Xenophobia and Homophobia in Nigeria
I was very impressed by Dibia’s talk and some answers he provided in the reading session because the conversation with him brought up the same theme “XENOPHOBIA” we saw in the South African novel Welcome to Our Hillbrow. Even if we know some facts from the professor and from Dibia in person, it is still very hard to imagine how harsh the situation (for gay people and people who are HIV positive) is now in some countries such as Nigeria. One shocking fact that Dibia mentioned is that some HIV positive people are abandoned by the government and do not have proper medication merely because THEY ARE GAY. This clearly shows how gay people are stigmatized in Nigerian society.
As Dibia mentioned, the Nigerian government and some people resist the intervention of the western governments (e.g. US) because they think: (1) there are some violent attacks on gay people in the US. If the US government cannot even control US, why can the US government lay their hands on Nigeria? (2)The western countries have colonized us before. But now they should mind their own business. This is Nigeria, so we the Nigerians should rule our own country.
These two statements mentioned above are exactly the xenophobia we saw in Welcome to Our Hillbrow. In Welcome to Our Hillbrow, the people think that AIDS is brought into their society by the foreigners, not by the native people. Similarly, as mentioned in the talk with Dibia today, Nigerians think that (1) AIDS is not native to Africa; instead, AIDS is brought into Africa by the westerners. (2) The western countries should mind their own business. We can see that the society is hostile against the western countries, but it is also not hard to understand the reason. The trauma of the western colonization has not been cured. Unfortunately, the Nigerians incorrectly connect AIDS with the western society and with gay people. That is, the homophobia is a result of intersection of xenophobia and colonial trauma.
As we read in the essay A Macro-Level Analysis of the Scope, Causes, and Consequences of Homophobia in Africa, gay people are suppressed and in danger in African. While more and more western countries are becoming more inclusive, some African countries are making laws against gay people. To solve this problem, I think maybe the first problem is to deal with the xenophobia in these countries because as I have stated in the previous paragraphs, the homophobia in Africa seems to be a result of xenophobia. Does anyone have similar thoughts or some more suggestions?