Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Desecration of Gay Corpses in Senegal; Gay Men Hunted Like Animals

Madieye Diallo, picture held by his grieving father; AP photo by Ricci Shryock

Thies, Senegal – Madieye Diallo was a young gay man.  He died due to unconfirmed causes, and was buried in on 2 May 2009.  His sorrowing father, Ousmane Diallo, a shop owner in Thies, returned home to grieve.  In a matter of just a few hours, according to AP International, a gang of  homophobes dug up Madieye’s freshly buried body, pulled it out of the grave, spit on it, and dumped the desecrated body on the doorstep of his aging father and mother.  Proud of their work, the perpetrators used a cell phone to record their revenge on young Diallo for being gay, made a video out of it, and sold it in markets across Africa.  The heinous video has gone viral, spreading horror among African gay men in Senegal, Malawi, Nigeria, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Gambia and Uganda.  In South Africa, the only African nation to tolerate LGBT citizens, the outbreak of desecration and violence against gay people has ignited a series of “corrective actions” against suspected lesbians, rapes intended to straighten them out once and for all.  Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, is leading the fight against a groundswell of homophobic violence on the African continent, but his is a lonely voice.  thirty-seven countries in Africa outlaw homosexuality, and as has widely been reported, Uganda is officially considering law that would carry the death penalty for homosexual behavior.  “Across many parts of Africa, we’ve seen a rise in homophobic violence,” London-based gay-rights activist Peter Tatchell said to Rukmini Callimachi, reporter for the AP.  Tatchell’s organization records and monitors abuses against lesbians and gay men throughout the continent. “It’s been steadily building for the last 10 years but has got markedly worse in the last year,” he said.  Many suggest that a clandestine gay wedding in suburban Dakar, the capital of Senegal, sparked the current wave of anti-gay violence.  A Senegalese tabloid obtained photos of the wedding, splashing it across its front page in February 2008.  On the heels of this yellow journalism, in March 2008 a major international conference of Muslim clerics and the faithful was held in Senegal, and officials began oppressing any forms of behavior deemed “un-Muslim,” such as prostitution and homosexuality.  Police began rounding up men suspected of being gay.  Muslim preachers,Imams, have started denouncing homosexuality from their pulpits, egging the persecution further, as reported by the AP.  Massamba Diop, a militantly anti-gay imam and head of Jamra, a powerful political group linked to Senegal’s parliament, preached in one of his Friday sermons, “During the time of the Prophet, anytime two men were found together, they were taken to the top of a mountain and thrown off.”  Diop continued for his rapt congregation, “If they didn’t die when they hit the ground, then rocks would be thrown on them until they were killed.”  Callimachi, the AP reporter, noted that Diop’s homophobic sermons and others like it were broadcast by loudspeakers to mobs of worshipers who could not get into his crowded mosque in Pikine, and and have been covered in Senegal’s over 30 magazines and newspapers.  Scholars of anthropology have indicated that Muslim faithful are now blaming prostitutes and gay people for high inflation, bad weather, and poor harvests, as the outbreak of homophobia continues unabated.  Ironically, Senegal has been viewed as a paradigm of tolerant Islam, but this outbreak of repression and violence is putting an end to that opinion.  The tabloid hysteria and the religious crackdown drove gay men into exile in neighboring countries, but they failed to find sanctuary even there.  Gambia’s president published an edict warning Senegalese gays that they had a day to leave his country or face decapitation.  As early as mid-2008, deceased men suspected of being gay were refused religious burials in Senegal, and a wave of ghoulish desecrations of their bodies began to sweep the nation.  In Madieye Diallo’s province alone, just before he died, four other gay corpses were exhumed and abused.  A 31-year-old gay friend of Diallo’s, struggling with HIV, told Callimachi that after learning about the mob’s treatment of Diallo’s corpse, “I locked myself inside my room and didn’t come out for days. I’m afraid of what will happen to me after I die. Will my parents be able to bury me?”  Now, gay men are being hunted like animals…even after their deaths.

April 11, 2010 - Posted by | "Kill the Gays Bill", Africa, Decapitation and dismemberment, desecration of corpses, funerals, gay men, harassment, Hate Crimes, Heterosexism and homophobia, Law and Order, Legislation, Lesbian women, mob-violence and lynching, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, rape, religious hate speech, religious intolerance, Senegal, Uganda | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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