Saturday, 26 February 2011

Break even



The Script, in my view the best band to come out of Ireland. Breakeven one of my favorite songs this.. I'm falling to pieces..

Friday, 25 February 2011

African Bloggers Statement on David Kato and Uganda

"We the undersigned wish to express our deep sadness at the murder of Ugandan human rights defender David Kato on 26 January 2011. David's activism began in the 1980s as an Anti-Apartheid campaigner where he first expressed a strong passion and conviction for freedom and justice which continued throughout hid life. David was a founding member of Sexual minorities Uganda where he first served as Board member and until his death as Litigation and Advocacy Officer and he was also a member of Integrity Uganda, a faith-based advocacy organization.
David was a man of vision and courage. One of his major concerns was the growth of religious fundamentalism in Uganda and across the continent and how this would impact on the rights of ordinary citizens including lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered / Gender Non-Comforming and Intersex [LGBTIQ] persons. Years later his concerns were justified when the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill backed by religious fundamentalists was outlined in 2009. David was also an extremely brave man who had been imprisoned and beaten severely because of his sexual orientation and for speaking publicly against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
Many African political and religious leaders in countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Zambia, Gambia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Malawi and Botswana, have publicly maligned LGBTIQ people and in some cases directly incited violence against them whilst labeling sexual minorities as “unAfrican”.
In October 2010, the Ugandan tabloid, Rolling Stone published the names and photographs of "100 Top homos" including David Kato. David along with two other LGBTIQ activists successfully sued the magazine on the grounds of "invasion of privacy" and most importantly, the judge ruled that the publication would threaten and endanger the lives of LGBTIQ persons.
The court did not only rule that the publication would threaten and endanger the lives of LGBTIQ persons but it issued a permanent injunction against Rolling Stone newspaper never to publish photos of gays in Uganda, and also never to again publish their home addresses.
Justice Kibuuka Musoke ruled that,
"Gays are also entitled to their rights. This court has found that there was infringement of some people’s confidential rights. The court hereby issues an injunction restraining Rolling Stone newspaper from future publishing of identifications of homosexuals."
Every human being is protected under the African Charter of Peoples and Human Rights and this includes the rights of LGBTIQ persons. We ask the governments of Uganda and other African countries to stop criminalizing people on the grounds of sexual orientation and afford LGBTIQ people the same protections, freedoms and dignity, as other citizens on the continent."
Molisa Nyakale, Molisa Nyakale
Anengiyefa Alagoa, Things I Feel Strongly About
Anthony Hebblethwaite African Activist
Barbra Jolie, Me I Think
Ben Amunwa, Remember Ken Saro-Wiwa
Bunmi Oloruntoba, A Bombastic Element
Chris Ogunlowo, Aloofaa
Eccentric Yoruba, Eccentric Yoruba
Exiled Soul ExiledSoul
Francisca Bagulho and Marta Lança, Buala
Funmilayo Akinosi, Finding My Path
Funmi Feyide, Nigerian Curiosity
Gay Uganda Gay Uganda
Glenna Gordon, Scarlett Lion
Godwyns Onwuchekwa, My Person
Jeremy Weate, Naija Blog
Kayode Ogundamisi Canary Bird
Kadija Patel Thoughtleader
Keguro Macharia, Gukira
Kenne Mwikya, Kenne’s Blog
Kinsi Abdullah Kudu Arts
Laura Seay, Texas in Africa
Llanor Alleyne Llanor Alleyne
Mark Jordahl, Wild Thoughts from Uganda
Matt Temple Matsuli Music
Mia Nikasimo, MiaScript
Minna Salami, MsAfropolitan
Mshairi, Mshairi
Ndesanjo Macha Global Voices
Nyokabi Musila, Sci-Cultura.
Nzesylva, Nzesylva’s Blog
Olumide Abimbola, Loomnie
Ory Okolloh, Kenyan Pundit
Pamela Braide, pdbraide
Peter Alegi, Football is Coming Home
Rethabile Masilo, Poefrika
Saratu Abiola, Method to Madness
Sean Jacobs, Africa is a Country
Sokari Ekine, Black Looks
Sonja Uwimana, Africa is a Country
Spectra Speaks, Spectra Speaks
TMS Ruge, Project Diaspora
Toyin Ajao StandTall
Tosin Otitoju, Lifelib
Val Kalende, Val Kalende
Zackie Achmat, Writing Rights
Zion Moyo, Sky, Soil and Everything in Between

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Nocturne no. 2



Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin or Frédéric François Chopin in French, (1810 - 1849), composer and virtuoso pianist of Polish-French parentage has got to be one of the great masters of romantic music. His Nocturnes written between 1827 and 1846 constitute 21 short pieces for solo piano. They are generally considered among the finest short solo works for the instrument.

