There is much that South African journalists and editors can learn from the coverage of the protests that have arisen in the wake of Michael Brown’s death. Under normal circumstances the shooting death of a black teenager from a segregated community in the Southern state of Missouri would not have garnered much attention nationally, let alone globally. After all, two black men are killed every week by law enforcement officials in the US – most of them unarmed. Indeed, until he died, it is unlikely that Michael Brown mattered much to anyone except those who loved him. In his death he has come to matter a great deal to a great many people in America and beyond.
Brown has come to be a symbol of the nature and effect of everyday oppression. The response by the police to those who protested his killing has also shone a spotlight on the ways in which once activated, the systems of policing and repression mimic one another across contexts. Connected by tactics and technology, Gaza and Ferguson mirror one another. Both echo the scenes of militarisation and police aggression South Africans saw as Marikana flashed across their screens two years ago.
Michael Brown would have mattered less if Trayvon Martin hadn’t been killed in cold blood in 2012. He might have mattered far less if scores of journalists hadn’t trooped to Ferguson, drawn by the stench of America’s inner city decay and lured by the drama of a police force armed to the teeth against a citizenry that it has been trained to denigrate and demean.
But he does matter now. His death has sparked protests across America. This week, as I have pored over accounts of what happened to Brown and why, I have come across some of the finest writing I have seen in US journalism since 1992 when the police who brutalised Rodney King were allowed to walk free.
Because there are finally a few senior black journalists working for outlets of national significance in the US, to ensure that Ferguson is covered as an event that matters, Brown’s death and the subsequent protests have been covered with a sensitivity and intelligence that is rare in events related to racial minorities in the US.
Prominent writers like Jelani Cobb at the New Yorker and Ta-Nehesi Coates at The Atlantic have been consistent critics of American segregation. The explosion of Ferguson allows them to weave their considerable gifts of narration into the telling of this particular tragedy.
They have been joined by a chorus of other voices including Buzzfeed’s Joel Anderson, whose haunting account of his first night in Ferguson is avisceral read. Alongside John Legend (yes, the singer has been prolific and smart on Twitter), Melissa Perry, and other public intellectuals, they have demonstrated the extent to which the story of Ferguson – its neglect and its community spirit, its unacceptable levels of unemployment and its history – is part of the broader and on-going story of America’s struggle to live up to the ideals upon which it was founded.
They have been particularly compelling because despite his rocky tenure in office, the person of Barack Obama has managed to change the narrative of racial equality in America into one of triumph rather than one of pathology and dereliction. This has been important in some ways, even as the deaths of black boys at the hands of white men remind us that Obama’s America is not the only America. The soaring mobility of his family, the manner in which their perfect noses point to the sun – these have obscured the complex reality of racism in America’s cities in the last seven years.
Brown’s death allows America to do what it does best – to plumb the depths of its soul in search of meaning. That she seldom learns the lessons that her poorest citizens teach her is another matter altogether, but for those wanting to learn, Ferguson’s critics offer many instructions on how to report with grace and dignity about people no one is supposed to care about.
On Friday last week a lesbian named Gift Makau was found dead in Ventersdorp near her home. She had been mutilated, which is not unusual in hate-motivated crimes against gay people. She died in the way that many other lesbians in Gauteng have died in recent years. Her body bore the marks of loathing. A wire hanger, a hosepipe; the details of what was done with them do not bear repeating.
The lack of in-depth coverage of her death is yet another reminder that our media are still learning to cover the daily struggles of people who are unimportant. We have world-class investigative journalists who write fine pieces about corruption. The resources of our newsrooms, the energy of our best anchors and most seasoned journalists are reserved for the corruption stories. The scoops about governance and other sorts of political malfeasance hog our headlines and dominate our national discussions. There is no question that these corruption stories are essential. They tell us something about the state of our nation.
But they are not the only stories that speak to our collective health. Yet editors make choices every day, and most days; the stories they assign to their best and brightest are not about lesbians and children and pit latrines and hostels.
