This week, President Barack Obama hosted a summit at The White House, as the largest-ever gathering of African leaders in the United States, with more than 50 countries represented.
Among those leaders were cruel dictators as well as homophobes. The list includes: Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who shot or jailed virtually all his political opponents, Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh, who threatened to ‘cut off the head’ of any homosexuals in the country and for Cameroon’s Paul Biya, who ranks 19th on author David Wallechinsky’s 2006 list of the world’s 20 worst living dictators.
But there was one exception that night. NOT on the guest list of high profile leaders with probably the worst human rights record of the bunch, was Zimbabwe’s ruthless dictator Robert Mugabe.
President Obama did his best to soften any tension created by the homophobia and torture issues, having this to say in his opening speech:
“I stand before you as the president of the United States, a proud American. I also stand before you as the son of a man from Africa”.
“Our faith traditions remind us of the inherent dignity of every human being and that our work as nations must be rooted in empathy and compassion for each other, as brothers and as sisters.”
Good job Mr. President.
As they say…all’s well that ends well.