Cutting aid to Africa won’t help gay rights

First published in the Boston Globe on Saturday, 11 February, 2012

David Bahati reintroduced anti-gay legislation in the Uganda parliament, to a standing ovation. Photo image: Ronald Kabuubi/Associated Press

WHEN Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke in Geneva at the International Human Rights Day last year, she sent a strong warning to countries passing anti-homosexuality bills that US foreign aid would be tied to tolerance of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. The message was received with both anger and jubilation.

For the LGBT community, it was an outcome of months of lobbying. Within African countries that abhor the idea of gay rights, it was viewed as another imposition of the United States’ continued policing of sovereign countries. Homosexuality is banned in 37 African countries.

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Nigeria’s homegrown terrorists

The scene at St Theresa's Catholic Church in Madalla, Christmas Day, after a car bomb explosion killed 43 people. (REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde)

 “As the gunmen invaded the church, those who were agile enough took to their heels through any available entrance. Women, who went to the prayer session with their children, made spirited efforts to ferry out their kids, while the men made desperate attempts to take out their family members. But all the effort came to naught, as the gunmen had blocked the church entrances and started spraying bullets into the embattled members before they knew what was going on…

It was like hell and a drama of some sort,” one woman, who managed to escape before the gunmen opened fire, recalled.”

Thirteen people died that night in Christ Apostolic Church in Jimeta-Yola, eastern Nigeria. It was January 6 2012, Epiphany, the first prayer meeting of the year.  As Muazu Abari writes in Leadership, a national Nigerian daily, the suspected perpetrators were the Boko Haram, Nigeria’s home grown Islamist terrorist group.

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