I am vexed. But that is just the half of it. The source of my anger is something that is not politically correct, at least from a western point of view.
I am annoyed at being referred to as a ‘f**king homophobe’, whatever that means, by an American 'used-to-be' friend who couldn’t understand my support for the incarceration of a Malawian gay couple. To him, my American ex-friend, I am one of those Africans who are yet to take advantage of their professed education to lift himself above petty things like gay hating.
Well, what can I say... the Yank is not too farfetched in his summation. If my emancipation means leaning over to be poked through a passage meant for something the west considers so dirty, it is social taboo to mention in polite conversation, or allowing people’s wanton desires run amok, then I am altogether happy to remain an educated ‘bushman’.
My ex-friend, like most westerners and, of late, so-called sexually emancipated Africans are so caught up in their misplaced proselytising for free will and free choice that they miss the point totally; that this is not a battle (yes o, it has started) about an individual’s freedom of sexual orientation, but the right for an organized society to exercise the law as their constitution allows. Now, don’t start with that over flogged argument that Malawi and indeed Africa has more pressing problems than sexual rights. That does not cut the cheese either way. The brothers (abi na sisters) broke the law and got punished for it. Yes, public humiliation is a cultural way of punishing law breakers in most part of Africa; I bet my Yankee ex-friend didn’t know that.
There is still that question most Gay rights activists want answered, are Africans Homophobic? I will answer in the typical Nigerian way, why is this so important?
True, we have always had people who tumble in the sheets with like poles, yes ke, but does that excuse it?
Even in our traditional societies and – here I will agree with the gay rights people – it wasn’t introduced by the colonial masters or Arab traders. But the fact still remains that the traditional society abhorred this act enough to impose stringent penalties, which includes death in some cultures, to curtail it. And yes, these characters are not hidden, in Igboland we call them omekanwanyi – he that acts like a woman. But they don’t get to cross-dress or solicit men on the village streets. Even if they get to tumble in the sheets, it is not public knowledge, just like any straight couple’s tumble isn’t. I think this is important, no?)
In Naija we all know about what goes on in same-sex boarding schools. How the school mothers and fathers experiment with their sons and daughters and how sex thrives after lights out within the boarding house, but this was usually seen as a passing phase occasioned by boredom since most of the partakers drop the act after school and go on to have fulfilling relationships with the opposite sex. Though there are still others who fail to outgrow this and continue partaking even in the wider society.
And yes, there are openly homosexual people in many towns in northern Nigeria – the dan dawudus – who are very much integrated into the society. They may not have the kind of freedom most gay rights activists would wish for but they walk freely in the street and even get to cross dress to an extent (girly head ties and all) but who is really free in the world... another days talk, that.
Aside from serious Bible and Quran carriers, I doubt if anyone really bothers about what gays do with one another here, as long as they keep it among themselves and not break the law, don’t provoke the citizenry (sex in public is an offence even in the West, right?) and don’t try to convert children under the age of consent (that will be breaking the law anywhere I bet).
On my part, I don’t care much for homosexuality and think it is all about sex (sorry, I don’t buy that love crap) and believe giving people right to do what they please is tantamount to inviting chaos on the world. Soon people will ask to marry their progenies or even pets all in the name of over some hyped love, shouldn’t the government grant them that boon?
Perhaps I am biased, I have not had the privilege of meeting an openly homosexual man, but I have met a couple of female bisexuals (don’t know if that counts) who became good friends of mine – that’s how homophobic I am.
Arguments aside, I feel Africa should be wary of these gay activists. They are too powerful to be dismissed with a simple wave of the hand; at least they have conquered part of the Christian church, Bible and all. Now, openly homosexual priests preach the way to hell and salvation which I hope lies not through the s**t hole of some man.