AWARDED TO AFRICAN HUMANISTS FOR THE SECOND TIME
Stockholm -- The 2010 Nordic Rainbow Humanist Award has gone to secretary general George Thindwa and his colleagues at the Association for Secular Humanism of Malawi for their "courageous public stand for LGBT rights and identity in this African nation -- taking great risks of retaliation from homophobic politicians, religious leaders, a hostile mass media and violence-prone critics."
"We are happy to receive the award," says George Thindwa. "At first we thought this was a joke!"
" This is the second time our annual Nordic award goes to Africa," says Nordic Rainbow Humanists' international secretary Bill Schiller in Stockholm "And we were very pleased to have this recommendation from earlier prize winner and outspoken supporter of LGBT rights, Leo Igwe of the Nigerian humanists."
The award motivation also states that the Malawians are being honored for "adding a voice in a continent where tolerance towards the LGBT communities is a rare exception and where even former African freedom fights and anti-colonialist leaders now in power openly call for the imprisonment and punishment for LGBT people."
" ... and for illustrating that the path to liberation, tolerance and knowledge must be taken by all of us joining together on the rainbow barricades -- flying those flags of cultural identity, visibility and human dignity -- stretching hands of friendship over national borders."
Earlier winners of the Nordic Rainbow Humanist award include George Broadhead (founder of the international, London-based GALHA (Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association), pioneering Norwegian LGBT activist Kim Friele, Carl-Johan Kleberg (former chairman of the Swedish Humanists as well as long-time member of Tupilak - Nordic rainbow cultural workers and the Nordic Rainbow Humanist) pioneering Dutch LGBT activist Rob Tieleman (former chairman of the global International Humanist & Ethical Union) Leo Igwe and his Nigerian Humanist Movement, and Remyus Cernea and colleagues of the Romanian Humanist Association.
"We hope to hand the diploma over in person at the first possible opportunity as is our tradition instead of just sending it off in the mail -- although this sometimes takes time and is not easy for a 0-budget organization as ours, Schiller concludes. "We are very grateful to GALHA for bringing Leo Igwe to London when he could receive his diploma in person, even though it took a few years after he and his Nigerian colleagues received the award."
More information via www.tupilak.org