Penny Starr writes in an Aug. 4 CNSNews.com article:
President George W. Bush, rather than President Barack Obama, will be best remembered for a legacy of having helped the African people, a Nigerian civil rights activist and attorney said on Tuesday.
“President Bush will really be remembered as the president who had the most impact on Africa of the last three presidents,” said Emmanuel Obege. “I think they’re no doubt about it.”
When asked to expand on his contrast of the impact on Africa of the Bush and Obama presidencies, Obege responded that each had very different priorities.
“The point I’m trying to make is President Bush actually did something that was relevant to the crisis that was facing the continent at the time,” he said.
“When you show up and you’re saying to the people of Africa ‘You need to legalize gay marriage’ – I had a lot of Africans say, ‘Well, when our presidents go to America we don’t say to you to legalize polygamy even though we have a lot of polygamy in Africa and we think it’s a great idea, but we don’t come to your country and tell you to do that.’”
Obege referred to Obama’s recent visit to Kenya where he lobbied for homosexual rights.
Holding a four-year-old HIV-positive boy from South Africa, President Bush speaks at the White House on May 30, 2007 about his efforts to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa and worldwide. (AP File Photo)
‘And the president of Kenya [Uhuru Kenyatta] said to him, ‘Well, Mr. President, thank you very much for your kind thoughts but this is really not an issue for us,’” Obege said.
“I’ve been asked when I testified in Congress ‘What is happening with the persecution of gays in Nigeria?’ Obege said. “And I said, very frankly, no gay person has been killed in Nigeria but you have thousands of Christians being killed.”
Not only does Starr spell the man's name wrong throughout her article -- it's Emmanuel Ogebe -- she uncritically repeats his falsehood about Obama and gives him a pass on his denial of gay persecution in Africa.
Contrary to Ogebe, Obama never pushed for legalization of gay marriage during his visit to Africa. He did, however, highlight the persecution of gays in Africa and argued that they shouldn't be the victim of discrimination because of their sexual orientation.
Contrary to Ogebe's suggestion that gays are not persecuted in Nigeria, a 2014 Mother Jones article highlights the sad reality for gays in that country:
Around midnight on February 13, a young Nigerian man named Femi* was jolted out of his evening prayer by shouting outside his window. A crowd of some 40 people had gathered around his house. "No more homosexuals in Gishiri!" they yelled, referring to Femi's neighborhood within Nigeria's capital city, Abuja. The mob broke down his door and dragged him outside in his boxers. They beat him and about 13 other gay men that night with broken furniture, machete handles, sticks, and a garden rake, vowing to kill them if they didn't clear out of the neighborhood.
The attack, and other acts of vigilante violence targeting gays and lesbians around the country, was motivated by a new anti-gay law that Nigeria's president signed January 7. The measure, modeled off the one that Uganda enacted in late February, levies harsh prison sentences on anyone who makes a "public show" of a "direct" or "indirect" same-sex relationship or supports an LGBT organization (10 years), and anyone who attempts to enter into a same-sex marriage (14 years), even though this would be virtually impossible in Nigeria. The anti-gay backlash the law has provoked in Nigeria has led not just to violence, but to homelessness, unemployment, harassment, and a steep drop-off in HIV/AIDS treatment.
If "no gay person has been killed in Nigeria," one -- and probably more -- will be killed soon, and Ogebe apparently doesn't care.
Another gay Nigerian writes of having fled the country because there ceased being opportunities for him there after his homosexuality became known: "I hope I will be able to walk freely in Nigeria one day without the fear of being lynched or jailed."
Further, according to Mother Jones, the ramped-up persecution of gays in Nigeria will likely hamper HIV/AIDS prevention efforts in the country because "social scientists have been scared off from taking stock of HIV trends in Nigeria—data that can improve the response to the epidemic—until the government can assure researchers that they will be exempt from punishment under the law."
It's laughable that Ogebe presents himself as a "civil rights activist" when he apparently believes a particular group of people doesn't deserve any. The fact that he was appearing at an event by the Family Research Council -- notorious for its hatred of gays -- is a clue that his "civil rights" credentials shouldn't be taken seriously. It seems that he thinks only Christians deserve full civil rights.
And Starr is just a lazy reporter who can't be bothered to tell both sides of a story, let alone spell the guy's name correctly.
UPDATE: CNS has corrected the misspelling of Ogebe's name in Starr's article. But here's a screenshot of the non-corrected version for posterity: