“I won’t quit anti-gay advocacy until Ethiopia adopts the death penalty”. ” United for Life’s president, Seyoum Antonius
“I don’t want a gay son. You are not my son from this minute. It is better to kill yourself than be gay.” An Ethiopian Father
“Ethiopia is supposed to be clean and holy, I felt like such a dirty person for having those feelings.” Exiled Ethiopian gay man
It was last Friday that I came across with these terrifying and troubling facts on Newsweek ( one of my the news-magazines I grew up reading back in the days). One of my followers on twitter re-twitted it from his follower with a subject-line: “Ethiopia is a graveyard for all sorts of human rights“. Well, I couldn’t resist my curiosity but found out that my follower’s follower altered the original title “A graveyard for homosexuals” for some unknown reasons when he shared. Anyway, I know the human-rights abuses is bad but the anecdotes at the beginning of this piece speak volumes about the atrocities, discrimination and abuses against Ethiopian sexual minorities not only by the government but also anyone including their parents in that country. Katie Jim A. Baker of the Newsweek should be commended for writing such a very detailed, well-researched long feature by interviewing the victims, various international watchdogs, governmental and the government will“. Claire Beston, Amnesty International’s Ethiopia researcher told Newsweek that Ethiopia wasn’t on the radar due to limited resources and difficulties getting around the anti-advocacy law. “The U.S., U.K. and other governments give huge amounts of aid to Ethiopia while remaining tight-lipped about the extensive violations of human rights happening throughout the country,” Beston said. According to Pew Global Attitudes Study conducted in 2007, ninety-seven percent of Ethiopians would like homosexuality to be outlawed in the country. Honestly, I wasn’t really surprised when I read this statistics because I know homophobia is highly prevalent due to patriarchy, centuries old cultural and religious beliefs and deep rooted ignorance. Katie explored these phenomenon in her writing; it’s not uncommon to hear derogatory, sexist, bigoted and stereotyped comments against LGBT groups by highly educated Ethiopians at home and abroad.
Ethiopian LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) activists to home and abroad to shade lights about the plights these minorities. International human right groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have published reports in the past but were surprised that Katie was able to conduct with members of Ethiopian LGBT groups and warned her to check up on sources after the story comes, because ”
the government will do.”
Even idealistic millennials are homophobic. Youth leader Hezkias Tadele, 24, championed his generation’s “openness” at November’s International Family Planning Conference in Addis but said he didn’t want to talk or even think about homosexuality, and claimed that his peers nationwide felt the same. “We want to keep our own culture,”he said.
One thing which unifies many competing ( often time sworn-in enemies) religious or and political groups is the hate against LGBT persons. It is a common knowledge those who claim being discriminated and fighting for freedom, human-rights are themselves wouldn’t care less or many times discriminate LGBT people- their logic- Homosexuality is un-Ethiopian and against religious beliefs. Such notion is widespread among millions of people in many African and middle-eastern countries if we look closely at Pew’s research. A conference was held last year in African Union Head quarter in Addis Ababa which was organized by faith-based organizations and their zealot followers to condemn homosexuality. The irony is that these religious groups have never spoken a word against the regime which have been perpetuating unimaginable sufferings, killings, displacement, imprisonments and rape against tens of thousands of innocent Ethiopian citizens with impunity ever since it took power 20 years ago. At this LGBT bashing conference, the organizers and participants who often have conflicting interests, unified and vowed to eradicate homosexuality from Ethiopia. Even though, some the scriptures of these religious tell them to love one another including their enemies; hypocrisy at its best.
outed by the undercover cameramen had to go into hiding, especially after newspaper articles alleged that homosexuality was a contagious disease and the moral equivalent of child rape. A man named Solomon Negussie posted a comment wondering “what I can do as an Engineer to eradicate these people (I mean gays and lesbians) from Ethiopia or generally from the face of earth next to praying to God to give me the wisdom to produce a machine or virus that will kill or make them straight (like normal people!)“.
- Ethiopia Is A Graveyard For Homosexuals (davidmixner.com)
- Ethiopia: A Graveyard For Homosexuals (rainbowethiopia1.net)
- Ethiopia: Anti-gay forces seek action against anti-HIV agency (76crimes.com)
- “Africa will become a graveyard for homosexuality!” Ethiopian Dr. Seyoum Antonios, the head of United For Life Ethiopia (rainbowethiopia1.wordpress.com)
- Civil Societies and Faith Based organizations accused Rainbow-Ethiopia as a Foreign Agent Promoting Homosexuality in Ethiopia (rainbowethiopia1.net)