Tuesday, July 20

AIDS in Lesotho

An article in the New York Times about the AIDS epidemic in Lesotho. It manages to blame poverty, men, capitalism, draught and  apartheid for the epidemic, with young, poor, black, woman being the innocent victims incapable of changing the lot fate has dealt them.
 
Still, its nice to see Lesotho covered in the NY Times, even if they feel they have to tell their readers how to pronounce the countries name.
 
The situation in Lesotho (pronounced le-SOO-too), a tiny, mountainous kingdom with the world's fourth highest H.I.V. infection rate, mirrors the catastrophe barreling through sub-Saharan Africa. A confluence of factors - including culture and the destitution that turns sex into currency - has transformed AIDS here from an indiscriminate killer into a plague against women.
 
As with all good stories, this article is bereft of facts and overflowing with innuendo. In my minds eye I can already see the reporter jetting into the country and picking up a local paper on the way to the hotel bar. Always good to hear that were going to be destroyed by a killer plague (the woman will all die first of course), starved by unending draught and discarded by the maelstrom of globalization. Its all the mens fault naturally, but America is probably ultimately to blame. 
 
Is there a serious situation in Lesotho? You bet. Should you cancel your skiing holiday? Absolutely not!  In fact, what they are trying to tell you in their own demented little way is that theres never been a better time for a skiing holiday in Lesotho.  If you don't go now, the maelstrom might have gobbled it all up by the time you want to go.

2 Comments:

Blogger Rethabile said...

Is there a serious situation in Lesotho? You bet. Should you cancel your skiing holiday? Absolutely not! In fact, what they are trying to tell you in their own demented little way is that theres never been a better time for a skiing holiday in Lesotho. If you don't go now, the maelstrom might have gobbled it all up by the time you want to go.I doubt I could have said it better. I just want to add that the thing to do is train all our guns on poverty reduction, now. The rest is for later. The biggest scourge, and the deadliest killer, in Lesotho and in other poor countries, is poverty. And I hope no one takes note of old Museveni in Uganda mumbling about abstinence being better than French letters in preventing AIDS.

21 July 2004 at 22:56  
Blogger Richard said...

Hi Rethabile

You are 100% correct. Much of my irritation with the article was because the reporter was trying to project Lesotho’s problems to conform to his/her beliefs instead of reporting the story.

I also have trouble with people who believe or suggest that African people are incapable of helping themselves or changing their ways and that help must be imposed from outside. I find this very condescending.

Time and again I see Africans in trouble projected as innocent victims incapable of changing their lot in life. The girls in this story are not in an enviable position, but they are there because they are trying to make something of their lives. If they were the helpless innocents that the story would like you to believe, then they would have stayed in the countryside.

As for povert reduction, the work these woman are doing is making a lot of things possible in Lesotho. They should be respected for their work, not looked on as the innocent victims of a system beyond their control.

22 July 2004 at 12:24  

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