Let's not talk about it, eh?

The BBC runs one of the biggest, sprawlingest websites out there on the interwebs. There's something for everyone. Including a section with African-centric news 'n' debate, presumably for .. err ... African readers.

Now, over there in Africa, the Ugandan Parliament are currently debating homosexuality and the laws that pertain to it. And pretty fucking grim and scary the debate is too. There is talk of the death sentence for certain homosexual 'offences'. Bloody hell.

Clearly, this needs reporting to the wider world, and the BBC has done so. In addition, the BBC 'Africa Have Your Say' section has invited its readers to debate the subject online. Under the somewhat evocative headline "Should homosexuals face execution?‘ it says:

"Yes, we accept it is a stark and disturbing question. But this is the reality behind an Anti-Homosexuality Bill being debated on Friday by the Ugandan parliament which would see some homosexual offences punishable by death.

"Has Uganda gone too far? Should there be any level of legislation against homosexuality? Should homosexuals be protected by legislation as they are in South Africa? What would be the consequences of this bill to you? How will homosexual ‘offences’ be monitored? Send us your views."

Now that's gonna be a lively debate, eh? Somewhat one-sided, perhaps, in that only a handful of nutters will be for the 'ayes', but a highly relevant one, and one well worth having.

You might think so. But the London-based, not-at-all-African, left wing, hand-wringing, 'I find that offensive' brigade would beg to differ.

They don't think there should be any discussion on this. They're appalled the BBC should even attempt to start the debate.

Both Soho Politico and - of course - Liberal Conspiracy are up in arms. Spitting feathers. Fuming.

All the tired old cliché words - 'grotesque', 'objectionable', 'unbelievable' - are trotted out.

Of course being of the left, the relentlessly Authoritarian Left, they cannot resist dictating to the rest of us how we feel - how we must feel - about this.

Soho Politico has even written the protest letter that we must all send to the BBC. And what phrases are therein!

"That the BBC would invite readers to deliberate the merits of murdering gay people is not merely offensive: it is also profoundly irresponsible.."

"..the policy proposal at issue here – the state sponsored killing of gays.."

"..BBC unmistakeably implies that the belief that gays should be killed is a reasonable one for people to hold.."

".. the debate can only encourage people to believe that homophobic violence is justified."

To which the only possible response can be, what a load of fucking hysterical, histrionic bollocks that is.

What an absolute massive, unbelievably tendentious misrepresentation of the situation.

To read the outpourings of these gasping, panting, swooning offence-monkeys, you'd think that the BBC had announced that they were planning to hold a gay-hunting safari, rifles provided. For fuck's sake.

They offered a debate. To Africans, some of whom may well be affected, not to Islington.

Now, before you start, clearly any laws that 'punish' homosexualty would be repugnant in the extreme.

But is the best way to spread the news, and to prevent such laws being passed, to shriek hysterically about the BBC's coverage of them?

Perhaps not, eh?



Soho Politico said...

Not that it is a surprise, but you are just being contrarian for the sake of it. Can you seriously think that there is a reasonable debate to be had about whether gays should be put to death? Do you think that there is a reasonable debate to be had about whether Jews should be put to death? Do you think that the BBC, or anyone else, could ever have sufficient warrant to pose that question, thereby suggesting that it is something about which reasonable people can disagree? Sorry, but if you cannot see how profoundly threatening and sinister it is to propose to debate about whether people should be killed on grounds of their sexuality then you must be trying very hard not to.

As for my supposed authoritarian, free-speech-denying proclivities, I see that, like many others on the right, you simply do not understand what free speech is all about. It does not pose a threat to anyone's free speech to be criticised for what they say, or told that they ought not to have said it. I did not propose a ban on the BBC's doing what it did. I encouraged others to complain, and register their disapproval of how the BBC behaved. If in voicing my objections to what the BBC did I infringed on the principle of free speech, then, by the same token, in taking me to task here, you are also guilty of an attack on free speech. Yet to make that claim would be absolutely fucking ridiculous. As, indeed, your entire interjection here is.

Constantly Furious said...

SP: your extrapolation continues to be preposterous.

Why can we not debate whatever we wish to debate? What gives you the authority to dicate what can and cannot be debated?

Captain Haddock said...

'Kinell .. it'll be handbags at 20 paces next ..

Nobody takes the least notice of Gays any more .. which is why the "Rights" industry needs to keep the kettle boiling with this sort of garbage ..

Soho Politico said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Soho Politico said...

Deleted and reposted, to correct some errors:

CF, your case against me is totally incoherent.

Are you really trying to say that it is incompatible with free speech for me to argue that the BBC ought not to have held this debate? If so, then by the same token you have violated my freedom of speech by writing this rebuttal. For is it not your claim that it was a mistake on my part to voice my complaint?

Clearly, you and the BBC *can* debate whatever you like, within the confines of the law. Yet, just as clearly, I can also point out that what you say is morally grotesque, and ought to have remained unsaid. Free speech allows us both latitude here. In suggesting that my exercise of my right to free speech is somehow anti-free-speech, you are just being absurd.

