By Melanie Nathan, December 22, 2015.
Who has hurt African LGBT people more? Is that the question? Ask yourself always – where did it start and unless one fails to place a story in its absolute and full context, then we can be assured there is no truth.
The New York Times published a somewhat incendiary article based on the comments of a few Nigerian LGBT activists who may not in and of themselves have a full sense of what goes on in all of Africa and the global outreach to promote human rights, including for LGBTI people in Africa. The NYT article was the perfect fuel for distortion and counter advocacy against the work of the global community to promote human rights for all. Austin Ruse, writing for Breitbart, did not miss his scapegoat opportunity!
Breitbart: “Obama and Elite U.S. Gays Endangering the Lives of African Homosexuals” is hurtful to LGBT Africa and relies on third party information in its entirety. The author, Austin Ruse, does not delve at all, yet makes this sweeping headline out of another article. But worse yet is the ruse (PUN intended). Mr. Austin Ruse is clearly connected to the anti-gay organizations in the USA and now he is using the New York Times article to deflect the responsibility of the Christian right and draconian Colonial Penal Codes, which have served to persecute Africa’s LGBT community. If not for the latter, LGBT Africans would not be in their current state of a persecution and the global community would not be in the position where it is compelled to provide advocacy, most often at the behest of the LGBT communities themselves.
I am not going into the articles in depth and nor am I going to put the whole picture into context here- it will take a book! But I am going to say that the New York Times article, while correct in some instances, overall has faults rendering it harmful to LGBTI Africa, in general. And the Breitbart article by Austin Ruse is just an opportunistic cheap shot at diverting blame from radical Christian extremists, latching onto the mistakes made by the NYT piece.
So I went quickly to Twitter and Facebook and shot off the following knee-jerk critique. Perhaps I will find the time away from my work to write more later. But in the meantime, for the record:
@austinruse ALLOW ME to correct you- your article on Breitbart is misleading and simply untrue! Its stinks the Breitbart stink. The NYT Article which seems to serve as the impetus for your assertions is riddled with flaws. The NYT had some valid points – but all said and done – none of this funding and help for LGBTI Africa would be necessary if the radical Christian extremists you support and the Sharia wielding haters, with whom they share a stage, had not intervened in Africa in the first place!
1) Have you ever interviewed an LGBT activist from any single African country before writing your incendiary ignorant article – probably not- the header to your article and content is inaccurate!
2) The NYT interviewed 2 young activists in Nigeria who do not speak for all of Africa. Nigeria’s LGBT experience is not the same as Uganda – and Uganda is not the same as The Gambia! They are separate countries FYI! In fact there are 31 countries beyond Nigeria and Uganda in Africa which also criminalize homosexuality and the Nigerians and Ugandans do NOT speak for them!
3) Most importantly and the biggest fault of the NYT article is the failure to fully contextualize. Before Western religion hit Africa, male same sex relations was never a problem, culturally. Men slept with men was not the taboo it is today. Then the Christians and Muslims came along with their religion and conversions and suddenly it was UNAFRICAN.
So no Breitbarters- you who hate same-sex relations and suddenly seems to care – need to smell your own stink in this mess. It is your Evangelical crew of Engle, Warren, Robertson, Lively, et all who have fueled the anti-gay fire in African countries and it is therefore your crew of religious nutcases who must take full responsibility. Not the activists in the USA or the USA Government attempting to steer the course toward the human rights commitments already made by these African countries. Radical Christian extremists – you lost your battle here in the USA and now you seek to implicate activists and the American government in your insidious war on gays. The NYT had some valid points – but all said and done none of this funding and help would be necessary if the radical Christian extremists and the Sharia wielding haters with whom they share a stage had not intervened in Africa in the first place!
4) And if the 2 Nigerian activists in those articles think that USA is making it worse then they should address their concerns to the LGBT activists themselves from other African countries such as Uganda –who have traveled to the USA seeking help from the USA government and LGBT community. And what will they say to the Nigerians who have now found exile in America and who are themselves speaking out against anti-gay human rights infractions in their home country?
Have you seen Frank Mugisha sipping cocktails with VP Biden in the White House? Have you seen Frank Mugisha receive a $30,000 award from JFK center and turn it down? These are merely 2 noteworthy activists who seek the support the USA sends. Have you seen Jacqueline Kasha N. traveling to the USA and EU for several years and receiving accolades and awards?
Have you seen any activist from Africa turn down paid travel by orgs and grantors and sponsors in USA and EU ? I have not!
So how can you make such sweeping statements based on 2 people from Nigeria commenting? Perhaps they should address their concerns to their fellow LGBT activists on the ground in several African countries.
Just this week Kasha placed her name with the USA based organization ALL OUT in a massive fundraising drive to support the pro LGBT magazine she published in Uganda. This is only one of several such fund raising endeavors. Ask her what she thinks of the Nigerian comments? Have you @austinruse? by Melanie Nathan!
The offending Articles can be Googled!
By Melanie Nathan firstname.lastname@example.org
Executive Director at African Human Rights Coalition.
@melanienathan1 Shortlink: http://wp.me/pqRPa-67b
@nytimes @Austinruse @melanienathan1 #BRETIBARTstinks
TO READ MORE:
Austin Ruse’s C-Fam Conjobbery
First, I recommend anyone who has a sense of humour visit the (anti-gay and anti-women’s rights) C-Fam site and read through Austin Ruse’s bio. It’s just hilarious. One gets the impression he wrote it while jerking off to his own image in a mirror. Puff doesn’t begin to describe it. His accomplishments include “Mr. Ruse is a Knight in the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, a Knight in the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre.” but of course, he’s neither in the military nor an equestrian. Those are basically just two religious (Catholic) groups. The “Military Order” gets to use a corner of a fort in Malta for its charity activities.
It goes on to say: (he) is a founding member of the Diplomatic Society of St. Gabriel.- yes, that certainly seems to be a pattern in Mr. Ruse’s credentials; he gives them to himself. Just as in founding C-Fam, making himself the president and then using that do-it-yourself-pseudo-prestige to make himself seem important. Never has Smart Draw’s print-your-own-diploma software gotten so much use as in Mr. Ruse’s little C-fam office.
READ MORE ON CLICK HERE : AUSTIN RUSE