Yesterday, I had a great day! I cannot claim to have accomplished all that I set out to do, for but one thing, I did the most important item on the calendar -beside the usual, work, get you ready for school,, exercise, and pick you up from the bus stop. I felt energized!
You and I baked gingerbread cookies for your winter-recess class party. Our first experience venturing into gingerbread baking! We burned some but enjoyed it all. We decorated them with M&Ms, and of course you ate some of those…plus the extra cookie you designed for yourself.
As I sat down to unwind, check my email and the news, that is when I learned that, Sometimes, bad things happen to good people…..
“Uganda Bans Mini-Skirts”….is the first piece of news I read on a friend’s Facebook profile. I went to google and searched for all news reporting on the subject. Face of Malawi, Nigeria Vanguard, africansportlight, bulawayo24, the guardian, and of course BBC had all picked up the story. There you go! This has been in the pipeline since early this year, when the Minister of Ethics, a Catholic Father Lokodo proposed the bill, allegedly due to increase in pornography in Uganda.
My instant reaction on FB was:
“Where have I been? Does this mean i am now a “persona non grata” in Uganda? A
Those who know me will tell you that I take my liberty very seriously! It is my identity, and I have worked hard to earn it -through self-expression, writing, learning, social interactions and discovery. I am a human, black and woman, in that order. I believe in Global Humanness! That everybody matters, and everybody has a RIGHT TO BE!
With that comes my detestation for social confinement, especially what I see as self-serving rules and decrees that unfairly target a social group based on perceptions of others about them. I am not going to tell you what to wear, so I would not wish that you should bother whether I have clothes or not – that is an extra inconvenience that I do not want to be bothered me, and so shouldn’t you!
I had to go to bed! As usual, I woke up at 2:00am to work till the time I have to make your breakfast, get you ready for school, and I see you out of the door to school at 08:10. I went to the kitchen to grab a cup of team. Then I remembered that I had not finished decorating all your cookies. I guess the news from the previous night hit me rather hard! So, I decorated them with red and green, the December festivities colors, packed them, ready for school. I went back to work on my computer.
But still, there was not much noise online denouncing the bill! Where are all the Ugandan social activists on FB? In public fora? the women’s rights movement? the feminists always ‘snooping’ around on whose genitals are gone..?
Then at 06:00a this morning…and….
…in less than 24 hours, I got the news that “Uganda Parliament passes the anti-homosexuality bill”….
There we go again…….It has been coming since 2011…but the mighty almighty international community, whose mighty arm controls the Ugandan government has kept it on the shelves with threats of withdrawing aid to the government.
Two identities stoned and stifled; one public [mini-skirt wearing women], another private [gays]!
Uganda, it's gonna be a funky festive season!
Sorry minority, this Christmas aint for you, if you belong to any one of these two social groups: 1) Wear miniskirts; or 2) Homosexual.
And you thought iPads do not boost productivity?
XXXX, are you still down-under? NNN, tell us, Min of Diaspora Affairs:)
One of my friends responded,
"The ministry of diaspora affairs will have to start issuing travel warnings to the Ugandan diaspora warning them about travel to Uganda.
So if you wear mini skirts, or play for the other team, you are persona non grata.
PS: Your money is not needed too so spend it away from uganda's shores."
Two hours later, 08:00a
“Uganda in international news December 2013: screw Women’s rights; hello Gay rights! Talk about society always strategically playing women against any other!” I cried
"And what are the Karamajongs to do? Oh! The white man'a burden, of dressing us up!” I added…
More sadness from me….
NO Thank You, It's Friday in Uganda:(
Four hours later, 10:00a, I wrote this….
"I think it's been a while since I've been sad, and publicly expressed my sadness, esp on a forum like FB. But the passing of the Anti-pornography bill in Uganda this weekend, hit me real hard! In essence, "the law bans material which shows parts of the body including breasts, thighs and buttocks, or any erotic behaviour intended to cause sexual excitement."
As a self-declared comfortable nudist, I am terribly offended. Already, idle men in Uganda have been literally and verbally undressing women in public, if they deem you improperly dressed. Now they have a law to endorse their abusive actions.