The bottom line is that it is utterly repugnant to suggest, as the BBC today did, that there is a reasonable debate to be had on the question of whether I, and other gay people, ought to be put to death. Do you disagree with *that*? Because all of your confused claims about free speech here are just whitewash, obscuring that central issue.

Anonymous said...

Gawd, just reading your posts gives one a headache. What an insufferable pedant and grotesque bore you are.

How does anybody actually bring themselves to sit down and read an entire blog in the same vein?

I pity the poor bugger at the Beeb who has to read your missive.

RantinRab said...

SP, I see you are wearing your 'victimhood' badge tonight.

Well done.

Rebellionkid said...

I feel the argument here is across purposes. We all have the right to say whatever we want. CF is arguing that those on the left are trying to stifle this debate and thus violating that right. SP is suggesting that saying that the debate should not happen denies no right. I would like to suggest the question is much better thought of by the use of the word ban.
If people on the left say (and no doubt some of them do) that this debate should be banned, that by law it should be impossible to have it then that is a repugnant opinion incompatible with human rights. If on the other hand they say that this debate is outrageous, and that they want to argue strongly to convince (not force) the beeb to change it's mind, then I would regard their stance as admirable, and a perfect example of how things function in a liberal society.
On the actual issue itself, someone who is capable of believing that homosexuality is something that warrants death is not a sane rational individual. Debate with someone not sane and rational (as demonstrated by creationism) is utterly impossible and merely advertises despicable opinions beyond what they deserve. The beeb should not have this story up, but it should be their decision to take it down after having been rationally persuaded of it. With nobody at all trying to ban the "debate" from taking place.

manwiddicombe said...

When I first read the BBC headline I have to admit I thought "No-one should face execution whatever their sexual orientation".

Mr Wallis said...

From what I can see CF is simply saying that the BBC should be allowed to host the discussion, whilst SP is against letting them do so.

Free speech includes the ability to debate what you wish, so it is within the rights of the BBC to host this debate, regardless of the topic. CF is pointing out that by criticising the BBC for doing so, SP is effectively implying that the BBC should not be allowed to host the debate, hence limiting its freedom of speech.

Anonymous said...

The proposals from Uganda are repulsive - but they are proposals before its parliament. We have the luxury of deciding not to debate the proposed laws but the people who will be subject to them do not.

For official bigotry from elsewhere in Africa you need look further than Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria. He thinks participants in a same-sex marriage should be imprisoned for 5 years and witnesses for 3. He also says "one of the corollaries of same-sex marriages is the introduction of male prostitution". (see link below)

I think its mad, you think its mad - but he is the Archbishop. If you are a Nigerian gay you would probably love to decide that the debate was too preposterous to engage in. But you would not have that luxury.


bnzss said...

I see what SP and CF are saying, to be honest. Of course SP's objection to the debate itself does not imply he wants to ban any mention of it, and of course CF isn't endorsing any kind of promotion of violence against those who travel on a different bus to yourself.

However, SP has massively missed the point on one thing:

'Are you really trying to say that it is incompatible with free speech for me to argue that the BBC ought not to have held this debate?'

The BBC is a taxpayer-funded 'neutral' organisation. It has absolutely no remit to stifle or promote any kind of opinion but, I would argue, it's well within its remit to allow public debate on any issue. Now, on BBC Africa, starting a debate on something being discussed which is very much of relevance to the readers, I find it pretty strange that SP reckons the BBC has behaved in any way other than how it ought to. You find it distasteful that homosexuals should be executed - as do I. But that's completely besides the point. You don't blame the meeting room for what people say within it, do you?

Furor Teutonicus said...

Soho Politico said;
If so, then by the same token you have violated my freedom of speech by writing this rebuttal.

So "free speech" to YOU, means that we dare not question your views?

Free speech means DEBATE. Or have you damn commie oinkoe bastrds FORGOTTEN that?

caesars wife said...

After carefull consideration of Darlings up two fingers at todays treasury select committe in which he declined to publish figures they compile and hes way behind on reporting anyway . michale fallons question was correct and osbournes back up later was good .

weve had the dodgey dossier

we now have Dosser Darling who it seems cant be bothered to enable good governance by publishing what the treasury should do.

re post : i think we have established that gays can lead a life that doesnt cause a national emergency , it may be amoral but i dont think its criminal .I am aganst the noramlising of it in schools and some party lifestyles so to speak ala barrymore .

death penalty for being gay is way of the scale
although i do consider the death penalty may have place "gross public fraud and using public office to embezzel more than free lunch"

Larry Teabag said...

What if I suggesetd that this post infringes Soho Politico's & Liberal Conspiracy's freedom of speech? Why can't they just debate what they want to debate, eh? Who are you to dictate what they should put on their own websites? Eh??

