poverty, not AIDS, killing Africans

Michael Perelman michael at ecst.csuchico.edu
Tue Mar 14 13:56:44 PST 2000

Yes, I know him. He became terribly right wing, and was on the paid staff of the Repug. assembly of Cal., attacking public higher education, while teaching at a state college. The idea is that AIDs is caused by personal failures rather than a disease. If you have AIDs, you are a bad person.

Patrick Bond wrote:

> Doug (as you know from reading e-debate on this!) and other comrades,
> This stuff is explosively controversial, as it has formed the basis
> for the SA Department of Health denying pregnant HIV+ women the free
> AZT that is desperately required to save half their babies (35,000 a
> year). The current issue of the Mail and Guardian
> (http://www.mg.co.za ) has some good coverage about the AIDS
> doubters. But I'd rather email a note from one of the comrades
> allegedly benefiting from the 4-wheel drive syndrom (what a devious
> way for Geshekter to make the argument)...
> Michael Perelman, you're at Chico, do you know Geshekter?
> > Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 14:40:32 -0500
> > From: Doug Henwood <dhenwood at panix.com>
> > Globe and Mail (Toronto) - March 14, 2000
> > ...
> > This means that those who question AIDS in Africa put their own
> > funding at risk. I saw this at first-hand when I visited Swaziland in
> > mid- December at the invitation of their HIV/AIDS Crisis Management
> > Committee. I was driven from the airport to the hotel in a late model
> > 4-wheel drive vehicle. It had been donated by UNICEF and was covered
> > with AIDS posters urging Swazis to "use a condom, save a life." The
> > committee included representatives of the major government
> > ministries, as well as church and women's groups.
> >
> > After my presentation, an attorney named Teresa Mlangeni acknowledged
> > that she could easily see how malnutrition, tuberculosis, malaria and
> > other parasitic infections -- not sexual behaviour -- were making her
> > fellow Swazis ill. But other committee members confided that if they
> > voiced public doubts, they risked losing their international funding.
> > And I realized that the vested interests of the international AIDS
> > orthodoxy would discourage further inquiries.
> Date sent: Sat, 11 Mar 2000 01:35:15 +0200
> From: Zackie Achmat <zackie at pixie.co.za>
> Fw: South African People Living with HIV/AIDS MOBILISE!!!!
> Dear All
> I have attended one of the best and most difficult meetings of my
> life. TAC members from Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape
> joined, NAPWA, Positive Women and YPLA members from across the country
> in a unfied response together with people who had never belonged to an
> organisation.
> Break the Silence! This was South Africa's Second National Conference
> of People Living with HIV/AIDS organised under the auspices of the
> Durban 2000 Conference. The following were the most outstanding
> features of the conference for me.
> 1.. From almost every corner of our country, people with
> HIV/AIDS--young and old, black and white, men and women, lesbian,
> gay and heterosexual came to organise for the Durban 2000
> Conference. For the first time men and women were represented in
> equal numbers. And again, African people were present in
> overwhelming numbers. During the Conference, Comrade Ben
> Masuka--former Gauteng co-ordinator of NAPWA died--this
> contributed to a spirit of unity and urgency among all the
> delegates. 2.. At the opening of the Conference, the Deputy
> President--Mr. Jacob Zuma was invited and he could not come. He
> was replaced by the Deputy Minister of Defence-Ms Nosizwe
> Madlala-Routledge. The mayor of Durban also attended. Both
> speakers repeated the speech every politician has made since the
> inception of the epidemic. In the first question of the
> Conference, the Deputy Minister of Defence was challenged by an
> African woman on the Defence Force's discriminatory employment
> policy. Another person with HIV challenged the Deputy Minister to
> carry the message on the TAC poster asking President Thabo Mbeki
> to provide AZT/Nevirapine for pregnant women. He also challenged
> the organisers of Durban 2000 to endorse the TAC's call to Glaxo
> Wellcome to lower the price of AZT to R180.00 (Later in the day
> Glaxo-Wellcome stated that they now provide AZT at R200,00 to the
> state as a result of pressure. TAC asks government to confirm the
> price of R200.00 3.. Throughout the day and at every workshop,
> speaker after speaker complained of the problems and
> discrimination experienced in the health care services and in
> clinical trials. In the afternoon, Bristol Meyers Squibb showed
> their colours when they refused to attend a panel discussion
> without explanation. Glaxo-Wellcome as usual was the only drug
> company prepared to engage with PWAs. However, Ms Vicki
> Ehrich--Director of Corporate Affairs tried to explain how Glaxo
> had invented, tested and developed AZT. She was challenged by
> every speaker on their policies and the fact that they did not
> invent AZT. Even the newly appointed NACOSA Communications
> Director suugested that she should negotiate with TAC and other
> organisations. The best question came from the person carrying
> the roving microphone--"You say Glaxo funds AIDS Projects in South
> Africa.?" ---"Yes! Replied the Glaxo Corporate Affairs manager.
> Imagining another begging PWA prepared to take crumbs-- she
> said:"This is almost our entire corporate social responsibility
> portfolio."--"You mean you fund many AIDS organisations?"
> Yes...."Oh! he replied! Please take all that money. Keep it and
> lower the prices of all your drugs." Gob-smacked!!!! 4.. Speaker
> after speaker in the conference over three days explained how
> families rejected their children, husbands their wives, even
> religious bodies. People spoke of poverty. And hunger. Cosatu
> Deputy President Ms Joyce Pekane pledged Cosatu support for TAC
> campaigns and outlined its own programme to educate its leaders
