Homosexuals in Ethiopia – How I miss the biggest point?

I’m touching one of very sensitive issues in Ethiopia which people don’t dare to write or talk about it. Mean while, I believe most people are wrong in this regard and I want to make some remarks.

First off all, I choose the title of my blog post “Homosexuals in Ethiopia” on purpose. I am not here to write about homosexuality – which leads to many issues and explanations.

However, I happen to know few individuals online who openly told me about their sexual orientation and I reacted to it such harshly which I attacked them instead of the practice. And later on, I found out that I missed the biggest point – Love and respect for people regardless of what they believe and who they are.

You probably guess I am very careful in my choice of words that I don’t want to give people wrong assumption [In both side] but I want to make few points.

Freedom of belief: As a Christian whom I believe in Bible strongly, I believe that every practice outside Bible is wrong. Some people might think, I am old-fashioned, but I know whom I believe and how He will lead me to the eternal happiness. A person who doesn’t believe in Bible can easily disagree with me which I fully accept even if I believe he is wrong. In the same time, the same person can believe I am wrong, by no means; I try to attack him or support people who want to attack him no matter how much I hate his belief. The same is true with my other characteristic belief and values in life. Don’t get me wrong that I am correlating religion with homosexuality (which almost everyone does). But homosexuals have their own belief in their sexual orientation and they shouldn’t be attacked. Remember what Jesus said about the sinner woman, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her”. No one at that time, or this time have qualify enough to stone a fellow citizen. So try to take this crazy idea out of your mind that someone is destroying your culture, norm and belief. It is yours. As much as you don’t want others to attack you because of your belief, you also shouldn’t others.

Acceptance of Minorities in the society: Either we believe it or not, we have people with disability, people living in the bush, atheists, refugees… etc. Homosexuals are also minorities in the society. Take it; it is impossible to avoid minorities. They are part of our family, friends or citizens who have the same passport as we have.

After all, what is important is to love and respect and accept the person as who he is. We have the right to assert our belief, and to change a person for whatever we believe is good. But we can’t kill. We can’t jail. We can’t murder. (99% of murderers we have in the society are straight people anyway)

This piece is fully my perspective. I am not influenced by anyone. The angle I see the subject can be simple and without considering many facts behind it – which I shouldn’t. This is my blog, after all.

What is your reaction?

21 comments

  1. sirarmany · April 25, 2011

    This is what as a Blogger we bring sensitive issues that no one dares or the newspapers never print. As you said love is being tossed around like an easy term. We all say or try what to live in the example of Jesus who sacrificed himself to show and set example what a true love might even cost. If everyone tried to live as he lived no minority, No slave and most of all no one would suffer because of his belief and ideology or philosophy.

    Bold and a good start.

  2. Sue · April 26, 2011

    Gobes!
    To start with Ethiopians have to stop ignoring that there ARE homosexuals all over the world – including Ethiopia. I hope that one day they will not be discriminated against.
    By talking about the topic you make a good start!

  3. eweket · April 26, 2011

    Thank you for your kind comments!

  4. Abitu Kushenit · April 26, 2011

    One thing I’d like to ask you first here is how does a person become homosexual? Is it a persons fetish and or fantasies?, is it a persons sexual discrimination, that leads one to be?, is it a persons extreme need to explore, do and act differently?, or is it really a genetic disorder that brings about this change in a person!!!
    For whatever reason a person chooses to be one, it’s his or her choice to be! But when one is raped and forced to be one, then I do discriminate. Just the way I discriminate criminals who make criminals out of innocent people (the 99% U mentioned, even though U haven’t put in the statistical proof and where U found it from). I know a person who was raped in the States and who has been mentally disturbed and is no longer normal. Who then has been forced to commit a crime, and is then now a homosexual! I discriminate those that are homosexuals… but don’t make or take things personal. I don’t hate or discriminate the person, but his act and choice in life! I don’t refrain from commenting or saying my mind, as much as the person has the right to be whatever he/she wishes to be. If a person hides behind the curtain because I discriminate his or her act then so be it!
    And FYI, I do read the Bible and believe in it and think am correct on doing so. And the bible doesn’t say appreciate and love their evil act (that’s what it is, as per to my bible) but love the person as a human being!
    I guess I make my point!

