Saturday, January 29, 2011

David Kato's funeral - Tuesday vigil


The pastor presiding over the funeral of murdered gay rights activist David Kato went on an anti-homosexual rant Friday, adding insult to injury for the circle of activists hoping to honour and bury their friend.
It started out nicely enough, according to news reports, with friends offering reading tributes and statements of condolence from international leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama. Then the priest, Anglican Pastor Thomas Musoke, took to the pulpit, saying that homosexuality is "evil and will be punished by God....Even the animals know the difference between a male and a female."
Pepe Onziema, of Sexual Minorities Uganda, reportedly pulled the microphone away from the priest, prompting a scuffle. Then the police moved in and whisked the priest away.
Villagers then refused to bury the coffin, so Kato's friends carried it to the grave and buried him themselves.
About 300 people attended the funeral outside the capital city of Kampala. The police still deny Kato's murder had anything to do with his sexuality and was more likely a robbery gone wrong. This is possible, but seems unlikely given the number of death threats he received after he was featured in a tabloid article purporting to expose "Uganda's top 100 homos." The government is likely spinning it this way because any suggestion Kato's murder may have been a hate crime opens a legal can of worms the government would much rather avoid. Most Ugandans oppose homosexuality and would not look favourably upon any government action to protect them from violence.
You can read a full account of the funeral here.
Meanwhile in the U.K., Ugandan lesbian Brenda Namigadde is trying to fight deportation back to her home country, fearing her life will be in danger if she returns. A British judge has ruled she is not really a lesbian, and she could be deported as soon as Saturday. Vancouver Sun.

PRESS RELEASE - For Immediate Release:  January 29, 2011 -  Media Contact:
Holly Richardson, Out Now (413.348.8234)
On Tuesday, February 1, 2011, Out Now, Arise for Social Justice and other concerned members of our community will hold a peaceful vigil in front of the Arise office to remember the life of David Kato, Ugandan LGBT human rights defender, murdered on January 26 in his home.  His violent death comes in the wake of threats, violence and intimidation that he himself and other LGBT individuals and their supporters have faced. In the most recent incident of incitement to homophobic violence, the faces, names and addresses of “alleged homosexuals” were published under the headline “Hang Them” by a local tabloid.
What:     Vigil
When:    February 1, 2011pm at 12:00pm
Where:   In front of the Arise for Social Justice office headquarters,
    467 State Street, Springfield
The murder of David Kato further highlights the concerns many here in our community have had with regard to the recent exposure of Scott Lively’s residency and work in Springfield.  Holly Richardson of Out Now states,” We are calling upon Scott Lively to stop his hateful rhetoric. She adds, “If Scott Lively is truly working to help improve the lives of the people in our city, as he says he is, than I would think he would want to start with a genuine apology for any of his actions that may have led to inciting violence at home or abroad.” 
Arise President Don James says, “We have to stand against oppression wherever we see it.  No one should have to be in fear of their lives because of their sexual orientation.”
The vigil will both show that members of our community will oppose and confront those who put forth hateful and violent rhetoric, and will honor the struggle for human rights for all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
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