Over eight million people, greater than the population of New York City, live in Southern Sudan, an English-speaking autonomous region of the African continent known as the “Heart of Africa.”
Yesterday, in the ten states ofÂ Southern Sudan an internationally-recognized public referendum — a vote for independence and democracy — began under the watchful eyes of the internationalÂ community, led principallyÂ by the United States. A vote for independence and democracy, but a vote mired in anti-gay rhetoric by its own out-going president, who says Southern Sudan is no place for gays.
Southern Sudan, a region that has lost millions of people in its fifty-plus years of civil war, is populated mostly by Christians, and swarming with British and U.S.Â Christian missionaries, lies in the middle of Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Central African Republic.
TheÂ United States earned this leadership roleÂ in 2005 when President George W. Bush sent to Sudan Episcolpalian minister andÂ former U.S. Senator Jack Dansforth,Â who negotiated a ComprehensiveÂ Peace Agreement between Sudan President Omar HassanÂ Al- Bashir, the Muslim leader of the North,Â and then-leader, now deceased,Â Dr. John Garang de Mabior of the Christian-dominated Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement.
The agreement, which called for a voter referendum scheduled for today, ended fifty-five years of war wagedÂ along the faultlines of religionÂ between Arab Muslims in the North and Christians and Animists in the South thatÂ resulted inÂ the deaths of more thanÂ two million people, and creating the phenomenon of the “Lost Boys of Sudan,” just as a newÂ war waged by the Al-Bashir government in Khartoum escalated into a genocideÂ against the pastoral Dafuri peoples in the Western geographical area of Sudan.
Consequently, Al-Bashir was indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court in March, 2009.
Leaders of SouthernÂ Sudan,Â the largest country on the African continent,Â and the U.S., European capitals, as well as Japan,Â have hailed thisÂ referendumÂ as a major step forward in its democratic development that is likelyÂ to result inÂ Southern Sudan’s independence.Â Â Invoking the memory of Dr. Garang de Mabior, the Government of Southern Sudan urged prospective voters toÂ read a compelling statement posted on the government website by Garang justÂ before heÂ died in a tragic helicopter accident in 2005:
“I and those who joined me in the bush and fought for more than twenty years, have brought to you CPA in a golden plate. Our mission is accomplished. It is now your turn, especially those who did not have a chance to experience bush life. When time comes to vote at referendum, it is your golden choice to determine your fate. Would you like to vote to be second class citizens in your own country? It is absolutely your choice”.
But apparently Garang’s words don’t apply if you happen to be a gay person in Southern Sudan, acccording to an interview of President Salvaa Kiir by Radio Netherlands in July 2010.Â Kiir said that Southern Sudan was no place for gays and they would never be accepted:
“It is not in our character […] it is not there and if anybody wants to import it to Sudan […] it will always be condemned by everybody.”
Kiir’sÂ commentsÂ revealed anti-gay views,Â as most ofÂ South Sudan’sÂ bi-lateral support is fromÂ mostly pro-gay rights countries like the U.S. and a numberÂ the EU countries,Â which reflects aÂ lack of politicalÂ sophistication on Kiir’s part.Â Given the immense problems facing his fledgling region, including massive hunger with no food grown in Southern Sudan; a densely illiterate population; lack of infrastructure– only a few finished streets in Juba, the capital of Southern Sudan; little or noÂ housing with indoor plumbing; little or noÂ access to potable water; few trainedÂ physicians,Â teachers and other sorely needed professionalsÂ and an overwhelminglyÂ young countryÂ with more than half of theÂ populationÂ under the age of eighteen years old. Â Kiir and Southern Sudan need all the friendsÂ they can get.
Kiir’s apparent need to speak out against gays is also symptomatic of a troubling trend among East African governments.Â Â In Kampala, the capital of Uganda toÂ Sudan’s West and Nairobi, the capital of Kenya toÂ Sudan’s South East, Kiir’s nascent government is surrounded by significantly notoriouslyÂ homophobic leaders who have called for killing gaysÂ via legislation introduced by David Bahati, a member of Uganda’s parliament that isÂ currentlyÂ under deliberation andÂ unopposed by President Yoweri Museveni (whose wife, Janet Museveni,Â has taken a visible and aggressive role espousing anti-gay views.) Most recently,Â in November 2010,Â Prime Minister Raila OdingaÂ of Kenya said that gays had no human rights and if caught in the act of having sex would be arrested. Â But aÂ public backlash ensued andÂ his spokesman was compelledÂ to walk back fromÂ these statementÂ by indicating Â that the prime minister had been misquoted. Â Classic right?
