Nigeria is a significant power in West Africa and what happens in the country is noted by people in other parts of the region, especially when it comes to Nigerian culture. But an area where Nigeria is similar to other parts of Africa is in its society’s anti-LGBT attitudes. Christian and Islamic conservatism in Nigeria has largely been peddled because of fundamentalists traveling to the country to reinforce existing anti-LGBT views with theological justifications. In Nigeria it is socially acceptable to persecute LGBT people and this is illustrated by the news coming out of Lagos state this week when 42 men were arrested for having homosexual sex.
In Western media there has been justifiable outrage over the reports of concentration camps being established in Chechnya. Naturally such a move should be condemned and pressure need to be put on the Russian government to either stop the persecution or permit the safe passage of those under threat out of Chechnya. However, this doesn’t require any substantive political analysis as even those who do not especially care about LGBT rights would oppose the establishment of concentration camps. The subject of this piece is concerning the discourse around this news story, particularly the view that seeks to link this new development with Chechnya’s status as a Muslim-majority area.
For a number of months I have been covering the abuses of power of Thai government, specifically in the case of lèse-majesté laws which prevent people from openly criticising the monarchy. Under Thailand’s military junta insulting the monarch as an individual or the monarchy as an institution can result in fines or even imprisonment. The new king, Maha Vajiralongkorn, could have instructed the junta not to enforce these laws and, given how sycophantic the military is towards the monarchy, the king’s wishes would be carried out. However it appears that these liberty-restricting laws shall remain in place, and activists will be persecuted for speaking out.
Political terms, when people are unaware of what they mean, can be a topic of significant dispute. The rise of Donald Trump in the United States is a prime example of this. When the term ‘fascist’ is correctly applied, his supporters complain about liberals saying that everything they disagree with is called fascist. Unfortunately Trump supporters have a point as idiotic liberals do often describe things that aren’t fascistic with this label in order to shut people up in debates. Another such term is ‘apartheid’, an Afrikaans word which was used to describe the state-endorsed racial segregation in South Africa from 1948 to 1994. Rather than write a provocative piece about the West’s approach to Israel which could often be seen as anything from irrational to endorsing violations of international law, I shall seek to answer one simple question: is Israel an Apartheid state?