Our press doesn’t seem to know what to do with the murders and violent deaths of poor people. And so they either leave them unreported, or detail them with clinical distance. Just the facts: two teenagers found dead in a field outside White City. A man charged with burning a woman alive appeared in the magistrate’s court today. He was denied bail.
On television, Gift’s family cries. Their daughter has been murdered. The local councillor says that it is because “the community doesn’t accept gays”. The journalist makes no comment. This is as much analysis as we will get in this story.
I pore over the papers. I want to know whom she loved. I would like someone to tell me whether or not she wrote poetry. Who was her first love? What are the names of her siblings? Was she the first- or the lastborn? These questions do not explain the crime but their answers render Gift a subject. They will tell me about the contours of her heart and perhaps these are the facts that matter the most. These are the kinds of minutiae that stick in your head, that stay lodged there long after you have turned off the radio.
They are the sorts of details that make old ladies in church suck their teeth dismissively when their pastor suggests that homosexuality is unnatural. They remember Gift and her poetry or the way she protectively walked her brother or sister home each day and then had no one to protect her when she needed it. These are the ‘facts’ that make ‘lesbian’ mean something that is flesh and blood and breathing. Something that is as soft as it may be hard, something that is tender and belongs to us all.
Telling the stories of black lesbians or sex workers or drug users or car guards or homeless men can only happen when the lives that they live are respected. But in the end nothing will change if we continue to obsess about how people die and neglect to write about how they live.
For original source refer to:
ENTEBBE, Uganda (AP) — Scores of Ugandan homosexuals marched through sprawling botanical gardens in the lakeside town of Entebbe on Saturday, their first pride parade since a Ugandan court invalidated a controversial anti-gay law. Many marchers wore masks, signaling they did not want to be publicly identified in a country where homosexuals and their supporters face severe discrimination.
Although organizers had expected more than 500 people to attend the event, fewer than 200 turned up, said gay activist Moses Kimbugwe, who noted that many were afraid of possible violence following a court’s decision earlier this month to jettison an anti-gay law that had wide support among Ugandans.
“We are here to walk for those who can’t walk, who are afraid to walk,” said Kimbugwe. “We are here to celebrate our rights.”
Uganda’s Constitutional Court ruled last week that the anti-gay law enacted only five months ago was illegal because it was passed during a parliamentary session that lacked a quorum. Some lawmakers have pledged to try to reintroduce the same legislation when parliament emerges from a recess later this month. They said they would try to pass the same law in parliament since it had been invalidated on technical grounds and not its substance.
On Saturday, activists held up placards saying they would not give up the fight for gay rights in this conservative East African country of 36 million people. Some waved rainbow flags as they danced and frolicked on a sandy beach on the shores of Lake Victoria, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the capital, Kampala.
This was the third annual gay pride event, organizers said. The first one, in 2012, turned violent after local police tried to break it up, said Ugandan lesbian activist Jacqueline Kasha. This time they had been given assurances by the police that they could go ahead with the march, she said.
“We are a group of people who have suffered enough,” she said. “We are Ugandans who have the right to gather in a public place … and we are going to have fun.”
Some among the marchers said they had initially planned to hold the event in Kampala but were warned by police that such a move would be provocative and possibly dangerous.
Homosexuals face threats including evictions by landlords and many have fled to neighboring countries such as Kenya, where the anti-gay sentiment is less pervasive, according to Ugandan rights activists. Many homosexuals are victims of extortionist campaigns by people who threaten to reveal their homosexuality to the police, said Kasha, the lesbian leader.
Homosexuality had been mostly a taboo subject in Uganda until a lawmaker, saying he wanted to protect children from Western gays, introduced a bill in 2009 prescribing the death penalty for what the bill described as serious homosexual offenses. The bill was revised to remove the death penalty and instead have jail terms of up to life for convicted homosexuals. Watchdogs groups and some Western governments condemned the bill as draconian and unnecessary in a country where homosexuality had long been a criminal offense.