Odinga comments were quite incendiary, provoking a strong rebuke from the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya:
In an audio recording of Sunday’s speech, the prime minister says in the Kenyan language of Kiswahili that “if a man is caught having sex with the other we jail them, or if a girl is caught with the other … we will jail them”. In the latter part of his statement he used profanity to explain lesbianism.
“We want a country that is clean, a clean way of doing thing has clean mannerisms … we do not want things to do with sodomy,” Mr. Â Odinga said.
Kenya’s laws prohibit “sex against the order of nature.” That charge is punishable by up to fourteen years in prison.
The UN launched a major campaign in September for decriminalization of sodomy laws andÂ the repeal of lawsÂ that stipulate gays should be executed because of their sexual orientation.Â UN Secretary General Ban-ki-moon made unprecedented supportive remarksÂ last fallÂ about the oppression of gays and lesbians calling for the decriminalization of discriminationatory laws arouund the worldÂ as a UN priority.Â He added that Â “laws criminalizing people on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity violate the basic principle of non-discrimination.” Â HeÂ also saidÂ that while attitudes take time to change, cultural arguments maintaining discriminationÂ do not trump the human rights ofÂ lesbians and gays.Â Ban-ki-moon is the first UN secretary general to forcefully speak out on the of human rights of lesbians and gays.
In December, UN General AssemblyÂ members whoÂ are supportive of LGBT rightsÂ were successful in reinserting “sexual orientation” into a resolution on extra judicial killings to be includedÂ as a protected class.Â Anti-gay forces had been successful inÂ removing “sexual orientation” in a draft resolution in November. `
That’s the good news. Another piece of good news is that Kiir announced before the referendum that he would be stepping down after the votes were counted and certified.Â Let’s hope that the new South Sudanese citizens receive the benefit of good advice from the United States and other Western capitals on extending rights to LGBT people, just as to more than 180 differentÂ indigenous tribesÂ in Southern Sudan,Â to balance out the extreme homophobia in Eastern Africa.Â The gay and lesbian Southern Sudanese need a hand up instead a one-way ticket out.
Tanya L. Domi is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, who teaches about human rights in Eurasia and is aÂ Harriman Institute affiliated faculty member. Prior to teaching at Columbia, Domi worked internationally for more than a decade on issues related to democratic transitional development, including political and media development, human rights, gender issues, sex trafficking, and media freedom.
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Watch: America, We Just Got Our First Openly-Gay Active NFL Player
America, meet your first openly-gay, active NFL player.
Las Vegas Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib, 28, in an Instagram video announced he is gay, HuffPost reports.
“What’s up people, I’m Carl Nassib. I’m at my house in West Chester, Pennsylvania,” Nassib says. “I just wanted to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while now, but, I finally feel comfortable now to get it off my chest. I really have the best life, the best family, friends and job a guy can ask for.”
He also says he’s donating $100,000 to The Trevor Project, which works to help young LGBTQ youth in crisis or feeling suicidal.
View this post on Instagram
“I’m a pretty private person so I hope you guys know that I’m not doing this for attention,” Nassib adds. “I just think that representation and visibility are so important. I actually hope that one day, videos like this and the whole coming out process are not necessary, but until then I will do my best and my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting and compassionate and I’m going to start by donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project. They’re an incredible organization, they’re the number one suicide-prevention service for LGBTQ youth in America, and they’re truly doing incredible things, and I’m very excited to be a part of it, to help in any way that I can and I’m really pumped to see what the future holds.”
In one of the several text images on that post Nassib explains why this is so important:
‘Living Refutation of Manly Virtue’: Ted Cruz Mocked for Claiming ‘Nobody Is Banning’ Critical Race Theory
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) is being mocked and chastised after claiming on Monday that “nobody is banning” critical race theory, the now-highly contentious school of study used to examine societal issues and institutions that propagate and perpetuate systemic racism. Conservatives like Cruz have decided that any anti-racism instruction should be called “critical race theory,” with Fox News using the term 1300 times in under four months.
