Oscar Wilde and the Central African Republic

The Central African Republic commemorated the 115th anniversary of Oscar Wilde’s passing with some very jolly postage stamps. On the left: Hurd Hatfield (1917-1998) in The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1945; Wilde’s monument in Père-Lachaise; Margarita Xirgu (1888-1969) as Salomé in 1910. Right: Charlotte Parry (Cecily Cardew) and Brian Bedford (Lady Bracknell) in The Importance of Being Earnest; the exotic creature behind OW is the Russian actress and director Alla Nazimova as Salomé – her 1917 silent film of the play is still rightly regarded as a great classic.

The Central African Republic was one of the few African states that signed a “joint statement on ending acts of violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity” at the United Nations, condemning violence and discrimination against LGBT people. A great many of the African banana republics have dismal records of intolerance and persecution of LGBT, particularly those where the Christian, scriptural literalist, hard right wields its ugly influence.

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