on the ground

And What Did Obama Learn By Sending 2 Diplomats to Stratergize Over Uganda’s Kill The Gays Bill?

It’s not like the Obama administration is doing absolutely nothing about Uganda’s Kill The Gays bill. While hate leaders on the ground there are spewing absolute nonsense, two American diplomats arrived in Kampala to meet with gay activsts there to plot strategy.

On March 3, the U.S. Bureau of African Affairs’s Geeta Pasi (its East Africa director) and Bruce Wharton (its public affairs director) invited five gay rights leaders to the American embassy to learn “what the embassy and government at large can do to stop the bill,” relays minister and activist Brown Kiyimba.

According to Kiyimba, gay leaders suggested a range of strategies, including imposing economic sanctions on the country and convincing US Evangelicals who are popular in Uganda to speak out more forcefully against the bill. One member of the Civil Society Coalition even urged a Ugandan visit from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but Kiyimba said the image of Clinton smiling and shaking hands with Ugandan politicians would make it look like she endorses their anti-gay views. Civil Society members asked the US government to support the coalition’s work against the bill, but no money was promised at the meeting. Diplomats did, however, promise to consider granting American visas to Ugandan gay leaders so they can travel to the US this summer and raise awareness about the legislation.

Kiyimba said the diplomats spoke very little at the meeting. “Mostly they wanted to hear from us,” said Kiyimba.

While both President Obama and Sec. of State Hillary Clinton have denounced Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, this appears to be the administration’s first on-the-ground effort to see what can be done to fight it. “I take it as a start,” says Kiyimba. “It’s just a beginning. The Obama administration is seriously concerned about the bill and committed to help.”


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  • romeo

    Good for this. Glad the administration is doing something. Now they need to carry forward and let the Ugandan gay leaders come over here to let them have a very public face. I know that they will have a forum in the media here. Big problem with gays in Uganda, here in the US, and everywhere, is that we are still an abstraction to too many people. If our faces can be seen, our real stories heard from our own mouths, then we won’t remain just an idea that can be easily distorted by the lies and ignorance used against us. Also, giving a real public face to Uganda’s gays will make it easier to pressure Congress to get serious about sanctions if this law passes.

  • REBELComx

    “on-the-ground” How appropriate. He’s got his pants on the ground when it comes to working through LGBT issues here. Gonna trip over his slacks while running from his campaign promises one of these days.

  • ben doverr

    Once I perused the headline I dove right in, because it’s all about the stratergy.

  • Kieran

    Economic sanctions against Uganda should be a no-brainer.

  • Kieran

    But ofcourse pussies like Delurker would probably call economic sanctions “racist”. People like Delurker would bend over and spread their ass cheeks if they ever met someone like “the Rev” Martin Ssempa. While Delurker babbled on about “white racism”, Ssempa would take a machete and chop Delurker’s gay head off.

  • alan

    @Kieran: Economic sanctions have never achieved the desired result in any instance when they have been deployed.

    In this case, Ugandan gays would be blamed and the hate campaign would be ratcheted up. Boycotts would be more in order.

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