Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sometimes I Despair of my Species ever Becoming Human


A gay couple in Malawi, arrested the day after their engagement party in December, was convicted today of unnatural acts and gross indecency under laws dating from the colonial era. The two men face fourteen years in prison for the offense of being gay. The government, backed by Malawi church leaders, says they broke the law because homosexuality is "sinful," and the West should not be allowed to use its financial power to force Malawi to accept homosexuality. Malawi relies on donors for 40 percent of its development budget.

Homosexuality is illegal in 37 African nations, and even in South Africa, the only African country that recognizes gay rights, there have been numerous rapes of lesbians. In Uganda, lawmakers are considering a bill that could sentence homosexuals to life in prison and includes the death penalty for "repeat offenders."

Quite apart from the obvious inhumanity of such arrests, it sounds the death knell in the fight against AIDS as people with HIV, the virus that causes it, are afraid to seek treatment. In Malawi, nearly 1 million people, an estimated 12 percent of the population, are living with HIV.

It seems to me that if the Malawi government wants to make this a political rather than human rights issue, the only way we can help is to withdraw financial aid until they abandon such brutal and ignorant practices. It's impossible to understand how those whose belief in God justifies cruelty fail to realize that if there is a God, He/She made everybody, not just heterosexuals, and they are the ones committing grave sins.

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"If it were possible to cure evils by lamentation and to raise the dead with tears, then gold would be a less valuable thing than weeping."
Sophocles

25 comments:

mrwriteon said...

The more we think the world is becoming more human, the more it turns around and fucks us. In cases of such countries as Malawi and Uganda and their antedilivian attitudes, I think foreign aid from countries such as yours and mine should be based on the cessation of such laws. I believe we have that right if they want our bucks.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Ian,

That's my point, exactly. In such cases, power should accompany money. We shouldn't be financing governments that perpetrate such horrors against their own citizens.

nick said...

I agree, financial aid should be withdrawn as long as gay rights are not respected. But persuading religious leaders to give up homophobia is like trying to part a dog from its bone.

secret agent woman said...

But we don't do it. Our financial interests nearly always take precedence over human rights issues.

Maria said...

Sighing. Oh, dear. Still so much change needed.

Bruce said...

But I'm not entirely sure what our financial interests in Malawi are. It's a landlocked country in southern Africa with an ineffective agrarian society.

TechnoBabe said...

Just talking about countries that still do not acknowledge basic human rights shows how far the world still has to go. Maybe by the time the humans destroy the earth they will finally understand human rights.

Jocelyn said...

Woefully, it seems too much to ask that our country take a stand for civil rights in another country when it won't do such a thing within its own borders.


(unrelatedly, I think your blog's new tagline should be: "You can't unring a bell or unsee a crack."

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Nick,

Nicely put. I sometimes think that religious leaders and politicians should all be shipped off to another planet.

Agent,

We do have our priorities, don't we?

Maria,

Mankind holds its prejudices dear against all reason.

Bruce,

I have no idea how much financial aid we give them, but it really should stop until they treat ALL their citizens better.

Babe,

Somehow, I suspect that much of the human race will go down proclaiming how right they were to deny others their rights. It makes me sick.

Jocelyn,

Good point. And that tagline applies to your newest post. My eyes are scorched just reading about all those cracks.

Anonymous said...

Author! Author! Nobel Prize for Literature!

the walking man said...

I guess if they simply ran for public office in Malawi they could say the non elected official was simply his valet.

The truth of the matter is the further along this road we go on humanity and knowledge the further we get from compassion, self determination and, becoming human.

I for one think we should not send any public money to any where. We have become such a society of cheerleaders let them who believe in the causes they support send their private dollars to help or hinder the the ignorance the developed government supports with tax dollars.

Jo said...

Wow! There is so much ignorance in the world, it's mind-boggling. Unfortunately I think Malawi's charge that homosexuality is "sinful" is shared by too many other countries. In Canada it's not even an issue, and I wonder who much aid we give to Malawi.

Great post...!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Anonymous,

Whoever you are, I adore you!

Mark,

These men were open about their relationship, as everyone everywhere should be allowed to be. I really think the so-called "human" race is regressing, which is most discouraging, to say the least.

Jo,

There are many in the US who believe homosexuality is sinful, but think nothing of committing violent acts against people who are just trying to exercise the pursuit of happiness supposedly guaranteed to all.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

We must keep believing that one day there will be equality for all humanity; or unthinkable barbarity and heartlessness will never die, because it will not change.

This is yet another reason to change it. That MUST happen; because this should never, ever happen.


Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Jo said...

I just noticed another typo -- "who" instead of "how". Do you think it's time I had a vacation? *heh*

mischief said...

Sadly, gay marriage still *is* an issue in Canada. Though the federal government says it is legal to marry, some individual provinces have tried to fight it. Currently there is great debate over whether clergy have the legal right to refuse to marry gay couples if it is against their religion. The Catholic church still fights gay marriage within its buildings. Our Prime Minister does not take a stand to protect the rights of same sex couples.

There is progress being made but the fight is not over in Canada yet...

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Scarlett,

Sadly, until there are serious and meaningful consequences for evil behavior, it will continue.

Jo,

Oh, yes! You absolutely need a vacation. Tell your employer that I said so.

Lisa,

If there is separation of church and state as there is (theoretically) in the US, I would guess that clergy does have the legal right to refuse anyone. We're not talking ethics or human decency here, just legality. It's truly sad that so many feel threatened by gay love. Love is love - the rest is window dressing.

TaraDharma said...

I join you in your despair.

Pea said...

Preach it! I stood in the street with signs and my loud mouth to show my support for my gay brothers and sisters in my community. That stupid Amendment banning gay marriage in the state of Florida back in Nov. of '08 got passed much to our dismay. We knew it was a losing battle but I would do it again. As long as we continue to discriminate against our own citizens we will never be in a position to set the example. sigh.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Tara,

Misery loves company.

Sweet Pea,

You make an excellent point. We shouldn't criticize others until our own houses are clean. But neither do we have to endorse their policies by financing them.

yinyang said...

I think we could kill two birds with one stone by withdrawing financial support to their government and redirecting it to HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment.

(What can I say? I lead a rich fantasy life.)

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Yinyang,

It's a wonderful idea! What you call a rich fantasy life, I call visionary.

Cloudia said...

*Sigh*

Pride will be more meaningful this year...




Aloha from Hawaii


Comfort Spiral

Los Angelista said...

Death penalty for homosexuality sounds like something out of the dark ages. People should be able to make the decisions that are right for them, even if other folks don't sanction them. It's between them and God -or if they choose to be atheists, between them and... you get the point. I don't see the sense in legislating this sort of thing.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Cloudia,

It's sad that pride in ones sexual orientation should need to be celebrated - it should be taken fro granted, whatever it is.

Liz,

It's appallingly backward. I would hope we'd have advanced beyond punishing people for who they are. Homosexuals are treated worse than murderers in some places, and that's incomprehensible to me.