they are coming all over me. 

In the living room with the TV on I am told to pout a little more, to push my breasts out, and now to smile seductively as I drape myself over an automobile. I sell the medicines too, I pretend to care that you have the flu, as you think it must be that way, it always has been and always will. But really, I don’t care. Smile sweetly they say, look concerned.
I do the washing for you too, as I juggle my high-powered job and motherhood and looking after you and your underwear you still have not got around to washing yourself. I am to represent nurturing and goodness as I pop an instant meal into the microwave.
Are you not bored? I am. I have fallen asleep on the sofa, I am snoring in a manner you would call unbecoming of a lady. I would sleep forever if my mothers who fought for universal suffrage and equal rights, my mothers who burned their brassieres had not woken me up, pulled me by the ear and said “it is not over yet, we can say it has become worse, much worse, a world full of complacent tired women.”
I get up and take your dinner plate to the kitchen. Later I let you talk dirty to me. This must mean that I am liberated then?

You take the most destitute of me from the forgotten corners of the earth, so that they will dance pretty circles around you, gyrate their hips and sit on your laps, while you stuff money into their rhinestone crotches. I wrap myself around poles so you can feel good about yourself, so you can play with yourself in the dark while you slurp at your drink.

I bring nations together at sports events, in tight little skirts, with my long legs and my cleavage, my provocative moves. I make it more interesting for the spectators.
Why do you always need me to do this for you, why do you always embarrass me this way, use me this way, why is this the only thing you can ever come up with, when you think of me?

In the beginning had I had the chance I would be someone different I know. Never a product to sell, to swell the crowds, never an attraction to push up the profits. You would never assume that my only reason for being here in this world, was for you-to serve you.

Once, I might have cared about you, I might have even loved you, the possibility of a different kinder you.

Now, I am over-exposed, over-stimulated, sold. I feel nothing anymore. I feel nothing for you.

Megan Voysey-Braig

Megan Voysey-Braig is a South African writer, author of Till We Can Keep an Animal (Jacana, 2008), winner of 2007/2008 European Union Literary Award, shortlisted for the 2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize – Africa, longlisted for the 2009 Sunday Times Fiction Prize. She currently lives in Berlin. This is the first piece in her series for Women In and Beyond the Global.

Brunt: somewhere between rights and reconciliation, women

Yesterday was 16 December 2009. In South Africa, it’s the Day of Reconciliation. President of the Republic of South Africa Jacob Zuma spoke, in Tshwane, about reconciliation. The President spoke at length about the military, about veterans and about serving members of the South African National Defence Force. Reconciliation.

Seven days earlier, 10 December, was Human Rights Day. President of the United States Barack Obama spoke in Oslo, Norway, as this year’s Nobel Peace Laureate. He spoke of just war. Peace.

Both presidents spoke of responsibility. For one, it was the responsibility of nation building, for the other the responsibility of peace. This was a week then that began with war as peace and ended with the military as agent of reconciliation.

Women know better. Women `bear the brunt’ of these speeches.

Women often bear the brunt of poverty and human rights abuses; but as activists they use these roles to trigger positive social change”. Women bear the brunt of poverty because they are the target of discrimination, oppression, exploitation, violence. Here’s how Amnesty describes the world of women: “Over 70 per cent of the world’s poor are women. Women earn only 10 per cent of the world’s income but do two thirds of the world’s work. Three quarters of the world’s illiterate are women. Women produce up to 80 per cent of the food in developing countries but own only one per cent of the land.”

Treated as objects, women refuse to be abject. Around the world women are mobilizing, gathering, celebrating, organizing. Women like Ugandan human rights activists Jacqueline Kasha, Solome Kimbugwe Nakawesi, Sylvia Tamale, speaking out and organizing against the homophobic bill in Uganda’s parliament; or Val Kalende, an out lesbian in Uganda who has the courage to speak truth to power, and the truth is she simply wants to live a full and joyful life.

Women like Terra K, Joan S, Michelle M, pregnant women prisoners in the U.S. struggling for decent health care and for decency and dignity. Women like Nepalese widows Bhagwati Adhikari, Lily Thapa, Rekha Subedi, Nisha Swar, members of Women for Human Rights who reject the oppression of widows and of all women.