I understand that the term nocturne is French and that it derives from the Latin nocturnus. It is used to describe a musical composition that is inspired by, or evocative of the night, typically an ensemble piece normally played for an evening event and then laid aside..

Sadly, for much of his life Chopin suffered from poor health and died at the young age of only 39. All of his works involve piano. They are technically demanding but emphasize nuance and expressive depth. He has sometimes been referred to as The Poet of the Piano..

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Nowhere to turn..

"He came back from time to time to threaten to disclose my identity if I did not give in to his demands."
Kweku, Ghana

"I didn't dare to lodge a complaint. I was afraid they were going to question me and that it would come out that I was gay...I would have risked being locked up in prison."
Alex, Cameroon

"I feel trapped in a cage."
Symon, Malawi

Wherever lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are forced to keep their sexual orientation and gender identity secret for fear of prosecution, violence and other legal and social persecution, blackmail and extortion of LGBT people is endemic. In Africa, where a majority of countries criminalize same-sex sexual activity and where a variety of laws are used to penalize transgressive gender expression, blackmail and extortion are part of the daily lives of many LGBT people who are isolated and vulnerable to abuse.

The Report, Nowhere to Turn: Blackmail and Extortion of LGBT People in Sub-Saharan Africa (PDF) investigates the problem of blackmail and extortion of LGBT in Africa - a challenge that has remained unaddressed for far too long. The report illustrates how LGBT Africans are made doubly vulnerable by the illegality of same-sex activity and the stigma they face if their sexuality is revealed. Based on research initiated in October 2007, the volume features studies by a number of leading African activists and academics on the prevalence and severity of these crimes in Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Ghana, Malawi and Cameroon.

These contributions vividly depict the difficult position that LGBT people are placed in by blackmailers and extortionists - victims are often deterred from seeking help and justice, for fear of further persecution by authorities and communities and can end up being isolated from any supportive community, humiliated, manipulated and threatened with theft, vandalism, rape and even murder.

Human rights defenders, non-governmental organisations and governments have a responsibility to understand that these crimes are a constant reminder of LGBT people's legal and social vulnerability. The report's contributors explore the role the state plays in these crimes by ignoring blackmail and extortion when officials in the police and judiciary fail to ensure that victims are able to safely report incidents and obtain redress. It goes on to argue that states are in fact failing in their human rights obligations by refusing to acknowledge and respond when victims are robbed of their dignity, privacy, their autonomy violated with impunity and they are denied equal access to the protection of the law. The Report's concluding chapter urges attention to the rampant problem of blackmail and extortion of LGBT people and urges States to take concrete steps to reduce the incidence of these crimes by decriminalizing same-sex activity and ensuring that all people are able to access the justice system.

Some excerpts from the Report:

Rashid, a 22 year-old student in Mamobi, met the man who would later blackmail him through a mutual friend. The two had several sexual encounters, until one day Rashid refused to have sex with him. Upon hearing this, the blackmailer removed his clothes and started to yell throughout the communal residence about Rashid’s sexuality. He would not stop until Rashid paid him 200,000 cedis. In these situations, blackmailers take advantage of the presumptive innocence that so often results from speaking up first – by announcing that they have been taken advantage of, the blackmailer immediately puts their victim on the defensive in front of a suspicious public.

*

Many of the most extreme threats were made by extortionists. Victims who
did not comply with their demands were not only threatened with disclosure, but were also threatened with assault, rape, attacks on friends or family, damage to property, or murder if they did not comply with a set of demands. K.K., a 37-year old bar attendant, was raped at knife-point for several nights by a customer from his shop. K.K. remembers how the customer “came with a knife and fucked me every night,” using the threat of mutilation or murder to force K.K. to have sex with him. The kinds of threats that extortionists made were patently illegal, but without access to the police or the full protection of the law, gay and bisexual men were often helpless to stop them.

*

Yaw, a 28 year-old
Christian, was alarmed when someone he met through church threatened
to inform other members of the faith community about his homosexuality.
According to Yaw, “he threatened to report me to the church’s elders – saying
that I raped him and paid him off with the things he actually stole from my
room – if I kept on demanding them back from him.”

