“How can you say that?” a voice inside me yelled. “How can you say that? You, sir, you are a black sub-Saharan African. Cast your mind back into the past. Don’t you remember when your ancestors had similar comments thrown in their faces? Don’t you remember that for a long time similar comments were made about those of dark skin, how they were disgusting, that their dark skin was evidence of their disgustingness? Don’t you remember how degraded and humiliated you felt when you knew that the colour of your skin was a natural phenomenon, a very part of your person? Wasn’t it the right thing for the Mzungus to look into their hearts and realise that your skin colour does not make you disgusting but rather it was our Mzungu ancestors’ attitude that had to change? Don’t you see that you are now being called to look into your hearts and ask yourselves whether your disgust to us mshogas is truly the way to view us or that your attitude needs to change? And you, madam, don’t you remember in the past when women were treated as less than men, simply as sexual objects whose role was to maintain the home, raise the children and be the recipient of heterosexual men’s desires and that was all you were good for? Don’t you remember the degrading comments heterosexuals made of you all because of a physical attribute that made you you, a physical attribute that you have no control over?
But my and Ibrahim’s desires for each other, what are they to you? Don’t you, sir, have a wife? Don’t you, madam, have a husband? And if so, how would you feel if you had thrown at your feet that your desires for your spouses and your spouses’ for you were disgusting? Those who threw this at you, what business is it of theirs anyway? If others around you thought it was disgusting to think of the two of you making love, does this constitute a right for those around you to stop you from engaging in this form of love? What right do others around you have over your body and over who can touch your body intimately and where you allow them to touch you? And what business is it of those around you to actually entertain the thought of you making love when you do it away from the public eye?
And further, don’t you enjoy your spouses, to have and to hold, to be with, to talk with, to spend time together, to love each other? Don’t Ibrahim and I, like everyone else on the planet, have a right to love?
Title: A Right to Love
Author: Mark Frew
Genre: Gay Fiction / Religious / Psychological
Book blurb: The story is about a non-religious man, called Michael, who is a teacher in a modern college. He meets a student, Polycarp, who is a refugee from Rwanda and who has lost all of his family. Michael decides to travel to Africa to find out if any of Polycarp’s family members are still alive. In the process, he meets a devout Muslim sub-Saharan African man, Ibrahim. Michael and Ibrahim fall in love and as their relationship develops, Michael and Ibrahim have to adjust to each other’s outlooks on life. Throughout the process, the interpretation of both the Bible and the Koran, and how homosexuality can be accepted within this framework are discussed.
Mark Frew is a teacher of English to speakers of other languages. He has a bachelor degree in chemistry and is an avid linguist who speaks several languages. Mark Frew is also the author of Mauritian Creole in Seven Easy Lessons, Michael and the Multicoloured Gospel and Farewell My Pashtun.