This week, as Sydney prepares to celebrate its annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, it has been amusing in a grotesque sort of way to witness the weird and unholy alliances sexual bigots are finding themselves in around the world.
Or to put this another way, it’s been hilarious to see such otherwise wildly incompatible heterosectuals as Christians in Arizona and Uganda and Muslims in Malaysia, inspired by such widely heterotextual sources as the Bible and the Quran, simultaneously engaging in a veritable orgy of homophobia.
The action has been hottest in Uganda, where long-time President Yoweri Museveni signed into law a bill that, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, provides for “repeat homosexuals” to be jailed for life and requires Ugandans to denounce fellow citizens suspected of being gay.
Allegedly a “devout evangelical Christian”, a claim that sits uneasily with the fact that the country over which he has presided for almost 30 years is notoriously lawless and corrupt even by abysmal African standards, Musuveni bizarrely called homosexuals “mercenaries”.
Whatever he meant by this is unclear, but the day after he ratified the new law, one of Uganda’s mercenary ‘newspapers’, the tabloid Red Pepper, pictured and published a list of people under the banner headline “Exposed! Uganda’s 200 top homos named.”
International reaction against Musuveni’s renewed crackdown on gays was swift, at least from such civilized countries as The Netherlands, which immediately froze aid payments to Uganda, and Sweden, whose Finance Minister Anders Borg called the new law “a serious violation of human rights….that presents an economic risk for Uganda.”
Messages from the US were mixed, however, with President Barack Obama reportedly warning that ties between Kampala and Washington could be damaged by Musuveni’s new law, while even as he spoke the state of Arizona was in the process of passing a Uganda-style bill giving businesses the right to refuse service to gays, lesbians and others who offended their proprietors’ religious beliefs.
However, it appears that the Almighty Dollar has prevailed over this latest attempt at institutionalizing homophobia in God’s Own Country, as the Republican Governor of Arizona Jan Brewer has now vetoed the bill, ostensibly on the principle put forward by national Republican heavyweights Mitt Romney and John McCain that religion should not be misused “as a fig-leaf for prejudice”, but perhaps more pragmatically because the state stood to lose heavily in financial terms.
According to the New York Times, one major law convention had already moved from its planned venue in Arizona, and the National Football League (NFL), which has been intending to stage its next Super Bowl in Phoenix, had “started actively exploring other options” in case Governor Brewer signed the anti-gay and lesbian bill.
All this, as the Times recalled, as “Arizona is still struggling to repair its image and finances” after business boycotts triggered by a draconian anti-immigrant law passed by the state in 2010, and its loss of the Super Bowl almost 20 years ago as a result of its refusal to recognize Martin Luther King’s birthday as a state holiday.
But while homophobia was proving as politically and financially unaffordable a proposition in Arizona as it was apparently affordable in Uganda, it was continuing to pay handsomely in Malaysia.
Perkasa, a contradiction in terms in that it is a so-called non-government organization (NGO) that is supported by the government with public funds, declined an invitation to join a dialogue session with the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) on the grounds that it does not recognize the NUCC.
And “we do not recognize it,” declared Perkasa secretary-general Syed Hassan Syed Ali, “because some of its members are Coalition of Malaysian NGOs (Comango) activists who support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights and other matters that are against Islam and the constitution.”
No worries, apparently, that the very racism and sectarianism that Perkasa is illegally paid to promote are as flagrantly un-Islamic and unconstitutional as are the corruption, criminality, deceptiveness and repressiveness of its sponsors in the Barisan Nasional regime.
Who do the political prostitutes, panders and moral and intellectual pygmies of Perkasa think they are, pointing their fingers at perfectly respectable people of other racial, religious and sexual persuasions?
And what does their principal patron in Umno/BN, that superannuated snake-in-the-lalang and arch-supporter of political corruption and nepotism, Tun Dr Mohomad Mahathir, imagine he’s going to achieve by employing this pack of peasants to spread his poison?
Like the Ku Klux Klan mentality that continues to inspire the racists, religionists and homophobes of America’s Christian Right – ie, Wrong – the cretinous criminality of Perkasa and other organisations composing a kind of Kangkung Klux Klan in Malaysia only serves to further harden honest, intelligent people’s opposition to such trash.
Witness the storm of scorn and contempt that has greeted the recent declaration by one of Perkasa’s partners in BN’s Kangkun Klux Klan, Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Ismin), that the Malay civilisation is older than those of Angkor Wat or Borbodur.
Citing an allegedly ‘scientific’ study, in the process reminding at least some of us that Malay civilization had no concept of science and thus had to resort to borrowing the word from English and spelling it ‘sains’, Isma vice-president Abdul Rahman Dali further claimed that “Malay genes was (sic) proven to exist before that (sic) of the Chinese.”
“This region, which centres at the land of the Malays,” he raved on, “is called the Cradle of Human Civilisation, which gave birth to other ethnicities. So it is valid that this land belonged to the Malays originally.”
It is this spirit of inane, indeed outright insane revisionism that inspires the crackpots of Uganda, Arizona, Malaysia and many others of their ilk around the world to employ their ludicrously primitive racial, religious, social and sexual prejudices in the pursuit of their actual ends, which are actually and obviously nothing but power and plunder.
And the spectacle of all these political perverts in bed together in their common if not collective opposition to people of sexual orientations they don’t share, or which, as I suspect in many cases, they secretly actually do or at least fear they might share, is every whit as comical as it’s contemptible.
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