Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Ugandan Connection

David Kato has been killed:
An outspoken Ugandan gay activist whose picture recently appeared in an antigay newspaper under the headline “Hang Them” was beaten to death in his home, Ugandan police said Thursday.
David Kato, the activist, was one of the most visible defenders of gay rights in a country where homophobia is widespread and government leaders have proposed executing gay people. Mr. Kato and other gay people in Uganda had recently warned that their lives were endangered, and four months ago a local paper called Rolling Stone published a list of gay people, with Mr. Kato’s face on the front page.
He was attacked in his home Wednesday afternoon and beaten in the head with a hammer, said Judith Nabakooba, a police spokeswoman. But police officials said they did not believe this was a hate crime.
“It looks like theft, as some things were stolen,” Mrs. Nabakooba said.
Gay activists disagreed and said Mr. Kato was singled out for his outspoken defense of gay rights.
“David’s death is a result of the hatred planted in Uganda by U.S. evangelicals in 2009,” Val Kalende, the chairwoman of one of Uganda’s gay rights groups, said in a statement. “The Ugandan government and the so-called U.S. evangelicals must take responsibility for David’s blood!”

Mrs. Kalende was referring to visits in March 2009 by a group of American evangelicals who held antigay rallies. Ugandan church leaders who wrote the antigay bill, which is still pending, attended those meetings and said that they had worked with the Americans on their bill.
How odd that different reports of Mr. Kato's death offer different bits and pieces for us! For instance, this one simply states that "a local paper called Rolling Stone published a list of gay people, with Mr. Kato's face on the front page."

A different source puts this as follows:
While details of his death are still emerging, what is known is that Kato had recently been featured on the cover of the Ugandan tabloid "Rolling Stone" in an issue dedicated to outing gay leaders and activists in Uganda. His picture appeared under a banner that called for readers to "hang them." He suffered through previous outings, beatings, false charges, detention, evictions, threats and harassment before succumbing to this latest attack.

Then there's the bit about the March 2009 visit by American evangelists who remain unnamed. Their connection to the National Prayer Breakfast might have been relevant. Also Rick Warren's role in all this.