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30 May 2009

Comments

D. Askew

"The landlocked mountain kingdom is one of the world's poorest nations and has the highest HIV prevalence in the world. An estimated 43 percent of its citizens are HIV positive."

43% ???

Wow. Just wow.

Simpson

The 43 percent figure is shocking, that is for sure. But this guy Myeni is a tool of the highest order. And of course he calls himself a Xtian.

Joseph

Poor African countries with absurd HIV rates (often above 40%) generally have no way of treating victims of the disease since HIV medicines are made in and sold by the rich capitalist nations of North America and Europe. As a result, some leaders of these poor nations come up with absurd solutions to a problem that is impossible for them to address with medicine, or even condoms (too expensive condoms made in rich Eurocentric countries).

The root of the problem here is poverty created by global capitalism-- and the imperialism, underdevelopment and debt-slavery imposed on Africa by rich Eurocentric countries to the North. This statement does not excuse, however, the ignorance, tyranny and corruption of some African leaders.

One way to end this is to end the debt-slavery and the disproportionate control of the global marketplace by rich Eurocentric nations, especially the U.S. and within the European Union. (America, for example, dominates the U.N., the IMF and the World Bank-- institutions which keep Africa in debt-slavery and underdevelopment-- read Walter Rodney's "How Europe Underdeveloped Africa")

Dalton

@ Joseph:

No, no, no. I disagree with almost everything in that Marxist, blame-the-imperialists diatribe.

"Too expensive condoms made in rich Eurocentric countries"???
Hardly. The HIV transmission rate is so high in sub-Saharan African because men will not wear condoms and women will not insist upon them. That is similar to the black community in the United States. Oh and what are "eurocentric condoms"--condoms that don't fit the African man??

The US, UNAIDS, and many NGOs (non governmental organizations) have been giving away truckloads of condoms. It's working better in some countries (Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda) than in others such as Swaziland and South Africa. But when you have a king who has 20 wives, well, that is the imagery.

As far as medicine is concerned, yes, the medicines are mostly made in the West. However, most of the anti-retrovirals are being given away for free or at extreme reduced costs (pennies per day) in Africa, courtesy of the pharmaceuticals, the US Global Fund on AIDS, UNNAIDS, and foundations such Gates, Clinton, etc. There is not enough free or low cost medicine for everyone. But the biggest problem between providing the free meds and delivering it to the HIV poz is mostly corruption, which is endemic in nations such as Swaziland, South Africa, Zimbabwe, etc. Bureaucrats are seizing drugs and re-selling them at profit.


And of course let's not forget many South African leaders have ignored AIDs and/or told their citizens to try herbs and roots, like South Africa's recently fired health minister.

You make a good point about the debt of the developing world, but that has nothing to do with this story. Do the people of Swaziland who refuse to use condoms ever factor into your analysis?

Joseph

Dalton,

You ignored the point I made about the corruption, ignorance and tyranny of some African leaders-- so my "diatribe" is not all about "blaming the imperialists".
The lack of the adequate availability of condoms and HIV medications in many African countries is rooted in the underdevelopment of Africa and its debt slavery. (It is not 'Marxist' to make this argument.)

I don't rest the blame for the African AIDS crisis on ignorant African tyrants or the impoverished, uneducated people they rule. I put the blame on both corrupt African leaders and African capitalists as well as on the global capitalist system upon which they depend in order to rule. This global capitalist system includes rich pharmaceutical companies who refuse to make HIV medications FREE to Africans and Americans alike.

You are right about African American and African ignorance about condoms. However, Western donors from the UN have failed to meet the African need: in 2004 the number of condoms provided to this region by donors was equivalent to 10 for every man-- and this is for the ENTIRE YEAR. Dalton, could you make it on only 10 condoms a year??

I am especially tired of people bemoaning the African crisis without a sense of history, and without blaming the rich pharmaceuticals who control medicines. You make the best point: "There is not enough free or low cost medicine for everyone." You might change that to 'There is not enough FREE medicine for most Africans with HIV.' Fewer than one in five of the millions of Africans in need of the treatment are receiving it.

That only a FIFTH of HIV infected Africans get medication can not be blamed on the corruption of African leaders withholding medicine. That is the worse kind of LIE, leading people to blame Africans and their leaders for the HIV crisis in Africa. For example, a study in Nigeria found that 44% of patients took their drugs intermittently or in insufficient dosages because they could not afford to pay fees of up to $67 per month.

