Robert Mugabe , the 91-year-old leader of Zimbabwe, deviated slightly from his prepared remarks, during his Monday evening address to the United Nations General Assembly, to do something that he does frequently: slur against homosexuality. “We are not gays,” he shouted. And it’s worse than it sounds.
Mugabe , who wasn’t exactly a standard bearer for the old human rights agenda, managed to construe human rights to make it look like his were being trampled.
“We reject the politicization of this important issue and the application of double standards to victimize those who dare think and act independently of the self-anointed prefects of our time,” Mugabe said. “We equally reject attempts to prescribe ‘new rights’ that are contrary to our values, norms, traditions, and beliefs.”
Mugabe then, apparently extemporaneously, veered off script and added for emphasis: “We are not gays!” What exactly Mugabe mean by that is open to debate. BuzzFeed’s Hayes Brown notes that the line got a smattering of laughs along with some polite applause.
Mugabe then continued, without a whiff of irony, saying: “Cooperation and respect for each other will advance the cause of human rights worldwide. Confrontation, vilification, and double-standards will not.”