Tuesday, February 25, 2014
The spread of fascist culture at the Uganda National Cultural Centre
Yesterday Monday 24th February I went with some visitors from Germany to see the music jam session at the Uganda National Cultural Centre. What should have been a moment of entertainment, a show case of Ugandan talents, was transformed into the stage for the political campaign of right-wing extremists, in other words a real fascist preach which incredibly was coming from a Cultural Centre like the National Theatre.
It seems that fascist culture is actually spreading in the last years in Uganda but I never had a real feeling of it until I heard with my own ears.
What does it mean fascist culture? Historically, “fascism” is a political ideology which defines different regimes and people, in all part of the world, and that was initially originated by the Italian “fascism” (led by Benito Mussolini between 1922 and 1943) and having one of the major examples in Adolf Hitler of German Nazism.
There are common aspects to define a fascist political culture, which I would like to briefly highlight here and all of them came out yesterday from the preach of Pastor Martin Sempa.
First of all the belief that the culture is “one”, without differences and that the “African culture” is one versus any other culture. Culture is the justification for a political ideology: it is the culture that condemns the freedom of the people; but in reality, it is a fascist ideology/culture that allows some people to refuse the right of freedom of other people. Culture is not one and uniform; there are differences between person and person, between country and country community and community. But according to the fascists, the culture is one, the “African culture”.
Secondly, the aspect of promoting hate and not acceptance of any diversion from the so called “culture”. Fascist culture is the apology of the so called “traditional society”. Everything that is not liked, through it exists, should not exist. There is no freedom for the people: the people are entirely subjects to the rules dictated by the "society". For example the ladies should always marry and have children and they should not wear a miniskirt unless very long. Gay people should not exist even though they exist. It is well known in all history and all societies that gays are part of humanity, though a minority; it is well known that their sexual orientation is not a choice but a fact of nature, therefore there is nothing to be objected and nothing is cultural against gays, but only political, the fascist politics which does not want to view the facts of nature because they simply do not like it. It is like to say that if we do not like that there are disabled people, then they should be banned, yet they exist. It is like to say that if we do not like the moon to be in the sky, then we need to cover with tarpaulins all the sky so that we don’t see the moon and the moon no longer exists. This is unrealistic. This is a culture which is based on refusal of science and therefore creates hates and divisions among people based on “culture”. This is not culture, is fascist ideology. We have already seen that the fascist culture produced the Nazis’ concentration camps where (what coincidence!) were killed millions of gays, disabled people, anti-fascists (communists) and also Jewish. So this culture is here in Uganda, promoted at national level.
Thirdly, the racist aspect and hate for the foreigners. The fascist discourse says that the African people are oppressed and made slaves by the Foreigners, therefore creating a false myth of all the Foreigners been enemies to the African people. Fascist culture promotes the population growth (more children) because this number will facilitate the capacity to resists the foreign enemies. The fascist culture is always anti-American, like yesterday Martin Sempa condemned Barack Obama for defending peoples’ human rights. He said yesterday “if you do not like this country, go away”. This is pure racist intimidation which is definitely shocking any civilized persons and especially tourists. Again, fascist politics does not look at the population growth from the scientific environmental sustainability: how many people are on earth? Is there need to multiply? Is there enough resources? What is the environmental impact?
My friends from Germany, who did not expect this type of fascist campaign, immediately told me that it is obvious that tourists and foreigners will not like to visit a country like Uganda. Remember that fascist regimes believed also in “autarchy” in other words that you do not need other people to survive; your own economy is self-sufficient. Indeed all fascists’ regimes ended up by destroying the economies and generating poverty.
In other countries than in Uganda there is the crime of “association of fascist ideology”, because any healthy society must protect itself from whoever is perceived as causing troubles to the common social background. Indeed fascists are creating divisions, preaching intolerance and hate, disseminating false mythologies to young generations who are naïve to political culture, preaching racist approached who can scare anyone away.
In other words, probably it is because of freedom of expression that fascists’ leaders can talk in public places like National Theatre in Uganda. In other countries they will never have such a good reception. It will be the political task of all democratic Ugandans (majority) to fight away these fascist ideologies, to reduce them to what they always are, a political phenomenon of few extremists, before they actually spread further and destroy the democratic Ugandan society which is actually at its start. I feel more than sorry for all those people in minority, gays and disables, people who are not married nor have children, ladies who like miniskirts, because in this moment they must resist against this political fascist degeneration, which in any case was not inside the history of Ugandan people, except perhaps the Idi Amin regime. For those who work in the tourist economy, the welcome industry, perhaps it is time to react to this fascist evil before it can affect the industry and creating poverty out of poverty. As a foreigner in Uganda and as Director of Destination Jungle Ltd. I feel offended by the racist preach of the fascists leaders. As a foreigner, I can only hope that the Democratic Ugandans will come out more strongly, that only will bring progress and development to Uganda.
Costantino Tessarin bachelor degree in History at University of Bologna, Msc in Development Studies at SOAS London and Director of Destination Jungle