Wednesday, May 19, 2010
I am on my way to work at the theatre. I am lost deep in my thoughts as I inch along in the bumper to bumper traffic. It’s the same every morning.
I glance to my right and notice the blue Nissan Altima Hybrid. There is a baby strapped into the car seat in the rear of the vehicle. It fixes its sparkling blue gaze on me. Our eyes lock and it smiles. I smile back. A horn blares behind me disengaging the random contact between us. Then the traffic crawl resumes.
I get to the theatre and that infant’s piercing, yet innocent, sea blue stare haunts me. A seemingly happy young being with its whole life still before it should make me feel optimistic. But this morning it just exacerbates the gnawing despair churning inside me.
This mornings paper reported that the two gay Malawi men we’ve been following on our blog were officially found guilty for their “crimes against nature.” They are expected to be sentenced to at least 14 years and to do hard labor while incarcerated.
The only mistake Tiwonge and Steven made was to declare their love for one another at an engagement party in December of 2009. They have languished in jail ever since. Today's ruling is part of a broader pattern of mounting pressure and persecution on LGBT people by authorities in Malawi. This persecution has come from the highest levels of government. Closet doors just shut tighter in Malawi.
I’ve made it to the next intersection just as the light turns red. That politically correct Nissan Hybrid rolls up next to me again. Why the hell is that kid still staring at me?
I wonder if the child can read my thoughts. You know, some special kind of baby magic. People are always extolling the wonders of children. Perhaps this grinning little cherub, who is now chewing on its foot, understands something I do not. The light turns green and I wonder if it is a signal of better things to come.