  5. eweket · April 26, 2011

    Abitu, I appreciate your comment. Thanks for reading my blog.

    Yes, you absolutely made your point. Few things to mention, without going too far against you.

    Point 1:

    Here, I was very concerned about people’s reaction towards some practices and their rational judgments. Most of our attitude (i.e Ethiopian) is punishing the the crime on the spot. If you find one is trying to steal you, it is a criminal. But hitting him until he is bleeding to death is even worse. There are proper lawsuits and justice framework which works for everyone!

    Point 2:
    I totally disagree with “But when one is raped and forced to be one, then I do discriminate”. You should fight against rape, but one person is rapped and discriminated is simply wrong

    Point 3:
    Do you know that there is a law (I mean, actual law) which says, Homosexuals will be punished by law. Wondering how do you see that?

    Point 4: I don’t need to explain the statics. do you think the homosexual people in Ethiopia exceeds 1%? If not, well, I am right.

    Cheers!

  6. Abitu Kushenit · April 26, 2011

    It is a pleasure!

    Well let me start from your last point, and head up point by point!

    Point 4: Well, thoughts are for us personal, but not to be put as a stat. But what ever the case, your assumption might be wrong at the end of the day! I knew a lot of homosexuals myself, have been to parties where there were more than 70 of them out of 100 invitees… so we can’t be sure of the numbers again! But getting back to your point where U stated that 99% and 1% and the like, Crime is not committed because of sexuality or because of ones being a homosexual a heterosexual or a bisexual or what ever! The driving force could be anything behind crimes. And overall we still can’t be sure out of the 99% weather or not there is a homosexual or not committing the crimes, cause we don’t have evidence plus stats to support it!

    Point 3: I know there is an actual law, and it doesn’t state if they are homosexuals but rather it states “homosexual activity” is punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment. Mind you activity!!! and there are dozens of them doing it indoors and it doesn’t necessarily need to be practiced in public. To which the majority of Ethiopians agree to!!!
    According to the 2007 Pew Global Attitudes Project, 97% of Ethiopian residents said that homosexuality should be rejected by society, which was the second-highest percentage rejecting homosexuality among the 44 countries surveyed, exceeded only by Mali at 98%.

    Point 2: I didn’t say I discriminate the person who was raped, I said I discriminate the rapist and the rapists act was based on him/her being a homosexual. So I discriminate the act of homosexuals and homosexual-ism!!! not them as a person… And WORD to your point number 2 as being against rape, but the impact of being raped with the same sex is far more crippling than the different sex one… But rape is rape and should be given more emphasis on it!

    Point 1: Did I read the word Justice??? wow ewket! wake up and smell the coffee, there is no such thing as a proper justice any where in the world for that matter. But even worse in Africa and far more worse in Eastern Africa. Just wanted to give you an insight about the Judiciary system, not saying it doesn’t need to be worked on, or not saying it is right to beat a person till he/she bleeds to death! And it is not only in Ethiopia, it is in most African Countries!
    But coming back to my point, peoples reaction is usually based on what they believe to be a norm, and what the society has accepted as right, and especially here in Ethiopia where the majority is into the Bible or the Qur’an, where their belief and hope lies in; it becomes hard to tell us this book and the hope you have for life and success is wrong. Because people retaliate in the worst way you can imagine when they feel threatened, if U know what I mean! And plus, dictatorship doesn’t run out of your blood that easily, especially when U’ve lived through it more than half your life! So it’s a time taking matter!

  7. Abitu Kushenit · April 26, 2011

    And Just FYI: A homosexual act is never considered a victimless crime in Ethiopian law; rather, the wording of the penal code recognizes that it is an act of an aggressor against a victim. Consequently, the offense of the aggressor is considered aggravated, when it results in the suicide of the victim.

    This is the ground of the govt. when it passed the law. And got the support of 97% of Ethiopians. And the Mainstream Ethiopian social mores are broadly influenced by the Ethiopian Orthodox and Muslim communities and or religious life!

