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Why hate crime should never be mistaken for ‘discussion’

with one comment

the 'Africa Have Your Say' forum homepage

Should a forum like this be allowed to exist? And if so, who's next in the firing line?

Question: When is free speech not free speech?

Answer: When it’s oppression.

Like a lot of you, I’ve been following the recent debate about homosexuality and the death penalty on BBC Africa’s ‘Have Your Say’ forum with a curious mix of disgust and fascination.

I would never call myself a political kind of guy, and much as I don’t want to launch into some long winded diatribe about what I deem to be right and wrong, I have to say my piece.

Seriously, BBC – what were you thinking? Since when did it become acceptable to debate whether genocide is a valid option because a few superstitious barbarian leaders are getting their knickers in a twist over the fact that sometimes boys like doing each other?

Perhaps even more sickening (and worrying) are some of the follow up comments on the forum:

“Totally agree. Ought to be imposed in the UK too, ASAP. Bring back some respectable family values. Why do we have to suffer ‘gay pride’ festivals?” asked Chris in Guildford.

Because of people like you, you insipid moron.

It’s ironic that as an intelligent, well rounded gay man, I can’t naturally have what I would imagine to be equally intelligent, well rounded kids, yet bigoted halfwits like you are able to breed freely.

People like you are the reason I march at Pride every year. Why I’m proud to stand up and be counted alongside my gay brethren. People like you are like fuel to me; the reason I refuse to be bowed or cower and hide who I am.

You don’t like gay people? Well stop having gay babies, then.

Let’s play devil’s advocate for a minute.

The BBC (the people that brought you Nick Griffin on Question Time – enough said) wanted to provoke discussion ahead of the latest edition of ‘Africa Have Your Say’. By creating such a sensation and publishing it as a forum, they’ve ensured the subsequent outcry takes the issue at hand and cleaves it into the public consciousness like an axe blow to the temple.

So let me put this one out there:

What if I took every instance of the word ‘gay’ or ‘homosexual in that article and replaced it with ‘Jew’? Would the BBC be so quick to allow free discussion? If the internet had been around in Hitler’s time, would we not have seen something shockingly similar in a forum about the Jewish community?

If we go with this line of thinking, validating the execution of homosexuals technically means that we should also think of the Holocaust as a ‘necessary measure’.

There are better ways of raising awareness. As my (straight) friend Simon so eloquently put it: “The fact that the BBC hosted this as discussion, rather than a straight condemnation of such an abhorrent and evil ‘law’ sickens me.”

And to the people of Uganda – there are much, much bigger things in this world you need to worry about than men having sex with each other.

War and famine, for instance.

Perhaps President Yoweri Museveni should look a little closer to home to see where the real problem with his country lies…

Written by guy_interrupted

December 18, 2009 at 12:44 pm

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