If you trust the gospel of activists – both for and against homosexuality – Malawians are not homosexuals and they do not love homosexuals. Not only do they not love homosexuals but they hate them. They hunt and hound them and set fire to their private parts while they hang crucified on an upside down cross.
I have followed the recent argument. The one that has come after the Police arrested two men in Lilongwe for what they say is homosexual sex.
It is said that after arrest on 7 December, the two were subjected to tests to determine whether they really had had homosexual sex.
The result of the test? Well, it has been swept and swallowed by the debates that have come after the arrest.
While Malawians took to social media to fire shots at the two who were nabbed for contravening the country’s suspended laws that criminalise homosexuality, there came US Ambassador to Malawi – Virginia Palmer – aiming to outshout the mob that was calling for the lynching of the two.
It is easy to understand Palmer – or her intentions. Coming from a place where people like Martin Luther made such great oratory speeches that denounced all those who kept quiet in the face of injustice, it is only expected of her to speak at the appearance of such injustice.
So, speaking she did. In one Facebook post, she managed to express her displeasure with the way government had handled the arrest. Not only that, with the same post she managed to attract comments – most of them ridicule – than any other politician has ever garnered in recent months. That, in Malawi, is by no means an enviable feat.
Malawians, a not-so-conservative-nor-religious lot that has prided itself in being a friendly and warm people, have almost all descended on Palmer. The not so radical even are calling for her leave.
It is an overreaction, I think. An exaggeration of the way they hate homosexuals.
You can disagree with me, of course, if you subscribe to the gospel I used in opening this entry.
In my opinion, I think the anger is driven by the approach that Palmer has used. Sadly, this is the approach that most – if not all – who are aiming for the legalisation of homosexuality are using: threats.
Is homosexual African or not?
I know the answers to this might vary but my opinion is that homosexual is African more than all these religions that are being used to challenge homosexuality.
In Malawi, the Chichewa word for homosexuality is Mathanyula. Compare and contrast with what Christianity or Islam are called in Chichewa, these two have no Chichewa equivalent. They have corrupt derivations. Now, between the two, which one is more Malawian?
So, the basic argument is that homosexuality happened – maybe even before the advent of western cultures – and has been a part of us. However, the majority of people now are looking at it as a foreign concept, an attack on their culture. Reason?
It is the way the west has decided to move the homosexuality agenda.
Unlike most other agendas that the west has moved, the homosexuality agenda has been moved with threats, intimidations and bullying. It is as if it is the only thing that matters in the whole world.
When Tionge Chimbalanga and Steve Monjeza were arrested over a same-sex engagement they held in Blantyre, what was the reaction? The sky fell on earth. The UN General Secretary, Ban Ki Moon, suddenly discovered that there was some Malawi that needed his visit. Contrast to how he is reacting to the slaughter ongoing in Burundi. In the Burundi case, his office keeps churning one statement after another announcing obvious facts that a genocide is being prepared while the world watches. He certainly thinks that does not warrant a personal visit.
This approach, needless to say, has hardly been successful. It is strange why it keeps being pursued when its fruits are in the public domain – and they are rotten.
The law is not enough
Somehow, I understand the approach taken by Palmer and co in advancing the rights of homosexuals. Their target is not the people in the villages, it is the law makers and those who have power to influence it.
This approach, nevertheless, has its own downside.
In a country such as Malawi where the instruments for enforcing the law are as weak as they are insufficient, working tirelessly to pass a law that decriminalise homosexuality will in the long run not benefit any person – not even the homosexuals.
The problem here is not just the law. It is the attitudes, the beliefs, the myths and misconceptions. The law might even be a footnote to the problem.
I would tell you that in this country it is illegal to accuse one of witchcraft. Yet, that has not stopped communities from lynching their old on accusations of witchcraft. It has not stopped conmen, masquerading as men of religion, stealing from their faithful (not faith-fool) on the grounds that they could chase the demon of witchcraft. For all these, I dare say, the arrests are as good as non-existent.
This is the tragedy that homosexual rights might meet when forced down a people. The law might pass but the implementation will not be there.
Expecting people to accept someone as homosexual simply because there is a law that says so is simple in the US where the Police can enforce that law. In the jungle where the Police are always looking for political opponents to the powers that be or searching for daily bread, enforcing a law to protect homosexuals is a joke.
I am hesitant to imagine there is a way forward that satisfies all parties involved. I even doubt there is a compromise that either party might have to do and move together on this issue.
The problem started with driving the agenda itself. The threats, the lies (I do not believe Steve Monjeza was/is gay – I hold that he was hired to act), the unwavering defense were all wrong!
Sadly, even the current actors are still using the same tricks that failed. Palmer is a perfect example to this.
I think there was a way she could have broached the subject without raising chaos as she has done. Could she not have had a private audience with the President, like Ban Ki Moon did, and let the world simply witness her persuasion and dialogue - or she did that?
I do not know what her aim was in going public over that. I do not even think that her approach served the interests of the people whose rights she claims to be fighting. Now, a people that were getting over the Aunt Tio saga and let homosexuals do their things in the privacy of their bedroom, have all again remembered they are religious and homosexuality is not in line with any religion.
Need I say what happens when people think their religion needs to be defended?