The 21st Century Inquisition
Persecution of the LGBT Community is as constant and fierce as it has been against any group. Countries all over the world are taking political action against members of this community, even using lethal force against them at times.
It is almost unbelievable that in 2014, an era regarded as a "Liberal era," countries such as Russia, Angola, Jamaica, Pakistan, India, and Syria, just to mention a few, are signing bills and laws against the LGBT Community.
Something has occurred that has sparked homophobia and violence in the governments of African, Middle Eastern and Eastern European countries. Some blame religions such as Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism amongst others, for utilizing propaganda to carry out personal agendas.
Others blame the recent liberalism of the western countries, who are regarded as champions of care-free and hedonistic lifestyles by eastern countries, and these conservative countries feel responsible for rebelling against the contagious ideologies of the West, by completely contradicting these ideologies and blindfolding their own to keep their country "united," which really means "under control."
This new-found international homophobia caught significant media coverage because of Russia. President Putin's ban on "gay propaganda" got a lot of publicity during the 2014 Winter Olympics that were held in Sochi, along with opposition from athletes and activists alike. I have to respect Putin's timing though; approving the ban when the world's eyes were on his country was impeccable and genius, giving that the international media was already there. Putin recognized the Olympics as the perfect time to make a Russian anti-gay statement to the world.
After the Olympics, things started going downhill in Africa. If you travel from the southeastern coast of Africa to India (apart from Iraq), there is not a single country where homosexuality is legal. In Nigeria, it is illegal to display same-sex affection; in Uganda, citizens are forced to report homosexuals to the authorities; in Cameroon, an activist by the name of Roger Mbede was sentenced to three years in prison for sending another man a text message, expressing Mbede's love for the man. Mbede died of a "hernia" while in jail this year, according to Cameroonian authorities.
Uganda, Nigeria, Yemen, Angola, Somalia, Egypt, Morocco, Iran, Pakistan, Syria, and United Arab Emirates are amongst the 82 countries all over the world where homosexuality is illegal. These countries spread amongst Africa, Asia, the Middle East, South America, the Caribbean and Oceania, which is a shocking fact given that the media has only focused on Africa and Asia, ignoring countries such as Guyana, Barbados, Jamaica amongst others, right here on the western hemisphere.
This is not a call to President Obama or Congress to take action, Uncle Sam is too worried about trade connections at the moment. Although President Obama has already made statements condemning these policies, including a threat to cut off Uganda's $400 million aid package, as well as an angry speech against Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh. Jammeh was quoted stating the following during a national holiday: "We will fight these vermins called homosexuals or gays the same way we are fighting malaria-causing mosquitoes, if not more aggressively." Simply reading these statements is disgusting, not to mention the actual violence that statements like these are encouraging or causing.
I do not think that the American government should take more action; a simple boycott of trade and cut of aid should suffice to make a statement. There is no need to take more aggressive actions against these injustices. The United States needs to withhold its unofficial "World Police" title on this one and let these countries figure things out by themselves, there is no need for more unnecessary conflict involving the U.S. at the moment.
As a minuscule citizen of the world, a college student, and a journalist, I feel dumbfounded at the thought that in the 21st Century, a time that was supposed to be of progress and understanding, humans still find the need to persecute a demographic. Besides, I could have sworn that mankind was already tired of the persecution and discrimination, given our very colorful history.
There is simply no excuse; not religion, not politics, not anything that could possibly justify violence against a designated demographic. Religion is supposed to help believers find inner peace and spread love, while politics are supposed to help a nation find inner and outer peace, yet the human race always seems to find an excuse to use these things as means for violence and turmoil.
It has become evident to me that personal gain and private agendas of people in power always seems to overshadow the actual purpose of their office, and makes people forget why these offices exist. Perhaps humans are just simply too egotistical and self-centered to really try to reach the idea of peace, so we should at least attempt to try at peace, instead of having our bloody and discriminatory history rewrite itself.