The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side.
- Hunter S. Thompson, American journalist and author (1937-2005)
While not about the music industry, instead about the AIDS juggernaut, this article shows the seedy side of a frightening pandemic that is far worse than the music industry. Seedy and frightening? Check out the information below before discounting the possibility.
Many histories and medical articles have focused on parts of the AIDS phenomenon (the topic is too massive to be covered in a single read). Everyone agrees that the disease transformed from an immune disease that has likely been around for a very long time among the monkeys and apes of Africa.
But what of that transformation? Did nature manage that with genetic mutations alone?
People of North America may recall a couple of decades ago when Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (now known commonly as simply AIDS) was considered by many to be a disease of drug users, homosexuals and the promiscuous. It was, according to some, God's revenge on those who violated His laws.
But that was only one of the conspiracy theories, most of which have bypassed us while today we learn about the devastation of the disease in Africa, Asia and to a lesser extent every other country on the planet.
The home region of AIDS, subsaharan Africa, still retains the title of most HIV-infected and AIDS-destroyed part of the world. Some villages have been virtually wiped out, with a few having almost no adults left, only dozens of children scrambling around trying to eke out an existence with no tools or skills at their disposal.
In that same part of the world, a conspiracy theory foments about the origins of AIDS. According to this theory, white skinned people (and near-whites) dominate every other continent on earth, except Antarctica (where no one lives permanently) and Africa. With the demise of the slave trade, successors of the slavers both developed AIDS from its precursor disease and encouraged the many tribes to adopt promiscuous habits and rape of unguarded women to spread the disease around.
The ultimate objective of this movement, according to the theory, is to eventually wipe every person with black skin off the continent of Africa so that the whites can have free reign over the continent they once dominated as imperial powers. In other words, it's a land grab by whites on a continental scale.
As outrageous and absurd as these theories sound, they must give us pause. Swedish novelist Henning Mankell, who spends a great deal of his free time assisting AIDS charities in Africa (and who is so close to the people that he is director of the Teatro Avenida, in Maputo, Mozambique) wrote about his experiences relating to AIDS in Africa in his novel Kennedy's Brain.
While the novel has almost nothing to do with the apparently absent brain of assassinated former US President John F. Kennedy, it does discuss the enormous size and power of forces on the dark side of AIDS in Africa. He writes in the Epilogue "What is written in this book is exclusively the result of my own choices and decisions, of course. Just as the anger is also mine, the anger that was my driving force."
Earlier in the Epilogue he states clearly that he couldn't write a nonfiction book about what he knows of the AIDS situation in Africa because few would take him seriously. With a fictitious story context, he could incorporate his knowledge and experience in ways that we would and could believe. The theories stated above find prominent places in his story.
What do we know of Africa that could refute the conspiracy theories? We know that the president of South Africa, the subsaharan country that most people hope will take the lead in developing an AIDS vaccine, believes that HIV is not likely the root cause of AIDS in Africa. His argument is not that simple, as he claims that social practices and mores have much more to do with the spread of AIDS than HIV.
We know that Lybia imprisoned, tortured into confession, tried and committed to death by firing squad five Bulgarian nurses, one Palestinian assistant and another Bulgarian doctor who hadn't been anywhere near the Benghazi hospital where about 400 children had supposedly been infect with the HIV virus. In their first trial, proof of their innocence was disallowed by the judge. In the second trial, which also resulted in the sentences to death, further evidence that was beyond doubt proof about their innocence was also ignored, despite the fact that the largest collection of Nobel laureates in history wrote to urge President Qaddafi to release them for lack of evidence.
We know that tribal conflicts in Congo (DRC) and Berundi/Rwanda have resulted in millions of deaths in the past few years. We know that Zimbabwe President Mugabe has urged his tribal supporters to oust whites from their land, killing many in the process. We know about the current problems in Kenya, formerly the most peaceful and perhaps the best organized nation in black Africa.
In Africa, one cannot use the words politician and honesty in the same sentence, unless it's to show contrast.
What are we to make then of Henning Mankell's claim that the big pharmaceutical companies of the world have unacknowledged clinics in subsaharan Africa (certainly including Mozambique) where testing of AIDS medications is done on infected victims without their knowledge or approval? Or that many otherwise healthy Africans have been infected with the HIV virus and held in captivity so that new medication can be tested on those who have recently been infected and "diagnosed?"
This article can't help you to reach any conclusion about AIDS, its origins or its future because the topic is almost beyond human understanding in its scope. It can, however, give you something to think about.
Of one thing we may be certain, where politicians make decisions about AIDS and AIDS victims and where Big Pharma stands to make incredible fortunes from a cure or viable treatment, we shouldn't turn our heads away thinking that someone else is looking after the problem.
Maybe these stories are nothing but conspiracy fantasies. If you think you can dismiss them easily, remember what happened after so many people believed in Weapons of Mass Destruction. The truth lies buried deeper than we would like to believe.
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems, a book for adults to learn what they missed in their years of early childhood development and what they need to know to compensate for what they missed now.
Learn more at http://billallin.com