As of December 2007, only 3 million people living with HIV in resource-poor countries were receiving HIV medicines, out of 9.7 million in need.

This fact can not be blamed on the corruption of leaders, but on the greed of rich Western pharmaceuticals.

Chaz

I am just so disgusted with my Africa. Our motherland, completely ravaged by this disease and Abrahamic religion-fostered ignorance.

I agree Joseph. Africa has yet to gain its strength back from centuries of European leeching and depravity.

Jim

Take a look at the photo of Mr. Myeni. He is an MP in one of world’s poorest nations, yet he is dressed in silks and satins.

Clearly, God has bestowed upon Mr. Myeni the reward of great wealth for his devotion and adherence to the teachings of Jesus. Just as clearly, God has punished Mr. Myeni’s countrymen for their turning away from His Word with terrible poverty and HIV infection.

Everyone needs to be just like the saintly Mr. Myeni, and then we will all be able to wear silks and satins, too.

ChazSD

With respect, I was born and grew up in Swaziland. The problem is corruption and not the big bad globalised west. The wages of a Swazi MP compared to the average citizen are extreme and outrageous.

I have been involved in the aids issue in Swaziland and the degree of ignorance and lack of education is frightening. The conspiracy theories would be laughable if people did not sadly actually believe them. Politicians themselves will not deal with the issue and will not even admit anyone in their families or even themselves may be infected. And yes those statistics are probably even worse. I spoke to a doctor in a hospital and he said one in two women admitted are hiv+. Denial from all quarters is paramount. A relative who was positive recently died from the disease would never have dared say so aloud when alive. And when someone dies from hiv/aids, everybody says it was tuberculosis or whatever the complication was that killed them after their immune system was ravaged.

The inept king gets a new wife each year at a ceremony called a reed dance where woman are put on parade for him to choose a new wife, but she must be a virgin of course. Every wife has their own bmw and more etc. I could talk about his palaces but I’m sure you know what I’m going to say. As is the tradition with most all African countries the people at the top are in it for themselves only regardless of the cost to their fellow countrymen. The king is more concerned about trying to get the country to buy him his own large private jet or airplane which would bankrupt the country.

Deep reforms are needed but they will not happen until the old elite are sidelined and the people start to stand up and demand change. But we know from most all other African countries how those ‘dissenters’ are dealt with. I can go on and on but will just end by saying the problems are internal. The value of life is pitiful. It’s far too easy to blame the west and globalisation but this is NOT the real problem. Fortunately Botswana seems to be the only country who is actually putting any degree of effort into tackling hiv/aids.

JG, III

Joseph and Dalton:

Perhaps there is a little truth to both of your analysis. However, I wanted to address the remarks that African women won’t wear condom by invoking a little cultural insight on the subject matter, particularly, working with this immigrant population here in the US.

Africa continues to be a very patriarchal society, which values having children as an important aspect of their identity, even if they are HIV. For some African women, the inability to have children has grave consequences around her self-concept and cultural identity. While in the US, it is possible for HIV positive heterosexuals to have children, without transmitting the virus to the baby or fetus, under the strict supervision of medical providers, these options aren’t available to many Africans nor do they have the pool of medical professionals.

So, while on the surface, it appears that African women won’t wear condom, there are significant cultural ideologies that perpetuate the transmission of the virus.

As to the next issue concerning tyrannical leaders, who in some cases horde necessary HAART medications from their needy citizenry, there is significant research and feedback to the correctness of this observation. Currently, Africa has more dictators than any county in the modern world. Many of these countries don’t have a lot natural resources (i.e., and environmental disasters from oil companies and fishing their oceans dry of any livelihood from neighboring countries), and when they do have the resources, it’s only allocated to a few.

Then, you couple ignorance with these religious knuckleheads who haven’t freed themselves from colonialism via religious oppression has the makings of a very dysfunctional society.

In all, it’s a lot more complicated than this.

JG, III

gurlene

JG.the third and ChazSD I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your comments. I am forwarding this article to several knuckleheaded black american gay friends of mine who are practically ready to go to blows with me when I point out the things africans did/do to ONE ANOTHER.

Don't even get me started on Robert Mugabe. Thanks again for your comments.

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