Y-Fem was founded in late 2009 out of a frustration that young women’s voices were still invisible in the independent Namibia in public spaces. The feminist movement of young women was not vibrant and invisible. Y-fem was born out of a dream to document the herstory of young Namibian women through a feminist lens. It was born to support and strengthen young women’s groups by creating safe spaces for young women to lead and organise themselves. Y-Fem main focus area is on building leadership on women’s human rights, sexual Reproductive Health and Rights of young women and young lesbians. We work in 4 regions: Khomas, Erongo, Otjizonzupa, Oshikoto with women below 30 years. We advocate for comprehensive sexuality education in Namibia. Y-Fem is not a membership base organisation lingers more of a collective voice as it forms part of a broader feminist movement in Namibia.
Tue, 27 August 2013
“Jeff Radebe, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, has confirmed that the government intends to introduce the concept of hate crimes into South African criminal law.
He also said that the government aims to make hate speech a crime, without sacrificing “South Africa’s commitment to high standards of free expression”.
Radebe made the groundbreaking statements at a panel discussion under the theme “Imagine a World Without Hate!” hosted by the South African Jewish Board of Deputies in Sandton on Sunday.
He told the audience that one of the key motivations for the proposed changes to the law, included in a draft policy framework, is “the violent targeting of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, for example the so-called ‘corrective rape’ and murder of lesbians and transgender men, especially in townships.”
Radebe said that other motivators included a number of recent racist and xenophobic attacks as well as vandalism targeting religious institutions.
“Acts such as these that are motivated by social bias based on the identity (with reference to race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity) of the victim are forms of bias-motivated violence, more commonly referred to domestically and internationally as ‘hate crimes’,” said Radebe, adding “…like we did with fascism and apartheid, working together we will defeat these hate motivated crimes.”
He further explained that “hate crimes are ‘message’ crimes that send fear to an entire community that identifies with the victim.
“As such, hate crimes, particularly when they do not meet an adequate response from the State, violate fundamental principles of equality and non-discrimination and can lead to social unrest,” he said.
Radebe’s speech reflects a positive move away from his earlier suggestion that hate crime legislation was not needed in South Africa.
In 2011, he said that he was against the idea of categorising corrective rape as a hate crime because “rape is rape regardless of the motive of the offender”. Unlike what is the case in a growing number of countries, South African law does not currently acknowledge hate crimes as being a unique form of crime.
Radebe went on to state: “We have in earnest started with work to enact relevant legislative instruments that would make it punishable by law to commit acts of hatred against lesbians and gays.” He said that his department is now finalising a memorandum to approach Cabinet for its approval of the policy framework and for approval to commence with a public participation process.
It is unclear how long this process will take.”
Article from www.mambaonline.com
Mugabe, who has described gays as worse than barn yard animals, also criticized Barack Obama for linking foreign aid to the protection of LGBT rights, and slammed African countries that have not criminalized same-sex acts, saying they are “succumbing to European countries in exchange for aid.”
“We need continuity of our culture. This culture comes from the norm that women carry pregnancies for nine months. If there is anyone who disputes that, he should lift up his hands to say no I fell from heaven,” Mugabe said.
“This thing [homosexuality] seeks to destroy our lineage by saying John and John should wed, Maria and Maria should wed. Imagine this son born out of an African father, [US President Barrack] Obama says if you want aid, you should accept the homosexuality practice. Aah, we will never do that,” he said.
In response, the Gay and Lesbian Association of Zimbabwe (GALZ) filed a complaint against Mugabe with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission for inciting anti-gay hate speech.
“These statements have created a climate of intolerance, fear, coercion, intimidation and acts of vengeance directed at gays and lesbians. They are also a violation of section 5, a, b, c and 6b of the electoral code of conduct,” the complaint reads.
