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CONTINENTAL DRIFT

Most African Leaders Not Big Fans Of Clinton’s LGBT Rights Speech

Considering that almost all of Africa’s 54 nations ban homosexuality, Barack Obama’s LGBT rights proclamation and Hillary Clinton’s pro-LGBT U.N. speech caused various of reactions across the plateau continent. Let’s pop in and see how a few of them responded.

The Christian Science Monitor offered a kick-ass map showing the state of anti-gay laws in every African country along with this succinct description of how Obama and Clinton pledged to help LGBTs around the world:

Under the move, legal, moral, and financial support will be boosted for gay rights organizations, emergency assistance will be sent to groups or individuals facing threats, and asylum in the US will be offered to people forced to flee homophobic persecution in their countries, Mr. Obama said.

On the plus side, the speech pressured Malawi Justice Minister Ephraim Chiume to review the nation’s ban on homosexual acts. If you remember, their anti-gay laws received international condemnation last year when Malawi courts sentenced a couple to 14 years for violating the ban; they later pardoned the sentence.

On the minus side, Nigerian lawmaker Zakari Mohammed said his country might increase the penalty already laid out in the senate’s approved anti-gay bill, which is now up to 14-years in prison. In response to Clinton’s speech, he said “to hell with the super powers if they are for gay marriages.”

At least he was nice enough to call us a super power.

In Uganda (home of the ever-debated “Kill the Gays” bill), John Nagenda, a senior adviser to Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni, also criticized Secretary Clinton’s oration:

“I don’t like her tone, at all. Homosexuality here is taboo, it’s something anathema to Africans, and I can say that this idea of Clinton’s, of Obama’s, is something that will be seen as abhorrent in every country on the continent that I can think of.

“I’m amazed she’s not looking to her own country and lecturing them first, before she comes to say these things which she knows are very sensitive issues in so many parts of the world, not least Africa.”

And while it’s not connected to Clinton’s talk, Cameroon is currently considering strengthening its own anti-gay laws by increasing the current penalty of five years in prison to 15.

Thankfully not all of the continent feel the same: Rwanda’s justice minister, Tharcisse Karugarama, said that the country had no plans to criminalize homosexuality there. And earlier this year, South Africa made a major step against LGBT criminalization by successfully introducing a resolution to the UN’s Human Rights Council recognizing the need to protect the LGBT rights worldwide; even as many African nations opposed it.

While African gays and lesbians still face an uphill climb toward equality, America’s stance will hopefully make legislators there consider the international repercussions of mistreating them.

By:           Daniel Villarreal
On:           Dec 9, 2011
Tagged: , , , , , , , ,
  • 30 Comments
    • Christopher Banks
      Christopher Banks

      The reaction was similarly indignant when British PM David Cameron threatened to cut aid to homophobic countries in Africa.

      The key difference being, you can’t really accuse the UK of hypocrisy as Uganda has done the US – the country already has human rights and equality protections for gays and lesbians, as well as civil partnerships. Cameron has committed to making gay marriage legal by 2015.

      Evangelicals from the US have also been caught stoking the homophobic fires in Africa over the years, as I noted in my blog here: http://bipolarbear.co.nz/2011/11/08/out-in-africa/

      While these moves from the US are to be applauded, there is something to be said for cleaning up one’s own house before lecturing others.

      Dec 9, 2011 at 5:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jay Martin
      Jay Martin

      Now, ask me if I give a shit about what any of those backwards, asshat, tin-can dictators think? It’s really simple – stop giving ALL aid to countries with laws like that. I guarantee that all of the sudden those “Africans” to whom it’s anathema will be talking a different story.

      Dec 9, 2011 at 5:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      Foreign aid to Africa needs to be completely cut off. It’s a backward continent still stuck in the Middle Ages. I don’t care what the UN says. The UN can fuck off.

