human rights

Christina Engela's picture

Not Seeing Is Believing

Ever hear a child put his hands over his ears, or sometimes closing her eyes too, and chanting loudly, "I can't hear you - lalalalala"?

Aside from the old adage that "there are none so blind as those who will not see", there are different names for this concept, such as "selective ignorance" and "self-imposed ignorance". I often use another term, because I think "willful ignorance" fits better due to the fact that it takes a conscious decision to decide to stay ignorant about an issue on purpose - especially when there is so much information available. We are surrounded by it, and so as far as I'm concerned, to remain ignorant about some things must take a supreme effort of will.

Ignorance is not knowing something, and ignorance in itself is not such a problem - people closing their minds and being willfully ignorant, is. Some people are unwilling to accept facts or information that will either contradict their beliefs, or relieve their ignorance - precisely because the facts or truth will disprove their beliefs. That is what happens when people become set in their ways, old and inflexible. It is the same with belief systems. The same could be said for languages - when they stop growing and changing to keep up with the people who use them, they become obsolete and die. Basically, what I am talking about here is resistance to change.

Likewise, it's amazing how fragile religion can be, how like a house of cards? When its continued existence rests on the continued denial of actualities and facts, because the pillars of that religion have come to rest on assumptions, mistakes and outright lies instead of the foundations upon which it was supposedly founded?

Take an example. Some people who belong to a particular religion, say Christianity for instance, hate gay or transgender people. They say that gay and trans people are "evil" because they are gay or trans, and they use their religion as an excuse for their hate, and drum up other people who feel the way they do into a frenzy of anti-gay and anti-trans sentiment - leading to exclusion, discrimination and persecution.

The gay and trans people say "stoppie bus", protest - and say they didn't choose to be gay or trans, and in any case most feel they were born that way. Just ask Lady Gaga, she'll tell you. The haters refuse to accept this, maintaining that being gay or trans is a "sinful lifestyle choice" and see this as relevant and fitting because all "sin" is a choice. The ringleaders attempt to mask their hate by making idiotic statements like "hate the sin and not the sinner", clearly not understanding that our expressions of love or self-identification are precisely part of who we are as people, and obviously not realizing the brute stupidity and implications of such a statement.
Christina Engela's picture

Spit Or Swallow?

Belief is subjective, you don't have to like somebody else's beliefs any more than somebody else might agree with folks standing in church waving their hands in the air. Some folks see religion as chicken soup for the soul - well, some folks like their soup with croutons, others with noodles. Some like tomato, others butter-nut. It would be a boring old world if we all just stuck to "hearty beef" now wouldn't it?

When I posted that on Facebook as a status, an old friend of mine replied, extending the metaphor: "Some people are vegetarian, others just hate soup, others say soup is for sick people, and some just eat soup cos they are too poor to eat steak."

What can I say to that, other than LMAO?

Be that as it may, some folks like to criticize other people for believing "a load of bullshit" because they believe in another religion different to their own - which they see as the only "true" or "right" religion. Somehow the irony in that completely eludes them.

Others like their own religion or belief system so much that they decide that other people should adhere to their belief system too, and cannot accept the possibility that other people might not want to, or would choose another belief system. You see, to them their belief system has become a lens through which they see the world, and without this lens they would be plunged into a world of darkness, terror and gloom, and for all intents and purposes, essentially blind. Substituting their own lens for another would not work for them either, as it would seemingly distort their view of the world to the point where the world would be overrun by monsters and demons and they would see their worst fears realized.

Yes, I have used yet another metaphor - this time substituting the religious views people have of themselves and the world around them with optical lenses, and each religion being represented by a different lens - each providing a starkly different view of the world. As in real optical lenses which come in different strengths, so too do religions. Christianity 25+ for example gives a different world view to that provided by Agnosticism -5. For one thing, the elephants look a little smaller, and things sure do look hazy, but not as hazy as for example when using Rastafarianism 0 (cough - cough, this is good shit, man). Yes, this is tongue in cheek, so please put down the gun and back away slowly and nobody will get hurt.
Christina Engela's picture

SA Government Betrays Human Rights Principles Set In The SA Constitution - Again

South Africa's government has once again shamed our nation before the free world by adding its vote to the voices of member nations of the UN who are oppressors of the human rights of the global Pink Community, in order to deny UN protection of the human rights of GLBTI individuals from hate crime specifically directed at LGBTI people.

