Heather, re the internal contradictions of the rainbow coalition, your average post-colonial studies graduate can take this one in his stride. As I wrote in Britain seven years ago:
Last week the Guardian forced itself to consider the awkward fact that many young black males are “homophobic”… The “vilification of Jamaican homophobia”, says Decca Aitkenhead, is just an attempt to distract from the real culprit: “It’s a failure to recognise 400 years of Jamaican history, starting with the sodomy of male slaves by their white owners as a means of humiliation.
“Slavery laid the foundations of homophobia,” writes Miss Aitkenhead. “For us to vilify Jamaicans for an attitude of which we were the architects is shameful. Jamaicans weren’t the architects of their ideas about homosexuality; we were…”
If we hadn’t enslaved these fellows and taken them to the West Indies to be our playthings under the Caribbean moon, they’d have stayed in Africa and grown up as relaxed live-and-let-live types like Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, who’s accused Tony Blair of a plan to impose homosexuality throughout the Commonwealth; or Kenya’s Daniel arap Moi, who attacked the “gay scourge” sweeping Africa; or Zambia’s Frederick Chiluba, who has said gays do not have “a right to be abnormal”; or Namibia’s Sam Nujoma, who accused African homosexuals of being closet “Europeans” trying to destroy his country through the spread of “gayism”; or Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, who proposed the arrest of all homosexuals, though he subsequently moderated his position and called for a return to the good old days when “these few individuals were either ignored or speared and killed by their parents”.
But no doubt Decca Aitkenhead would respond that African homophobia is also the malign legacy of British colonialism. Who taught them to spear gays, eh?
By refusing to enslave them and take them to our Caribbean plantations and sodomise them every night, we left them with feelings of rejection and humiliation that laid the foundations of their homophobic architecture.
It’s all our fault, and it always will be.
Incidentally, I’ve no use for Robert Mugabe but I did rather enjoy it when he called Tony Blair a “gay gangster” leading “the gay government of the gay United gay Kingdom”. A Downing Street spokesgay denied the charge:
The Prime Minister is not a gay gangster.