GALZ said the incitement to hate and climate “has resulted in incidents such as an attack on the GALZ [office] on the 6th of June 2013 by five unidentified men wielding hammers… under the guide of preserving Zimbabwean culture as called for by the President.”
Earlier this month, Mugabe said that gays and lesbians who do not conceive should be jailed, and criticized Obama’s stance on LGBT rights as “forgetting” his African roots.
Male homosexuality is illegal in Zimbabwe, and in 2006 the country’s government amended the law which now states that sodomy is any “act involving contact between two males that would be regarded by a reasonable person as an indecent act,” thereby criminalizing holding hands, hugging, or kissing.
Mugabe has been continually attacking LGBT people since 1995 saying they are “worse than dogs and pigs” “unnatural” and “degrading human dignity.”
Original July 15, 2013Erasing 76 Crimes on
LGBT activist and reporter Eric Ohena Lembembe was beaten to death over the weekend, LGBT activists in Cameroon announced today. Fellow activists said they found his bloody, lifeless body early today at his home in Yaoundé, Cameroon. Investigations by human rights defenders are under way to discover who was responsible for the crime.
At his death, he was serving as the local executive director of the Cameroonian Foundation For AIDS (Camfaids), an advocacy group fighting against AIDS and for human rights of LGBT people in Cameroon, which is one of the world’s most violently anti-gay nations. Lembembe, a regular contributor to the Erasing 76 Crimes blog, was the author of one of the blog’s most popular articles, “What traditional African homosexuality learned from the West.”
That article is included in the book From Wrongs to Gay Rights, along with his articles about Roger Mbede, who was imprisoned because of an amorous text message to a man; Franky Djome and Jonas Kumie, who were imprisoned because they are a transgender couple; anti-gay blackmailer/extortioner Albert Edward Ekobo Samba; and the homophobic attack on last year’s IDAHO celebration in Yaoundé. He formerly worked as a writer and editor for the monthly Tribune du Citoyen in Cameroon.
A proper obituary and reports on the investigation of his death will be forthcoming later.
Posted by FEW – a partner organization of CALBiA Foundation
Rainbow Ethiopia HIV and Social Support Services
Solidarity Statement on the International Day Against
Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) 2013
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May, 17th 2013
Rainbow-Ethiopia joins today the global commemoration of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. As every year, May 17th represent for us a renewed opportunity for calling the international community to struggle against homophobic and transphobic violence in Ethiopia –and, in particular, against all those forms of stigma and violence associated with sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and bodily diversity.
The anti-gay movement in Ethiopia is comprised of a large coalition of Orthodox, Muslim, evangelical and Roman Catholic leaders, Christian right advocacy groups like United for life Ethiopia and other evil-minded homophobic organizations that works on many fronts to promote hate and further restrict the legislation and demand death penalty for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Ethiopia through organized and orchestrated efforts to promote their anti-LGBT agenda at all levels of government and by espousing myths and lies about LGBT people for political and financial gain. The movement is financially and technically supported by an international homophobia agents like United for Life International, Exodus International, Lausanne Movement, Human Life International and others….
We as a highly threatened community would like to kindly request these foreign organizations directly and their respective governments to stop funding and supporting the local homophobia/hate agents; we also we need the support of the US government, Canadian government, Norwegian government, Swedish government and other European countries government, European Union, UN agencies and all other international human rights organizations and the international community to do everything in their power ‘to cut the funding from the above mentioned evangelical fundamentalist organization to their local counterparts like United for Life Ethiopia, and outlaw them from using the tax payers money to promote their hate agenda. However we don’t oppose any form of aid and support to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia government and to other developmental organizations which are doing a good job, should continue and increased to the poverty alleviation programs of the country’
We’re Ethiopian & we’re Gays
We’re Ethiopian & we’re Lesbians
We’re Ethiopian & we’re Trans
We’re Ethiopian & we’re Bisexuals
We’re Ethiopian & we’re Intersex
We’re Ethiopian & we’re Human!!!
