CASTRO HLONGWANE: CARAVANS, CATS, GEESE FOOT & MOUTH AND STATISTICS.
HIV/AIDS and the Struggle for the Humanisation of the African.
(Excerpted from a larger ANC Study)
This monograph discusses the vexed question of HIV/AIDS.
It is based on the assumption that to understand this matter, it is necessary to study it.
It does not accept the assertion that only scientists and medical doctors are capable of understanding this medical condition. Written essentially by non-scientists, it nevertheless seeks to understand the scientific logic of the thesis of HIV/AIDS.
It accepts that there are many unanswered scientific questions about the HIV/AIDS thesis and many hypotheses about this matter that are falsely presented as facts.
It recognises the reality that there are many people and institutions across the world that have a vested interest in the propagation of the HIV/AIDS thesis, because they have too much to lose if any important element of this thesis is proved to be false.
It accepts that these include the pharmaceutical companies, which are marketing anti-retroviral drugs that can only be sold, and therefore generate profits, on the basis of the universal acceptance of the assertion that “HIV causes AIDS”.
It also accepts that among those that share the vested interests of these companies are governments and official health institutions, inter-governmental organisations, official medical licensing and registration institutions, scientists and academics, media organisations, non-governmental organisations and individuals.
It recognises that there are many well-meaning institutions and individuals in our country and the rest of the world who have innocently accepted and propagate the positions advanced by those who share these vested interests.
It accepts that these have to be exposed to the truth, in the conviction that their consciences will enable them to side with the truth against the untruth, provided that they are informed of the truth.
It also accepts that the HIV/AIDS thesis as it has affected and affects Africans and black people in general, is also informed by deeply entrenched and centuries-old white racist beliefs and concepts about Africans and black people. At the same time as this thesis is based on these racist beliefs and concepts, it makes a powerful contribution to the further entrenchment and popularisation of racism.
It further recognises the reality that, driven by fear of their destruction as a people because of an allegedly unstoppable plague, Africans and black people themselves have been persuaded to join and support a campaign whose result is further to entrench their dehumanisation.
In this context, it recognises the reality that in our own country, the unstated assumption about everything to do with HIV/AIDS is that, as a so-called “pandemic”, HIV/AIDS is exclusively a problem manifested among the African people.
It recognises the fact that for the whole truth to emerge, and nothing but the truth, a difficult struggle will have to be waged to overcome the determined resistance of those who have a vested interest in the perpetuation and entrenchment of the currently dominant HIV/AIDS propositions.
It also recognises the frightening and dangerous reality that some of those who share this vested interest are ready and willing to do everything in their power to ensure that their view prevails, globally. This includes the use of any means and measures whatsoever, with no holds barred, to destroy and remove all those who oppose them.
It therefore warns that those who open their minds to what is contained in this document as a whole should understand that they expose themselves to many hazards and dangers that may pose a threat to their careers, their future and their lives.
The monograph accepts that our people, and others elsewhere in Africa and the rest of the world, face a serious problem of AIDS.
It accepts the determination that AIDS stands for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.
It accepts that a Syndrome is a collection of diseases. It proceeds from the assumption that the collection of diseases generally described as belonging to the AIDS syndrome have known causes.
It rejects as illogical the proposition that AIDS is a single disease caused by a singular virus, HIV.
In other words, it accepts that AIDS is either a syndrome or a disease. It cannot be both. Its acronym correctly describes it as a syndrome. For this reason, it is not described as AIDD.
It accepts that an essential part of AIDS is immune deficiency. This constitutes the ID in AIDS.
It accepts that this immune deficiency may be acquired, accounting for the A in AIDS.
It asserts that there are many conditions that cause acquired immune deficiency, including malnutrition and disease.
It therefore argues that, in our situation, many and varied interventions have to be made to protect and strengthen the immune systems of our people.
It accepts that these include attention to our nutrition and the eradication of the diseases of poverty that afflict millions of our people.
It accepts that a vaccine should be developed to strengthen the immune system so as to reduce its exposure to the possibility of deficiency.
It accepts that HIV may be one of the causes of this immune deficiency, but cannot be the only cause.
It accepts the proposition that currently existing kits used to check the existence or otherwise of HIV give a “positive” result in response to a variety of medical conditions.
