In the News: The Humanitarian Promise of A Shared Memory / Actualités: la promesse humanitaire d’une mémoire partagée

In French/Pour Français

Photo Credit: Jeffrey O. Gustafson. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org

Photo Credit: Jeffrey O. Gustafson. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org

Dear Readers: In early October, Former Jamaican Prime Minister PJ Patterson wrote a letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron asking for an apology for Britain’s role in slavery. The below is a response piece from CIHA Blog co-editor Cilas Kemedjio. We welcome your comments!

by Cilas Kemedjio

The first article of the May 21, 2001 Law adopted by the French Parliament reads as follow: “The French Republic recognizes that the transatlantic slave trade and slavery perpetrated from the Middle Ages against African populations deported to Europe, the Americas and the Indian Ocean represent (constitutes) a crime against humanity”. This so-called Taubira Law is named after Christiane Taubira—the current French justice minister, then deputy representing the South American county of Guyana in the French National Assembly. Authors and defenders of the law, recruited mostly from the French left, justified its raison d’être by the need to make these tragic historical events part of the national memory and national conversation. Continue reading

Perspectives on LGBT Rights in Africa: Cilas Kemedjio on Human Rights

Today we finish our series of four pieces addressing LGBTI nomenclature, issues, and politics in Africa. The four authors whose short pieces we feature provide much food for thought, on the mythological constructions of history, religion, and culture, the abuse of power by national and international actors, and the pros and cons of communal identities and notions of “rights.” We look forward to our readers’ comments on this important series.

Today:

by Cilas Kemedjio, “Cilas Kemedjio on Human Rights

I listened, a couple of years ago, to an intervention by a young Ugandan Gay activist who was visiting the city of Rochester, New York. He made his case for gay rights in Uganda, in the context of the so-called gay death bill. Among his many arguments, he claimed that same-sex practices existed in Africa before the advent of Christian missionaries. He was repeating an argument that basically faults Western missionaries for the suppression of sexual diversity in that is alleged to have been the feature of pre-colonial Africa. Continue reading

Perspectives on LGBT Rights in Africa: Mike Bosia Comments on Lilly Phiri’s Article

We continue a series of four pieces addressing LGBTI nomenclature, issues, and politics in Africa. The four authors whose short pieces we feature provide much food for thought, on the mythological constructions of history, religion, and culture, the abuse of power by national and international actors, and the pros and cons of communal identities and notions of “rights.” We look forward to our readers’ comments on this important series.

Today:

by Michael Bosia, “Mike Bosia Comments on Lilly Phiri’s Article

Lily Phiri’s response to Ebenezer Obadare’s commentary on homophobia in Nigeria poses a significant question to the global movement for sexual minority rights.  While Obadare contests the constitution of a homophobia largely reactive to social transformation in the West – and not to domestic claims for LGBT rights – Phiri turns to our very notion of rights and the ties that bind communities together.  While both are asking how we establish space for LGBTI Africans to “flourish,” Phiri questions whether or not a human rights approach is applicable in the African context.  Hers is an argument deployed by human rights advocates and opponents.  But the South Africa from which Phiri writes offers evidence of the dilemma she poses.  Continue reading

In the News: A Deeper Understanding of African Migrants

by Kajsa Hallberg Adu

In the wake of the Syrian refugee crisis that is seeing thousands of families desperate to enter Europe, the issue of African migrants to Europe has also resurfaced. The United Nations Commission for Africa has been working on the issue and its executive Director, Carlos Lopes, posted an op-ed on the South African online news portal Daily Maverick on September 3rd, 2015, arguing that flows of migrants into Europe from Africa needs to be better understood as they will further increase.

In his opinion piece, “African migrants – payback time for Europe?”, Lopes point to a number of mega-trends like economic and population growth in Africa, as well as inter-regional migration on the rise on the continent, but also the demographic crisis in Europe with an ageing population and high social security demands. Lopes points out the obvious: Europe is in need of migrants for it not to collapse! So why is migration often equal to negative stories? Continue reading

Perspectives on LGBT Rights in Africa: Reflections on Ebenezer Obadare’s Insights on Gay Rights and Same-Sex Marriage

We continue a series of four pieces addressing LGBTI nomenclature, issues, and politics in Africa. The four authors whose short pieces we feature provide much food for thought, on the mythological constructions of history, religion, and culture, the abuse of power by national and international actors, and the pros and cons of communal identities and notions of “rights.” We look forward to our readers’ comments on this important series.

Today:

by Lilly Phiri, “Reflections on Ebenezer Obadare’s Insights on Gay Rights and Same-Sex Marriage”
Lilly Phiri - UKZNFrom the onset, let me state my position in the ‘gay debate’ within Africa. I am in critical solidarity with members of the LGBTI communities in their struggle for the recognition of their identities in Africa. My discomfort is with the direction some of these struggles have taken as they are largely Western enterprises which seem to have left behind the African LGBTI communities they claim to represent. Continue reading