Rainbow-Ethiopia Core Team Wishes All the International LGBTI Community and Frontline Activists a Happy IDAHOT 2013!!!
Rainbow Ethiopia HIV and Social Support Services
1353 Oak St. NW #B
Washington, DC 20010, Metro Area, USA
“Teamwork is the ability to work as a group toward a common vision,
even if that vision becomes extremely blurry.”– Unknown
Breaking ground in South Africa with a traditional Zulu gay wedding
By Melanie Nathan, April 07, 2013.
South Africa is a leader in the world of equality, enjoying an all inclusive constitution, where same-sex marriage is legal and discrimination against LGBTI people outlawed. However that has not stopped homophobia and fear to embrace LGBTI South Africans as fully equal.
[...] the report of the marriage that followed, shows an extraordinary example of new-found acceptance, as a small community embraces a young gay Zulu couple, about to embark upon, not only a legal marriage, but also a traditional marriage.
As reported from South Africa:
Two young men tied the knot in a rare South African gay wedding in KwaDukuza (Stanger) on Saturday.In what was described as the town’s first gay marriage, Tshepo Modisane and Thoba Sithole, both 27, walked down the aisle in front of 200 guests at the Stanger Siva Sungam community hall.
The wedding was a jubilant, exciting affair, attracting even uninvited members of the local community.
Thoba, a Joburg-based IT specialist, is from Shakaville, KwaDukuza and Tshepo an audit manager at PwC. They have known each other for years and dated on and off, before stabilising their relationship.
Now that they are wedded, they will take on the double-barrelled surname of Sithole-Modisane.
The couple appeared to enjoy the support from the community, family and friends.
The couple are reportedly planning to have children through a surrogate.
“Family is important to us and that is the number one reason why we want to have children,” said Thoba.
“We also want our children to grow up in an environment where they are loved greatly by both parents who appreciate them.” (SA Report)
This wedding will go down in history as one of the most significant events in South African LGBTI history, as it breaks unknown barriers in the face of last year’s assault by the Zulu traditional chiefs, who sought to remove sexual orientation as a protected class from the South African Constitution. The South African gay community held numerous protests against the move and it was thwarted.
There is hope that Africa can become more open by embracing all its people and allow tradition to embrace all forms of sexual orientation. Sexual orientation has always included heterosexuality, bisexuality and homosexuality. Now traditionalists have an opportunity to recognize it too.
As one groom noted, “Being gay is as African as being black.”
This community shows that when it comes to the bottom line, it is all about love and acceptance and even tradition has its seat at the table of evolution.
By Melanie Nathan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Cathy Kristofferson contributed to this article.
MOGADISHU, March 18 – A GAY man was allegedly stoned to death as punishment for homosexuality, a gay Muslim group has said Saturday.
According to Somali Gay Community, the young man, Mohamed Ali Baashi ,18, was buried in a hole up to his chest and then pelted with rocks by members of the Al Qaeda link group Al Shabaab on Friday, March 15, in Barawe, about 50 miles from the capital, Mogadishu.
The group, through its Facebook page, Somali Gay Community, posted three photos of alleging they were from the stoning.
However, Identity Kenya could not independently verify this claims or the alleged stoning and efforts to reach the group have not been successful.
The group said the young man was accused of sodomy and was stoned to death by Islamic rebels while horrified villagers were forced to watch.
According to the reports, a judge announced that Mohamed Baashi, along with a man who had been accused of murder, had both confessed to their crimes. The alleged murderer got a more merciful punishment. He was shot to death, the group said over the weekend.
“This is their day of justice,” the judge, told the hundreds of villagers who had been forced to attend.
“We investigated, and this man did what Muslims shouldn’t do and as a result, he will be stonedto death and the one that killed someone will be shot because homosexuality is more punishable in Islam,” the judge is alleged to have said.