the Disillusioned kid: And For Another Thing...
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Tuesday, July 27, 2004

And For Another Thing...

I realised after posting my article on the morality of intervention in Sudan, I'd forgotten to make an important point. Something that rather takes the shine of our glorious leaders claims to be interested in the welfare of poor Africans and therefore something which receives a fraction of the attention in the corporate media.

I'm referring to the scandal surrounding the availability of life-saving medication in the third-world. Noam Chomsky has noted:
In Rwanda, for 100 days people were being killed at the rate of about 8000 a day, and we did nothing. Fast forward to today. In Africa, about 10,000 children a day are dying from easily treatable diseases, and we are doing nothing to save them. That's not just 100 days, it's every day, year after year, killing at the Rwanda rate. And far easier to stop then Rwanda: it just means pennies to bribe drug companies to produce remedies. But we do nothing.
That's quite apart from the death toll from AIDS which stands at something like 9,000 people a day (this is a global figure, but the fundamental point remains the same). A figure which The Economist has noted is three times the number who died in the World Trade Centre attacks. This crisis has been met by US efforts to prevent third-world countries producing generic versions of anti-AIDS drugs which are cheaper than those produced by Western pharmaceutical giants (for more on this see Zeynep Toufe's blog). The UK government has not been much better. Its rhetoric has certainly been worthy, but this is meaningless without action.

Whatever the consequences of any western intervention in Sudan, claims by our glorious leaders as to their supposed humanitarianism should be treated with a large dose of cynicism until they make serious efforts to tackle these problems. Given the consequences of their failure to do so, action around the issue would seem a prudent response.

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