The gay bashing which became gay beating two weeks ago in Uganda was widely reported worldwide. But not enough has been said about the U.S. Christian right which fomented the violence in the first place.
In September I wrote that the “C Street Players” – a list of prominent leaders and politicians on the U.S. far right – were implicated in rigging the re-election of the Ugandan MP who introduced draconian legislation to punish gays and people who knew people were gay.
Fortunately that bill was tabled by Uganda’s president after substantial pressure from the west.
Listen to a great audio history by Democracy Now.
But the evil continues. A rogue newspaper, not registered (and were it anything but a gay basher tabloid would have been viciously suppressed by the Ugandan regime), incited incredible violence earlier this month by naming the country’s “Top 100 Homos.”
It’s really impossible to know if American money is behind this new tabloid, and in a sense, it doesn’t really matter. Hate on the level C Street brought to Uganda in the first place, which promulgated legislation that couldn’t possibly get even rightest attention in the U.S. (execution for certain gays), was intense enough to start these brush fires.
Fewer than 2000 copies of the Ugandan Rolling Stone issue were circulated, but that seemed enough to cause something of a cultural rampage in the capitol. Shortly thereafter, the real violence began. Four gays were seriously beaten, others injured, scores intimated.
This is a terrible story, but I actually believe the more terrible story is how effective the American Christian right is now in East Africa.
Much of this current violence can likely be traced to Lou Engel, an American evangelical, who received permission to hold a kill-gays rally on the campus of Uganda’s most prestigious university, Makerere. More than 1300 people attended that rally in May.
As reported then in the Huffington Post Engel was a picture perfect conservative rabble rouser. To the American press he disavowed any animus towards gays and even any knowledge of the bill before the Ugandan legislature.
But once at the rally his tuned changed significantly and he was dispensing hate with incredible efficiency. He seemed to know that the five-year long fight for an anti-gay bill in Uganda so beautiful maneuvered and heavily funded by the U.S. Christian right was in trouble.
So his response was to say incredibly vicious things. “…he whipped up bizarre fears of evil gays lurking in schools in Uganda” according to Wayne Hudson in that Huffington article, along with screaming that Uganda was “ground zero” in the fight against gays.
This is what the American right does: lie, then use that lie to engage the deep-set anger of those foolish enough to consider it. Once engaged, the anger is finally corrupted to any use they wish.
Senators De Mint and Coburn will never succeed in punishing people in the U.S. for being gay, and not even Lou Engel could preach such nonsense here. So…
…they go to Africa, where the angers are greater and deeper, and they shift their lunacy for power there.
Mark Jordhal, a blogger friend in Kampala wrote me recently:
“The proposed bill found fertile ground here and, frankly, if you asked out on the streets at least 90% of Ugandans are fully in favor of the bill. The only thing that kept it from coming to be was the fierce international response and the fact that a third of Uganda’s national budget comes from foreign donors. Five years from now when that money is replaced by oil revenues, the story might be much different.”
Here at home there’s a glimmer of light that the ton of negative lying campaign ads are actually having a backlash effect.
I hope in the end Ugandans themselves will realize how they’re being manipulated, and manipulated not by some foreign power preaching an ideology, but by demons preaching hate, who have little concern for Ugandans themselves.