Timidly raising one’s hand in objection

In the absence of dissent lies the risk of evil becoming the norm.

So, in breaking with my norm of not writing about politics in my home country mostly because it inevitably leads me down the path of depression, it seems we’ve recently managed to screw something up so badly that it would be remiss not to speak out. We’ve managed to bungle our way into passing a law criminalising “non-traditional” sexual relations. For a people who have had to deal with the consequences of marginalisation and other filth that comes from the abuse of power, I fear we’ve missed any lessons in empathy. In doing so, we have armed a corrupt government and ourselves with yet more tools for self-destruction and hate.

Sadly, I haven’t seen much but irrational rage in the conversations on the subject. Thus, timidly I ask, “How can religion be used yet again to justify such malevolence?” “Why aren’t the virtues of compassion and kindness dominant in discussion on this topic?” “Is it that much easier to reach for anger at some imagined danger?”

Perhaps the issue is one of ignorance and a fear of what is “strange”. However, the caricatured deviant that’s held up for mockery from many a pulpit is but a phantasm. The people one might be so quick to condemn are those who could otherwise be your friends. There is no “other” in this case. We are all the same.

More galling is the fact that Nigeria as a nation has issues in such abundance that we can’t afford this exercise in mindless hate. Is it not more useful to seek to understand first?

One also ought to question the political motives behind this. A government that cannot even be trusted to take care of its people has absolutely no business impinging on its citizen’s privacy. It has no right to dictate where they seek comfort. Simply put, I for one would be more interested in hearing about actual problems with corruption, infrastructure, health-care and education, to name a few. When and how did people’s consensual sexual preferences become a reason for hate? Surely, there are actual matters to be upset about.

Finally, we are a nation that isn’t unfamiliar with the abuse of political power for personal gain. I’m shocked that there isn’t more outrage about adding tools to the arsenal of “reasons” to be randomly “stopped and searched” or as we’ve observed in recent times, much worse. It’s hard to argue against universal human rights.

Happy Valentine’s Day, to all.