JUBA – South Sudanese social media users are furious at the United States embassy in Juba after the US mission to the world’s youngest country posted – on its Facebook page – a picture of the LGBTQ flag flying at the embassy’s compound.
The US embassy wrote on its Facebook page on Thursday that “For #PrideMonth2021 we are proudly flying the Pride flag at U.S. Embassy Juba. This rainbow flag commemorates decades of struggle for equal rights for sexual and gender minorities.”
“It also represents our firm belief in the inherent dignity and equal rights of all people,” the embassy added.
South Sudanese social media users dived in to express strong disapproval of what they call a ‘devilish’ culture with one of the commentators urging the United States embassy to ‘respect’ his call of taking away LGBTQ advocacy in South Sudan.
“The system of our shared values, beliefs, customs and behaviors that we use to cope with one another (our culture) doesn’t have a vacancy for this devilish and ungodly campaign,” Isaac Madeng Abraham said of the US statement.
“Please respect it. It’s all that we are asking. It’s not too much,” he continued before adding: “#SayNoToLGBT [in South Sudan].”
Another social media commentator expressed dislike of the statement and said he is disappointed by the United States embassy for posting something of the kind and urged anyone with connection to authorities in Juba to report it.
“I’m so disappointed at [you] US Embassy that I like so much and used to [support] for posting such thing in Africa, especially my country [South Sudan],” the commentator who identifies himself as ‘Thé Belovéd Theophilus’ wrote in the comment section.
“Someone should report this [to the authorities]! Protecting our nation against all forms and appearances of evil against our God-given Faith in His Son Jesus Christ must be protected by all means,” he added.
Malcolm Taban Mading called the statement ‘nonsense’ and said South Sudan does not promote polygamy in the United States and as such, the US government should equally respect that and avoid the promotion of LGBTQ culture in South Sudan.
“This is absolutely nonsense. We’re a polygamous society but the South Sudanese embassy in America has never one day, not even for a second advocated for polygamy in America because we know it’s not part of your culture or so called rights,” he wrote.
“But now the US embassy in Juba is advocating for something which is against our moral values. This is sad and we’ll never ever accept this nonsense no matter what! You MUST know that,” he added.
The furious South Sudanese netizens further vowed that “no any amount of intimidation, threats of aid cut or sanctions that will make us accept this evil thing. You can’t tell us on one hand that marrying many wives is bad but on the other hand tells us that same sex marriage is Okay, even a fool cannot agree with you on this.”
Kaidi Cleto Hassan Rial however had a different sight of the LGBTQ-related statement and said “We should not act as if LGBTQ does not exist on our communities. At least some countries are giving them rights and as humans their fundamental rights must be respected.”
“Thank you U.S. Embassy [in] South Sudan for flying the flag. It will give hope to many who are silently suffering abuse,” Kaidi added.
June is commemorated worldwide in memory of the Stonewall riots, a series of spontaneous demonstrations by members of the gay community in response to a police raid that began in the early hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City.
Earlier this year, US Department of State authorized U.S. diplomatic missions across the world to fly the rainbow pride flag on the same pole as the American flag at embassies and consulates, The New York Times reported in January quoting a state department cable.
In the cable first quoted, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken noted that it was not a requirement and gave chiefs of mission the ability to “determine that such a display is appropriate in light of local conditions.”
The decision by the US State Department reversed a decision by the Trump administration rejecting requests from embassies to raise it on their flag poles during the month of June, which in the United States and many other countries is Pride month.