Anti-Gay Bill? Are you serious Ethiopia? (UPDATED 04/16/14)

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April 16 2014 Update: 

Ethiopian government cancels anti-gay rally

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Credit where credit is due and big relief to me that the Ethiopian government respected the human rights of gays enough to cancel this rally and the pending non-pardonable offence designation proposal. Ethiopia is a better place today than yesterday because of this. Now if they can stop jailing gays for having consensual sex they will have truly turned the corner.

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Cambodine’s original commentary below….

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This is just too much to just let slide.

First of all, this blogger isn’t gay and am personally grossed out by it actually on most levels, but then, I’m also grossed out by more things than I’d care to list, but isn’t that the point? Having said that, I’m even more appalled anyone could take it upon themselves to dictate anyone else’s preferences or tastes to them, never mind throwing them in jail for a large chunk of their lives. I suppose they’ll also ensure they never come within a penis length of anyone else while they’re in there too? Good luck with that! All good and fine someone disapproves of another’s odd ways if they must, but legislating homosexuality an unpardonable crime is fundamentalist and it’s just plain wrong.

I’ve always tried what I might to facilitate Ethiopia’s ascension on this blog, and I’m the biggest fan of the country and it’s remarkable people, and I think nobody would find a word of criticism on this website to argue otherwise, but it’s actually because I want to see Ethiopia take it’s rightful place among the first order of nations that I feel this silly and backward anti-gay legislation needs to be reconsidered. Believe me, this country shoots itself in the foot and loses credibility by enacting such nincompoop laws as this in the eyes of the very countries it seeks to do business with (with some unfortunate exceptions).

This is just one of those things a civilised society tolerates and even allows to celebrate. Showing tolerance for these gays and others who affront our values, but yet harm none of us, builds compassion and trust among us and lets us learn to live in harmony. Today they may come for the gays, but tomorrow who will be next? This is what needs consideration when we strike out against those who are different, and it’s a test of our collective characters and institutions how we respond to these questions. Our humanity lies in the balance.

Don’t let yourselves go the way of hatred and division Ethiopia. When you stand up for the maligned and powerless in your society, you also stand for the dignity and rights of everyone. Homosexuality may or may not be an aberration to many, but if it does no harm, who are we to punish those who choose to practice it? I find there to be far more vile acts all about me nobody takes notice of every day, yet there’s no call to bring cheaters, liars, or bullies to task, and they cause much more damage to be sure. What’s next? I understand there is a country here in Africa where farting is a capital offense. Where does this stop?

Just throwing my opinion out there for what it’s worth because I don’t want Ethiopia to undo all the incredible progress it’s made and continues to because of this one stupid and ill-conceived law. Of course the people will do what they might do, but I think it foolish.

On a more pragmatic note; does Ethiopia really want to effectively disenfranchise all the gay folks who hold sway in the fashion industry, and by extension, the extremely important Ethiopian textiles trade, because it can’t see it’s way clear to respect the beliefs and rights they hold at their cores? I would think that’s also well worth considering too.

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