      Dec 9, 2011 at 5:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      @Christopher Banks: said…

      “The reaction was similarly indignant when British PM David Cameron threatened to cut aid to homophobic countries in Africa.
      The key difference being, you can’t really accuse the UK of hypocrisy as Uganda has done the US – the country already has human rights and equality protections for gays and lesbians, as well as civil partnerships. ”
      _________________________________________

      I just LOVE all these crazy people coming on here going “The US are HYPOCRITES!!””

      Obviously NONE of you actually listened to Clinton’s speech. She STATED that her country also still had a few more steps to take with regard to gay rights. But apparently you’d rather bitch about something you didn’t even bother to listen to than to spend a few minutes actually listening to this important speech.

      Dec 9, 2011 at 6:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jmusmc85
      jmusmc85

      @Kaio: You forgot Asia…

      Dec 9, 2011 at 6:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • CBRad
      CBRad

      Well….it IS kinda strange that a big deal is even made over same-sex relations in so many African countries, with some of the real awful stuff that goes on. I mean…a child slave trade?! Mass rape as a weapon of war. Etc etc etc. You’d think people would barely notice or care who is gay or lesbian.

      Dec 9, 2011 at 7:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Niki
      Niki

      Funny how harmless homos can be put in jail for 14 years when rapes and murders are so common and hardly ever get prosecuted. Especially rapes! And they wonder why HIV is so rampant.

      Dec 9, 2011 at 8:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Enemencio Casimiro Buendía Godines
      Enemencio Casimiro Buendía Godines

      Wow. The level of ignorance and hatred on this board is astonishing.

      Dec 9, 2011 at 8:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dr. Dick
      Dr. Dick

      Excellent! @rotinini: you’re right. I can’t believe Africa is so backwards, could it have anything to do with centuries of exploitation by white peoples of many and diverse nathionalities? Or could it have anything to do with the fact that the two dominant religions there are both hypocritical, mysogynist doctrines that have encouraged rapes and brutality for the last 400 or so years? I feel like people really can’t see how much their vitriol mirrors that of their enemies. Resorting to racism, declaring whole groups of people “savages” or “ignorant”……. Are these not the very tools of our (queer people’s) aggresors? As a black queer man, all too often I find myself trying to defend myself/my race from attacks AS HATEFUL OR WORSE than what I’ve heard from evangelical christians. At least they have an excuse, (organised, monotheistic, Abrahamic) RELIGION IS THE OPIATE OF THE MASSES, and honey, Africa is high as a kite on its Abrahamic traditions. What we have to combat is NOT a group of people, but rather an antiquated, outmoded governmental structure that legislates what amount to no more than opinions. Too many overpriviledged white queens in luxury condos screaming about “monkeys” and having the audacity to say “we all feel the same way” is truly saddening. It probably didnt even occur to that person that a black person could read that and be offended. :( bummer

      Dec 9, 2011 at 9:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Steven
      Steven

      It really is pathetic to see so many people jump to insult an entire continent – this is not about demonizing Africa but rather about making it a safer place for everyone (in this case LGBTQ people). Everyone knows the current horrible state of Africa, so there really is no need for this sort of treatment where all you do is throw stones.

      Dec 9, 2011 at 9:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dallas David
      Dallas David

      Unless my history is wrong, it was the African rulers who sold their people into slavery. Of course, Europeans and Americans bought them.

      So what can we learn from this mis-adventure in history?

      Dec 9, 2011 at 10:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • CBRad
      CBRad

      @Dallas David: Slavery is nothing new in that part of the world and many parts of the world for…..like forever. Mesopotamia, Rome (slaves were a major portion of the population, slaves from all over Europe), China, Native Americans, Aztec cultures, etc etc. In Africa the ancient Egyptians went south to get Nubian slaves, and later Muslim invaders took slaves from Africa, and african tribes enslaved each other. Europeans and North Americans got in on the act later, buying Africans from Africans, yes. It’s an epic story. But it’s the modern slave trade in Africa, almost entirely of children, which should be of greater concern and doesn’t get enough attention. (And should certainly make persecuting gays and lesbians an unimportant issue).

