I met with the sight of this letter whilst browsing through last Wednesday’s Metro:
My, my! Where do I fucking start?
Curtis’ letter unwittingly illustrates the type of mentality that places The Cause TM far above and beyond the people it’s claimed to serve.
So, how exactly does dedication to the Big Picture induce such tragicomic myopia?
Let me count the ways…
Firstly, in regard to her assertion that granting Ugandan queerfolk asylum just aids their oppression back home, it ain’t as if things improve for them when they stay put, is it? Last time I checked, this was a country which, like many south of the Sahara, happily waded in the sludge of Christian conservatism. Separation of church and state? Good luck finding that in a country where homosexuality’s a criminal offence; one that could become punishable by life imprisonment, or even death, if the likes of David Bahati and Martin “Eat Da Poo-Poo” Ssempa get their way. Let’s not leave out the anti-queer campaigns run by the Rolling Stone, complete with naming and shaming and cries to “hang them”; at least one person seems to have answered the call, what with the murder of the queer activist David Kato. The paper’s editor, Giles Muhame, certainly made himself clear, in tragicomic fashion…
‘There has been a lot of crime, it may not be because he is gay. We want the government to hang people who promote homosexuality, not for the public to attack them. We said they should be hanged, not stoned or attacked.’
Oh, well, that’s alright then!
Alas, with legal penalties being proposed in the Bahati bill for queer-sympathizers, homosexual or otherwise, he may just get his wish; I can only guess the kind of shitstorm folk like Gideon Byamugisha might have to weather in future.
Taking all the above into account, I ask: what kind of magic leeway does Curtis see opening up upon refusal of refugees? Does it resemble the leeway that opened up for the Jews of the St. Louis pre-World War II?
As for her assertion that “people cannot change attitudes by running away from them”, whoever said that “changing attitudes” was the fucking intention? I thought the idea behind these refugees “running away” was to find somewhere where they could actually, y’know, live out their lives without having to worry about getting bludgeoned, “correctively” raped, and/or jailed for who they choose to fuck. I wonder, if Miss Curtis met with a potential rapist or murderer, would she stick around to try and “correct” his attitude; or make like Brenda Namigadde and get the fuck out of Dodge?
Now onto the most ridiculous part of Curtis’ letter: the rather colonial conviction that queerfolk of “the enlightened world” should become ideological missionaries “taking holidays en masse in these repressive countries for a few years”. Such a gesture, if it came to pass, would resemble Peter Tatchell’s 2007 Moscow adventure: extremely ballsy, yet ultimately futile. Like refusing asylum to queer Ugandans, wouldn’t such a move merely be feeding meat into a grinder? Yet Curtis, in consummate Cappuccino crusader fashion, declares homofolk should go mincing into the mincer for the sake of generating a “global outcry”—fabulous!
That suggestion exemplifies just why I despise identity politics. Does my being a melanite mean I must be fodder for every—or indeed any—cause or cretin with the word “black” as a qualifier? If so, that holds interesting implications for other groups like, say, women; what duties does possession of tits ‘n’ twat impose on Miss Curtis’?
A letter in the following day’s Metro poses the question beautifully….