Friday, December 18, 2009

And the weekend good news: Manto Tshabalala-Msimang is dead

I like the hypocrisy of people insisting that we must never speak bad of the dead. Why not? If the dead were bad people, what's wrong with wishing them good riddance. A case in point is Manto Tshabalala-Msimang (better known as Dr Beetroot), the former South African health minister. Her policies and that of her boss Thabo ('I don't know anybody who died on AIDS in South Africa.') Mbeki led to about 300,000 preventable deaths among infected people. Beetroot insisted that it ain't clear that HIV causes AIDS, and claimed that anti-retrovirals for Africans were an evil scheme by the CIA and the pharmaceutical industry to poison Africans. Those suffering from, and dying on AIDS she offered, well, you guessed it, beetroot, lemon juice and garlic. Moron that she was she thought nothing of it to jump the waiting list for organ transplantations in order to grab a liver when her old failed as a result of her marriage to alcohol. Excuses were found for why this woman, in her 60s at the time, was deserving of the liver (ie public sector clinicians, working for her, colluded in lies about her legitimate rank on the waiting list). During the time it became public knowledge that as a hospital doctor in Botswana she was convicted of stealing patients' property while they were in surgery. It didn't occur to the ANC and its senior officials to fire Dr Beetroot. Well, I was elated when I found out that the transplant liver crapped up on her, and the system refused to offer her yet another one. Good riddance Dr Beetroot. Thabo, we're waiting for you to join her. After all, you also like your booze and there's some 300,000 people who are dead today because of you. Why don't you also call it a day?

On a slightly more analytical (as opposed to purely angry) level (even though my anger about these two South African politicians' murderous policies knows few boundaries, I have admit): What is of interest is that there's a pattern of colonial mentalities in play in South Africa as well as in Uganda. In South Africa, black nationalist politicians happily ganged up with Western crank scientists against their own people, because they were suspicious of mainstream Western science and knowledge. White Westerners taught them stuff that translated into genocidal policies costing about 300,000 predominantly black people's lives in that country alone. The attempted political emancipation drove these black nationalists straight into the hands of crackpots, that's how substantial their concern was that hooking their people onto life saving medicines was just another ruse by the West to poison and keep Africans down and dependent on the West. Incomprehensible. As good nationalists are wont to do, they insisted on 'local solutions', hence beetroot, garlic and lemon juice. African scientists and medical doctors standing up to them were fired and bullied sufficiently that Stalin could have taken a page from that book (Beetroot managed this without actually killing the scientists, she simple removed them from jobs and funding).

Uganda is another example. It has become clear by now, that draconian anti-gay legislation, threatening gays with the death penalty, was inspired by US evangelicals, white US evangelicals. How ironic that Africans, busily trying to assert themselves against 'evil Western values', are being goaded by other Westerners (crazy ones) to implement seriously civil rights violating policies against their own people ... bizarre stuff. The only good news is that they're being opposed frequently by younger generations of Africans who won't stand for that sort of crap.

Anyhow, Manto is gone, let's go and drink to her demise :).

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