In Ethiopia, Consensual Homosexuality is Worse than Treason



Ethiopia, in a couple of weeks, is expected to pass a new law endorsed by the Council of Ministers that will make homosexuality a bit harder than it is. According to the draft bill, criminals convicted of homosexual acts are not privileged for pardon. While the president of Ethiopia enjoys the power of realising prisoners every Ethiopian New Year, from now on he is goanna have to look his list carefully and study who did what. This does not seem a thing an Ethiopian president would mind, considering he is probably part of the conservative anti-gay society. Or maybe he will mind, but it is not like he has much of a say on the matter since his power is pretty much a shallow.

Still, the announcement of the draft bill turned the alarm loud on for the western nations, who are still furious at the decisions of many African countries to not only criminalize but also makes homosexuality an absolute ground for being tormented in every sense of the word.

The Ethiopian parliament, at its current state, is not composed of people with their own opinions. It’s pretty much a one man show, the man being already dead and the ghost directing the show. As a result, since the bill is pitched by the party, there seems no reason for the house to have a sound discussion before approving. It takes people who can see the difference between religion and politics as well as the alteration between rape or raping under age boys and having a consensual homosexual relationship between two adults to make an argument on the draft bill. But let’s face it, we are Ethiopians and we are never good at details and that is demonstrated in everything we do.

However, may be, it is worth discussing, whether denying pardon for convicts of homosexual acts is logical considering our chaotic pardon history. Here, the argument shouldn’t be whether the act should be criminalized at all. Ethiopia, loud and clear says that homosexuality is a crime and for now, that is that. We cannot also deny the fact that the great majority of Ethiopians are too disgusted with homosexuality, and the law naturally should reflect the tradition and life style of its people. For those who like to shout ‘human rights’ from the distance let’s just say  we live a nation where women get beaten, raped, and abused every day and the police still say ‘he is your husband so better to forget filing a case’ or ‘what did you do to him’.

However, pardon is a whole new issue. For Ethiopians, the popularity of pardon comes whenever the ruling party uses it as a goat’s cape after screwing a political drama. Like, when someone ‘wanna be hero’ feels like rescuing Ethiopia through politics or articles, he/she will be sent to prison for a serious term or may be even death and intimidated to beg for forgiveness. Those who learned from their mistakes and promise never to piss the old guards of the nation will get ‘PARDON’. Others remain inside until they learn their lesson, which we hope will be pretty soon.

For the ordinary felons, who like rob Shemsu’s shop, beat their girlfriends to death, or may be pissed someone at the top in a non-political way, once in a year it’s Christmas except it is Ethiopian New Year. The list approved by Ministry of Justice’ signed by the president, will give them the freedom they have been awaited for.

The government so far showed a humble heart and forgave some of the people, who at least on paper have done the worst crimes on earth. Like genocide, treason, conspiracy to overthrow a constitutional system using force, supporting terrorist groups, entering the nation illegally etc. We even forgave some of the left over ‘Red Terror’ mess which is a joker card for the EPRDF politics.  The list goes on and whether ‘the elders’ of the nation, wearing their mediator caps, initiates it or not, the justice system, for these sensitive crimes turns in to a Jesus sermon and quotes from the bible are used to ‘forgive’ the felons.

However, now a man or a women for that matter, though many doesn’t really get offended much when a women is into a women (I wonder why that is?!:)), does anything sexually to the same sex, might forget about pardon and does prison time calmly, without expectation.

Is homosexuality (completely excluding rape) that wicked even worse than all the crimes we have been told to forgive? Or is it religious traits we got on the top playing the saint? Or maybe we are showing solidarity to the 38 African nations who did or is doing the same thing. Pissing the western can’t be an agenda since we clearly can’t afford to do that. Or can we?



About Mercy

Mercy is a public health and humanitarian practitioner, strategist and community educator and mobilizer, blogger, HIV/AIDS and Social Justice/Human Rights Activist who is courageously advocating for the Dignity, Health Equity and non-discrimination of all Marginalized and Vulnerable Social Groups by fighting the prevalent HIV, the widespread Homophobia and other forms of socio-economic exclusions/injustice in Ethiopia. He is also the co-founder and director of the pioneer; Rainbow-Ethiopia Health and Human Rights Initiative, the one and only LGBTI Health and Human rights organization in Ethiopia Please feel free to Contact him at: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Posted on March 30, 2014, in Ethiopian LGBTI Community, Rainbow-Ethiopia Updates and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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