President Obama has wrapped up his tour of Africa. It was notable, insofar as that word can be applied to the trip, for his somewhat condescending and neo-colonial lecture to his hosts on the need to ease up on the old homophobia.
Certainly, Africa is not terribly gay-friendly. But nor are other parts of the planet. In his ardent wooing of Iran, for example, he doesn't seem to have been perturbed in the least by his new best friends' executions of homosexuals, anymore than he is by the brutalization of gays elsewhere in the Muslim world. You might deduce in his highly selective criticism a certain cowardice. I'll bet the mullahs do.
If you've read The [Un]documented Mark Steyn (and if you haven't, you really should, especially when you can get it personally autographed to you at no extra charge), you'll also know that Obama, in reprimanding Africa for its homophobia, is at odds with The Guardian, whose position is that black homophobia is all our fault. As I write in the book:
The Guardian forced itself to consider the awkward fact that many young black males are "homophobic". This would be a disadvantage if one were hoping to make a career in the modern Tory party, but, on the other hand, if one's ambitions incline more to becoming a big-time gangsta rapper, it's a goldmine. Don't blame Jamaican men, though. After all, who made them homophobic? The "vilification of Jamaican homophobia", says Decca Aitkenhead, is just an attempt to distract from the real culprit: "It's a failure to recognize 400 years of Jamaican history, starting with the sodomy of male slaves by their white owners as a means of humiliation.
"Slavery laid the foundations of homophobia," writes Miss Aitkenhead. "For us to vilify Jamaicans for an attitude of which we were the architects is shameful. Jamaicans weren't the architects of their ideas about homosexuality; we were."
Really? Of course:
If we hadn't enslaved these fellows and taken them to the West Indies to be our playthings under the Caribbean moon, they'd have stayed in Africa and grown up as relaxed live-and-let-live types like Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, who's accused Tony Blair of a plan to impose homosexuality throughout the Commonwealth;
...or Kenya's Daniel arap Moi, who attacked the "gay scourge" sweeping Africa;
...or Zambia's Frederick Chiluba, who has said gays do not have "a right to be abnormal";
...or Namibia's Sam Nujoma, who accused African homosexuals of being closet "Europeans" trying to destroy his country through the spread of "gayism";
...or Uganda's Yoweri Museveni, who proposed the arrest of all homosexuals, though he subsequently moderated his position and called for a return to the good old days when "these few individuals were either ignored or speared and killed by their parents".
But no doubt Decca Aitkenhead would respond that African homophobia is also the malign legacy of British colonialism. Who taught them to spear gays, eh?
By refusing to enslave them and take them to our Caribbean plantations and sodomize them every night, we left them with feelings of rejection and humiliation that laid the foundations of their homophobic architecture. The point to remember is, as the Guardian headline writer put it, cutting to the chase, "Their homophobia is our fault".
And it always will be.
As that round-up suggests, African leaders are likely to prove a tougher sell for Obama than your easily cowed jelly-spined Republican. Most of these chaps seem to take the view that your average G7 head of government is a bit light on his loafers. Also from the book:
Robert Mugabe subsequently warmed to his theme and called Tony Blair a "gay gangster" leading "the gay government of the gay United gay Kingdom". A Downing Street spokesgay denied the charge:
"The Prime Minister is not a gay gangster."
Has anyone checked with Mr Mugabe whether the gay government of the gay United gay States of gay America is also led by a gay gangster?
PS If you're unsure whether to shell out for The [Un]documented Mark Steyn, the Aussie Spectator has just published a rave review by James Allan, who calls it "beautifully written and funny". (If you're ready for that personally autographed copy, all you have to do is click here - where you can also order my forthcoming book.)
~Don't forget I'll be starting Wednesday on the radio with Toronto's Number One morning man, the great John Oakley, live at 8.30am Eastern. Hope you'll set your dial to AM640.