Two, Ugandan nation groups like the Karamojong, who do not wear clothes or not cover up fully are now criminals in their own country. A friend reminded me that Fr. Lokodo, Uganda's Minister of Ethics who proposed this law is also Karamojong, but he's basically saying, screw you my peoples!
Three, most Ugandan cultural groups dance in what could be termed "erotic behaviour intended to cause sexual excitement". Is our culture and our cultural celebrations illegal too?
True, the anti-gay bill has been passed as well. Not that I do not care; I have published my views repeatedly on the subject, and expressed solidarity with the Uganda gay community. I also think they have a whole international clout who will ensure that the Uganda government financially suffocates, if it dares to "mess around with their people -[read gays in Uganda]".
But for the wretched of us, running and exercising in knee-high shorts, smartly and happily dressed in knee-high dresses and skirts, and twerking to the beats of Bakisimba or Badilisha, who have already been abused, pulled, verbally stoned by these idle men in Uganda, some living and dosing in parliament at the expense of our taxes, only waking up to abuse us further!
And to claim that we are a god fearing nation, when millions of public funds are robbed by these men in political office without prosecution, is a terrible insult to my being as a human, a woman, and a Ugandan!
It's a men's world, indeed!
But I do hope, it is not Your world as a man, my son. I do hope, when you have the power, and in position, you do not make this world all about yourself!
I must say though that, your tardiness for school, plus events that happened later today cast the smile on my cheeks further away…. Until later in the day when I went through a friend’s photo album and, Viola…a little laughter showed up….
stolen from my friend Josh
‘s album, I added these words,
"This might be the last chance for Ugandans to "go for it" before the President signs off against ....NSBD..lol."
So, where do we go from here? It still fails my understanding why not many folks are bothered! Well, I would forgive BBC and all its foreign ilk -the media and foreigners who care to follow Uganda. They love disaster, and care most especially when it is “gay rights”. Ugandans can be teargassed on the streets, beat up by police, monies stolen from them by public officials, but the big gay rights crusaders championed by the US government will be content to say, “We cannot interfere in Uganda’s international problems; it is unto Ugandans to deal with such issues.” Yeah, any other human rights but “gay rights” are Ugandans internal problems!
But why are my Ugandan social network folks silent on this issue? The silence is deafening! Except for a couple who have cared to express their anguish and “LIKE” my comments, approximately 10 thus far – three of whom are from the Diaspora, two non-Ugandans, no one else has put on the same spirited debate we saw, when the Princess of Tooro’s marital woes become public forage. Yet, the gays are already “out of the closet” and on the streets showing their discontent with the passed bill. Then perhaps I should not blame them that they are attracting international support and media attention. The last I listened to BBC, the only news coming in about Uganda was the “anti-homosexual bill” passed by parliament.
Perhaps because it is often men who put on spirited debates on social media, and a “ban on miniskirts” by a predominately male house of parliament, seems like the right thing to do, “to stop promiscuity, indecency, and immorality in Uganda”. Or perhaps, indeed “Uganda is a god fearing nation”, as Member of Parliament Bahati [the champion of anti-gay crusaders in Uganda] said? Or perhaps it is a European soccer season in Uganda, and the men are focused elsewhere?
In fact when I dared to question, why Rebecca Kadaga, the Speaker of Parliament, and a graduate of Namasagali College, which historically had girls in “barely-there” dresses as school uniform, and skimpy outfits, would allow such a law in her parliament….one of the males posted:
– which I have since learned means “Tusaba Gavumenti Etuyambe” in Uganda or “We are asking for the government’s intervention
"During tough economic times these laws make a lot of sense the world over. In Britain -- it is called social behavior. In Iran, it is sharia-influenced legislation."
Then, there is, ”
And is a priest …. you know how they have been rumoured to have closet gays among their ranks … so who knows!!!Closet gays can be very homophobic you know!!!”
So, I guess for now, I am gonna stay a “persona non-grata”, enjoy the liberty of running in nothing in the coldest of American winter up here….without fear of police daring to dream me big as an “societal mischief”…