by Disu Kamor
In a recent article in the UK’s The Guardian newspaper (published on Tuesday 25 February 2014), Martin Plaut, the senior research fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, branded President Yoweri Museveni “an international pariah” for recently signing a bill into law that imposes harsh penalties for homosexuality.
The Ugandan decision to criminalise homosexuality has also resulted in cuts to the country’s generous aid budget, including World Bank withholding its loan to boost Uganda’s health services (maternal health, new-born care and family planning) worth US$90 million. Despite knowing that the decision to criminalise homosexuality (the law allows life imprisonment as the penalty for acts of “aggravated homosexuality” and also criminalises the “promotion of homosexuality”) is an Ugandan internal issue, that the bill empowering the president was debated extensively and authorised through the Ugandan legislative system, the US secretary of state, John Kerry, announced that “all dimensions” of US engagement with the country would be reviewed, including the aid budget (Similarly, Kerry had said that Nigeria’s anti-gay law is “inconsistent with Nigeria’s international legal obligations and undermines the democratic reforms and human rights protections enshrined in its 1999 Constitution”).
One wonders why the Western countries are so quick to rise up in numbers against those African countries that are exercising their sovereign and democratic rights to decide for themselves on this issue. It is as if those African countries have no right to defend and preserve their own values. Although these gay rights champion nations and their agents, are being cheered on by local clap-parties dressed as activists and pundits, it is important to reflect on the dangerous course that the new cultural imperialism and its enforcement mean for Africans.
Until the nineteenth century, same-sex sexual activity was referred to in Anglo-American texts under the terms “unnatural acts,” “crimes against nature,” “sodomy,” or “buggery.” Sodomy, derived from the biblical tale of Sodom (Genesis 19:1-8). In 1533, England enacted the first secular law criminalizing “the abominable vice of buggery” and making it punishable by hanging. The European decriminalization of sodomy did not begin until the post-Revolutionary France when the Constituent Assembly abrogated laws criminalizing “crimes against nature” in 1791 when it abolished ecclesiastical courts.
German lawyer Karl Heinrich Ulrichs (1825-1895) was perhaps the first activist for homosexual civil rights. He argued against Germany’s adoption of Prussian law criminalizing sodomy and in a series of pamphlets published from 1864 to 1879, he argued that same-sex love was a congenital, hereditary condition, not a matter of immorality; therefore, it should not be criminally persecuted. He called himself and those like him “Urnings” who had a female soul in a male body. He hypothesized that there were competing male and female “germs” that determined male and female anatomy and psyche. Ulrichs proposed that Urnings were a form of psychosexual hermaphrodites.
In fact it was not until 1973 that the American Psychiatric Association (APA) removed homosexuality from its official Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as a mental disorder. This decision to expunge the mental illness model of homosexuality from the manual, it must be emphasised, occurred in the context of momentous cultural changes brought on by the social protest movements of the 1950s to the 1970s, rather than a result of any robust scientific research. It is important to understand that one of the issues that mislead people most is the tendency to believe that what people around them believe is right, without thinking about it themselves.
Despite many decades of focused campaigns by the gay rights groups and their supporters, to date, no conclusive research has established that people are born gay- there is no conclusive evidence that there is a gay gene. The only substantiated fact has been that there is no biological basis for same-sex attractions- in human beings or in animals. Rather, a combination of widely ranging causal factors have been identified for the abnormality and there exists today numerous effective reparative therapies. Testimonies of exciting transformation by people with a homosexual past attest to the effectiveness of these therapies to cause profound changes in sexual identity, behaviour, interests and desires.
In a 2004 People Can Change survey (People Can Change is an online group of former homosexuals), the group administered questionnaire to determine what their online members feel to have been the most significant causes of their developing homosexual feelings in their own lives. They asked about 25 possible factors- everything from biology to personal choice. More than 200 men responded out of whom 97% said problems in the father-son relationship while they were growing up contributed to their developing same-sex attractions (SSA) – homosexual men usually identified this as one of the three most significant factors. The same percentage, 97%, said problems in their male-peer relationships contributed. While 9 out of 10 survey respondents said aspects of their relationships with their mothers contributed to their SSA, 48% said that, as children or youth, they had been sexually abused by an older or more powerful person. Further to this, 93% said they had had other sexual experiences- including pornography, sexual fantasy and sex play with other boys- as children or youth and 87% said they believed their personality traits were a contributing factor. All these uncomplicated facts are what the proponents of the practice of homosexuality have buried in their shout for human rights and equality.
Homosexuality is not socially and legally accepted in 38 African nations, including Nigeria, and this is a fact that the West will have to deal with. The issue has been exhaustively debated and those opposing its legal acceptance have won. The use of threats, intimidation, vilification and boycotts will not change the reality on ground.
