01 March, 2007

'Human Rights': Different Perspectives

Over a year ago, in South Africa, the highest court ruled in favor of same-sex marriages and ordered parliament to change its 'intolerant' laws within a year, in a first for the continent; this, put it in league with some Western countries. On the other side of Africa, in Egypt - gay unions are outlawed; in Nigeria, the government is planning a specific ban on same-sex marriages, with five years in jail for anyone who has a gay wedding or officiates at one. In many African countries, it is not a matter of outlawing or legalizing same sex relationships - most Africans just find it incredulous that an issue like that can even be brought up for discussion. It is such a taboo, and that repugnant and sensitive.

Allowing same sex unions is considered by Western countries, as part of 'democracy' and 'human rights', their version - that is; which they would prefer Africa and the whole World to emulate. A 'democratic' society is considered, one, that can 'accommodate and manage difference of intensely-held world views and lifestyles in a reasonable and fair manner' - to quote a South African judge.

Note: 'world views' here, would mean - Western views; but, then, there are African views too; would other countries 'accommodate' these views as part of their 'tolerance' too? The one that stands out, in relation to all this - is: Africa's preference for polygamy.

Africans, consider polygamy as very normal and as part of African culture; and very much a part of society; Western 'tolerance' can not stand or allow this. Polygamy, for them is considered 'primitive' and 'backwards', unlike same sex marriage - which is considered 'normal' and 'progressive'.

Western 'thinkers', go as far as to pointing out how other animals, have been known, at times, to show homosexual behavior: dogs, pigs, rats (imagine rats: the only animal that I totally loathe, at the same time, rats are similar in many ways to humankind) - and even primates, of whom we are said to be very close to. They say, it is due to our species being conditioned and culture that have led us to follow a heterosexual path while rejecting other paths. But, note: the same, is never said when arguing about polygamous relationships.

Animal behavior, in particular those of primates, is used to justify homosexual tendencies; and, at times, it is said - it is the 'genes' that make one so; that is, one is born like that. Again, shouldn't it be mentioned too, while pointing out such things, that - most male animals prefer having sexual relationships with several females; including our closest cousins, primates? Cannot polygamy too, be justified by referring to how other animals behave; or, by one having certain 'genes'?

And, would it mean that - if animals behave in a certain way or have certain tendencies, then our doing it would be justified and normal? I know: animals do a lot of things that we humans, can not accept! And if we justify certain sexual behaviors that we have, because animals are doing the same - then our civilization is in trouble. Big trouble. For instance: incest and pedophilia will not be a problem then.

It is also repeatedly mentioned, that - polygamy is one of the main reasons why HIV/AIDS is spreading fast in Africa, and that is another reason for Africa to do away with it; what is never mentioned, is - Egypt and Northern Africa as having one of the lowest AIDS cases in the world, and yet polygamy is very much there too; or that, Northern Nigerian AIDS cases is much lower than that of the South and they both practice polygamy. In relation to same sex unions: isn't same sex unions as risky for contracting AIDS as polygamy? Or even more risky?

I wonder: why does the West always believe their values, perspectives and way of looking at things - is always right and the only way 'forward'? Why does the West have to impose its beliefs and way of interpreting things, on others? Why does the West have to condition the world to its own and only vision? What makes not accepting same sex relationships and marriages a 'human rights' issue and that for allowing polygamy not?

Personally, I do not believe in having a polygamous relationship, but believe it's a very normal relation for a man to have - both my Muslim and African upbringing make me so; and I very much believe - it is best and very normal: for a man, only, to have a relationship with a woman and, a woman with a man. Still, we only live ONCE; and each and every one of us has the right and the choice to live as one chooses; and just as I can not live my life as to others expectations, others too can not live up to mine. But, just as they would not like others values and will imposed on them - it is too, very wrong for the West to impose its values and will on others.

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