Saturday, June 19, 2010
Homos have rights too…!
This was the headline on the front page of the Daily Graphic in Ghana yesterday.
I remember a couple of science fiction novels based upon the premise that, among the infinite number of parallel universes, it must be that each of us has infinite possibilities of playing out our existence. Take what is happening here. I am writing and you are reading. Everything I write could be exactly the same in another universe, save for a full stop…or a different word…or a typo…or I didnâ€™t write it at all. All the possibilities lie within infinity. My life and yours are being played out in parallel, infinite variations. We could be evil, we could be good, we could be philanderers, we could be bisexual, we could be nuns and monks, we could be presidents and we could be killed at birth. On and on. And in parallel universes, time can move backwards and forwards, denying us the certainty of the progressive arrow arcing to the furthest edge of existence.
In some of these science fiction tales, the heroine or hero goes back in time and then returns to exactly the same point at which she or he left. Everything seems the same but then… a different party is in power, adverts are different and friends are not, somehow, the same. There are some scientists who say it is possible that ghosts are our other selves in parallel universes. Universes touch and we see through, momentarily.
All this is a roundabout, literary affectation to bring you back to the headline that begins this piece. Maybe you would have seen it in a red top newspaper in the sixties in Britain before there were changes in public attitudes which led to the repealing of laws on homosexuality but it underlines the difference in cultural norms between Ghana and the UK. Bodies resulting from macabre rituals, photographed in situ at the murder scene, are routinely published. Accounts of sexual acts are graphically described. There is less observance of what the British call â€˜decencyâ€™ in coverage, less gloss, less euphemism. As a result, the truth â€“ or at least the evidence upon which truth may rest â€“ is less varnished.
I have been here for two years and will be happy to remain here until I am jettisoned into a new life in a parallel universe after death â€“ or some quirk in fate thrusts me elsewhere. Anyway, it will take me twenty to thirty years to fathom the subtle differences between Ghana and the UK, so headlines such as in the Daily Graphic yesterday donâ€™t make it seem that, unbeknownst to my current self, I have flipped through time or across universes but am solidly rooted in a culture I understand.