In many countries around the world the Pink Community faces persecution and death at the hands of people who commit violent acts against us out of hatred simply for what and who we are. Examples of this slow genocide of our people are provided by countries such as Iran, Jamaica and Uganda, to say nothing of the countries where just being LGB or T is illegal and carries a stiff jail penalty for having theses immutable characteristics. Uganda wishes to include the death penalty for being LGBT, while Iran's government has been murdering LGBT people for decades, or forcing them to have gender reassignment as an alternative. Jamaica is known as the most homophobic place on Earth, with regular reports of lynchings of people suspected of being gay. Despite this, many countries (and South Africa) are still openly trading with these countries - and no punitive action is being taken against them, either by individual states, or the UN.

This week, the United Nations voted on a resolution calling on countries to protect the lives of all people and to investigate extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions that are motivated by prejudice and discrimination. The motion was altered, as a result of this vote, to remove the term "sexual orientation" from the list of factors identifying the victims of such acts, meaning that murder and persecution of people on the basis of sexual orientation will not be included within its scope. South Africa was reportedly one of the countries which voted against the inclusion of our community in this effort, along with 79 others.

Fatma Emam's picture

Racism: added item to list of misery

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  • Christina Engela's picture

    They Got Him In The End - Or Did They?


    Dr Aubrey Levin, aka the Dr Mengele of Apartheid South Africa has finally run foul of the law. He was arrested in Canada last week for abusing a Canadian man at his practice. It seems that old habits die hard. "Dr Shock" as he was called back in the old days, used to torture gay and lesbian military personnel to try and turn them straight. Amazingly enough the folks at your local friendly neighborhood "ex-gay" ministry have been trying to that for decades too - and haven't been having much success either. Most intelligent people already know that it is nigh impossible to "straighten" what was made "skew" in the first place, to paraphrase an Afrikanerism. For those not smart enough to bluff their way out of Levin's grasp, (shouting "Praise the Lord, I'm healed!") he performed forcible sex-changes on them - and according to some sources, many of these were intentionally botched.

    Only one thing can define such actions to me - an intense hatred.

    I managed to just avoid him in my own term in the South African Army - luckily he had already left by then. I did my whole transition in the Army. It could have worked out very differently if he were still there of course. As it was, I picked up lots of horrific tales from "family" who had been there - or still worked in the military medical environment, of days gone by. All told me how lucky I was to have missed them.
    Fatma Emam's picture

    Viva Humans

    I am attending a confernce on Women and Work from 7 to 8 March 2010 in Turi

    Fatma Emam's picture

    Nubia: Home Sweet Home

    This post is not about women as usual, it is about the right to hous

    Christina Engela's picture

    Death Becomes Us

    It is often said that human civilization can be summed up by how people treat animals under their care.

    If this is the case, there are people who love animals as companions, and those who like them deep-fried and crispy.

    It is for the latter reason that I have been feeling very pressed of late to turn vegetarian.

    Today I want to focus on something not that closely related to gay rights - but yet, also not wholly unrelated. You see, how people treat animals tends to reflect on what kind of people they are. It tends to shine through in how they treat other people as well, and in particular refers to their attitude towards people and groups of people whom they don't like.

    The case in which a man tied his dog onto the back of his vehicle and drove off with it, dragging it to death behind, sends a chill through me as does the case where, just a last week a nature conservation official brutally shot and executed a pack of trained hunting dogs for the actions of their master who was caught poaching. Then there is the story about the "pastor" who shot a neighbor's dog for "trespassing" in his yard, with a shotgun. Nice guy. And let us not forget the local animal shelters, where pets are left to their fate, where the lucky ones find homes and the unlucky are "put down" or "put to sleep" - or any number of other pretty metaphors for "killed".

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