    • Abitu Kushenit · April 26, 2011

      And more over the 97% against the motion could suggest that there could be about 3% of homosexuals in Ethiopia😉

      • eweket · April 26, 2011

        thanks for your comment. I am open for others to participate in the discussion. But I like the fact that you understand the basis I opened the topic from.

        I am wondering, if we ever kill someone because of his sexual orientation.

      • Teshome · March 29, 2012

        What do you want when you say 3% of ethiopian are homosexual.when you say 97% of ethiopian are against hommosexual mean. It means this # of population are they xadon’t want hommosexuality practice on their land. So the rest
        # of population r hommosexual? It is not make a sense. Let
        Give 1 exa. In usa 10% of population are homosexual &bilsexual. 90% of population hetrosexua. Most of the usa peoples are supporter of soddom right. Is that make 90% of usa pple hommosexual????

  8. Mark Armstrong · April 29, 2011

    I think you have spoken well and courageously, Markos.

    We all have a right to our own beliefs, and the right to freely express them. If we believe certain practices are wrong or unhealthy, we should be able to say so.

    On the other hand, Christians are called to love one another as persons, even if we disagree with another’s beliefs or actions.

    Keep up the good work on your blog! : )

    • eweket · April 29, 2011

      I am completely flattered to see your comment in my blog. Thanks for your kind words. After you were Freshly pressed on WordPress, I could get the chance to look at your old entries. It was such a great experience. You are great artist and blogger! Thanks once again🙂

  9. yekereme · April 30, 2011

    Oh indeed very courageous to bring up this issue. But then again I can’t help to wonder if any gay would have been able to do this and also in the process declare his/her sexual orientation.

    I definitely understand that you brought religion to the table because that’s the main justification people bring up when expressing there hate.

    Please allow me to make some follow-up points with regard to that

    Some basic assumptions I always made about religions and its practice are:
    1. religion is best practiced in ones own chamber with oneself and between the higher being one entrusts him/herself to
    2. declaring targets and attacking and hating them, or possibly there act, is against most religions basic tenants, including Christianity as far as I saw it
    3. putting oneself in the position of judging others in itself wasn’t acceptable. Who are we to judge others, with all the luggage we carry.

    @Abitu Hmmm, I hate your act but not you doesn’t really make the cut for me, because even though I am much more than only gay, its such part of me, that I don’t see any way of getting rid of it without getting rid of myself. But hey, how much of extrospection can I require from you, so it’s okay if you choose to hate me, oh I am sorry, my act.

    The bible is such wide compilation that it really doesn’t lend itself to simplistic and judgmental statements against any group, well unless the judgment happens to come from those with interpretation precedence at the time. This brought to mind a quotation I once had heard: “The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and 362 admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love heterosexuals. It’s just that they need more supervision.” Now please do understand that I am just putting that quotation forward to show that cherry picking passages as case against certain groups is nothing but divisive.

    Once again thanks for providing us the opportunity to discuss and I hope others will also chime in on this.

  10. eweket · April 30, 2011

    thanks for your kind way of writing!

  11. getseta · May 19, 2011

    Like this… and agree to most things that Abitu Kushenit said!

  12. Zelalem · November 30, 2011

    Ok ! I don’t like peppers to be part of my meal but, my brother is fond of peppers. My action or his action is a right act ? Both me & my bro are right from our own perspective. The same is true for Homosexuality.

    I accept that being a gay is unnatural, from reproduction point of view but, I believe in FREEDOM to do what you want since you respect your neighbors right.

    Why the law or the clergy interfere in our bed room life? If so why they condemn homosexuality but, not anal sex ?

    I don’t understand the rational behind criminalizing & demonization of homosexuals only for the sole reason of their sexual orientation ? forget the so called ” Holy” books.You know why ? that book is only applicable to peoples who believe in it. Take me as an example, I am an Atheist Which book should govern my life? hmmm

    But, still I respect what the law says as of Article 629 of the Ethiopian criminal code:
    “Whoever performs with another person of the same sex a homosexual act, or any other indecent act, is punishable with simple imprisonment.”

    but, I hope for an amendment of It.

    Cheers,

    Ur Straight Friend Zelalem hahaha

  13. tsegaye · December 2, 2011

    I just come back from reading a thread on facebook about this same issue.

