Culture Wars

Western and Non-Western Politicians vying for the Moral Higher Ground put Non-Heterosexuals outside the West in Mortal Peril Amidst a Broad Resurgance of Xenophobia and Racism in Europe and North America.

Montage: Left - Yahya Jammeh, President of the Gambia, and Right - Hillary Rottham Clinton, US politician

Montage: Left – Yahya Jammeh, President of the Gambia. / Right – Hillary Rodham Clinton, US politician.

Cole Parke, a member of Somerville, Massachusetts, USA based Political Research Associates (PRA) reports:

The saga of Uganda’s [Anti Homosexuality Act] AHA has also served to influence the foreign relations strategies of numerous African leaders. Increasingly, Western nations are responding to a wider range of human rights abuses, including those that threaten the safety and humanity of LGBTQ people. On International Human Rights Day in 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton boldly declared to an audience of U.N. diplomats in Geneva, “[G]ay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.”

[ … ]

With much-relied upon aid being withheld, LGBTQ people and their allies are no longer the only ones suffering as a result of these new laws. Concerned that the burden of these cuts will threaten their political standing, leaders are now seeking ways to defend themselves against Western critiques while maintaining their domestic power and influence.

[ … ]

… Jammeh and Museveni are well-positioned to call out any sort of diplomatic bluff. Both Uganda and the Gambia play important roles in regional peacekeeping efforts. The U.S. Embassy in the Gambia notes that the Gambian government “has provided steadfast, tangible support for the war on terrorism,” ¹

[ … ]

Some African politicians use the controversial issue of the rights and impunity of “sexual minorities” (the pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages of defining people on the basis of the sexual behavior the exhibit or the sexual desires they may have is a further debate too broad to be expounded upon in this blog post) to strike a defiant pose against Western power aspirations in the region, whilst the issue of sexuality, and of LGBTQ concerns in particular functions in the West as justification for a political interest in the internal civil affairs of other sovereign states as well as as a litmus test of ideological liberality. Fighting an ideological proxy war at the expense of people who already face disadvantages based on their sexual desires is deplorable and cowardly enough, but there is a further, distressing phenomenon that can be observed.

Age old ingrained condescension on the part of Westerners toward non-Westerners, are being reinforced by nurturing the impression that non-Westerners, their politics, thinking and religion are intrinsically more hostile to deviation from norms (be they sexual and otherwise) than are Westerners, and their politics, thinking, and religion, typecasting the former, whether intensionally or not, as brutal and backward.

A Westerner’s reaction recently posted (later removed) among the readers’ comments on an Amnesty International plea to oppose the creation of severe anti-homosexuality legislation in the Gambia, defamed Gambian President Jammeh as “that colored, homophobic ignoramus” (German: “dieser farbige homophobe Ignorant”). This comment using a racial slur when referring to President Jammeh’s suggests the ideological tinderbox we are playing with. (See a semi-fictitious account of the comments made under “Vignette Nr. 3” on this blog.

Given the historical and contemporary colonialist nature of the interaction between, the West and the rest of the planet, combined with many Westerners’ unabashed racism and cultural condescension, the likelihood dwindles that Westerners will be successful in easing the dire situation of sexual non-conformists out side of the West’s direct sphere of in fluence. This in turn may give rise to greater moral outrage and resentment in the West of these perceived rogue states and their peoples.

PRA’s Rev. Kapya Kaoma writes:

The global community must openly demand human rights for all humans regardless of their sexual orientation. ²

However, In light of the delicate nature of the relationship between so-called liberal-minded Westerners and those who are not, Parke’s summary would seem to be more likely to achieve a net improvement of the situation for all concerned.

The work of opposing and ultimately eliminating these laws and reversing this current trend toward increased persecution of LGBTQ people will require ongoing, dedicated, multifaceted, and necessarily African-led resistance. […] [B]eyond providing financial resources and advocating for diplomatic sanctions: we [non-Africans] must hold accountable the ones among us who lit the proverbial match, setting this anti-LGBTQ firestorm in motion. ¹

¹ Parke, Cole: “Uganda & the Gambia: Anti–Neocolonial Posturing and the People Who Suffer”. In: politicalresearch.org (LGBTQ Rights). On: 22 Sep 2014. URL: http://www.politicalresearch.org/2014/09/22/uganda-the-gambia-anti-neocolonial-posturing-and-the-people-who-suffer/. (Last viewed: 24 Sep 2014&41;.

² Kaoma, Kapya: “LGBTQ Rights – African Polititians’ Biggest Scapegoat”. In: politicalresearch.org. On: 02 May 2014. URL: http://www.politicalresearch.org/2014/05/02/lgbtq-rights-african-politicians-biggest-scapegoat/. (Last viewed: 24 Sep 2014).

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