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Author Topic: Colonialism in Africa and the Spread of HIV...  (Read 3146 times)

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Offline OneTampa

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Colonialism in Africa and the Spread of HIV...
« on: February 28, 2012, 09:11:33 PM »
An extended excerpt from the book "Tinderbox" by Craig Timberg and Daniel Halperin appeared in The Washington Post, Health and Science section (pp. E-1 and E-4) today.

I understand that this fascinating book will be published (Penguin Press) in March this year.

A condensed excerpt from the book is at the link below:

http://www.theroot.com/views/book-colonialism-africa-aided-hiv-spread
« Last Edit: February 28, 2012, 09:24:08 PM by OneTampa »
"He is my oldest child. The shy and retiring one over there with the Haitian headdress serving pescaíto frito."

Offline Rev. Moon

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Re: Colonialism in Africa and the Spread of HIV...
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2012, 09:31:59 PM »
Very interesting.  I was waiting for someone to write a book that dealt with HIV and colonialism.  Thank you for sharing.
"I have tried hard--but life is difficult, and I am a very useless person. I can hardly be said to have an independent existence. I was just a screw or a cog in the great machine I called life, and when I dropped out of it I found I was of no use anywhere else."

Offline spacebarsux

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Re: Colonialism in Africa and the Spread of HIV...
« Reply #2 on: February 29, 2012, 07:04:41 AM »
Thanks for the link. Interesting indeed.

"For decades nobody knew the reasons behind the birth of the AIDS epidemic. But it is now clear that the epidemic's birth and crucial early growth happened during Africa's colonial era, amid massive intrusion of new people and technology into a land where ancient ways still prevailed. European powers engaged in a feverish race for wealth and glory blazed routes up muddy rivers and into dense forests that had been traveled only sporadically by humans before.

The most disruptive of these intruders were thousands of African porters. Forced into service by European colonial powers, they cut paths through the exact area that researchers have now identified as the birthplace of the AIDS epidemic. It was here, in a single moment of transmission from chimp to human, that a strain of virus called HIV-1 group M first appeared".


While I am by no means an apologist for the colonialists, I fail to see how "European powers that engaged in a feverish race for wealth" are in anyway responsible for the "single moment of transmission from chimp to human, that a strain of virus called HIV-1 group M first appeared".

It's something purely biological, in the realm of virology, and hence attributing the birth of AIDS, even if a thinly veiled attempt, to Europeans disturbing traditional societies in Africa is unscientific, overly emotional and unconvincing.

Who's to say that the virus would not have crossed over from chimps to humans had the Europeans never colonized in Africa?

As for the spread of HIV, that was probably a byproduct of colonialism. But again, I don't quite understand how colonialsim is directly responsible since the vast majority of HIV infections took root starting the late 70's- early 80's, by which time colonialists had left their colonies, for the most part.
« Last Edit: February 29, 2012, 07:13:09 AM by spacebarsux »
Infected-  2005 or early 2006; Diagnosed- Jan 28th, 2011; Feb '11- CD4 754 @34%, VL- 39K; July '11- CD4 907@26%,  VL-81K; Feb '12- CD4 713 @31%, VL- 41K, Nov '12- CD4- 827@31%

Offline mecch

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Re: Colonialism in Africa and the Spread of HIV...
« Reply #3 on: February 29, 2012, 08:01:09 AM »
Read the last page of the exerpt.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/colonialism-in-africa-helped-launch-the-hiv-epidemic-a-century-ago/2012/02/21/gIQAyJ9aeR_story_3.html

The author isn't "blaming" colonialism for anything. 

Rather, showing the epidemiology of the virus, evolving from rare, to a potential epidemic when it finally grabs hold in Kinshasa. 

Author notes the STDs that colonialists brought into Cameroon, as well.

Colonialism spread disease in both directions.  Its not a blame game if its being studied as history or as epidemiology. 

European colonialism brought Syphilis to Europe and Smallpox and Typhus to the Americas.

“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Colonialism in Africa and the Spread of HIV...
« Reply #4 on: February 29, 2012, 08:04:20 AM »
European colonialism brought Syphilis to Europe and Smallpox and Typhus to the Americas.

You have evidence for this claim?

MtD

Offline spacebarsux

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Re: Colonialism in Africa and the Spread of HIV...
« Reply #5 on: February 29, 2012, 08:11:52 AM »
I understand that Mecch. However I did discern a distinct anti-colonial slant (which is totally valid in a different context, if it was about exploitation etc) that is also  apparent in the article you linked (titled:Co­lo­ni­al­ism in Africa helped launch the HIV epidemic a century ago).

I'm just a bit wary of emotionalising and politicising an essentially biological thing.



Infected-  2005 or early 2006; Diagnosed- Jan 28th, 2011; Feb '11- CD4 754 @34%, VL- 39K; July '11- CD4 907@26%,  VL-81K; Feb '12- CD4 713 @31%, VL- 41K, Nov '12- CD4- 827@31%

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Colonialism in Africa and the Spread of HIV...
« Reply #6 on: February 29, 2012, 08:13:48 AM »
Let's get one thing clear.

