Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The death-knell for institutionalised homophobia in Zimbabwe?

In a recent interview with the BBC, Morgan Tsvangirai, Prime Minister of Zimbabwe expressed his wish to see gay rights protected in the a new constitution, a message completely different from views he expressed a year ago, when he supported President Robert Mugabe's sentiment that gays were "worse than pigs and dogs". There has been some speculation as to the reasons for this dramatic change of heart, with some saying it is to "appease his Western masters" and similar allegations. Without a doubt the incumbent is going to try to use this to sway people's vote come the next election, but at least its a step in the right direction. Hopefully, if he's really serious about this and doesn't go changing his mind later down the line and the memory of the suffering of previous years will be enough to override peoples' prejudices, we may see the basic right to love legally protected in Zimbabwe come the next election.

Still, the very fact that taking this liberal stance may jeopardise Tsvangirai's position in the upcoming elections is unacceptable. I've heard it expressed by people that the reason Mugabe has retained power for so long is that God placed him there because of his strong homophobic stance, so that legislation protecting gay rights could not be passed in Zimbabwe. So what this means basically is that God, in all his mercy would rather see thousands brutally assaulted and killed and millions more suffering under the yoke of oppression than allow gays the rights to live their lives in peace and without fear of legally backed hatred. Not only is that morally reprehensible, it is despicable, and no loving god would ever do such a thing.

But of course, God is simply people's projection of such people's own psyche, possessing their prejudices, and such moral paradoxes are the simple proof of this fact. If people could look beyond such dogma, superstition and close-mindedness and base their morality on a common respect and compassion for their fellow man the world would be a much sweeter place for all.

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