‘Our Senators are Hypocrites’

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ORIGINAL INTERVIEW LINK- http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/our-senators-are-hypocrites/104344/

(BTW, you totally should read the wacky comments on the original interview link)
Yemisi Ilesanmi describes herself as ‘proudly bisexual’. After gaining her LL.B from the Obafemi Awolowo University in 2004 (four years after she should have qualified and 10 years after she was initially admitted as a student), she was admitted to the Nigerian Bar in 2005. Asked about the time gap, she chuckles in recollection, ‘Well I had some issues with the university authorities’. Pressed further she says, ‘Weeell, we ‘kidnapped the then Vice-Chancellor, Professor Omole! We had only dirty, brown water coming out of our taps in the halls of residence and we were expected to drink that?!’ her voice rising an octave. ‘Well, we thought we should just give him a dose of his own medicine so we “took” him to spend quality time with us!’

If by now it has not been clear that the interviewer is speaking with a non-conformist, it is now.

Ilesanmi worked with the Nigeria Labour Congress in Abuja from 2002 until recently. Aged 36, she holds a Masters of Law Degree from the University of Keele, UK in Gender, Sexuality and Human Rights. Now resident in the United Kingdom, this trade unionist, human rights activist and poet sent in a position paper to the Senate hearing last October on the anti-same sex marriage bill. She was however unable to come down to Nigeria to make her presentation personally but says she now plans to do so for the House of Representatives public hearing.

The coordinator of the campaign group Nigerian LGBTI in Diaspora Against Anti-Same Sex Laws, she has travelled extensively as guest speaker to promote gender and youth issues, labour rights, sexuality rights and international human rights. [Read more…]

Twenty Reasons I am Distressed by Religion and its Believers.

  1. I am distressed when I share confined space with believers and their every word is filled with God delusion.941411_10151608187783704_423354122_n
  2. I am distressed when religious leaders accuse children of witchcraft and those self-styled prophets are allowed to freely abuse vulnerable people under the pretence of casting out demons.
  3. I am distressed that the opinions of religious leaders are deemed more important than scientific evidence.
  4. I am distressed when a child is forcefully infected with the cancer called religion 
  5. I am distressed that creationism is taught in all Nigerian public schools but evolution hardly made it to a biology class curriculum.
  6. I am distressed when I get a group mail message from a feminist group, asking for prayers for a sister who is seriously ill in hospital and members start sending prayers to different Gods.
  7. I am distressed that I am most likely to get banned and be isolated from such feminists groups if I sent a response suggesting practical assistance might actually help more than praying to our different skydaddies e.g. financial assistance, volunteering to take or pick up her children from school or just writing her encouraging letters and asking her how we can be of practical help. Actually such suggestion cost me a long time feminist friend.
  8. I am distressed when religion makes me lose intellectual respect for those I used to like because in all honesty, I cannot have any intellectual respect for someone who believes there was a talking snake, a Noah’s ark or gladly quotes the commandments of a war mongering, pedophile prophet.
  9. I am distressed that I almost choke with disbelief whenever I am forced to share passenger seats with Nigerian religious believers, even in a London red bus, as they loudly narrate and gesticulate profusely on their phone to their captive audience at the unseen end, about how God just saved them from the evil plots of wicked village people, who somehow from the remote part of a Nigerian village, managed to use ‘juju/ voodoo’ to send UK immigration after them in London.
  10. I am distressed by the ignorance and bigotry of religious believers.
  11. I am distressed at how vindict734721_528376913849040_653880745_nive many believers are in the name of religion. The faithfuls are always praying to their Skydaddy and his warrior angels to destroy and kill their enemies by ‘fire by force’, never a word of love, always an orgy of vengeful vendetta.
  12. I am distressed that I can hardly hold a conversation with Nigerians including some members of my family without them mentioning God in every sentence.
  13. I am distressed that the God delusion has broken families and driven a wedge between many family members with the many accusations and counter accusations of witchcraft.
  14. I am distressed that quotes from the Bible and Quran are deemed perfectly good reasons to oppress women and even stone to death gays, lesbians, bisexuals, Trans and women accused of committing adultery.
  15. I am distressed every time I see a picture of a blue eyed, blonde Jew on a cross hanging on the wall of a public school, a village church or from my mother’s bedroom because it is another reminder of colonization and mental slavery.
  16. I am distressed because the Gods now embraced by Africans have no physical or cultural resemblance to them; it is another reminder that Nigerians import everything, including Gods. Africa can’t even export its own Gods.
  17. I am distressed when the sculpture of a white, pale woman aka ‘Holy Mary’ occupies a place of pride in the center of a remote village in Nigeria.  It is distressing that even though the foreign sculpture has no resemblance to th734789_334547843328637_241749167_ne village inhabitants, it is somehow deemed the most sacred sculpture in the village.
  18. I am distressed when an African quotes from the Bible or Quran to justify the oppression of another. I wondered if they did not read the parts in their precious holy books that clearly states that they are not the chosen race, that it is OK for the chosen race to enslave them, rape their wives, kill their children and animals. Do they have such short memory that they have forgotten that the bible and the Quran they hold in such high esteem were used to do just that to their ancestors?
  19. I am distressed that it is increasingly becoming difficult to have adult friends who do not have imaginary friends; they all talk about having a friend in Jesus, angels and skydaddy.
  20. I am distressed that even though I am the one who does not believe in a talking snake, a talking donkey, a virgin mother, a Noah’s ark that ferried all living things on earth, yet somehow I am the one the believers call crazy.