    I would say, 99% of the opinions were againist homosexuals.This didnt take me by surprise at all, considering the influence of religions on the Ethiopians way of life for thousand of years. Good to know that there are Ethiopians who think like ‘Zelalem’ whose comment is in the above. You got another Ethiopian backing your ideas buddy.

    It is so unfair and a mockery to defend one’s stand based on the bible or the quran or any scripture for that matter unless it is known that the whole audience believes in the same book. And as we know it, there is no such a book that the whole world believes in. For me, it makes more sense to base one’s argument on human values of the present generations(not of those 2000 yrs back), human rights law, goodness in the human heart and so forth. Those could be our common ground. And then we can try to address the homosexual or other socital issues facing all of us. Peace!

  14. Mesfin · December 6, 2011

    This issue is very complex but sooner or later our country and the continent of Africa will have to deal with it. This is not a curable disease like polio that you can prevent with a vaccination. As most new residents do when I moved to my current city some one asked me if I want to go to a gay parade, I didn’t know what it was so I went to one of the most celebrated gay parade in north America. I was horrified at what I saw and couldn’t stay even for a minute and never went back again. I grew up not knowing much about the subject like most Ethiopians and as a young man from a religious family I couldn’t accept the idea in any sense. I used to joke even in Physics for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. I didn’t understand the point of gay sex. There is no procreation in the act. Then I begun to question myself. I’m just accepting the conventional wisdom and logic without challenging it. How do we know it’s a choice and not genetics? Why would anyone choose to be gay and why? Why would anyone choose to be vilified by society? I still don’t understand it but won’t be holier than any one who is gay. There is a thing called acceptance. A blind hate without having a deeper understanding of human nature will lead us nowhere. How many of us follow half of the 10 commandments in our daily life? Hypocrisy has no bounds and we all tend to be quick to prejudge but nature is more complex than we make it out to be. Our capacity to judge is always blurred by our experience. So let God be the judge. After all they are God’s creation.

  15. teshome · March 26, 2012

    my comment about hommosexuality or soddom is begins from history
    it is a sin or a sign of a last day. actually the first people who practiced hommosexuality is they did’t bleive on god or they did’t beleive on natural
    law. that means they are hommomoseual, the are practicing a satanic law,
    they are athiest, and they are violent on the entire law and so on.

    and when i come back my main comment why a people try to spread a
    hommosexuality desiese in well blessed country ethiopia? the answer is
    it is a devill will to spread a death, sin and desiese. so what happen here
    so a people who don’t believe on god and addicted of a devill spirit they are working hardly to spread a hommosexuality around the globe.that is a part
    activity it happens for ethiopia too

    even some churches in the western they support same sex marriage. these
    shows us that the last day is so closer us rather than we expected. even the son or a doughter of a pastor,or a son or doughter of a priest will a hommosexual in the west. these phenomena is shows clearly that a devill swalowing our world with out chewing. even some people will tell you that jesus said be love your neighbours. here what happen a traslation fail. love your neighbour means is it mean marry your neighbours?

    finally lets share you one of a the devill or evel or satan, or 666 sprit victim in ethiopia. when i hear his testemony am really shocked. but it makes me to understand what hommosexuality means he lived in the northern part of ethiopia. actually he been a home for a devill, he did a lot of devill’s will. one of his activity is to spread a hommosexuality in east africa. also he practised alot of bizare,discusting and unblievabe things under his leader. if
    if you want make sure this story go and watch on youtube search brayn06-youtube.

    the main word for hommosexuals is love withot limit.

  16. samboy.aklilu@yahoo.com · November 29, 2012

    I think we are all ignorant of the subject homosexuality; and the worst of all is our general unwillingness to know about it. This is also compelled and accompanied by our authors who detest to pick the matter up and make an area of discussion. The lack of interest and the growing of ignorance make the issue very complicated. In this regard the recent book NEGEDE-SODOM by Zumra is really a pioneer at least to open our eyes and see the issue a public agenda. It has made a great effort to systematically navigate through the matter.

  17. Almaz · May 10, 2013

    GAY and LESBIAN People are part of any society and Ethiopia is not an exception! Therefore they are entitle to every rights like everyone.

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