Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The Legacy of ANC Social Conservatism

One in three! South Africans deaths attributable to AIDS. Far worse than the Rwandan genocide but because public health is at issue the politics of this crime is not discussed.

1 comment:

OscarTate said...

When I tell them something pretty gruesome about the past, like the English choosing not to feed the Irish (or the Indians) during a famine, my history students have two kinds of responses: one, people who let that kind of thing happen are evil; we must root out the evil ones. Second, they say that these folks are hypocrites -- "How could they do such a thing and still go to church and call themselves Christians?" I usually reply that our job as historians is not call them evil or hypocrites, but to explain how the most powerful -- supposedly the best and the brightest of their nations -- could view the atrocities they commit as a necessary if not even good, moral thing. And then I ask my students, what atrocities are we commiting right now about which students 100 years from now will say, "how could they do it, those evil hypocrites?!" They usually respond with the war in Iraq, but plenty of people recognize that as an atrocity right now. I point them to this -- AIDS in Africa. Just recently the Indian government gave a little in its generic drug policies in response to pressure from the US (shilling for drug company "property rights"). This will mean that in order to line the pockets of drug companies, untold thousands -- probably millions -- who would otherwise have lived, will die. Oh, you can cry about how free markets are the goose that lays the golden egg and all that shit, but a hundred years from now, aside from a few apologists, no one will buy that line. They'll be talking about our foolish, transparent rationalizations for our vicious greed, and how barbaric we were back in the old days -- and they'll be right.