As Uganda's government passes laws and issues statements about homosexuals that are reminiscent of genocidal governments in the past, should the US continue to give the government funds to combat AIDS and HIV? Charles Francis argues that we need to rethink:
This is a critical juncture for PEPFAR before the world community. Will we stand by and let national governments scapegoat a sexual minority for HIV/AIDS while receiving major funding for AIDS relief? Will the U.S. fund radical, anti-gay prevention programs that could become a model for other parliaments and governments?
“Verbal assault” is not individual expression of political opinion or free expression of strong differences in civil society. “Verbal assault” is designed by government and promoted by government to instill fear, divert people with scapegoats, galvanize electoral majorities and to accrue power by creating a pariah, a man or woman who is made “socially dead” (Daniel Goldhagen, Hitler’s Willing Executioners).
If not checked, verbal assault leads to physical violence and imprisonment. PEPFAR must call for a cessation, through diplomatic and public channels, of the verbal and legislative assault on African gays. Similarly, in a “multi-partner world”, PEPFAR partners businesses, foundations, universities and faith-based partners need to come forward and make their views known. Silence is a form of passive assent in this situation.
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