      Dec 9, 2011 at 11:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • peter
      peter

      The major problem in a lot of those African Countries isn’t the government, I think if aid was cut from them the policies would change very quickly. But that wouldn’t affect the opinions of the people, who are all extremely ignorant and homophobic when it comes to homosexuality, and would probably ignore any changes in legislation and continue to kill gay men and correctively rape or kill lesbians. The problem is a grass roots one, in my opinion, and needs to be addressed with education aswell as administration change.

      Dec 10, 2011 at 12:12 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Henry
      Henry

      @AL: your comment about pulling the plug on all aid to Africa and Darwinian theory taking care of the Africans is extremely racist, Charles Rozier, but I haven’t seen surprised by anything you’ve said for a long time.

      Dec 10, 2011 at 3:24 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Kyle
      Kyle

      Cut off aid to Africa.

      Dec 10, 2011 at 3:32 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Carl
      Carl

      @Christopher Banks: Personally, I think that them calling America hypocritical is actually part of the plan – now Obama and co. can turn around and say to the US government “hey, hang on, these ass-backward African folks are calling us hypocritical, we better do something to fix that” and get some more changes pushed through your legal system.

      Dec 10, 2011 at 3:40 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charles Pozier
      Charles Pozier

      CUTT OFF AID TO AFRICA……. THEY’RE AFRICA……………………

      Dec 10, 2011 at 3:41 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Carl
      Carl

      @Cam: And Cam, you seem to miss the point that, to the countries she was addressing, that doesn’t matter. To them, all they will see is a country with a less than stellar record on LGBT rights telling THEM to do better with LGBT rights.

      As I stated in another comment, I think that’s a deliberate move. It gives the Obama administration some ammunition to use – they can say things like “sure, we said we had a long way to go, but they’re calling us hypocritical and it’s negatively affecting our global PR image, we better sort this out pronto” (well, words to that effect anyway).

      Or maybe I’m just cynical and see ALL politicians as twisting, conniving gits who will do anything to pull in 5 extra votes…

      Dec 10, 2011 at 3:48 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Christopher
      Christopher

      Just cut off the aid to Africa. The notion that we are somehow responsible for the conditions they are in these days is just annoying. So well they are starving and we should be civilized and give them food but is it our fault that they keep on producing 10 or so babies per family even when they realize that they can’t feed them and had access to protection? There is a power in numbers and when the western countries are at minimal or negative popualtion growth is it really such a good idea to help the primitive cultures and backward thiking of Africa to overwhelm us? Asian countries were poor but look what they have achieved now through their hard work and dedication. So why is it not happening in Africa? There is cheap labour there yet companies are not interested in going there. The answer is that most Africans are just lazy and destructive, it might sound racist and me stereotyping but the sad thing about stereotypes is that they are too often true. Help and support northern and southern Africa but the middle is just a black hole which sucks everything in and gives nothing in return.

      Dec 10, 2011 at 9:18 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tavia
      Tavia

      Funny, growing up in the “black hole” of sub-Saharan Africa, I experienced no homophobic bullying, no “dude you’re a fag,” no sermons from the pulpit preaching how homosexuals will burn in hell. Homosexuality was “taboo” in the sense it was simply something most people were unaware of, and, consequently, the boys in my boys school were able to befriend each other, share feelings, and yes, even have sexual experiences with each other, without social paranoia or intense personal anxiety. So, aside from all the ignorance and racism against black Africans on this thread, it seems shortsighted from the perspective of same sex loving people to be uninterested in the varieties of same sexuality there are, or could be, in the world.

      Dec 10, 2011 at 10:34 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dorian
      Dorian

      @Christopher: It’s always sad to see racist or backward opinions amongst the LGBT community. The problems of Africa come from numerous sources, culture being only one of them. Population size is high because lots of children are an asset in subsistence based societies. So where people depend on children to work the land and raise animals, every child is a worker. High birthrates also leave out the effect that high infant and child death rates have on a population. The size of a family is going to be different in Cairo or Cape Town than it will be even out in those countries rural areas, to say nothing of societies with no service or industrial base, i.e. DR Congo, Somalia, etc.

      As for Asian countries, they got where they are not just through hard work, but by advances in agricultural technology that allowed them to feed themselves. Genetic engineering of crops has saved billions of people in Asia. Part of this is because a rice strain can be farmed in more areas and stay within a given latitudinal range, given Asia’s east/west axis. So, a single crop (that takes billions to engineer and grow) can feed more people. By contrast, Africa’s varying climates and north/south orient make the latitudinal range greater forcing the need for a greater variety of G.E. crops to cause a similar green revolution. Creating a single crop is a huge investment, multiple even more so, but the single crop is recouped faster giving biotechs motivation to invest time and capital in their development.

      As for primitivism, I suppose you know little about pre-European, sub-Saharan cultures? Culture is coarsened through war and oppression. As much as you may wish it to be so, European colonialism that continued well into the last century, still influences not just material concerns, but how Africans think. Modern, rural Africans don’t have widespread access to schools, and when they do what the schools teach is tailored not to offend local cultures, doing so causes them to keep their kids home (I should know, I’ve worked in International Development for several years). So they are brought up learning a synthesis of ancient cultural traditions and conservative, missionary backed forms of Christianity and Islam.

      To wrap up, as I know I face tl;dr, on the topic of laziness, I challenge any comfortable westerner to do a day of subsistence agriculture and goat herding, and then tell me Africans are just lazy. Trust me, they think the same thing about westerners, and I’m more inclined to agree with them rather than someone disparaging their work ethic.

      Dec 10, 2011 at 11:01 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      @Carl: said…

      “@Cam: And Cam, you seem to miss the point that, to the countries she was addressing, that doesn’t matter. To them, all they will see is a country with a less than stellar record on LGBT rights telling THEM to do better with LGBT rights.”
      _________________________________-

      Yes, and every defendant on trial claims they are innocent. Sorry but

      1. They want to put gays to death….the U.S. doesn’t have a trans inclusive federal protection bill. Those are a bit different and the desperation to make them seem equal is an obvious red hearing……kind of like your attempt to make Britain NOT seem hypocritical. WHY doesn’t Britain have marriage? Oh thats right, they bowed to religious nuts just like the U.S. does.

      Dec 10, 2011 at 11:25 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mark
      Mark

      @Dr. Dick: I’m mixed (white and latino), but I couldn’t have said it better myself. Really, I think the greater ignorance (on the part of both the Africans themselves and people elsewhere) lies in the branding of these newer ideas of accepting gay people as “imperialistic”, when in reality Africa was probably no more homophobic before all the imperialism and colonialism that’s made it mostly christian and muslim.

      It seems that this critique holds true in America, from what I can tell. The two biggest indicators to a person’s beliefs about gay people seems to be their religion and whether or not they personally know any gay people. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that a wave of acceptance for gay rights has come at a similar time as a startling rise in the non-religious population.

      Dec 10, 2011 at 2:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      @Carl:

      1. My UK comment was to the first poster, my mistake.

      2. “”all they will see is that one nation that treats its LGBT population as second class citizens is attacking others for doing the same thing. “”
      ___________________________

      No, because in their eyes, the fact that gays can live here legally, be in a relationship etc… is akin to the U.S. being pro gay. Hillary Clinton herself negated that line of argument by her very statement. And the only people mentioning it are the Western Press. Frankly I’m fine with that. Let these countries bitch all they want. They either want our money or they don’t. I could care less if they feel that their culture is superior. If that is the case, then they should do just fine without U.S. money.

      Dec 10, 2011 at 11:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Carl
      Carl

      @Cam: Except Cam that they already HAVE implied hypocrisy on the part of the United States. I think you fail to realise that, despite their homophobia, these people are intelligent human beings and they will make the most appropriate attack they can, including highlighting seeming hypocrisy. Quoted from the above article:

      “I don’t like her tone, at all. Homosexuality here is taboo, it’s something anathema to Africans, and I can say that this idea of Clinton’s, of Obama’s, is something that will be seen as abhorrent in every country on the continent that I can think of.