Except that would be an idiotic argument, wouldn't it? Freedom of speech entails the right to criticise other people's free speech. And when those people have self-imposed editorial standards, it includes the right to point out when they have failed to meet them. Simple.

Anyway you are wrong in point of fact. You say "They don't think there should be any discussion on this."

But Sunny said "A question could be: Is It Time Homosexuality was no punishable by death?...or ‘Should Uganda pass such a law’ or something along those lines."

So his complaint was not that the debate was taking place, but the terms in which it was framed. Obviously that's a subtlety too far for you...

Anonymous said...

I get the sense that the "oh we are so offended" brigade and some of the commentators here couldn't find Africa on a map let alone visited the place.

Whether or not African governments are advocating persecution of gay people really isn't the issue. If that's what the Ugandan government are proposing, well that is entirely up to the Ugandan government. We are not Africans, we do not understand the African psyche or their social structures yet the West will persist in foisting their dogma of democracy on a people who have no concept of democracy in the first place.

Leave them alone.

Rebellionkid said...

I disagree firmly Henry. I think this is most defiantly my concern. I am not African, but I am human. I care passionately about how human beings are treated in every country in the world. Every single outrage like this offends me deeply. Not because I'm interfering or want to impose a western way of doing things but because I have ethical standards and a respect for the principles of human rights (Uganda signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights). I really dont see how any person with any form of moral conscience can fail to be part of the "oh we are so offended brigade".
As for it being incompatible with any notion of "African culture" in whatever sort of patronising post-colonial sense, there are two responses. This is an explicitly Christian movement, supported and funded by far right American fanatics so has little to nothing to do with African culture. Second even if it is African culture, are we really so heartless that such a thing is an excuse. I think it would be little comfort to someone executed for publicly expressing his love to know that at least his backwards primitive culture hadn't been upset.

Fish said...

I was always led to believe the best way to educate people was to bring forth the debate and defeat your opposition with reasonable and grown up argument.

not talking about is a kin to burying ones head in the sand...

apparently homosexuality is completely natural, http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20427370.800-homosexual-selection-the-power-of-samesex-liaisons.html
so im wondering if Uganda is going to completely wipe out everything gay... possibly including gay gorillas? bye bye tourism...

banned said...

"This Debate Is Now Closed." How long do such debates usually last ? More than a couple of days I would have thought.

I can't stand the BBC but feel that in this instance they have usefully "raised awareness" of a despicable situation in Uganda and also allowewd some people in the West to make their views known to some people in Uganda some of whom feel that our negative attitude is somehow "racist".

"Have you ever heard Europeans or Americans condemn Saudi Arabia or Asian countries for their laws against homosexuality? ( they are even more harsh). Why do Western countries specifically point out African countries? Why is the West so obsessed with homosexuality in Africa yet we have more pressing problems like lack of education, clean water, poor health, poverty etc... This is pure RACISM with a colonial mentality.

Olal Otunu, kampala, Uganda"

Ponder on that Lefties.


Unknown said...

It may be a repugnant debate about a repugnant question, but those who feel the BBC has somehow failed here are missing the point. Take a look at the comments on the BBC post - shocking though it may seem, there are still MANY people quite willing to post their hate-filled responses in favour of Uganda's bill.

You may not like it, but this is the reality of global consciousness on this issue, and the BBC is doing everyone a great service by EXPOSING this hatred and bigotry. You can't really continue to fool yourself into comfortable complacency when you're faced with this kind of stark reality about the state of humanity. Bravo BBC for inviting the ugliness to show itself in public.

For those who cry racism, you're kind of missing the point - if this issue gets enough exposure globally, then the outcome will certainly impact the currently-existing repression in the Gulf states, or wherever it exists. Maybe not next week, maybe not even next year, but changes in the consciousness of humanity CANNOT HAPPEN AT ALL unless there is exposure.

Anonymous said...

If you are not allowed to debate and expose things that we SHOULD NOT DO in a civilized society, then we will be ill prepared when some mad fuck decides to impliment such things further down the line.

Anonymous said...

Rebeelionkid - I take it you'll be on the next flight to Kampala to protest most strongly to the Ugandan government. No?

Thought not.

Rebellionkid said...

My good man, you seriously underestimate how evil the world is. If I was to get on a plane to every country in the world where an utterly monumentally evil thing was taking place I would do literally nothing else with my time and would still be nowhere near getting to every hotspot. And that's if i was to literally just turn up and go to the next one. Campaigning on the web, writing letters by the sheadload, spreading the word amongst others who would do the same thing, these are things I can do. Just because I'm outraged doesn't mean I'm utterly impractical. This is evil, totally monstrously evil, it is a crime against humanity and everyone in the cabinet who has anything to do with this needs to be hauled in front of the International Criminal Court. But something evil is happening somewhere in the world all the time. I try and do my little bit of course I do, I couldn't live with myself if I didn't. But I literally have not got the hours to go everywhere on earth and protest there.
Of course I dont live up to my morals totally, no human being does. But that doesn't mean I'm not sincere in them.

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