What you learn in Diplomacy 101 is, bugger your personal views, while we pay your salary every time you open your mouth you tout our beliefs. You are a political prostitute, if you will.
You might be a peace-loving Pakistani diplomat, married to a gorgeous Indian woman, but if your boss decrees it you will be screaming for that “whole bastard neighbouring country to be nuked!” AND you will have an excellent argument in your back pocket should that little irritation of the UN moan otherwise.
I am forced to assume my favourite lady of the moment flunked this class. Manto has her personal beliefs about the benefits of one’s backgarden. She uses her position as minister to go against the state’s policies and plans and be Fruit & Veg’s best spokesperson. Sorry. Wrong. You receive an F on this assignment.
South Africa does have a sweet little Operational Plan for Comprehensive HIV and AIDS Care, Management and Treatment, the state is involved in very good community action and national AIDS awareness campaigns (sorry… “was”… SA is still waiting for the next tender). ARVs are being rolled out (slowly) through our (dismal) health system. We are getting there. We are just doing it without an ounce of top-level Political Commitment and through a confusion of top-level messages on prevention and treatment.
At least dear Mbeki has finally decided to now be completely silent on the issue. This is sadly an improvement from his former position, of ensuring the state’s AIDS reaction relied too heavily on his personal views. He has had to sit back and allow us damn ignorant masses, who have this absurd belief and trust in scientific research, to control the fundamentals of the country’s policies and plans and legislation. This gives me some hope that he did scrape through his politics classes.
Now if he could just revisit his Democracy textbook! And he might realise that, as a president of a DEMOCRATIC state, when a large group of citizens are publicly calling on him to start answering their questions, let alone act on their demands for drastic action, he is obligated to listen. No, he should not fire Manto simply because this large group demands it, that would be allowing lobby and action groups and trade unions to overrule our country and take away majority rule. But he is obliged to acknowledge their call, to respect their views, and PERHAPS even look into their claims & objectives, let alone admit that they (we) are correct and, as president of a democratic country, to act accordingly.
“Government has been stung into scaling back [Manto’s] influence with the setting up of a special cabinet committee to spearhead and intensify its AIDS-fighting efforts.
Government also appeared to edge closer to accepting that HIV causes AIDS….“The programme of government is based on the belief that HIV does cause AIDS,” Themba Maseko, chief government spokesman, said yesterday.
Maseko said: “We need to shift focus from saying the problem in the programme is the minister of health…We think that nutrition is important, but at no stage should we... create the impression that we [the state] are putting nutrition as an alternative to other forms of treatment included in the programme”.
Central to the plan will be to breathe new life into the moribund South African National AIDS Council (Sanac), giving its head, Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, a more active role in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
TAC spokesman and AIDS Law Project director Mark Heywood said a strengthening of Sanac and placing it squarely under the control of the deputy president, if this was what was intended, was a major development because of historic tensions about who controlled the council: she or the health minister…He also agreed that the creation of the inter-ministerial committee was a way of shifting power away from Tshabalala-Msimang but stressed that this was insufficient. “She has to be dismissed after all the untold damage she has done — these measures are good but not enough,” he said.
Meanwhile I am loving the webite, AIDSTruth.org. It is run by some highly respected people in the AIDS field. The homepage explains how dissidents made our president lose the scientific plot.
If you do ever want to check out a dissident website, which flogs that HIV does not cause AIDS, and appears to be one that Mbeki would love to surf through:
P.S. Found the BEST place for a Girl’s Night this week: Athol, Champagne, Required to dance on tabletops, Roses, Nina Simone & Frank Sinatra, Strangers becoming your new best friends!!! You laugh & dance your way through an excellent night. Find it. Enjoy it!
P.P.S. If you are a Jo’burg resident and reading this, it means your electricity also FINALLY came back on. All this means is that now we actually have to work today. augh.