Thursday, June 16, 2005

Africa

Over at the red hurt machine, someone commented the following:
"It is ludicrous to think that all of Africa's problems have been caused by some kind of racist, premeditated exploitation."
All? Certainly not--we didn't create AIDS. But most? If you watch a child drown, you are guilty of its death. Let me respond pre-emptively to some objections.
1) Yes, everything is more nuanced than this. I'm just providing information, not really making any case.
2) Yes, Africa's situation is deteriorating, which means it used to be better. I think this is because of at least 3 factors: 1) Western complicity with new, more efficient dictators; 2) AIDS; 3) the African infrastructure of the 60s and 70s was not as strong as it looked--the progress wasn't all real.
Read up.

3 Comments:

At 6:38 PM, Blogger Jackscolon said...

I'm not really argueing against you here (I'm not sure I believe this myself) but a great book discussing whether or not AIDS was created by us is Emerging Viruses: AIDS and Ebola- written by Leonard Horowitz I believe.

Anyway, in said book, Horowitz examines a lot of interesting facts concerning the AIDS virus and Kissinger era politics concerning population control. For example:
1) There are a lot of reasons why the actual virus looks artificial, as it appears to consist of different viruses spliced together. Also, when it is exposed to UV rays, the virus falls apart exactly on the lines where it appears to be joined together.
2) He gives compelling arguement to how bovine tuberculosis and cat lieukemia could amalgamate into a virus with the same properties as AIDS (a slow release immune destroyer) and how it could be transferred to humans (as neither disease is communicable to humans by itself)
3) Some evidence regarding the government biological weapons program. Specifically, the goverment's desire to develop a virus that is slow-release and is a t-cell inhibitor. (If it seems conspiracy theoryish by my description let me assure you it is much more thoroughly researched and presented in the book)
4) He also provides motive for the use of such a virus as third world population control and how AIDS is actually the perfect virus to do this. ex... AIDS won't burn out the population (kill so many so fast that there is no one left to spread the disease), is cheaper than mass efforts at education and contraception, and isn't rampantly contagious (no worldwide outbreak along the lines of an ebola epidemic)
5) He also discusses how McCarthy era politics were looking to control homosexuality (viewed and discussed openly as subversive behavior) and some interesting facts regarding the release of a contaminated vaccine to the homosexual populations of ten US cities... and how these US cities now have AIDS epidemics among the gay population.

I know that is a real rough outline of the book and probably doesn't do it justice in terms of scope or detail... but hopefully it contained enough nuggets to spark some interest.

 
At 6:51 PM, Blogger Jackscolon said...

Also, I will argue against comparing US indifference to African issues to watching a baby drown. Perhaps this analogy should also stipulate that:
1) You have to help the baby without being able to say that you know what is best for the baby's survival- or risk having your help rejected by the baby who is offended and incur the wrath of most of the baby's neighbors who believe your good intentions are an attempt to change the way they raise their kids (with the exception of the Limey family and others who still owe you from saving them from a worse fate in the forties...)
2) For the most part, the rest of your immediate family cares little about the baby, as its life or death has little effect on neighborhood trade or politics.
3) Also, most of the neighbors and a small, vocal contingent of your own family will construe your baby saving efforts as an attempt to adopt the baby and control its upbringing- and will retaliate by smashing your mailbox.

I could go on but I think you get the gist of my point...

 
At 6:18 PM, Blogger StandingOutInTheCold said...

Jackscolon has a good point: the US gets slammed when it gets involved in other countries no matter what. But if you decided not to save a drowning baby for the reasons you listed, I would think you are a terrbile, selfish, monsterous human being. Its far worse to be evil than to be thought of as evil by your peers. Especially when we're willing to invade a country for our national defense (Iraq). If its okay not to care what the rest of the world thinks to cover our butts (whether thats why we're really there or not thats what the public was sold on) but not to save lives, then we are closer to the world's view of us than I would like to think. We should rush to save other people's lives faster than our own. But now I'm just being idealistic...

 

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