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Rest In Peace, Paul Weatherly

Jim Burroway

October 26th, 2012

I’ve received the belated news via Seba Space that someone you probably didn’t know but should have has passed away. Paul Weatherly died on August 23, 2012 following a long illness. The last time I had communicated with him was last June when, in an email, he said that he was back to work after recovering from a stroke.

Paul was CEO of Gorilla Bond, an American-Ugandan venture which has a two-fold goal: to foster sustainable development in Uganda and to supply the world with eco-friendly bamboo-based products. As part of that work, Paul often traveled to Uganda, and over the course of his travels and extended stays there, had made a lot of friends in that country’s LGBT community. Always generous and helpful, he first came to my  rescue when I had posted a story about a beheading in Uganda, crucial details of which turned out to be a hoax planted by a particularly loathsome anti-gay activist. As I was trying to get to the bottom of the story, Paul contacted me, more or less out of the blue, and provided some exceptionally detailed information which I was able to confirm. With his information, and with conversations with several others, I was able to uncover the details of the hoax and those who were behind it.

That was in 2010, and we have maintained a loose correspondence since then. As I said, he was very generous and gregarious. He asked me if I had ever been to Uganda. I hadn’t (and still haven’t). “Oh, Jim! You’ve got to go! You’ll have the time of your life!” If I did go, he said, I was supposed to contact him, and if he also happened to be there, he’d show me around. Obviously that didn’t happen.

When David Kato was murdered, Paul was one of many who I contacted to try to verify the details of what happened.  Paul’s first concern, and mine, was that we get the details right before revealing that Kato had, in fact, been killed and had not died by other means. There were a good six hours of frantic emails, phone calls and text messages from the time I first learned that he had probably been murdered until we were able to confirm what happen. Only then, after an emotionally exhausting day, was I able to publish my first post.

Paul was also the one who also told me that “Kato” meant the elder of twins. I used that as the first title of my obituary, when, almost immediately, I got an email from someone in Uganda who corrected me to say that it meant the younger of twins. I corrected the title and wrote back to thank him for the information and that I had gotten it from Paul, knowing that this individual also knew him. He wrote back, saying that while Paul speaks and understands Luganda fairly well, he still has some moments of difficulty. “Paul is a brother to us,” he added, “even if he is an adopted one.”

Paul will be both remembered and deeply missed on two contents. I can’t think of a better testament to a man than that.

Comments

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Snowman
October 26th, 2012 | LINK

Some people leave big footprints when they walk upon this earth.

We will remember him.

Love Outlasts Death.

leonardo Ricardo
October 26th, 2012 | LINK

Yes, ¨love outlasts death¨…exactly.

Len

Ed
October 26th, 2012 | LINK

It sounds like Paul was a remarkable man who tried to make the world a better place.

jpeckjr
October 27th, 2012 | LINK

Jim, you regularly call our attention to people we have never heard of who are doing, or have done, remarkable things. It is one of my favorite things about BTB. Thank you for that, and for this good word about a good man.

The Lauderdale
October 27th, 2012 | LINK

Thank you for sharing more about this man.

Mike
December 7th, 2012 | LINK

Great is the LORD who granted me the opportunity of knowing Paul.
I only got to know of his demise a week ago and am so saddened.

RIP Paul….

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