Women like Annise Parker, new mayor of Houston and first elected out gay mayor of a major U.S. city, or Elizabeth Simbiwa Sogbo-Tortu, campaigning to become the first paramount chieftain in the country.

Women like Zimbabwean activist Kuda Chitsike, women who dare to organize, women who dare to win.

These are a few women who were reported on during the week that began with a peace speech justifying war and ended with a reconciliation speech focusing on military well being.

We found out this week that, in KwaZulu Natal, urban women `bear the brunt’ of AIDS: “The face of HIV/AIDS in KwaZulu-Natal is a woman in her thirties living in eThekwini, according to a study released this week. Urban women in the province are far more likely to be HIV positive than their rural sisters, while over half (54%) of all pregnant women in their thirties were HIV positive….Despite levels of poverty being higher in the rural districts, social scientists believe that there is more social cohesion in rural communities that protects against women against HIV.…People living in informal settlements have the highest HIV prevalence.” How do you reconcile the urban and rural sisters? Call in the military?

We found out this week that, in Honduras, women `bear the brunt’ of human rights abuses at the hands of the coup regime, and the Obama regime is doing little to stop that: “Repercussions from this summer’s coup in Honduras are far from over….The brunt of …abuses is borne by the women….Women make up the majority of the vast resistance movement in Honduras, playing a critical leadership role in civil disobedience and citizen protection. For their tireless and courageous support of democracy, they have received death threats and been attacked with nail-studded police batons, tear gas, and bullets. Detained by police or military for hours and even days without charges or access to legal counsel, women have been deprived of medicine, food, and water. At least two cases have resulted in death. Lawless violence against women has pervaded Honduras since the coup.” When war is peace, violence against women is national security.

This is the logic of the brunt, of the sharp blow, the assault, the violence, the shock, the force. Women `bear the brunt’ because men understand peace and reconciliation as military engagements, from the bedroom to the boardroom and beyond. Women are meant to inhabit the space between hollow rights and empty reconciliation, And beyond? As one necessarily anonymous writer opined recently, looking at the current situation in Uganda, “You want gay rights? Get more women elected.” You want real peace, real reconciliation? Look to women’s organizing histories, stories, lives.

Today is 17 December. A new week begins.

Dan Moshenberg, dmoshenberg@gmail.com

Black Looks: Yarlswood refuses xmas for imprisoned children

December 15th, 2009 

I heard on Sunday morning of an asylum seeker who was picked up yesterday and sent to Yarlswood women and children’s detention center. I have visited and met some of the women in Yarlswood and personally know two women, a young Nigerian lesbian and a young Ugandan woman both deported last year to Lagos and this year to Kampala – two cities where neither has lived or has family. The Ugandan woman had spent 5 years within the legal process of seeking asylum on the basis of sexual assault. Every few weeks asylum seekers have to check in with the police. As the date nears one becomes more and more anxious wondering if this will be the time they decide to physically grab you and send you to Yarlswood and 24 hours later on a plane.

Once again, the papers are full of reports about children being placed in Yarlswood which is run by a private security company SERCO. The horror of Yarlswood is that it is a prison yet no one imprisoned there has committed a crime. Still they are locked up, harassed, subject to body searches, abuse and sexual assault by guards, and wait for the moment they will be physically restrained en route to Gatwick or Heathrow and forced on to a plane. The latest story centers on SERCO refusing to allow two Anglican pastors from bringing Christmas presents for the children.

The Mothers’ Campaign of the All African Women’s group are mothers who have had to flee to the UK. The mothers had to make the very difficult decision to leave their children behind because they felt they would be safer without them. They have launched a petition for family reunion which they plan to submit on Mothers Day in March 2010. You can sign here. .

Sokari Ekine writes and organizes at Black Looks: http://www.blacklooks.org/ . This post appeared originally at http://www.blacklooks.org/2009/12/yarlswood_refuses_xmas_for_imprisoned_children.html

Black Looks: US / Uganda / Rwanda Christian connections

Over the past week there has seen a string of blog posts and news articles criticising the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Below is a roundup of some of the more interesting and useful ones including a video from the October protest outside the London High Commission for Uganda. There will be another protest on December 10th from 12-3pm.

In my post from last week I mentioned the connection between US Christian fundamentalist churches and the export of homophobia to Africa and Asia.

