Every time vacation planning time rolls around, Roland brings up Ethiopia. He's almost persuaded me a couple of times. I sure like the food and eat at Rahel, a vegan Ethiopian restaurant on Fairfax in L.A. very frequently. And I love all that mystic stuff about Ethiopia on the History Channel (like the video up top). But between the primitiveness, the extreme poverty, the corruption, and the culture of violence that has taken root there since 1974 when the DERG overthrew and murdered Haile Selassie, there has been a state of corrosive instability and questionable legitimacy for nearly three decades. Tourism, which had started developing in the 1960s, took a great leap backwards in the 1970s and is still very primitive now.
And now there's an outbreak of deadly homophobia. Crackpot U.S. evangelical groups are spreading anti-gay hate in Ethiopia causing a climate of moral panic, forcing the LGBT community to flee the country and making it unsafe for western tourists to visit the country. They've been encouraging the introduction of the death penalty for homosexuality.
A representative, from the Ethiopian Inter-Religious Council Against Homosexuality (EICAH) organization, underlined to workshop participants that gayness is not natural and has nothing to do with human rights, but ‘a result of a result of inappropriate upbringing, identity crisis and moral decay.I'll get my fix of wat and injera at Rahel-- without a side order of hatred, bigotry and possible execution.
‘So we have to work hard to teach our children the bible and ethics and also protect our nation from the dirty western imposed culture of homosexuality.’
Sultan Muhe, chair of Bright Children Voluntary Association (BCVA) testified that as a child he was gang-raped, an experience that ‘made him’ gay as well as a sex worker.
Muhe also stated that he was now cured (ex-gay) and now campaigns for others to be ‘healed,’ stating: ‘Homosexuality should be discouraged by whatever means and the government should do whatever it takes to stop it.'
At the conclusion of the workshop, the EICAH representative stated that the council is ‘making progress’ in convincing the government to be stricter on homosexuality and introduce the death penalty to punish ‘such acts.'
The ECIAH representative added that prospects for capital punishment being legislated against gays ‘seems promising.'
...Mercy (name changed), director of Rainbow Ethiopia, a health and support group for LGBT people, told GSN: ‘The trend of homophobia and hate crimes is increasing in Ethiopia because these organizations are creating a moral panic and feeding the public with false information and wild allegations.
‘They scare the public that homosexuals are raping children and then “recruit” them into homosexuality, which is “promoted” and “spreading” throughout the country.
‘These groups even present some of the LGBTI members of the community as a mercenaries, trained and sponsored by the West to “promote homosexuality."
‘Families, police, neighbors the community in large are turning more and more hostile; we are living in fear and LGBT community members are increasingly desperate to flee Ethiopia.
‘They put their lives at risk by using human traffickers through dangerous routes such as crossing the Sahara desert in an attempt to get to Europe through Libya or through Egypt to Israel, often killed in the attempt to do so.’
Mercy called upon human rights organizations and international community to do everything in their power ‘to cut the Western funding to these organizations, and outlaw them. However aid to Ethiopia and other organizations should continue.'