Frank McMullan's blog

My post-retirement blog adventures

Archive Post: e-mail to the Ugandan Honorary Consul in Ireland

with one comment

Here’s an e-mail I sent early last year that I thought might be worthy of putting on my blog. While the offending legislation [which even provided for the death penalty in certain situations] by now may have gone underground – though we can never be certain of that – it is another indication of what people in other parts of our world are up against.  This has a connection with my previous post on Ugandan Bishop Christopher Senyonjo’s visit to Ireland.

To: Mrs Sylvia Katete Gavigan

Subject: We lay our future in thy hand…

Excellency

I am very sad to see the corner Uganda has backed itself into – apparently under the influence of well-meaning but misguided Christians including some from abroad – as regards the well-being of those in your country who happen, unfortunately, to be homosexual.

One of the great hallmarks of successful countries and cities is their embrace of difference. Where acceptance is the norm, a creative dynamic comes into play and the economy can flourish.  I believe that some of Ireland’s economic success, before the current economic crisis, is attributable to the advances made on the equality front, both in law and in Irish society in general – despite the sad reluctance of our churches on the sexuality front.

I recognise that African culture is radically different from European culture, and that Ugandan culture and Irish culture are different again from each of these in their own way and from one another.  To use that as an excuse for marginalising further people who are already marginalised in both our countries, is akin to wanting to reintroduce slavery from Africa or push back advances in women’s rights in Ireland.  After all, extremely valuable as culture is in our societies, it is something that is learned: that doesn’t always make it right!

Uganda has the wisdom to have a woman as Honorary Consul in Ireland, and another, Mrs Joan Rwabyomere, as High Commissioner in London .  Might I be so bold as to suggest that some men’s heads in Kampala could usefully be banged together in the hopes that some wisdom might prevail in this sorry situation that has developed, before it is too late?  If you have got this far, and I have made you smile, I am glad.  Uganda has far more important problems to deal with than the bedroom antics of consenting adults that damage no one.  I have this hope that somehow good will come out of the current situation – even if Uganda goes ahead and puts this terrible law, or even parts of it, on the statute books.  Fundamentalism is likely to be seen more clearly in the world at large for what it is, or what it can become when it gets its way to this extent.  I suspect, indeed, that is already happening.

I visited Auschwitz last summer.  The simple lesson I took away with me is that of man’s inhumanity to man.  It is in us all – me and you included.  We can victimise and demonise one another so easily – in our day-to-day dealings; in our indifference, or in our active participation; motivated by hate or by conviction, or both; in our families, our institutions, our organisations and our businesses; in our laws and, sadly, even in our churches.  Maybe the amazing thing isn’t the extent to which we do this to our fellow men and women, but the extent to which we don’t.

Going back to my opening paragraph, I do not believe there is anything unfortunate in being homosexual for its own sake: after all, it’s just another aspect of the human condition.  The unfortunate thing is to be despised for who you are – be it homosexual, or Jewish, or Banyara, or simply black, or a woman, or whatever.

I pray that somehow Uganda can find a way of cherishing all of its people, not just those that happen to be heterosexual / male / Maganda / rich / Christian / black / educated… [delete as required].

Thank you for whatever attention you have been able to give to this.

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Written by Frank McMullan

6 January 2011 at 16:23

One Response

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  1. David Kato, a Ugandan gay activist, was murdered last week in Kampala. If it is not already too late, it makes it all the more important that politicians there realise their folly before this sad affair turns into a gay pogrom.

    Frank McMullan

    5 February 2011 at 21:08


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