Yesterday the Kenya Forum posted an article (see below) arising from speeches made recently by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the subject of human rights and ‘gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people’. In short we asked, did it amount to the development of human rights or western liberal interference in the internal matters of Kenya?
Here’s the response to the Kenya Forum on that question from eight young Kenyans (all in their 20s).
Moses – “It’s quite interesting that the UN is lobbying for gay rights in Africa which leaves me wondering since when did western immorality become acceptable in African culture while it should be punishable by law. It’s wrong”
John – “They are not imposing their culture on us; we are the ones who want to be like them”.
Tracy – “As for me it causes us to lose our originality as Africans. They want us to think like them eat like them dress like them maybe even worship like them but the truth is that we will always be Africans even if we bleach ourselves. To some extent there are disadvantages but if it is learning from them and them learning from us that’s not so bad because as it will enrich ones culture or belief but not impose that is murder of the highest order because also we lose our identity in GOD”.
Peter – “The lifestyle of western world has corrupted minds of young Africans”.
Kibao – “The influence has made society neglect its traditions and customs”.
Fafa – “It has eroded our rich culture and heritage”.
Nalikia – “In Africa we have reservations and we’re more into practicing Christian values rather than any other values though this is changing greatly due to the influence from the west especially among the young people. For them to impose their liberalism on us is totally unacceptable”.
Tom – “We must acknowledge that there has been an avalanche of downloaded western cultural practices on Africans through the media. My take on it is that the consumer of this media assault is not your average villager who will definitely not have access to the sources, the recipient is a fairly well educated person who is able to reason out and make logical conclusions. There is no imposition, it is people making choices after being exposed of to the western culture scenario.
Even in the extreme cases like where the west has tied aid to acceptance of certain practices, e.g., tolerance to gayism, it is in response to what is largely already in practiced though underground. What is the difference between such agitation and the one used to advance democracy space in the eighties and nineties?
It is hypocritical of the African states to talk about imposition of the western culture when they are the ones that have sanctioned the very tools that bring this culture to the African person’s living rooms. The world is now a global village and whether I adopt the kimono or tight jeans as opposed to a free flowing kitenge, it’s my choice”.