A charm offensive against AIDS – Michel Sidibé

From the New York Times:

SOWETO, South Africa — Shortly after Michel Sidibé became executive director of the United Nations’ AIDS prevention agency, a court in Senegal sentenced nine gay men, all AIDS educators, to eight years in prison for “unnatural acts.”

In one of his first moves as the new chief of U.N.AIDS, Mr. Sidibe flew to Senegal to ask its aging president, Abdoulaye Wade, to pardon the men.

Mr. Sidibé, the son of a Muslim politician from Mali and a white French Catholic, asked the president — who is married to a white Frenchwoman — if he had ever suffered discrimination.

“Oh, Sidibé, you have no idea,” came the reply. “And for not marrying a Muslim.”

“Then, Uncle,” Mr. Sidibé said, using the African way to politely address an older man, “why do you accept that men here are put in jail for eight years just for being gay?”

Mr. Wade thought about it and promised to call his justice minister. Shortly afterward, the charges were dropped.

Read the complete article here.  Watch the video here.

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