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Monday, June 17, 2024
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950

Homosexual Hate Mongering in Africa Hits Close to Home

Don't ride the moral high horse, America

It would be difficult to defend the stance of a weekly periodical in the African state of Uganda that has recently published the names of 100 men and women who are suspected of being homosexuals. The articles call for action: to sentence each homosexual to death and to give a life sentence to anyone who tries to hide the identity of a homosexual.

The periodical is called Rolling Stone, but it is the farthest thing from the American magazine famous for its racy covers and liberal takes on U.S. music culture and politics.

The only plausible argument that might defend such a publication plays half-heartedly with the argument to support the freedom of the press and against the idea of censorship. According to such a stance, the periodical should have every right to say that homosexuals deserve to die.

But when free speech leads to violence, words go beyond their familiar harmlessness.

As paradoxical as it sounds, some opinions are just plain wrong, and the Ugandan rendition of Rolling Stone makes that all too clear.

It seems that we can look at this situation and feel better about ourselves; relatively speaking, we seem to be less homophobic than Uganda. But that is because we, safe here in New York, do not see the American hate columnists that pollute the Internet with their unwarranted anger toward gays, minorities, and immigrants.

Many Americans subscribe to white supremacy and anti-gay ideologies that manifest themselves into groups of angry hate mongers. The longevity of their ideals is a scary, but still legal, presence within the self-righteous United States. As we cross our arms and shake our heads at Uganda for having let such a terrible idea come to fruition even in the free media, we should remember that we are not exempt from the list of less than idealistic countries.

The blogosphere has taken over as a means of gathering vital information. Internet sites with charisma gain readerships faster than print journalism loses them.

Michigan's assistant attorney general, Andrew Shirvell, began a blog that harassed Chris Armstrong, an openly gay student at the University of Michigan who was running for student council president. Shirvell placed swastikas over images of Armstrong on several of his blog posts and wrote that the student was "Satan's representative on Earth."

The worst part is, when given an interview on Anderson Cooper's news show, Shirvell actually defended his hate-mongering stance and denied that he was a cyber bully, even after admitting that he had stood outside Armstrong's private residence to protest his campaign.

As long as ignorance continues to survive, areas around the world will continue to advocate such violent calls to action. It only seems more apparent in Uganda because gay bashing made the front page.


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