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Uganda: The Number One (Anti-Homosexuality, Anti-Women) Place to Visit

• April 08, 2013 • 10:24 AM

(PHOTO: FUTUREATLAS.COM/FLICKR)

It’s the best worst place in the world.

Here’s Lonely Planet on Uganda, its number-one country to visit for 2012:

It’s taken nasty dictatorships and a brutal civil war to keep Uganda off the tourist radar, but stability is returning and it won’t be long before visitors come flocking back. After all, this is the source of the river Nile—that mythical place explorers sought since Roman times. It’s also where savannah meets the vast lakes of East Africa, and where snow-capped mountains bear down on sprawling jungles. Not so long ago, the tyrannical dictator and ‘Last King of Scotland’ Idi Amin helped hunt Uganda’s big game to the brink of extinction, but today the wildlife is returning with a vengeance. This year Uganda also celebrates the 50th anniversary of its independence; Kampala, one of Africa’s safest capital cities, is bound to see off the event with a bang. Still, Uganda still isn’t without its problems. Human rights abuses aren’t uncommon, and the country breathes a collective sigh whenever President Museveni thinks of another ruse to stay in power for a few more years. But now, as ever, explorers in search of the source of the Nile won’t leave disappointed.

That is then followed with—remember, this is a major travel guide’s recommendation of the best country to visit on Planet Earth—this advisory:

There is very little social tolerance of homosexuality, which is illegal. There have been moves, initiated by a Ugandan MP, to introduce reactionary legislation that would further criminalize homosexuality and introduce the death penalty for some activity … you should be aware that homosexuality is generally seen as taboo and exists on the margins of society.

They’ve just proposed a law that will ban women from wearing skirts above the knee: miniskirt wearing punishable by arrest. That same law also proposes that men who are caught watching/sharing any videos of women in “provocative” clothing could face up to 10 years in prison or up to a $4,000 fine. (Yes, they plan to monitor personal Internet use.) Then there’s the anti-homosexuality bill, which, with homosexuality already illegal in Uganda, originally proposed death for people found guilty of “aggravated homosexuality”—I can’t even—but has since been toned down and now only asks for harsher punishments for homosexual acts and for anyone who “funds,” “sponsors,” or “abets” homosexuality. Close to 40 organizations have already been banned from the country for promoting homosexuality. And the government has also banned both songs and plays which attempt to criticize it.

So, outside of anything remotely close to a basic desire to promote standard human rights, Uganda is the best.

Ryan O'Hanlon
Senior Digital Editor Ryan O’Hanlon joined Pacific Standard from Outside, where he was an assistant online editor. He is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross, and his writing has appeared in Deadspin, Grantland, The Awl, New York, The Atlantic, and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter @rwohan.

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