      I’m amazed she’s not looking to her own country and lecturing them first, before she comes to say these things which she knows are very sensitive issues in so many parts of the world, not least Africa.” (John Nagenda, senior Ugandan presidential advisor)

      Notice how, in the first part, he very carefully worded his dislike of homosexuality. He didn’t call it sick or perverse, he very carefully phrased it to imply that African homophobia is cultural, that it is a taboo and so on. This isn’t the language of a knee-jerk homophobe like Fred Phelps, but someone with a great deal of intelligence who knows how to pick his words so it may seem, to J. Bloggs in the street, not that bad. Given that, his next step of indirectly accusing the USA of hypocrisy underlines his intelligence and subtle manoeuvring.

      The second part is very clearly a dig at the less than stellar track record of LGBT rights in the US and a far from subtle implication of hypocrisy on the part of the US. My point remains that, imo, this kind of reaction is exactly what some in the US government want. Being called hypocritical may well give them some leverage at home. As I said, I am generally cynical towards anything politicians do. Nothing in politics is ever done because it’s the right thing to do, but rather on the basis of what they can get out of it. And leverage at home is a definite bonus that would appeal to any politician. You can pretty much guarantee that any conservative will go apeshit at the idea of “the greatest nation on earth” being called hypocritical by a “bunch of backward barbarian African savages”.

      Dec 11, 2011 at 1:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Riker
      Riker

      @Dr. Dick: Yes, European colonialism contaminated their culture, perhaps irreversibly. However, there is an argument to be made for cutting off all money, withdrawing Western corporations, putting up a global embargo on trade, cutting off the internet, and leaving them alone for a while. Let their people fall back on their traditional culture to fill the void, and letting them develop at their own pace. Maybe in a few generations they’ll be ready to rejoin the global community.

      Dec 11, 2011 at 2:08 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Amber024
      Amber024

      @Christopher: I don’t even know where to begin with that comment. You’re rude, uneducated, and flat our racist. You need to get off the computer and a read. No one with a proper education would say what you just said. And to make matters worst you say that there is truth to stereotypes. You as a gay man would say there is truth to stereotypes??? Once again white community, if you want Blacks as allies you can’t smile to our face and basically call us a n*gger behind our back. But I guess at the end of the day you’re still white males, and will act as such. Pathetic.

      Dec 11, 2011 at 7:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Amber024
      Amber024

      You sound so dumb!! It’s so funny to see people in America tell other nations how to live their life. Since when was America a moralistic country. Since when did America defend you! They don’t want you in their military, they don’t want you in their schools, churches, and neighborhoods. They don’t care if you’re dead because they believe you’re going to hell anyway. Yet you defend American and shame Africa. You’re a complete idiot and nothing less. White gays need to wake up. You think you know oppression because you’r gay but you fail to see how you use your whiteness to oppress others.

      Dec 11, 2011 at 7:47 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jon
      Jon

      @Riker: Then who is going to feed, supply, fuel the global community?

      Internet? Africa could cut off undersea cabling that passes by African territory linking world and Internet would collapse.

      Your theory is a joke, the world would pretty much collapse without Africa.

      Dec 11, 2011 at 10:28 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Trent
      Trent

      As someone who currently lives in Africa, can I just say that most of you have no idea what you are talking about.

      @Christopher: The answer is that most Africans are just lazy and destructive, it might sound racist and me stereotyping but the sad thing about stereotypes is that they are too often true.

      What the hell. This is maybe one of the least true things ever. Africans work very hard here and they work in conditions you can’t even imagine living in. You can argue here that the people are not as well educated, but that is something that they are working on here. I have seen Americans in the states not even half as literate as the kids here. They go to school here and are usually learning in their second language and may be even studying a third or a fourth.

      I find this whole comment thread to be a series of ignorant phrases said by people who know nothing about Africa at all. Shame on all of you. Must be nice to be rich and white and do whatever you want with no consequences.

      Dec 11, 2011 at 1:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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