> and members. She promised to take up hospital problems with unions
> in the public sector. 5.. There was unanimous endorsement from
> delegates including organiser Shaun Mellors for the TAC and
> HealthGap proposal for a mass protest march at the opening of
> Durban 2000 with the theme "Treatment Access for People
> Everywhere". There was unanimous endorsement from all delegates
> to the conference to reduce the price of Diflucan--the Pfizer drug
> used to treat opportunistic infections to less than R3.00 per
> capsule. 6.. A young African gay man with HIV challenged the
> KwaZulu MEC for Health on the absence of government produced
> HIV/AIDS messages for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
> communities. Dr. Zweli Mkhize stated that the government
> targetted its efforts at the majoirty but would be open to
> producing targetted media for the lesbian and gay community as
> well. 7.. In the evening, the Minister of Health, Dr. Manto
> Tshabalala-Msimang and Judge Cameron were to address a Gala Dinner
> and answer questions. Judge Cameron gave one of the most moving
> addresses I have heard challenging the government and making a
> call to moral action. TAC will circulate the speech separately.
> The Minister was faced by 20--30 people holding posters calling
> for AZT/Nevirapine for pregnant mothers throughout her speech. She
> angered almost every person by refusing to take questions and to
> stay for dinner. In her speech she acknowledged that the TAC
> request for standard treatment guidelines had been granted and
> that she had completed them. She also stated that she owed TAC a
> meeting. We welcome both these and will meet with the Minister.
> 8.. In the morning, Minister of Welfare, Dr. Zola Skweyiya joined
> the conference. In a candid manner, he admiited that the Welfare
> Department had neglected the poor and people with HIV/AIDS in
> particular. He insisted that his department must involve people
> with HIV at every level. 9.. In a surprise visit, the Deputy
> President--Mr. Jacob Zuma came in person to apologise for his
> absence at the opening. Desiree Booysen, the KwaZulu Natal TAC
> organiser asked him to wear the HIV-Positive T-shirt! He removed
> his jacket and tie and wore the t-shirt. Then, before he spoke
> the Deputy President was welcomed with militant songs--"What are
> you doing? Mantho Tshabalala? Do the right thing" For more than 5
> minutes delegates sang and shouted slogans--"Phantsi Mantho
> Tshabalala! Phantsi!--Down with Mantho Tshabalala! Then, the
> Deputy-President spoke. He apologised for not coming earlier and
> restated his commitment to AIDS as Deputy President and as the
> chairperson of the National AIDS Council. He said he and the
> Council should be given a chance and that all the concerns raised
> througout the Conference would be raised in the National AIDS
> Council. The Deputy President was asked on behalf of the TAC to
> ask the President and the Minister of Health to ensure that
> academics who use science to sow confusion about AIDS not be
> allowed to participate on the international experts panel. The
> Deputy-President was also asked that two people living with
> HIV/AIDS elected by conference to serve on the South African
> National AIDS Council. The Deputy President was told by a
> delegate that people with HIV/AIDS were dying while millions of
> rands were wasted. He was asked to prioritise treatment and care.
> The Deputy President appealed for a joint approach to AIDS action
> and said that the would personally support the inclusion of people
> elected from the Conference to be the representatives of people
> with HIV/AIDS on the Council. He added that his door was always
> open and that AIDS was not only an issue for the Department of
> Health. He endorsed the work of the Minister of Welfare and
> insisted that we should not communicate through the media. 10..
> TAC nominated Thanduxolo Doro and Adeline Mancgu to the South
> African National AIDS Council. The nomination was supported by
> NAPWA. A third person was also nominated Francinah Pitikwe.
> Instead of voting all the delegates endorsed the TAC suggestion
> that the government be asked to include all three people living
> with HIV/AIDS as elected representatives. NAPWA, TAC, YPLA and
> Positve Women's Network agreed that the delegates could be
> recalled by agreement of the organisations if they did not carry
> the mandates of people livimng with HIV/AIDS. 11.. Traditional
> remedies, openness, nutrition, treatment lietracy, access to
> AZT/Nevirapine, basic treatment guidelines, lower drug prices,
> legal rights of people living with HIV/AIDS focussed all the
> delegates on the need to unite. Poverty and the abuse of people
> with HIV by NGOs and other people with HIV/AIDS angered many
> delegates. 12.. Delegates collected money to take a young woman
> who according to reports had been refused access to treatment at
> King Edward. The KZN MEC was called and a delegation took the
> young woman to the hospital. For all of us, this had been an
> exhausting and difficult few days. Over the next few months, PWAs
> will unite and build trust to face Durban 2000, the government and
> the drug companies with renewed confidence.
> Let no-one say people with HIV/AIDS cannot speak in our own name. Let
> no-one say that poor people cannot comply with drug regimens. Join us
> in building a powerful movement and unity among all people living with
> HIV/AIDS on the principles of equal access to social resources
> including treatment. Amandla!
> Patrick Bond
> email: pbond at wn.apc.org * phone: 2711-614-8088
> home: 51 Somerset Road, Kensington 2094 South Africa
> work: University of the Witwatersrand
> Graduate School of Public and Development Management
> PO Box 601, Wits 2050, South Africa
> email: bondp at zeus.mgmt.wits.ac.za
> phone: 2711-488-5917 * fax: 2711-484-2729


Michael Perelman Economics Department California State University michael at ecst.csuchico.edu Chico, CA 95929 530-898-5321 fax 530-898-5901

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list