Founder of Three Twins Ice Cream, Neal Gottlieb, has just done a cooler (and possibly far riskier) activity than most have on his recent vacation to the African continent: He climbed to the top of Uganda's highest mountain peak, planted the ROYGBIV on it, and then sent a letter to the Ugandan president taking responsibility for it.
And what a letter it is:
On April 16, 2014, after a 6-day climb, I summited your country's tallest peak, Mount Stanley's 16,753 foot tall Margherita Peak, and mounted a gay pride flag at its summit in protest of your country's criminalization of homosexuality. Your country's highest point is no longer its soil, its snow or a summit marker, but rather a gay pride flag waving brilliantly, shining down from above as a sign of protest and hope behalf of the many thousands of Ugandans that you seek to repress and the many more that understand the hideous nature of your repressive legislation.
Oh, but it gets better, because he then dared the Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni, to march up the summit and take it down himself.
If you don't like said flag on your highest peak, I urge you to climb up and take it down. However, you are an old man and surely the 6-day climb through the steep muddy bogs and up the mountain's glaciers is well beyond your physical ability. Your days are more limited than most. Do you want your remaining days to be yet another blight on the history of your nation or will you find the strength to reverse your actions and allow all Ugandans to be free?
As much as I feel like cheering Gottlieb on (oh, heck, who am I kidding, I'm already doing so to some extent), I can't help wonder about the neocolonialist implications of a white American man planting a flag on an African mountain, even if I feel the protest is just. I also worry about the recriminations for Gottlieb's guides and acquaintances within Uganda, even though he takes full responsibility for the action in his letter. Will they be subject to retaliation that Gottlieb will not have to suffer himself? And is it not up to Ugandans to solve their own issues around marginalising those of differing sexual orientations and gender identities?
But damn, that is one awesome photograph.
Image via Neal Gottlieb's Facebook page.