“Trump Derangement Syndrome is astonishing,” Cruz tweeted, inexplicably bringing the disgraced former president in to the conversation to attack anti-Trump conservative Charlie Sykes, “who used to be conservative, Cruz claimed, and “is now defending critical race theory.”
“He proffers a series of straw men, eg, don’t ‘ban’ it. Nobody is banning it; but we don’t have to allow schools to teach our kids to hate each other based on race.”
In fact, as NBC News reported, as of last week 21 states across the country are in the process of (16 states) or already have (5 states) banned the teaching of critical race theory in classrooms.
Critical race theory does not “teach kids to hate each other based on race,” or based on anything else.
Lincoln Project co-founder Steve Schmidt unleashed his anger onto the Republican Senator from Texas.
“This is what racial demagoguery looks like in 2021,” Schmidt, a student of history, declared. Senator Cruz “is coloring in his part of the toxic mosaic, speaking in a code that when assembled completely says, militant black people who hate you and want to take your pocessions [sic] away are trying to brain wash your kids into hating you.”
Ted Cruz “is doing what he has always done,” Schmidt continued. “He is lying and trying to scare dim witted and vulnerable people into maintaining his political power by conning them into believing they need protection from something that in fact doesn’t exist in primary and secondary educational curriculum. It’s not real.”
educational curriculum. It’s not real. @tedcruz is a vandal. He has been from the moment he arrived in Washington. From the nonsensical government shutdowns and brazen displays of cowardice, around even defending his wife and dad, Cruz is a living refutation of manly virtue. 3
— Steve Schmidt (@SteveSchmidtSES) June 21, 2021
Schmidt was far from the only one to go after Cruz.
Florida just banned it
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) June 21, 2021
The problem here, Rafael, is that “kids” aren’t being taught this. CRT is taught in some college courses and you know this very well but you coninue to lie about.
Oh, yeah. Lyin’ Ted. I forgot for a second. Carry on then, Rafa.
— Scapper 💙 (@realscapper) June 21, 2021
Not allowing something in schools is literally banning that thing from schools
— Jason (@Jason_MF_Miller) June 21, 2021
Literally banned in Florida. https://t.co/TIEe6YNYuI
— M.D. Lafrance (@MD_Lafrance) June 21, 2021
By the way, Sykes replied. Twice.
Shorter Cruz: Let’s ban it. And say we didn’t. https://t.co/KuK1laLB3g
— Charlie Sykes (@SykesCharlie) June 21, 2021
Cruz: “Nobody is banning it.”
Florida: Hold our beer — > https://t.co/4KkKCrvB5d
— Charlie Sykes (@SykesCharlie) June 21, 2021
Meteorologist Is Latest Local Newscaster to Announce On-Air She Is Teaming Up With Right Wing Project Veritas
A Detroit weekend weather anchor is the latest local reporter to announce on-air she is teaming up with the far right wing deception activists Project Veritas to attack their employer.
On Sunday April Moss, smack in the middle of her weather forecast, snuck in an announcement about the “discrimination” going of at her local CBS affiliated station.
“All good things must come to an end,” Moss told viewers as she announced “showers moving in around 8 AM.”
“Speaking of a brand new week I will be sitting down this week with Project Veritas to discuss the discrimination that CBS is enforcing upon its employees.”
CBS62 Detroit Meteorologist April Moss says on-air she will expose ‘discrimination’ at her station with Project Veritas.
This after FOX26 reporter Ivory Hecker pulled a similar stunt last week, saying she was told not to pursue stories on HCQ.
— Alex Salvi (@alexsalvinews) June 21, 2021
Project Veritas is the group that has been repeatedly discredited for deceptively-edited videos created to attack the left.
And speaking of a brand new week, it appears that Moss may be planning on leaving the station – or getting fired. She’s worked for 9 years for CBS, but on Saturday created a new Instagram account without her “CBS” affiliation in the name.
Last week Fox 26 Houston reporter Ivory Hecker announced live, on-air “that Fox Corp. has been muzzling me to keep certain information from you, the viewers.”
She said just hours after she was fired.
What was that information that was so important for her to risk her job for?
Pushing hydroxychloroquine, which has been discredited as a cure for COVID-19.
No word yet on what “discrimination” Moss faces.
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