Here is what the IGLHRC had to say about this in a press release.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

A sign of progress perhaps?

São Tomé and Principe, an island nation located off the west coast of Africa will decriminalise gay sex in upcoming provisions of its Criminal Code.

The news was announced by representatives at the country's United Nations Universal Periodic Review session on 31 January.

"Obviously there is concern about sexual relations between persons of the same sex in our country," the delegation said. "Currently the Criminal Code goes back a very long way when the situation was entirely different and so the courts actually don't apply the penalty anymore. So, despite what's there in the text of the law, it's not applicable because it runs counter to constitutional principles. The new Criminal Code which we're drawing up does not penalize sexual relations betweens persons of the same sex."

The new code should be in place within four months, the delegation said.

The Micronesian nation of Nauru reportedly made a similar pledge days earlier at its UPR session.

The Universal Periodic Review, a project of the U.N. Human Rights Council, officially analyses the human-rights record of each of the 192 U.N. member nations on a rotating basis once every four years, and urges reviewed nations to protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Monday, 14 February 2011

On this Valentines day..



As we celebrate our loves this day, let us spare a thought for the thousands of gay people who live in countries and places where their love is punishable by death. Homosexual acts remain punishable by death in Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, some parts of Nigeria and Somalia.

In Bangladesh, Guyana, Maldives, Myanmar/Burma, Pakistan, Qatar, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Barbados (not enforced for acts in private and currently under review), punishment can be anything up to imprisonment for life.

Happy Valentines day..

PostScript: It is interesting that on this day BBC3 broadcast the programme titled The World's Worst Place To Be Gay filmed in Uganda. Please click on the link and watch it on the BBC website where it will be available for a few days.

The video is also available on YouTube. It is in four parts.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Inseparable..

I thought to share this story here..
A pair of male gay spider monkeys at Drayton Park Zoo have been named Elton and David by their keepers.
The monkeys are “inseparable” and spend their time cuddling and kissing, the Staffordshire zoo said.
Colin Bryan, the managing director of Drayton Manor Theme Park, said: “They have been inseparable since they got together last year, and they love to spend their time cuddling and kissing one another.
“They make a wonderful couple and to celebrate their first Valentine’s Day we plan to give them a special romantic meal.”

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Writers and Academics Against Homophobia

Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka and others have condemned the murder of Ugandan gay activist, David Kato. On Monday a group referring to itself as Writers and Academics Against Homophobia issued a press release. Feel free to share this petition through your social networks.

PM News reports it thus:

Nobel Laureate, Proessor Wole Soyinka, authors and academics have condemned the murder of Ugandan gay activist, David Kato.
They called on the Ugandan government to find and prosecute those involved in the murder of David Kato who was a well known gay campaigner in Uganda.

According to the group which includes BCC award winners and best selling authors, misgiving about homosexuality should not be a matter for the government to delve into. They therefore urged African governments to expunge all anti-homosexuality provisions in their constitutions. The group said that scientific research has cleared the fog of ignorance that some religions foisted on the people concerning homosexuality.

Similarly the group called on all African governments to emulate South Africa which has expunged her laws that criminalise homosexuals or treat them as unworthy of the same rights as other citizens.

The document was signed by at least 60 signatories including Damola Awoyokun, Wale Adebanwi, Diran Adebayo, Joe Agbro and Anengiyefa Alagoa.

(The comments section of the PM News report shows clearly the extent of the problem that ignorance represents)

The Petition

We the undersigned condemn in the strongest possible terms the murder of Mr David Kato the Ugandan gay rights campaigner. We wish to state emphatically that homosexuality is neither a sin nor a social or cultural construct. It is a biological given. Homosexuals are human beings like everybody else. Scientific research has been helpful in clearing the fog of ignorance entrenched by some religious texts in regards to homosexuality. Our opinions of homosexuality must change for the better just as our opinion of slavery has changed even though it was endorsed by those same religious texts. All violence against gays and people deemed to be gay in Africa must cease forthwith.

We call on the government of Uganda to find and prosecute all those involved in the murder of Mr Kato, including the newspaper that called for the hanging of gays. We also call on African governments to learn from the South African example by expunging from their laws all provisions that criminalize homosexuality or treat homosexuals as unworthy of the same rights and entitlements as other citizens. African states must protect the rights of their citizens to freedom and dignity. Homosexuals must not be denied these rights.

