Another goes away because he was Unique!
Ugandan gay activist slain after photo published
Jan. 27, 2011 11:32 AM
KAMPALA, Uganda - A prominent Ugandan gay rights activist whose picture was published by an anti-gay newspaper next to the words "Hang Them" was bludgeoned to death. Police said Thursday his sexual orientation had nothing to do with the killing and that one "robber" had been arrested.
Activists were outraged over the death of David Kato, an advocacy officer for the gay rights group Sexual Minorities Uganda. His slaying comes after a year of stepped up threats against gays in Uganda, where a controversial bill has proposed the death penalty for some homosexual acts.
Kato, who had received multiple threats, was found with serious wounds to his head caused by an attack with a hammer at his home late Wednesday in Uganda's capital, Kampala. Kato later died on the way to the hospital. We are horrified and saddened by the murder of prominent human rights activist David Kato in Uganda yesterday afternoon," Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson posted on Twitter.
Human Rights Watch called for an urgent investigation, saying that Kato's work as a prominent gay rights campaigner had previously seen him face threats to his personal safety.
"David Kato's death is a tragic loss to the human rights community," said Maria Burnett, senior Africa researcher at HRW. "David had faced the increased threats ... bravely and will be sorely missed."
A Ugandan tabloid newspaper called Rolling Stone listed a number of men they said were homosexuals last year, including Kato. Kato's picture was published on the front page, along with his name and a headline that said "Hang Them."
Kato and two other gay activists sued Rolling Stone over claims that it had violated their constitutional rights to privacy and won the case earlier this month. A judge issued an injunction banning the publication of the identities and personal details of alleged homosexuals.
A police spokesman, Vincent Sekatte, said Kato was killed by robbers who have so far killed more than 10 people in that area in the past two months. He said there was no indication the death was connected to any anti-homosexual sentiment. Kato was hit by a hammer that has been recovered by police, Sekatte said.
Police arrested one suspect, a driver for Kato, Sekatte said. A second suspect is being hunted. That suspect had been hired as a house helper and had recently been released from prison, Sekatte said.
Kato's lawyer told The Associated Press on Thursday that his client had become noticeably more worried about his safety in the wake of the Rolling Stone publication.
"He was conscious that something could happen," said John Francis Onyango.
Family, friends and neighbors gathered to mourn at Kato's house on Thursday. Several women lay on the floor of the living room. The room where he had been killed was closed off by the police. A funeral is planned for Friday.
"I feel very lonely," said John Mulumba Wasswa, Kato's older twin brother. "My brother was a very brave person, very courageous."
Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda and gay men and women face regular harassment. The controversial bill introduced in 2009 and still before the country's parliament would see the death penalty introduced for certain homosexual acts. The bill prompted international condemnation and hasn't come up for a vote
Human Rights Watch called on the Ugandan government to offer gay people in the country sufficient protection.
In a statement, the group said that witnesses had told police that Kato was hit twice on the head by an unknown assailant who had been spotted entering his property. The assailant was then seen leaving by vehicle, the statement said.
Frank Mugisha, the chairman of Sexual Minorities Uganda, said he has asked religious and political leaders and media outlets to stop demonizing sexual minorities in Uganda.
"Across the entire country, straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex Ugandans mourn the loss of David, a dear friend, colleague, teacher, family member and human rights defender," said Mugisha.
The introduction of the anti-homosexual bill in 2009 followed a conference in Kampala that was attended by American activists who consider same-gender relationships sinful. The U.S. evangelicals believe gays and lesbians can become heterosexual through prayer and counseling. Some gay Ugandans still resent that American intervention.
"David's death is a result of the hatred planted in Uganda by U.S evangelicals in 2009," said Val Kalende, a Ugandan gay rights activist. "The Ugandan government and the so-called U.S evangelicals must take responsibility for David's blood."
F[COLOR="Red"]Folks, as any of you who have been following my blog know, I am opposed to discrimination, exclusion, prejudice, and most of all violence against any segment of society, but even more so, against a segment of society who has done nothing more than be themselves. We who are Christians should rightfully take the lead in protecting our brothers and sisters, regardless of race, gender, or sexual persuasion, based on the simple fact that these are anthropological traits, and not something that is voluntary or sinful.
However, in this country and world, there are those who would take color, sex, or sexual persuasion, and make it something vile; something to be abhorred. And this type of behavior is the result. I ask of you, each and every one of you, is this what you as a resident of planet earth, really want for us to believe and our children to inherit? Is this how you wish for us to act toward another one of our very own kind; unique in anthropology, yet a member of the human race?
I, unlike, the activists noted in this article, do not blame anyone specifically; I blame all of us! How in the world can we pray for peace; a world free from terror and human suffering; and not pay attention to all that this signifies? Oh, Lord, how on earth can we condone such horrific behavior?
People of the world: Pay attention please! This could be happening to you; to one who you love, or one whom you know. This is the product of hatred and misunderstanding. This is the work of Evil driven thought. A man has given his life for who he is and what he believed. For what reason exactly did he have to die; His uniqueness; His sexual persuasion? I don’t know about the rest of you, but I do not feel threatened by this man; I do however feel threatened by those who would have done this atrocious act of violence.
My blog was started by me; in a feeble attempt to point out to one church and one body of human beings how a single act of exclusion or prejudice can hurt so very many. Perhaps, as we progress down this path, and perhaps as more and more examples are set forth before each of us, maybe, just maybe, we can all be more understanding and tolerant of our individual differences, and agree to live together. Folks, this is terrorism! In every sense of the word, this is an act of violence against someone who would want nothing more than to live their life, being who they are. Is it really too much for us as a race to allow our brothers and sisters who would be unique from us, to live?
To you; all of you; I ask this question:
IS THE GIFT OF LIFE, GIVEN BY GOD TO ALL OF US, NOT SO PRECIOUS, THAT WE CAN AFFORD TO KILL THOSE WHO ARE UNIQUE FROM US?
Have we really not progressed from the days in which army’s slaughtered millions in the name of the Christian crusades? Are we progressing as a race, or is the radical Islam interpretation of the Koran now the vehicle with which we slay members of our race in the name of religious purity? Folks, I said WE, not them; not us. WE are the members of humankind that must survive on a rock barely perceptible in the universe. And yet, we act as though we are supreme!
If this is supremacy, I would choose something other by which to set my personal code of existence and my belief system.
Rest in peace David Kato, for you did nothing to deserve your demise, other than be true to who you were. And as I recall, another died a horrific death also, simply because He was who He was and for Him I am grateful!
1ofmany, this is why I find it appaling that those who call themselves Christians can behave this way. It's nothing new because this was done in regards to slavery, Native-Americans, women, immigrants, and today, LGBT people. God is a God of variety. I don't se any clones in the scriptures or in life for that matter.
It hurts even worse when this type of behavior is found even in the LGBT community. As a transgender person I have felt the disapproving stares and looks from LGB brothers and sisters. One of the missions I have is to point out that God is a God of variety and He loves everyone equally and unconditionally.
Agree with you, cannot comprehend how people calling themselves Christians can do such horrible things. There´s nothing Christian about actions like this. So very sad.
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