PNG must accept all its people

Editorial, Normal

The National, Tuesday January 12th, 2016

 THE killing of a man in Madang last week because of his sexuality is a hate crime and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. 

What makes the murder all the more heinous is that the killer was a young relative supposedly angered by the shame brought on him and his family through 

association with the deceased. 

If our young people are wont to act in such a violent manner towards people of different orientations or those that do not conform to the expectations of the majority then their capacity for positive growth in other areas will be affected.

Madang provincial coordinator for Family and Sexual Violence Action Committee Lawrence Pomo said the incident highlighted the need for people to use reasoning and judgement when considering homosexuals – both men and women.

“They must (homosexuals) not be discriminated [against] by anyone anywhere because they have the right to life and to live,” Pomo said. 

He said these people were every bit as human as the “normal” heterosexual and did not need to be persecuted for their preferences. 

The 15-year-old said the uncle was a known homosexual in the community and had apparently made remarks about the boy which angered him to the point of being homicidal.

Papua New Guinea has a mostly conservative culture that is yet to fully except that in the world today being homosexual is as normal as having green or blue eyes, black or brown hair – many would say it is not a choice.

The church may see homosexuality as an affliction but modern society has long since accepted it as a normal part of humanity, of the human condition.

Perhaps it is time to do away with this prejudice as people are growing more accepting of each other.

The killing highlights a general disregard by some people in this country for the rights of some considered minorities or just different.

Such a brazen attitude should not go unpunished.

The sorcery killings perpetrated by communities, especially in the Highlands region, against defenceless, out-numbered and innocent  women shows clearly that human life is cheap particularly if that person is counted as abnormal or out of the ordinary in some way.

The other people discriminated against are those living with AIDS. 

In many parts of the country, contracting the virus is not just a death sentence but chances are you will no longer be seen as normal human being.

One hopes an example can be made of this death in Madang and the callousness of it. 

One wonders how a person that young could have already formed strong and evidently dangerous opinions about homosexuality and had the will to act on those prejudices and impulses.

We hope this boy is repentant and remorseful for taking a life over such a trivial matter yet one with complex undertones in the community.

This case must be tried as a normal wilful murder case and the perpetrator be made to answer to the full brunt of the law.

There are now mitigating circumstances here. 

If homosexuals are to be targeted, then why not other minorities as well? 

Why stop at a person’s sexual persuasion, what about his political affiliation or religious beliefs?

People given the right amount of coercion or negative influence can go on to commit terrible crimes against their fellow men for nothing more that the most rudimentary attitudes towards each other.

We must ask ourselves if the nephew would have sought such a savage and brutal remedy to appease himself had the uncle not been “gay” or some other social paraiah.

Papua New Guineans should not forget that with the continuing development and modernisation of the country the acceptance of behaviours and practices which were once considered vile or disgusting are nothing but another quark in a larger fabric of society.

One thing must be made very clear, homosexuals are every bit as human as we are and must be treated in a manner befitting that status.

Those opposed to accepting gay people must ask themselves this question: 

What would you do if you had a brother, sister, son, daughter or parent that considered themselves a homosexual?

Would you disown or accept them for who they are?