The tactics are the same. And Uganda’s bungling police authorities keep on falling for them, allowing themselves to be repeatedly lured out into the open to reveal their stupidity.
It’s now well-known and understood that gay activists are going to keep on pushing the envelope in the struggle for – depending on who is talking about it – acceptance, recognition, freedom to love whoever they want, human rights, equality in the provision of medical attention, and so on and so forth.
It is also quite clear that the majority of Ugandans really don’t care about whether the gay activists meet in conference rooms in hotels, on Parliament Avenue or on the beach in Entebbe to agitate for whatever rights they want. If they did, the public would have picketed the meetings or marched down Kampala Road in heated agitation.
“Why don’t the majority care?” you might ask. Because the gay rights activists have done all that and no member of the public has been prevented from doing what they would otherwise be doing: selling their wares in the market; office work; attending funerals,weddings, last funeral rights; going grocery shopping, hanging out at the local watering hole … minding their own business. The public instinctively understands that gay rights campaigners in Uganda pose no threat.
So, why did the police raid the gay pride parade that activists put on in Entebbe this past weekend?
Because they are not very astute or, more likely, whoever sent them is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. It takes a breathtaking level of paranoia to run after a handful of clearly harmless revelers who are carrying around a rainbow flag, in a public place that they have a right to be at, even if they might be holding placards that embarrass you.
Embarrassing onlookers is, however, not a crime.
It is in that light that the police in Entebbe, where the first ever Ugandan gay parade happened over the weekend, need to kick themselves and wonder aloud how they could have been so stupid, intemperate, gullible, crude, brash, paranoid. To compound the thoughtlessness and lack of proportionality, everyone who was arrested was released in a matter of hours – without charge.
Beyond causing mild amusement (and perhaps some mortification) here and there, this was a march of a few people that was never going to derail anyone from what they had planned to do that day.
None of the other beach goers complained about the events at the march as there was nothing to complain about! Everything was done very tastefully as the organizers were aware that it was a public beach and many young children were around. Many parents even brought their kids over to hear the music and listen to the few speeches and share in the jubilant atmosphere. The Pride organizers even shared food and drinks freely with the onlookers. (Maurice Tomlinson)
Before the police raid, I knew that the parade had been planned to go ahead but didn’t know who would be there, let alone which countries in the world the attendees were from. Thanks to the police’s totally mindless intervention, I now know that Maurice Tomlinson, the gay Jamaican who got married to another man in Canada and then ran away from Jamaica, was in attendance.
Again, thanks to the police’s ineptitude, lack of political savvy and, frankly, downright idiocy, what would have passed as a milestone for the gay activists in Uganda, but a damp squib in the general scheme of Ugandan life, is now being written about around the world by, among others, yours truly.
Can any police authority anywhere in the world really be more obtuse than this?