Even though I am distressed by all these absurdities, I am happy I am not one of the believers. To be called ‘crazy’ by ignorant people is indeed a compliment.

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The cancer called Religion!

547752_422632627783136_13988685_nThere is a cancer in town; it is not a new disease, in fact, it has been around ever since humans started creating Gods. It has always been dangerous; however, with inducements and profits to be made, it gets more dangerous! Its most potent strategy of invasion is through indoctrination.

Infected persons indoctrinate children; they are also commanded to infect others. People who are not infected or already cured can still be affected by this cancer as the actions of infected persons have consequences on the lives of the uninfected. [Read more…]

Why “Thank God I survived” or “God knows best” is a terrible thing to say in the aftermath of a fatal disaster.

The aftermath of a tragedy always see many people praising ‘God’ for how they managed to escape and survive the tragedy. From natural disasters like the fatal earthquake in Haiti, Tsunami in Japan, Tornadoes in Oklahoma to the very avoidable road accidents and man-made plane crashes in Nigeria, many always come up with the “Thank God I survived” and “God knows best” supplication.307120_290237154324821_100000156154826_1443765_1849047904_n

Truly—Thank God? Really… God knows best?

Do people ever pause to really comprehend how selfish and distasteful this statement is? There you are, staring at the burnt remains of humans from a fire accident, grossly twisted bodies of innocent children from a car accident, pieces of charred human flesh scattered at a bomb blast scene or your neighbor’s body, half buried under a pile of debris caused by a natural disaster and all you could say is, thank God it wasn’t you. Really?

Yes, you might be glad that you are not one of the burnt persons, that your child is not the grossly twisted child who groaned and screamed in agony but should you not save your ‘Thank God’ supplications for the privacy of your room when only you and your ‘God’ is present?

How do you think it seems to the family of those bereaved when for example:- [Read more…]

Is the Atheist+ label really confusing?

Would people object to an atheist group showing up at Pride with a banner “Atheist for LGBSDC14859T rights”? Would this confuse onlookers and make them assume that all atheists are for LGBT rights? I was at the 2012 World Pride in London and right behind my group, Nigerian LGBTIs in diaspora, was another group with the banner “Lawyers for Equal Marriage”. I am a lawyer and I also happen to know many lawyers who are against equality rights for same-sex couples. Should the anti-LGBT equality lawyers protest the use of the name ‘Lawyers’ in such context?  Well, that would be silly!

 Just like Lawyers, Socialists and Humanists, I can also use my Atheist self-identity to complement other causes I identify with. No other atheists get to tell me, “Hey do not add ‘plus’ to Atheism, you are redefining it”. I am not redefining it; I am only using what I already am to promote other causes I believe in. [Read more…]

What are Anti-Atheists+ afraid of?

I do not know what the hullabaloo is about Atheism+, why all the hate and tantrums? I understand that people fear change, people with power fear anything that would or could threaten their power base, and because atheists are people, they are not exempted from this fear of change.

 People who enjoy power hardly want their privileged positions questioned. They fight the change makers, they cast aspersion on the oppositions’ characters, they fight tooth and nail to discredit the change and this is mostly what the fight against Atheism+ is all about. The sad thing is, many of those fighting the Atheism+ concept would hardly agree that they fight because they are afraid of change, nope; they would hide under so many notions to justify their stance against atheism+.

 People love to have power over others; the ‘insignificant’ minorities are always the victims. Many so called progressives still use their residual patriarchal power, sometimes unconsciously, to lord it over others but they loathe it when they are confronted with this fact.

 Why am I in support of Atheism+? I am a black African woman who also identify as atheist, bisexual,391462_507881772571218_1254845999_n feminist, socialist and humanist.  Sometimes I join groups that promote all my identities or at least acknowledge some of the things I identify as and with. For example, I identify with Black feminists groups, African labour groups, Labor women organizations, LGBT Atheists, African bisexuals, Black Atheists groups, Working class Atheists, Secular humanists and female workers groups. When attached to my birth identity, these self-identity tags afford me the opportunity to understand at a glance, the demography of the groups.

 I am conscious that not every organization that I identify with, shares my values or all my identities, however when joining or identifying with a group, I consider it important that I network with groups and persons who do not only share a birth or self-identity with me but who also share core values.    [Read more…]

Why Am I An Atheist?

The million dollar question! I really get peeved when asked this question especially when it comes with that disbelieving look and exclamation. “You mean you really don’t believe there is a God?” This is sometimes followed by the incredulous “You insane or something? And not forgetting that very annoying question “What happened to make you lose faith in God?”

Why do believers assume something terrible must have happened for one to lose “faith” or not have faith at all? 

 Well, the terrible thing that happened was I actually read the bible, and the good news is, reading the bible and other ‘holy’ books turned me into an Atheist! [Read more…]