Archbishop John Sentamu Lashes Out At Human Rights Campaigners:

The Global Campaigners Were Appealing To The British Ugandan Archbishop to Use His Pulpit and Voice Against Ugandan Regime Human Rights Violations.

‘A time comes when silence is betrayal’.MLK 4 April 1967’.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” ― Edmund Burke

As international condemnation for human rights violations and sanctions deepened, there were growing calls for the most prominent British Black clergy, of Ugandan descent, Archbishop John Sentamu, to speak up.

The US, UN, EU, HRW, Tassc and the UK have either passed resolutions, imposed sanctions, condemned or published reports of gross human rights violations in Uganda. Not to mentions other civil society organizations like Amnesty International and multiple press reports.

However, after almost total silence on the issue, the British Ugandan born archbishop, took his critics to task and stated that he was deploying 'silent articulation.’

What was telling, was that the Archbishop wrote the word articulation in capital letters, perhaps showing the irritation or pressure he was facing. In an intemperate tone not befitting a man of his public stature and office.

John Sentamu, a sitting member of the UK upper legislative chambers, commonly known as the House Of Lords, wrote, ‘Will you please substantiate your claim? Silence is very often the best ARTICULATION! Please stop insulting our common intelligence . What difference is your insult and gratuitous accusations making’.

Predictably, this only increased further scrutiny and pressure, not only for the Archbishop, but also for the church as a whole, in its response to racism and gross human rights violations.

Historically, the church and clergy have faced similar questions and the silence has often been associated or interpreted as almost a form of complicity.

As an example, critics point out that, ‘the pontiff’s refusal to publicly condemn the Nazis represents a shameful moral failing with devastating consequences’.

Recalling a jewish convert to catholocism, Edith Stein, a nun, who wrote to the Pope at the time, of the holocaust, appealing for the vatican to speak up but was ignored. She was later canonised.

Fleeing Idi Amin Atrocities

Archbishop Sentamu fled Idi Amin’s Uganda, where he was a judge, in fear for his life.

He later retrained to become a clergyman and went through the ranks to become the Archbishop of York, a de-facto deputy to the Archbishop of Canterbury. A proud moment for the black British community. Especially the British Ugandan community.

He famously cut his collar on national TV in protest against Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe and pledged not to wear it again until the situation improved.

He was also very active in the fight against racism and workers rights in the UK.

Last year, in 2020 , there was widespread public outcry, in his suppprt, after it was stated that he was rejected for a peerage. It is understood that he was later given a peerage in the House of Lords, the upper chamber of the UK legislature.

However, as concerns about gross human rights violations, killings, abductions, enforced disappearances and mass detention rise, there are growing calls for the Archbishop Sentamu to speak up.

To speak up and return the favour for those who did the same, and spoke up, during Amin’s regime on his shoulders he stands.

During Apartheid, Bishop Desmond Tutu spoke up as did MLK over jim crow, Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. So the public is puzzled why Archbishop John Sentamu not only remained quite but lashed out at human rights campaigners seeking his voice as a moral leader with loud megaphone. His occupation.

Social media calls for Archbishop Sentamu to speak up

Religious leaders are supposed to be the arbiters of morality, should exhume leadership and be an exemplary social pillar.

An extension of the state as an unelected chamber of sorts.

In short, a point of moral reference for society, especially the youth.

As St. Edna Stein, demonstrated, times like these required, religious leaders, to come out and strongly condemn political violence in ALL its forms.

To condemn unreservedly, in particular, the violence against unarmed innocent civilians, abductions and the loss of lives during the protests on the 18th and 19th of November 2020.

This is a time that called for the religious leaders to step up to the plate and guide the country through a turbulent epoch that arguably potentially, threatens national, regional and international stability by extension.

An epoch that could evolve into violence that sadly characteristically triggers consequential humanitarian catastrophes that follow such an environment.

It was a critical test the Archbishop Sentamu like his peers belonging to the cabal of religious cohorts not only failed but continue to fail to meet.

And in that sense, what are moral leaders for?

Should they continue to enjoy the privileges, trappings and moral authority that comes with that responsibility?

Perhaps the following quotations from MLK and the acts of Edna Stein could jolt them into action.

‘A time comes when silence is betrayal’.MLK 4 April 1967’.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” ― Edmund Burke

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Sally Peters

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