Monday, December 09, 2013

"George W. Bush Does Not Care about Black People"- Kanye West & PEPFAR's War against HIV/AIDS

The United States and World AIDS Day 2013 

Professor Mike Dyson argues : "People of Color who have dealt with the historic forces of degradation can identify with other people who are similarly arrayed in the global landscape. Those folk who ain't got the ability to eat everyday, who can't determine who governs them, the people around the globe who don't have the ability to eat everyday, that allies us (people of color) with them. And finally, when we think about the fact that in the name of America and the possibility of expanding democracy, we have shrunk democracy. We need to have a global perspective. The exportation of American manufacturing to foreign lands where we rapaciously and viciously and venomously undermine, subvert, destroy, just mess up all together those local economies and then we reap the benefits of them back home.We have to understand Ni**a is a global phenomenon. That is why I use the term with promiscuity. I understand as a Ni**a in America, there are Ni**as throughout the world. Can we connect to our core Ni**adom to understand the vicious ways in which we have been subverted. As people of color we cannot give voice to policies that don't recognize the fundamental humanity of our brothers and sisters? That is the black perspective."

Ninety-Seven Percent of the World's HIV/AIDS population is in Sub-Saharan Africa. A region critical for the United States when it comes to competing with Europe, Asia and the rest of the world for trade and natural resources. A region that in a Post-Cold War world is consistently ranked by Transparency International as among the most corrupt regimes in the world. Sub-Saharan Africa is plagued by widespread border insecurity; massive amounts of small arms and light weapons, ethnic disputes and above all extreme poverty and human insecurity. This December 1st the United States marked World AIDS Day with the President issuing a proclamation that celebrates the 10th anniversary of the President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) initiative. An initiative started by the previous administration of George H.W. Bush.

It is crucial considering Africa's security challenges that the human insecurity challenge of HIV/AIDS epidemic continue to be addressed by the United States. The United States is the largest provider of emergency humanitarian assistance to Africa and it is important that the goal of an AIDS free generation be achieved for the future. However, although US Aid to Africa has nearly tripled as a proportion of Gross National Income, the combined US official developmental assistance is only 0.16%.

The United States President's Emergency Plan for AIDS ReliefThe United States must seek its allies in the cause to fight HIV/AIDS especially including Great Britain, Norway, Sweden, Canada and Denmark. The Secretary of State John F. Kerry in his comments on World AIDS day stated:"We are the nation that faced down the Soviet Union with the force of our ideals and our alliances, and without resorting to the force of arms. Now, no exaggeration, in our own time, in this generation, in our fight against AIDS – yes, in a different way, but no less important – we are able to engage in an initiative that can help define our nation and the global spirit." His remarks compare the human insecurity challenge of bringing in a generation without HIV/AIDS with a challenge similar to the arms threat posed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. 

HIV/AIDS continues to be a disease without borders and countering it with increased aid through the coming administrations and continuing the legacy of PEPFAR will help to create an economically productive Sub-Saharan Region where democracy can flourish through a healthy population. The United States cannot afford to underestimate the importance of human development for arms and trafficking cases alone when it comes to national security. Instability in Africa will heighten unless current trends at decreasing the number of HIV infections does not persist. These instabilities will contribute to the challenges of countering terrorism and smuggling groups in the region. 

However, it is saddening that the highest level of HIV/AIDS infected population lives in the USA's very own capital Washington, D.C. Where the infection rate itself is at par with those of Sub-Saharan Africa. It is important that although the US continues to look out for it's national security interests by seeking to lower the chances of instability abroad, that it not forget the poor and HIV/AIDS affected citizens in its very own capitol. Perhaps it doesn't matter because the problem is one perceived to be belonging to the African-American community.It will be interesting to see the consequences of this issue in the coming decade if it is simply treated with an advertisement campaign alone in the DC Metropolitan area. It is also a matter of age demographics as one in four new infections is contracted by youth ages 13-24. 

The United States should handle the issue aggressively in its own capitol if it is to continue its outreach with sub-Saharan Africa and African/Black Communities around the world. So in the end is Kanye West wrong? Did George H.W. Bush really not care about Black people?  And is it wrong for me to bring up the legacy of race when it comes to domestic public health policy in its relation to foreign policy? Is Dr. Dyson wrong in his understanding of the case of global ni**adom of the American ni**a and those around the world. Regardless, we cannot view this issue of foreign policy Assistance in combating HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa without acknowledging the struggles of people of color in the USA with similar health security challenges.

1 comment:

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