Accordingly, it accepts the assertion that these kits do not establish the presence or absence in the human body of HIV.
It accepts the proposition that these kits detect the presence of antibodies produced by the immune system to fight conditions in the human body that the immune system identifies as a threat to good health.
It rejects as baseless and self-serving the assertion that millions of our people are HIV positive.
It supports the proposition that correct medical practice demands that each person should be treated for any illness identified through clinical examination, regardless of their “HIV status”.
It therefore rejects the condemnation of people to a slow death on the basis that they are HIV infected, which condition cannot be reversed.
It accepts the proposition that anti-retroviral drugs can neither cure AIDS nor destroy the HI virus.
It therefore rejects the suggestion that the challenge of AIDS in our country can be solved by resort to anti-retroviral drugs.
It rejects the assertion that, among the nations, we have the highest incidence of HIV infection and AIDS deaths, caused by sexual immorality among our people.
It rejects the claim that AIDS is the single largest cause of death in our country.
It argues that we must understand properly and comprehensively the burden of disease and death in our country and ensure that we follow appropriate health and other policies to address this burden, including treatment.
It accepts that the pursuit of the objective of health for all must continue to be one of the central objectives of our government and society.
It argues that while those who have commercial and political interests in the promotion of anti-retroviral drugs, and insulting our people, pursue an agenda aimed at minimising and denying the real causes of illness and death in our country, we have a responsibility to understand these real causes of illness and death.
It rejects the argument to “break the silence” about AIDS by imposing the silence of the grave about diseases of poverty.
It is opposed to the medicalisation of poverty.
It argues that an all-round approach should be adopted to deal with AIDS, focusing in particular on prevention of any infection or condition that might lead to immune deficiency, including sexually transmitted diseases.
It argues that an all-round approach should be adopted to deal with all diseases that affect our people.
It is based on the proposition that each one of our citizens has a responsibility to take all necessary measures to protect his or her health.
It rejects as fundamentally incorrect and anti-democratic the attempt to transfer the responsibility to look after oneself to the state, which seeks to turn the state into an omnipotent apparatus that must even police the sexual activities of every individual South African.
It asserts that it is important that the government and society as a whole should ensure that the citizen has all the necessary information to be able to discharge the responsibility to conduct himself or herself in a responsible manner.
The monograph accepts the responsibility of the state to do everything it can to provide adequate and affordable health care for all our citizens. This must include treatment of the so-called opportunistic diseases, including TB and STD’s.
It argues for loyalty to the truth and a refusal on the part of the government and the people to succumb to pressures that are directed at serving particular commercial and political interests at the expense of the health of our people.
It rejects the assertion that, as Africans, we are prone to rape and abuse of women and that we uphold a value system that belongs to the world of wild animals, and that this accounts for the alleged “high incidence” of “HIV infection” in our country.
It enjoins all our people to think for themselves, refusing to be intimidated or terrorised by those who have powerful voices and the backing of the fabulous wealth we do not have, because we are poor.
It recognises that the effort it took to produce this monograph will only be meaningful to the extent that we, as Africans, have the courage, integrity and self-confidence to think and act independently and correctly, in our own interest.
It accepts that ours are a courageous, principled and confident people, who have demonstrated these qualities over many centuries.
The monograph is based on the recognition of the fact that the HIV/AIDS issue is both scientific/medical and profoundly political.
It accepts the proposition that despite the reality that our world is driven by a value system based on financial profit and individual material reward, the notion of human solidarity remains a valid precept governing human behaviour.
The monograph seeks to advance the cause both of better health for all our people and the recovery of our dignity as black people and human beings. These are fundamental to our very being as a movement and a people and therefore do not permit of any compromise.
For centuries we have carried the burden of the crimes and falsities of ‘scientific’ Eurocentrism, its dogmas imposed upon our being as the brands of a definitive, ‘universal’ truth.
Against this, we have, in struggle, made the statement to which we will remain loyal – that we are human and African!
Because we are human, we shall no longer permit of control by a colonial mother who claims for herself the right unceasingly to restrain us from reclaiming our dignity.
We shall overcome!
African National Congress, March, 2002.
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