Syphilis did not find it's way from the New World to the Old.

There is considerable evidence of syphilitic disease in Europe in the period before that Columbus fella mistook the Americas for India.

MtD

Offline mecch

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Re: Colonialism in Africa and the Spread of HIV...
« Reply #7 on: February 29, 2012, 09:45:44 AM »
The article I link is the entire excerpt of the same book, the book mentioned in the link by the OP.

I am on the same page as you.  Hard to talk about colonialism these days without engaging in some anti-colonial slant. If a writer needs to make those points, so be it. 

Not everyone fights the same wars at the same time.  People stake out their positions when they are ready. Disarm, accept relativity, dualism, etc. more or less, as life goes on.

But you and I have been throughout the post-colonial theory mills, right? So we can't expect everybody to have sophisticated discourse. Specially journalists.

And HIV is so loaded. The politics of HIV over the years, so many linguistic rabbit holes its practically swiss cheese.  How many years, how many lives lost to anger/fear/prejudice/revenge/greed hijacking language.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frantz_Fanon

Also - anyone who is interested in consequences of colonization - coming up in academia over the last 10 years is something called the "Columbian Exchange":

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbian_Exchange

“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Colonialism in Africa and the Spread of HIV...
« Reply #8 on: February 29, 2012, 10:15:39 AM »
The article I link is the entire excerpt of the same book, the book mentioned in the link by the OP.

I am on the same page as you.  Hard to talk about colonialism these days without engaging in some anti-colonial slant. If a writer needs to make those points, so be it. 

Not everyone fights the same wars at the same time.  People stake out their positions when they are ready. Disarm, accept relativity, dualism, etc. more or less, as life goes on.

But you and I have been throughout the post-colonial theory mills, right? So we can't expect everybody to have sophisticated discourse. Specially journalists.

And HIV is so loaded. The politics of HIV over the years, so many linguistic rabbit holes its practically swiss cheese.  How many years, how many lives lost to anger/fear/prejudice/revenge/greed hijacking language.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frantz_Fanon

Also - anyone who is interested in consequences of colonization - coming up in academia over the last 10 years is something called the "Columbian Exchange":

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbian_Exchange

How dare you. >:(

How dare you come in here and start making sense.

I had a whole thing set up here where I was going to monster you and you've just gone and pretty much blown it out of the water with facts and shit.

All I'm left with is Wikipedia? That's hardly a reliable source.

Pfffft.  :P

MtD

Offline jivemiguel1

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Re: Colonialism in Africa and the Spread of HIV...
« Reply #9 on: February 29, 2012, 10:26:03 AM »
Thought this was research news & studies?

Offline Ann

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Re: Colonialism in Africa and the Spread of HIV...
« Reply #10 on: February 29, 2012, 10:35:40 AM »
Thought this was research news & studies?

The subject of the book is based in epidemiological research, so the forum it has been placed in is entirely appropriate.
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Offline newt

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Re: Colonialism in Africa and the Spread of HIV...
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2012, 03:47:43 PM »
Ah I see, Europe had good ships discovered coffee got sober invented the steam engine, telegram and decent rifles caused AIDS

Nowt to do with a virus

Increased communication facilitates the transmission of disease, yes. But the disease is just hijacking the increased communication.

Now go put yer SARS mask on and fly business for that important meeting.

- matt
"The object is to be a well patient, not a good patient"

Offline alberche

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Re: Colonialism in Africa and the Spread of HIV...
« Reply #12 on: March 14, 2012, 05:45:02 PM »
Interesting subject!

Colonialism is a matter of networks: routes, people coming and going, people moving from here to there, and having sex...  In Central America STDs spreading map matches the road maps. Also in many african countries.

Colonialism? European countries are the result of multiple colonialist events, invasions, wars... we are all mixed. It is in the human nature. Native Africans, and native Americans also colonized and battled, and suffered slavery on their own, a lot of time before the arrival of Europeans.

I'd rather understand the colonialism argument in the sense of its demographical , environmental and sociological impact, instead of its cultural impact (which, by contrast, does have too much to do with the spreading of pandemia despite it is well known how to avoid transmission).

 8)




love is blindness...  a wonderful song!

Offline Boze

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Re: Colonialism in Africa and the Spread of HIV...
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2012, 08:50:51 PM »
This is a very interesting topic. It was very well covered in this book: http://www.amazon.com/The-Origins-AIDS-Jacques-Pepin/dp/1107006635

The spread of the epidemic had a number of factors that were all required. And yes - colonialism was one of them (probably chief one). If Western powers didn't colonize Africa, it would certainly never have spread. But then a lot of other factors were present that contributed to it:

  • Immunization drives by colonial powers against local diseases - using unsterilized syringes, leading to spread of HIV
  • Gender disbalance in colonial cities in Africa (Coloniam powers didn't let men bring women) led to widespread prostitution
  • Haitians working in Africa and bringing disease to the Western Hemisphere
  • For profit blood clinics in developing countries
  • Gay sex tourism from US to Haiti

I found it fascinating and highly recommend it
==========
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