Skip to comments.The Politics of AIDS
Posted on 02/02/2003 2:50:06 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe
HIV-AIDS is such a terrible thing that many of us prefer not to think about it, unless it hits us, or our families. Still, to fail to express our thoughts on this subject would be giving carte blanche to those professional "humanitarians" and proponents of world "governance" whose first thought is for themselves and their careers, and not the lot of humanity. The corridors of the U.N., government institutions, and the NGOs are full of such folks, as I well know.
The latest case in point is the scholarly article by Nicholas Eberstadt in Foreign Affairs, referred to by Austin Ruse, and which I mentioned in the last issue. I don't see how anyone could fail to be shocked by its import, and I think a downloading of the whole article in Foreign Affairs would be worthwhile for many readers. Actually, it is a fairly long article, replete with information and projections for the future. As I mentioned, I am retired and, at best, an armchair (or a rocking chair) strategist who is not in a position to do any serious research. Nevertheless, a few reflections I have to make may be of possible interest.
The dimensions of the projected spread of HIV-AIDS in Russia, China and India stagger the imagination. As Mr. Eberstadt points out, the implications are world-shaking, not only in terms of human suffering but also in economic, social and even in strategico-military terms. He quotes not only U.N. and government public sources, but also U.S. intelligence community estimates. Since, as he says, the pandemic will affect seriously the Eurasian balance of military and economic power, it is not surprising that the intelligence community should be interested.
Despite the importance of the strategico-military and economic consequences of the HIV-AIDS spread in Eurasia, my thoughts revolve around some implications as regards the plague in sub-Saharan Africa, where it started in the first place. While the direct economic impact of this primary locus of infection may not have been great for the world-at-large so far, its indirect impact, largely through travel and migration, cannot be denied. The history of what has occurred through such migration and personal contacts (in part through refugee flows) so far, may contain some lessons from which the rest of the world can learn. Migration was mentioned by Eberstadt as an important factor in the spread of HIV-AIDS in Eurasia. It is also an important factor in the propagation of the disease within and beyond sub-Saharan Africa itself. (Of course, it is only one factor among many, often associated ones).
The primary stock word used by the U.N. and AIDS activists to explain the incomparably high HIV-AIDS rate in sub-Saharan Africa is poverty. It cannot be denied that sub-Saharan Africa also leads the world in this respect associated with an array of other infectious diseases. However, a survey of HIV-AIDS infection and death rates in relation to poverty levels in other parts of Africa, and other parts of the world, shows that a more basic and objective approach is necessary, if we are really to understand the phenomenon in its proper perspective. The blanket use of the word "poverty" to explain away the prevalence of HIV-AIDS among some groups, and not in others and in different parts of the world, is misleading and should be examined critically in relation to other factors.
Among these are the breakdown of social structures and norms, and promiscuous sexual behavior. Since "the family," as we know it in the West, does not always have the same form or meaning (if it exists at all) in some other partrs of the world, it is not always possible to talk of the "decline of the family." Still, in parts of the world where firm social and religious structures still exist (such as in the Muslim countries of northern Africa), the HIV-AIDS rate is incomparably lower than that in sub-Sarahan Africa, despite comparable levels of persons "living below the poverty line" (see country figures on HIV-AIDS rates in the CIA World Factbook, in the internet).
Organization of UNAIDS
The following official statements with regard to the U.N. organization, UNAIDS, give some idea as to its structure and mission:
"The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) is an innovative joint venture of the United Nations family. UNAIDS brings together the efforts and resources of eight United Nations system organizations to help the world prevent new HIV infections, care for those already infected, and mitigate the impact of the epidemic. Its aim is to help mount and support an expanded response to AIDS-one that engages the efforts of many sectors and partners from government and civil society.The One-eyed Monster
Established in 1994 by a resolution of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and launched in January 1996, UNAIDS is guided by a Programme Coordinating Board with representatives of 22 governments from all geographic regions, the UNAIDS Cosponsors (UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA, UNDCP, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank), and 5 representatives of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), including associations of people living with HIV/AIDS.
The UNAIDS Secretariat and its Cosponsors also meet separately as the Committee of Cosponsoring Organizations. This brochure summarizes the various roles and sectors of activity through which the UNAIDS partners help countries respond to HIV/AIDS. While these are described separately for each partner, it is important to bear in mind that most UNAIDS action is planned jointly."
UNAIDS could be described as a one-eyed Cyclops, since the key elements of migration, emigration and immigration are missing - at least in its formal structure.
In the light of the obvious and well-documented importance of migration in the spread of HIV-AIDS worldwide, it is an astonishing, and indeed, a shocking fact that in the organization chart of UNAIDS, the U.N. organization set up about seven years ago to deal with the worldwide HIV-AIDS pandemic, in the place of WHO, there are no large, universally recognized, worldwide migration or refugee organizations present. Yet at least two important organizations in this field do exist - and in fact, in Geneva, Switzerland, the same city as UNAIDS itself, and only a stone's throw away. One is the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the other the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Although space does not allow a discussion about these two organizations at this time, for those interested, this information can be obtained from the internet, together with much of what has been said here so far.
How can this almost unbelievable, and possibly fatal, failure of UNAIDS to assign to the migration factor its due importance in the spread of HIV-AIDS worldwide be explained?
For this author, the answer lies in the undeniably political nature of the HIV-AIDS activist movement worldwide. Like the environmentalist movement, it is a melting pot for extremists of various stripes, and its stock-in-trade is not logic, but emotion (one could almost say hysteria -- at least in its opinion - forming activities and relations with the public). One might well ask whether the work of the scientists and researchers who do participate is not not hampered by the activists. Much of the political activism is carried out, as in the case of the environmentalist movement, by a vast network of organizations and NGO's worldwide with support from the media, and known collectively as "the World Community", or the "Civil Society." One form of support is the invention of new stock words and phrases ("newspeak").
Coming back to the UNAIDS interpretation of human rights as emphasized in the Barcelona conference last summer, it is noteworthy that the rights of populations (such as the European and USA populations) freshly exposed to contamination as the result of migration and immigration) have not been emphasized. Yet in previous years and centuries, the introduction of a quarantine and other necessary preventive and prophylactic measures were not looked upon as human rights violations. What has happened to change all this? Is it not a "human right" to be protected against invasion, and dangerous promiscuity? The legislation in various countries which requires the testing of certain persons, categories of persons and groups for HIV-AIDS is a hot topic, which is treated almost as if it were taboo. A perusal of the UNAIDS "human rights" literature will show how gingerly it is being handled.
How else can you explain that the 11th leading cause of death receives more attention and funding for research than the flu which kills hundreds of thousands more people than GRID does?
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