Undersigned:

1. Wale Adebanwi, PhD, University of California, US

2. Diran Adebayo, Writer, UK
3. Jide Adebayo-Begun, Writer, Nigeria
4. Kayode Adeduntan, PhD, University of Ibadan, Nigeria
5. Biola Adegboyega, University of Calgary, Canada
6. Shola Adenekan, Editor, The New Black Magazine, UK
7. Pius Adesanmi, PhD, Carleton University, Canada
8. Akin Adesokan, PhD, Indiana University, US
9. Chimamanda Adichie, Writer, Nigeria
10. Faith Adiele, Writer, US
11. Joe Agbro, Journalist, Nigeria
12. Anthony Akinola, PhD, Oxford, UK
13. Anengiyefa Alagoa, Writer, UK
14. Ellah Allfrey, Deputy Editor, Granta Magazine, UK
15. Alnoor Amlani, Writer, Kenya
16. Ike Anya, Public health doctor and writer, UK
17. Bode Asiyanbi, Writer, Lancaster University, UK
18. Sefi Atta, Writer, US
19. Lizzy Attree, PhD, University of East London, UK
20. Damola Awoyokun, Writer, UK
21. Doreen Baingana, Writer, Uganda
22. Igoni Barrett, Writer, Nigeria
23. Tom Burke, Bard College, US
24. Brian Chikwava, Writer, UK
25. Jude Dibia, Writer, Nigeria
26. Chris Dunton, PhD, National University of Lesotho, Lesotho
27. Ropo Ewenla, Artist, Nigeria
28. Chielozona Eze, PhD, Northeastern Illinois University, US
29. Aminatta Forna, Writer, UK
30. Ivor Hartmann, Writer, South Africa
31. Chris Ihidero, Writer, Lagos State University, Nigeria
32. Ikhide R. Ikheloa, Writer, US
33. Sean Jacobs, PhD, New School, US
34. Biodun Jeyifo, PhD, Harvard University, US
35. Brian Jones, Professor Emeritus, Zimbabwe
36. Martin Kiman, Writer, US
37. Lauri Kubuitsile, Writer, Botswana
38. Zakes Mda, PhD, Ohio University, US
39. Colin Meier, Writer, South Africa
40. Gayatri Menon, PhD, Franklin and Marshall College, US
41. Valentina A. Mmaka, Writer, Italy/South Africa
42. Jane Morris, Publisher, Zimbabwe
43. Joseph Sndanni Mwella, Advocate of High Court, Kenya
44. Mbonisi P. Ncube, Writer, South Africa
45. Iheoma Nwachukwu, Writer, Nigeria
46. Onyeka Nwelue, Writer and filmmaker, India/Nigeria
47. Fred Nwonwu, Writer and Journalist, Nigeria
48. Nnedi Okorafor, PhD, Writer, Chicago State University, US
49. Ebenezer Obadare, PhD, University of Kansas, US
50. Juliane Okot Bitek, Writer, Canada
51. Tejumola Olaniyan, PhD, University of Wisconsin, US
52. Ngozichi Omekara, Trinidad and Tobago
53. Akin Omotosho, Actor and filmmaker, South Africa
54. Kole Omotosho, PhD, Africa Diaspora Research Group, South Africa
55. Samuel Sabo, Writer, UK
56. Ramzi Salti, PhD, Stanford University, US
57. Namwali Serpell, PhD, Writer, Harvard University, US
58. Brett L. Shadle, PhD, Virginia Tech, US
59. Drew Shaw, PhD, Midlands State University, Zimbabwe
60. Lola Shoneyin, Writer, Nigeria
61. Wole Soyinka, Nobel Laureate for Literature
62. Olufemi Taiwo, PhD, Seattle University, US
63. Kola Tubosun, Writer, Fulbright Scholar, US
64. Uzor Maxim Uzoatu, Writer, Nigeria
65. Abdourahman A.Waberi, Writer, US /Djibouti
66. Binyavanga Wainaina, Writer, Kenya
67. Ronald Elly Wanda, Writer& Lecturer, Marcus Garvey Pan-Afrikan Institute, Uganda
68. Kristy Warren, PhD, University of Warwick, UK
69. Cornel West, PhD, Princeton University, US

Note: Since time of posting some additional signatories have been included. The author of this blog is at number 13 on the list of signatories.