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Desmond Tutu Pens Op-Ed for Ugandan Newspaper

Jim Burroway

December 11th, 2012

Ugandans will wake up tomorrow morning to find an important op-ed in Daily Monitor, that country’s largest independent newspaper, by former South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu calling on Uganda’s Parliament to drop the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. As a respected leader in the struggle against apartheid, Tutu draws parallels between that odious policy and the one that Uganda’s Parliament is poised to impose:

Should the Anti-Homosexuality Bill be voted into law, it will criminalise acts of love between certain categories of people, just as the apartheid government made intimate relations between black and white South Africans a punishable offence.

Members of the apartheid police force charged with the upkeep of “morality” would rush into the bedrooms of suspected offenders to gather evidence, such as warm bed sheets. Those found guilty were arrested, put on trial and punished. What awaits the people of Uganda?

…People have over many centuries devised all kinds of terrible instruments to oppress other people. Usually, they have rationalised their awful actions on the basis of their belief in their own superiority, in their culture, in their spiritual beliefs, in their skin-colour. Thus, they argue, they are justified to hate and bomb and maim the “other”.  The Anti-Homosexuality legislation now under consideration in Uganda is just such an instrument.

…To those who claim that homosexuality is not part of our African culture, you are conveniently ignoring the fact that LGBTI Africans have lived peacefully and productively beside us throughout history.

I am proud that in South Africa, when we succeeded in overthrowing apartheid, we put in place a Constitution that prohibited all forms of discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

We did this because we understood that the freedom of one depends upon the freedom of all. We call it the spirit of ubuntu: the idea that I cannot be free if you are not also free.

A truly magnificent op-ed from one of the towering defenders of human rights.

Comments

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Timothy Kincaid
December 11th, 2012 | LINK

If all preachers were like Desmond Tutu, religion would hold a much higher position of respect both from those who believe and those who do not.

Charles
December 12th, 2012 | LINK

Time for another well-deserved Nobel Peace Prize for Tutu

Bruce
December 12th, 2012 | LINK

Proof to many of today’s archbishops and other religious officials that you can have a position of religious leadership and still stand up for human rights!

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