Friday, April 14, 2006

Just in case you weren't depressed enough

The draconian disregard for human rights, otherwise known as the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, has had its first reading in the Senate. Click here to read a letter signed by many Nigerian and International Organisations detailing the different ways it contravenes various Human Rights Acts (thanks to Black Looks for the link).


j 7:25 pm  

"...Jude Dibia is the author of a new novel, Walking With Shadows. With a foreword by Uzor Maxim Uzoatu, the debut novel deals with the inner demons of a Nigerian man who is gay. It's been
described as

Akin 10:05 pm  

Hi Jeremy,

I do not address the human rights issues but what we might expect of the legislators as they debate this Act.

This is an excerpt from the most substantial comment I have posted on my blog.

Same Sex Marriage gets read the Riot Act in Nigeria

"the MPs have the opportunity to express themselves, out-doing each other with word-play, insult, innuendo and every imaginable unspeakable expression that would not be allowed on any other debating floor."

the flying monkeys 10:51 pm  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
the flying monkeys 10:58 pm  

Our people desire an inalienable, constitutional and natural right and I am sure this could strengthen the platform for any Presidential Candidate Fighting for Sexual Freedoms. How can we support the rights of all people but exclude the rights of sexual minorities? Nigeria needs another Victoria Woodhull who ran in "1872" during the Victorian era. Hang on, what year is it in Nigeria? Christ!

Kingsley,  1:30 am  

I sympathise with gay Nigerians, but I think the law should pass. As it is what the people want.

An overwhelming number of people in Nigeria are in approval of this bill and that is what democracy is about. To say people are misguided/wrong to think that is transcendental; we all approach things from our own point of view. This is the point of view of the Nigerian people.

The one criticism I would accept is that it is a complete waste of parliamentary time. This is obviously not a priority, when considering that Nigeria has been in a near constant state of crisis for the last 14 years. It is tantamount to cleaning behind the fridge while your house is on fire.

An illogical activity true, but one must clean behind the fridge sometime.

St Antonym 1:41 am  

"I sympathise with gay Nigerians, but I think the law should pass. As it is what the people want."

Me too, I sympathize with the Jews. But we have to be respectful of the wishes of the German people. If this is what they want, we shouldn't criticize them for it. An overwhelming number of them want the Jews to be sent to the camps. That's what democracy is about.

Akin 7:13 am  

When the desires of the majority trample over the rights of the minority, you create a tyrannical society.

The problem with defining democracy is we have been numbed into thinking it is about number of votes to the exclusion of preserving the rights of the those who did not vote in the winning side.

Democracy only has the right to be absolute in application if the count yields 100% in favour or against, else it has to cater for that minuscular percentage that voted otherwise or abstained for the lack of a wider choice.

The case about it being what the people want is balderdash.

How many people know any homosexuals in Nigeria or associate with them?

How does this prohibition change the underlying problems with Nigeria?

And the question that never gets asked - Does gay marriage really affect the efficacy and workings of a straight marriage? Discuss

This is a case of busy-body indolence masquerading as good democratic practice, the sooner we really got down to the real issues as corruption, reform, infrastructure development and preparing Nigeria for globalisation, the better for all.

This Act prepares Nigeria for isolation and vilification as it would divide the West in relation to Nigeria; America being on-side and Europe being very concerned, hopefully acting to bring reason to this unfortunate development.

Kingsley,  9:26 am  

Though the German people knew the Jews were being removed, the vast majority had no idea that the extermination camps existed. Comparing this to what happened to the Jews in Germany belittles the greatest tragedy of mankind. I find this intellectually lazy and morally abhorrent.

As for the rights of the majority trampling on the minority, it is all about a balance.
The Mormons in the US believe the majority is impeding their God given right to polygamy. Looking at the infidelity rates in the world, especially Naija, one could argue polygamy is as much as an “inherent nature” as homosexuality. It is still codified against in the Western world.

As for vilification from the international community, I doubt that would occur. This is an internal matter. A lot of Europeans vilify Americans for the death penalty. So what? That is just another point of view.

Marriage and family is a very important institution in Nigeria. Trust me, I am aware of the gross infidelity in Nigeria, but this does not negate the basic principle. In the west, the ascent of gay rights abroad coincided with a general opening up of the society as a whole and a decline in the importance of family and marriage in particular. This has not occurred in Nigeria.

As a libertarian, I believe that people should be left to do whatever they want, hence I am not in support of the legislation penalising the practice of homosexuality.