Various reports have been circulating the internet over the past week on the export of homophobia by the US religious right to Asia and Africa and anywhere they can find an entry with their doctrine of hate justified by fallacious readings of religious texts. The comments are based on the report by Kapya Kaoma “Globalizing the Culture Wars: U.S. Conservatives, African Churches, and Homophobia“] The report is important for a number of reasons. Because it places the homophobic project of the religious right in a global context; because Kaoma makes the additional connection between the export of culture and hatred with the dumping of toxic and electronic waste etc on continental Africa; because of “Gay Imperalism” the critique of which is presently under attack by Peter Tatchell and Outrage.

Two reports name specific individuals from both Uganda and the US who are directly involved in the “anti-gay” movement.  The first mentions North Carolina Democratic House members, “Reps. Heath Shuler (NC-11) and Mike McIntyre (NC-07)” and “Nevada Republican U.S. Sen. John Ensign and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford.”  All four are members of a group called “The Family”.   In the second report  goes further and lays the origin of the Bill with members of this group who work their hate via their African outreach programmes.

In March of this year, American anti-gay activists traveled to Uganda for a conference that pledged to “wipe out” homosexuality. Seven months later, David Bahati, a Ugandan lawmaker and a member of the Family sponsored the “Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009.”

The Family had converted Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni to its anti-gay brand of Christianity. The organization’s leader, Doug Coe, calls Museveni the Family’s “key man” in Africa. The Family and other anti-gay groups have long viewed Uganda as a laboratory to experiment with Christian theocracy.

The next connection is between Pastor Rick Warren [supporter of Prop 8] and Ugandan Pastor, Martin Ssempa who apparently is a regular guest at Rick Warren’s church.   Ssempa is a vicious hate driven individual responsible for outing gays and lesbians.

Warren has since disowned their relationship but not Ssempa’s ideas. He has remained silent and refused to speak out against the Bill claiming saying  he believes in the fundamental rights of all he  but does not get involved in politics.     Warren also has strong ties with the equally homophobic church and state in Rwanda.  The man has a tendency t0 speak with a forked tongue so it is not clear where his relationship with Ssempa stands.

About Rick Warren, Kaoma notes: “In America Warren says ‘I love gays.’ In Africa, he says it’s not a natural way of life. He’s said, “I can’t say this in America, but I can say it in Africa.” In America, people will hold him responsible, and in Africa, nobody will.

The Christian fundamentalist connection  is far more insidious and threatening than just the involvement of  these individuals as Michelle Goldberg explains…

Warren’s silence has repercussions beyond Uganda. Draconian anti-gay legislation is appearing throughout the continent, often closely tied to the explosion of American-style evangelical Christianity. Warren has been a crucial part of that explosion and has tremendous clout with conservative African clergy and with many politicians.

Warren is very close to both the Ugandan and the Rwandan leadership. He counts first lady Janet Museveni, who has spoken at Warren’s Saddleback church, as a personal friend. During a visit to the country last year, Warren lent his voice to the anti-gay stance of Uganda’s Anglican bishops. “Dr Warren said that homosexuality is not a natural way of life and thus not a human right,” reported one Ugandan newspaper. “‘We shall not tolerate this aspect at all,’ Dr Warren said.”

Goldberg also makes an interesting point about the language of the Bill which further reinforces the connection between the US and Uganda. For example the mention of adoption which is ridiculous since homosexuality is already illegal in the country and applies to the US not Uganda.

However not all church leaders have been silent on the Bill.   The United Reform Church in the UK has condemned the Bill as has Exodus which  is busy saving us from ourselves by “overcoming same sex attractions” – Their support is most definitely not wanted with their disingenuous motives and agenda.    Sour Grapes picks up on the “False Witnesses”  who claim to have been saved from eternal damnation by being “cured of homosexuality” and mentions one Ugandan man who was paraded as “saved” and then proceeded to make all sorts of false claims about events and people  only later to be found out to be still gay and hopefully “unsaved” after causing so much harm.

Sokari Ekine writes and organizes at Black Looks: http://www.blacklooks.org/ . This post appeared originally at http://www.blacklooks.org/2009/12/more_on_us_uganda_rwanda_christian_connections.html.