It was just few weeks before the Congress when it happened. I’d been excited about getting to Senegal, since I’d never visited Africa before. But when I was searching some information about LGBT rights in Senegal, I realized I’m illegal here.
The CastleGayGuide informs us: “Senegal specifically outlaws same-sex sexual acts, and has prosecuted men accused of homosexuality in the past. Homosexuals face routine discrimination in the society. ” Swell, I feel so welcome.
Well, at least there’s one bright side in not having my girlfriend here. It would have been difficult to refrain from illegal activities had she been with me. Still, it’s a poor consolation, really.
I very much wonder the decision to have the Global Young Greens and Global Greens Congresses in Senegal in the first place. I’ve heard no good reasons for it – apparently it’s political. In my opinion, that should be exactly the reason why not to have the Congresses here. For me, value liberalism is a core green value, and the movement has always been open to all sexual minorities. As it is, we are showing political and financial support to a state who does not respect human rights.
Hopefully the situation will change soon. The newly elected president Macky Sall declared his intention to handle the question “with responsibility” and to transform Senegal into a modern society. Maybe it’s not much, but it sure is better than before. Actually, during the Campaign, Sall was attacked by the former president Wade because of this expression of support.
As it is, I don’t really feel this Congress is for me.
I haven’t seen any news of the presidential election in Senegal, but still the result couldn’t be clearer. The atmosphere in Dakar yesterday was incredible. Everybody was on the streets – or at least the supporters of Sall.
We drove in cars around the city, the Global Young Greens Congress participants on the open trucks. We had a huge sound system, the music was loud, everybody was yelling. We started with a couple of cars. Suddenly, a crowd of people – women and men alike, mostly young, some children, even small babies – emerged from nowhere, starting to follow us by foot. Other cars, even taxis joined the parade. We drove around the city for hours, singing and partying. There was no police anywhere, even though we made so much noise everybody woke up. The people came to the windows, doors, and roofs to wave and celebrate with us. Even we guests felt the excitement, energy and pouring joy of the people.
In Finland I experienced something similar when the country won the world championship in ice hockey. But that’s sports – the politics is a different thing. There was no partying on the streets after the presidential elections in February. Why not? Because of the cold? But is that not just an excuse? Anyhow, the police would have been there in 10 minutes, putting a full stop for the party before it even began.
It’s peaceful in Dakar just before the second round of the presidential elections in Senegal. The current president Abdoulaye Wade – who, I was told yesterday, is really over 90 years old contrary to the “official” age – is contested by the opposition candidate Macky Sall. Some protests, possibly violent, were expected to occur. Therefore the preparation team of the Congresses of the Global Young Greens and Global Greens, taking place just after the elections, have had some extra trepidations.
Everything seems to be peaceful, though. Yesterday, arriving from the airport through the city, we saw nothing going on on the main square. The prep team is accommodated in Oceanium, situated just behind the presidential palace – yet, all is quiet. Maybe it’s because the locals seem to be confident of Sall’s victory, although he got less votes on the first round than Wade. There were 13 opposition candidates then, though. So if the opposition manages to combine their forces, as they sound determined to do, it should be possible for the country to change the leader. Wade has been president since 2000, and I think nobody should have the power for too long.
Tonight we’ll hear how it is going to be.
Tässä blogissa maailman nainen vääntää globaleista ja lokaaleista kysymyksistä sekä suomeksi että englanniksi. Toisinaan postaukset voivat olla toistensa käännöksiä, mutta usein ne ovat kokonaan eri tekstejä. Jos ymmärrät molempia kieliä, kannattaa ehkä silloin tällöin kurkata myös aidan toiselle puolelle!
In this blog, a global woman deals with global and local issues both in English and Finnish. Sometimes the posts can be translations of each other, but often they’re completely different pieces of writing. If you read both languages, it might pay out to check the other side of the fence, too!