Author: M. G.
What if, in a certain country, people's health is endangered? And what if the government of this country passes a law that will worsen this situation? What if the international and part of the national community can prove how and why this new law is wrong? And what if the answer to these remarks is a claim about the adherence of law to the people's culture and religious inclination?
This country is Nigeria, Nigerian health is put in danger by the HIV epidemic - the second largest globally - and the law we're talking about is the ‘Jail the Gays' law, that will criminalize same sex marriage and, most importantly, gay organizations. The executive director of Nigeria's International Center for Reproductive Health and Sexual Rights stated that the new law will endanger and even criminalize programs fighting HIV/AIDS in the gay community. Meanwhile, 3.4 millions of Nigerians are living with HIV and many of them are Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) - you can simply browse our website or look around on the Internet to understand how and why the HIV epidemic is connected with the protection of gay individuals. But president Goodluck Jonathan's spokesman told The Associated Press "This is a law that is in line with the people's cultural and religious inclination. So it's a law that's a reflection of the beliefs and orientation of Nigerian people. [...] Nigerians are pleased with it." In the meantime, Goodluck Jonathan should continue his own presidential initiative to fight AIDS, that he started a year ago.
What I understand from this story is the following: any kind of position that doesn't accept protection of the gay population and claims at the same time a concern about the HIV epidemic, is a lie. The person holding this opinion is telling a lie to those who he is talking with -and probably to himself too. These are not even opinions, they are beliefs, they're not conditioned just by health or social concerns. It's personal, it's subjective.
This is a situation when a man in a position of power shows what his personality is, even if he knows he can't - he's a politician and he should speak for other people. All people and not just the majority.This contradiction is the excuse he uses: ‘People want this, not me!'. This way the cultural values and religious inclinations of all Nigerians are officially stated just by one person and by his beliefs.
If it was true, we should just say ‘OK, all Nigerians are crazy because they don't like gays, so they don't want them to organize, so they don't want their help in halting the epidemic'.
I don't think Nigerians really want this, I can simply bet on the fact that many of them are pragmatic enough to recognize the values of gay organizations (if not same sex marriage, for now) for building a Nigeria free from HIV and AIDS.