Thursday July 31 2014

Everyone is entitled to their choices


By Freddie Kakembo

An English saying goes, “One man’s meat is another man’s poison”. A few people respect each other’s space or even choices in life.
A friend came home with a white girlfriend. Everyone had an opinion about his girl, “He is after her dollars or visa. Nothing else”. Can’t people fall in love without taking into consideration commercial benefits?
In this particular case, the bold ones went ahead and asked for money from him. “Please give me some dollars”. Another gave him investment ideas. “Now that you have got an “investor”, why don’t you build a school in the village?”
Another suggested “shopping complex in town”. I wonder where people get these ideas that every white person must be wealthy. You need to visit their countries to see there are many broke ones.
That reminds me Rafi Fazaal, my childhood friend. Until recently, he was successfully running his family’s business in Jinja Town. Fazaal had come of age, but he rarely associated with women.
Word starting going round that he is gay. Once his father got wind of the word, he did not even want to know his side of the story – but – he just kicked him out of the business, and home altogether. Just like that. So what if Fazaal is gay?
May be his father feared that he would be victimised after the anti-gay law was passed, but, what is the big deal if your son or daughter was gay?
We last heard from Fazaal last December – I hope he found peace wherever he is hiding or living.
That aside, when the Bill was taken to Parliament over women who dress in skimpy outfits – and came to be categorised as pornography, I knew our country had gone to the dogs.
If the things we see as important are people’s dresses and sexual orientation, may God help Uganda.
If a girl has confidence in her good body, why can she not dress up as she wishes as long as it is appropriate for the occasion?
And here you find men on the street, hurling insults at young women – but no one says a word to them. Is it not verbal assault for one to throw insults at someone who has done nothing to them but dressed as they felt?
It does not end with dressing. People’s intolerance goes to food preferences.
“Why do you eat Kalo (millet bread)?” someone asked me the other day at the food canteen. “That’s food for the poor!” Now, that was crazy. Who qualifies food to be for the poor or the rich? Food is food and it does not matter if one eats crocodiles, rats, snakes, buffaloes, as long as that is one’s preference. It is trivial for one to dwell on other people’s preferences; criticise them, insult or worse still, legislate choices.
People’s preferences are not homogeneous. And like the English’s saying one man’s meat is another man’s poison, let those who see meat for meat, enjoy it. And if you see poison in the meat, back off.