President Yoweri Museven is not attacked or vilified for holding the position of president in Uganda since 29 January 1986 when he took the country back from Idi Amin’s tyranny. In fact until he signed the anti-gay bill on February 24th, 2014, he was held up in the West, in the words of Martin Plaut, as an “enlightened African leadership”. President Museveni is not condemned or labelled as an international pariah for running a country where the poverty level of millions of Ugandans- with a per capita income of under US$170- makes the country one of the poorest countries in the world. Despite their unavoidable reality, more than 90% Ugandans supported this bill, through their elected officials and through public opinions.
Most Ugandans are not deceived by the West’s paternalism at this point in time, rather they ask: where was the West or the World Bank when Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and the Uganda People’s Defence Force terrorized people in Northern Uganda? Many Ugandans are prepared to remain in their prevailing condition rather than have more of their youth inducted into the “Dajjalic culture” and this particular way of life of the West that will draw them closer to the brink.
We now have the “People of Lot” in societies, occupying high positions globally, as lecturers, researchers, entrepreneurs, scientists, psychologists, marriage councilors, journalists, creative artists, politicians- and sadly these people now have presidents of powerful nations advocate on their behalf. The West is using all its soft power, on behalf of the homosexuality community, to try and change the political and cultural landscape of nations and the popular culture (ideas, perspectives, attitudes, memes, images, and other phenomena) is being used to taint peoples and nations in such a way that normal life becomes unrecognisable. Anyone daring to challenge this trend is ridiculed, attacked and condemned as backward, regressive or uncultured. Nations that dare raise their voice will be severely punished with poverty and hunger. But God’s punishments are ever more severe, and eternal.
When the People of Lot (in Sodom, present day Palestine) rejected God’s warnings and messages, they were severely punished. We are in a similar danger now unless more nations continue to act with courage and reject a Faustian pact. Africa’s curse is not homosexual or homophobia, but bad governance. The great misery is that countries like Germany, Denmark and Norway that have laws protecting sexual activities between human beings and animals as a ‘lifestyle choice’ are at the forefront of the crusade of the gay community’s “human rights and equality” in Africa.
As demonstrated above, homosexuality was considered a mental illness until 1973 similar to the way that bestiality is considered a mental illness in most parts of the world today. In 50 years’ time, will bestiality become the new norm that the West will be enforcing on Africans? In 2064, will animal brothels spread like McDonald’s and KFC around the world and will those alive at the time consider it a lifestyle choice that the (post-)modern and the enlightened must embrace? While man is blessed with the faculty of thought, in fact many people almost never think! In truth, the deeper a man goes in reflection, the more facts that have never occurred to him begin to emerge– and this is possible for everyone. If everyone thinks deeply about the main issues and considers all the surrounding issues, both religious and scientific, these facts will inevitably emerge.
Mr Plaut and people like him who are enraged that homosexuality is now criminalised in Uganda forgets that the same Ugandan Constitution already prescribes a death sentence for the “straights” should they “tempt” young people (under 18) into “straight sex”. The West’s arrogant approach that it has primary responsibility to dictate to the Africans smacks of imperialistic attitude. While no African nation has opposed or condemned the West’s near unanimity in criminalising polygyny for instance, a clear denial of the fundamental rights of a minority in their own societies, no African nation dares tell the West it has to protect the large minorities whose rights have been tramped.
The greater danger is that these Western countries will continue to put pressures on African governments, it will continue to fund indigenous groups to become the very reincarnation of those Africans who enabled the West imperialism in Africa. A new form of gay activism seeks to entrench itself in the social system, in academia, media, politics, etc. Has the West considered how beneficial to humanity at large the system it is promoting is? Have they considered, at a sociocultural level, if the system they are trying to enforce will advance humanity or will retard it?
However intelligent a man is, everything he knows is surely from around him. If everything around a man is thoroughly polluted by the poison of an abominable social ill, then even an intelligent person, will act as if he is bewitched, and advocate for the proliferation of the social ill. In the Qur’an, God asks people “So how have you been bewitched?” (Qur’an, Surah Al-Mu’minūn, Verse 89) The word “bewitched” in the verse implies a state of mental numbness. That takes control of people as a whole. An unthinking person’s mind is benumbed. His sight becomes blurry. He acts as if he doesn’t see the facts before his eyes. And his faculty of judgment becomes weakened. He becomes incapable of grasping the plain truth, and cannot be conscious of extra ordinary events taking place right beside him.
The Qur’an points out the consequences of such a state as follows: And how many a city was insolent toward the command of its Lord and His messengers, so We took it to severe account and punished it with a terrible punishment. And it tasted the bad consequence of its affair, and the outcome of its affair was loss. (Qur’an Surah Al Talaq, Verses 8-9). Earthly power, affluence or influence, will not protect them from this consequence, whether they believe it or not. “For those who have responded to their Lord is the best [reward], but those who did not respond to Him – if they had all that is in the earth entirely and the like of it with it, they would [attempt to] ransom themselves thereby. Those will have the worst account, and their refuge is Hell, and wretched is the resting place.” (Qur’an Surah Ar-Ra`d, Verse 18).
Disu Kamor is the Executive Chairman, Muslim Public Affairs Centre, MPAC Nigeria.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.