Saturday, 29 May 2010

Hurray! Tiwonge & Steven are freed

I reject the word "pardoned", because I do not accept that Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza had done anything for which they needed to be pardoned! These two innocent gay men were victimised because they are poor, and that is the truth of the matter. It was assumed that the men lacked influence and were to be scapegoats. Therefore the Malawi government must have indeed been very bewildered at the world's reaction to the unjust incarceration and unfair trial to which it subjected the couple.

The country's president "pardoning" the couple publicly after a meeting with the UN Secretary General although intended as a publicity stunt, in reality exposes the deliberate persecution of these men for what it really was. Now the time has come for all African countries that retain 19th century sodomy laws in their law books to have a rethink about whether they need to retain these laws at all, since these are laws that can never be successfully enforced.

5 comments:

codliveroil said...

Yes, it's good news for both of them.
(Maybe Madonna had a word to their president...)

What happens to them now? Will they be forced to conform to what Malawian society expects?

Anengiyefa said...

Hi Codliveroil

Its good to see you. What I think is that the persecution/prosecution of these two men was entirely driven by hostile public opinion. All the talk about the illegality of the couple's actions was merely a cover. Public opinion and attitudes are not likely to change simply because the President "pardoned" them. Life for both of them in Malawi will hereafter surely be very difficult indeed, but as someone said to me yesterday, we really cannot have a situation where all same-gender loving African people flee their homeland in order that they can live their lives. There must be vigilance by all those who are interested in seeing a change in attitudes and an intensification of efforts to ensure the protection of the rights of LGBTI Africans in their home countries.

codliveroil said...

Anengiyefa
I'm glad you've not forgotten me, things have been kind of rough for me at this end since we last spoke.

To Tiwonge & Steven, what you described as societies attitudes, is broad based. How can this be changed by a few outsiders?

People are all to happy to adopt the easy path of hatred and ignorance, and to cling to their beliefs they seek refuge in culture and tradition, both of which are deep rooted in faith. Which doesn't have to be proved. That is the catch all line that is thrown at you.

Malawi is one of the more moderate countries in Africa, look at what is going on in Senegal or even our own Nigeria...

THERishouldbeAPY said...

I read this on the CNN news scroll at the gym on Saturday!! Very happy that they are free and I agree with you that one should not have to leave their country to seek freedom of love. I hope they can be happy now ♥

p.s. Pres. Obama on declaring June 2010 as LGBT Pride Month: "I call upon all Americans to observe this month by fighting prejudice and discrimination in their own lives and everywhere it exists."

There ARE sensible Africans out there!! :)

CodLiverOil said...

I did wonder what would happen to them after their release.

Sure enough Steven has apparently buckled and decided to marry Dorothy Gulo. You can read all about it here.

http://allafrica.com/stories/201006081218.html

I'm no soothe sayer (see my post on 1 June 2010) but it was predictable given the conditions they are living under.