However, I believe that strong child producing families are vital for a country’s progress. I personally believe that marital benefits codified in law should only be extended to this kind of union.

Akin 10:40 am  

Hi Kingsley,

You roll out the red carpet for the self-same arguments that get spewed out everywhere when the issue of gay marriage comes up.

Basically, find ways to shift the blame of failed society, decline in moral values and structure and poorly executed or managed marriages and familiies on the ascendance of homosexuality.

It so happens that homosexuals also come from stable, religious, functional and exemplary familiies - so don't go there.

As for German's not knowing about the Final Solution on the Jewish Question - you need to do a bit more research on that topic.

Just a Google would do - Germans knew the conconcentration camps littered the country, some of them even worked there - they just did not create an uprising against it.

Strong child producing families? Is this Eugenics or have they all disappeared from Japan and Italy where the populations are in decline?

You make some very good points, but for the State to try and dorn the garb of Nanny by criminalising gay marriage for the progress of the country is an interesting slant on the argument.

The problem is, because it is coloured with homosexuality, no one takes to time to objectivily assess the fact that tax-lax, inheritance law and many other laws already protect marriage and still they have failed.

I suppose we can go down the line of introducing an insemination credit each time a marriage couple has sex - because that is the next level in marital benefits.

Banning loving people from marraige regardless of gender does not address the fundamental problem about why society is turning the way it is.

I was almost fooled by the libertarian moniker.

the flying monkeys 1:18 pm  

Call it fascism or left-wing egalitarianism added to right-wing authoritarianism; the world is a contradiction. The minority asserting their ideas or authority over the majority. The majority attempting to assert theirs on the minority. I think Hitler thought purifying the world of the jews was the solution to eliminating these contradictions; that it would unite authority with community and bring happiness to the people. The jews (a minority) think they are god's chosen people, asserting an elite status over other religions. These very same people are currently busy accumulating private property. The irony is they are the originators of such notions as socialism and even communism. Now, I see why Fela Anikulapo Kuti, directed his album “Zombie”, at these contradictions: collusions of Western and African styles of thought.

St Antonym 3:04 pm  

"Comparing this to what happened to the Jews in Germany belittles the greatest tragedy of mankind. I find this intellectually lazy and morally abhorrent."

Get over it. The Holocaust was indeed a terrible tragedy, but neither without precedent (ask the Armenians) nor successors (too many to name). What concerns me, in making the comparisons, is to identify the features of a society that takes an activist role in targeting minorities.

What *I* find abhorrent is your blithe approval of persecuting society. This has nothing to do with homosexuality, but with the tendencies of mobs to want lynchings.

Today it's gays, tomorrow it might be practitioners of the Baha'i Faith, or Hare Krishnas, the next day it might be Cameroonians, or agnostics, or vegans...

One day, Kingsley,it might be your rights that get completely trampled over. We'll see then how you feel.

The idea that people should be allowed to be themselves. It's not up to individual governments to determine this.

Akin 4:16 pm  

They who acquiesce to the trampling over the rights of others no matter how insignificant do not deserve the rights they already have.

Their complacency with regards to those events almost always feeds into the complacency that would paralyse them when they lose their own rights.

This Act is one of those "little temporary safety" things Benjamin Franklin talked about.

When he said "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Marriage shall gain neither safety nor liberty from this Act and the proponents mortgage their freedoms to a less tolerant future.

Kingsley,  11:22 pm  

I was not saying that the holocaust in paticular was a unique experience in history, but comparing the act of genocide (Armenia, Rwanda, wherever) to this issue is what I find abhorrent.

I have enjoyed this discussion but unfortunately you have been unable to alter my opinion.

I have no more to add on this issue.

Akin 2:41 pm  

St Antonym was hardly trying to alter your opinion, rather just point out the absurdity of the way you have made your points.

As for comparisons, that is the richness of language, the ability to make something of nothing or nothing of something.

Gays and other minorities were also amongst people exterminated in the Holocaust - I happen to be part of the Nigerian people too and the Act does not represent my view.

As an aside, see the array of Nazi Concentration Camp Badges

I think the comparison is quite apt, it shows how seed thoughts can develop into tyrannical actions on the scale of genocide.

Every genocide had its Genesis in the petty little thoughts and proclamations that make people think less of the rights and freedoms of others.

Once they criminalise gay marriage, and start to enforce the death penalty for sodomy as we are still debating Sharia on adultery, we would be well on our way to that popular democracy you profess.

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