The thing i argue most about is : Freedom of choice
Mainly because everyone has an interpretation of what it means and its limitations. I confess i can be very liberal. I was raised to treat people as I wanted to be treated.
In my humble opinion, we should be allowed to make the most of what we have and who we are if we are not hurting someone else in the process. In recent days, Gay marriage has been legalised in the following 12 states in the US:
- New Hampshire
- New York
- Rhode Island
- The District of Columbia
Thirty-six states have gay marriage bans through either laws or constitutional amendments or both.
In Britain this year, The House of Lords voted in favour of the gay marriage Bill by 390 votes to 148.
in Africa, the stories are much worse, being Gay can have you imprisoned or killed. It boggles my mind because we have so many more pressing and much more deserving issues our countries should be pooling resources towards. They are struggling to provide the most basic of needs but no, what two adults choose to do with their lives is apparently paramount. In most African countries, governments cannot provide:
- Clean water/ proper sanitation for their citizens
- Education for its population
- Employment opportunities, you have to know someone to get a good job most of the time
- Good Healthcare is for the elite few, African presidents leave their respective countries to get good medical health services abroad.
- Electricity is like bingo, one minute you are enjoying a night in front of the tv, next minute pah, surrounded in darkness.
The list is endless. instead of tackling this, we raise our voices, carry machetes in the street and beat gay people to death or lock them up. While we are busy doing this, we accept
- Killing each other is various wars. War is king
- Our children dying of hunger, malaria, HIV, malnutrition
- Improper education or complete lack of it
- Corruption at every level of our governments filtering down into society. Every leader and their friends and family fill their pockets when in power, the pot is ever empty
- Extreme poverty has become part of the fabric of our society.
Of a nation where governments do little, and sufferings of all kinds is evident in everyday life, we choose to add more to our afflictions. Fueled by religious doctrine and cultural zeal, it is hugely offensive to be African and Gay. Your family will die of shame, literally. The usual suspects of arguments, in no particular order are:
- It is not part of our culture, we have to preserve our culture
- It is not christian, muslim (insert prefered religion)
- It is sick, disgusting
- They should do it privately
- It can be cured
- It’s an abomination (this one is particularly a favourite, comes up every time)
- We cannot accept it because it is wrong, simple
- Why are you defending them, are you gay (this is normally when tempers are about to flare up, mine included)
- It’s not natural
All of these opinions, to me, are not valid reasons. But oppression never made any sense, It is based purely on superiority and self-importance.
Lets start with religion for it is the first that is normally thrown out of the box. Sinning is part of the human psyche, if you are religiously inclined, you will understand this very well. Human beings are inherently flawed. So much so that God had to give us specific instructions to keep us from maiming one another, but we still stray, a lot. In reality, we are constantly straying. If sinning is part of human existence, and being gay is a sin, well God made it so. At this point, the word blasphemy is thrown at me, and I am told that one cannot be Muslim/Christian and be gay, one must choose. Now this I find particularly intriguing. Making decisions for God sounds very blasphemous to me. God is not exclusive to anyone, however, just to understand their own practice of God’s words and his rules, when I enquire how many of them have never cheated, ,lied, stolen something, fornicated, taken the Lords name in vain, bear false witness, slept with someone’s wife/husband. No one, can counter argue that. Because everyone has fallen foul of breaking at least one rule that God considers sinful.
The argument progresses to, its not natural. Marrying your cousin to me is not natural and some cultures still practice this, polygamy was a natural part of our society once upon a time, christianity changed that, so what was once natural became frowned upon, but in muslim homes it is a norm. Natural is relative.
Then then there is it makes me sick seeing a man/woman and another man/woman together, always followed by , we cannot accept it because its wrong, simple. Well, i can tell you a few things that i find sickening too. When a mother is turned away by doctors because she doesn’t have money for treatment for her child, that to me, is the abomination, when money is put before life. Yes, there are many things that are wrong in this world, but, we still accept them and move on.
Its not part of our culture. Please. We choose culture when it suits us. Culture is history, we make it, we can un-make it. Killing twins was a cultural favourites in some African villages, circumcision of women and sewing their vulvas to keep their purity is also another cultural pastime. Not pretty is it?
Using culture or religion for one’s own personal pursuit is an old story. We all know it’s hypocrisy. Feeble excuses.
Sometimes i think it’s a losing battle, i will never win this argument. You cannot change people’s convictions easily.
We put so much effort into discriminating against a small minority with so much hate and so little validation. I should be surprised but i am not, because tribalism is rife in Africa. Your surname is either a chain or a crown. Something to be revered or put down for. We have not fully accepted one another. Each country believing they are better, each tribe beating their chest because they are sons of kings, each family trying to out do another because some distant grandmother is of royal descent.
Why are you defending them is normally saved for last. I am because i believe that we should all have the right to love and live freely, it’s that simple. Yes, i am expecting too much. Maybe because Africa will always be my home and i find it hard to accept that amongst all its struggle there is another one added. And i know we cannot be free until we each take a good look at our own transgressions and address why we feel, our own sense of righteousness is the only way. Maybe because my children may suffer the same ordeal of discrimination of who they will become.
I hope for change in a place surrounded by bleakness and hopelessness, but i continue to argue, not to change all minds but at the very least, to make one person listen, because “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed” Martin Luther King, Jr.