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Saturday, 17 July 2010

Quick notes

Margot Wallström, UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict suggests that there is almost total impunity for rape in Congo. She reckons the "one statistic quoted is 200,000 rapes since the beginning of the war 14 years ago, and it is certainly an underestimate".

A small Namibian step for people living with HIV. The country recently removed travel restrictions for people living with the HIV virus to align the country's laws with international public health standards. 51 countries, territories, and areas remain with restrictions.

The internet has been buzzing with stories of the custody battle between a British father and a Zambian mother. In the latest twist (which may not be "latest" by the time you read this), the Zambian mother Ms Nyendwa tells her side of the story to The Times.

A statistical sampling adjustment sees Mozambique's HIV prevalence "drop" from 16% in 2008 to 11.5% in 2010. The Health Minister is quick to remind people not get excited - "What has changed is not the number of people carrying HIV, but the way the data are collected".  All clear then.

A wonderful report by Chiwoyu Sinyangwe on the sleeping giant that is Luapula: "I can say that the natives of Luapula Province will, one day, have to answer before the Creator for allowing the province to be so poor and desperate despite its vast natural resources endowment".  I couldn't agree more.


  1. Laughable and derisory rape statistics for Congo: try 200,000 a month! And Luapula is the fountain of Zambia which will only be unlocked if chiefs get their act together under a concerted development programme that does not allow their land to be alienated. Land grabbing by the great, the good and the bad remains our greatest threat. The Government is, after all, playing its own game, with no rural spectators.

  2. "A statistical sampling adjustment sees Mozambique's HIV prevalence "drop" from 16% in 2008 to 11.5% in 2010. The Health Minister is quick to remind people not get excited - "What has changed is not the number of people carrying HIV, but the way the data are collected". All clear then.

    People shouldn't get excited. They should get ANGRY. Angry at the way they are being hoodwinked by high HIV infection rates.

    I can guarantee you, if they start using Western Blot confirmation tests in their surveys, that 11% is going to drop to 5% or less.

    What is going on is this. UNAIDS was created to publicize HIV/AIDS worldwide. They did that by massively overstating national infection rates across the world. When it became clear that there was no threat at all of any heterosexual HIV epidemic in the West, they turned their attention to the continent with the worst data collection records.

    This is how they claimed that there was going to 'significant depopulation' in Africa. This again NEVER HAPPENED. They said that the Rakai District of Uganda was the 'epicenter of AIDS worldwide'. This was made a joke of by the fact that population growth in Rakai and Uganda never got below 3% per year. The population of Uganda grew from 14 million 1985 to 28 million in 2005. I'll repeat that, even though it was the 'epicenter of AIDS' with 30% HIV infection rates or higher, the population of Uganda DOUBLED in 20 years. That is not 'the success of the HIV/AIDS program', that is because there never was a '33% HIV infection rate' in Uganda.

    It is and was all propaganda. Personally, I believe that there is such a thing called HIV/AIDS, but I believe that in every population in the world it is contained to very specific high risk groups. Therefore, I do not believe that there a heterosexual HIV epidemic anywhere in Africa. And explosive population growth, combined with the constant downgrading of national prevalence rates are proving me right.

    This already became apparent when UNAIDS stubbornly clung on to using very faulty surveys of pregnant women at urban antenatal clinics only, and then extrapolated their results to the general population. There were so many problems with that, that it was hard to believe that professionals in statistics gathering would not have noticed that. Then the CDC came around and introduced surveys that were nationally representative, and you get the results mentioned in this case in Mozambique. This is not new, and it applies to all of Africa. For instance, switching survey types (from ANC to DHS), Sierra Leone went from 7% to under 1%.

    'AIDS In Africa' has ALWAYS been about how data is gathered.

    Estimates on HIV called too high
    New data cut rates for many nations
    By John Donnelly, Globe Staff | June 20, 2004

    How AIDS in Africa Was Overstated
    Reliance on Data From Urban Prenatal Clinics Skewed Early Projections
    By Craig Timberg
    Washington Post Foreign Service
    Thursday, April 6, 2006

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  4. So on the matter of statistics in Africa.

    The article on the DRC is very shoddily written. Not only that, but it is a direct assault on the image of Africa and regurgitates the old slavery day myth of 'black men as rapists'.

    So what is at the basis of that statistic? Again, nothing much.

    One statistic quoted is 200,000 rapes since the beginning of the war 14 years ago, and it is certainly an underestimate.

    Quoted by whom? Collected how? A national census? The UN? What was the sample size? And yet the article just trudges along as if this statistic is a given.

    One of Wallström's first assignments was a trip to the DRC, a nation she calls "the rape capital" of the world.

    Not to be facetious, but since when is a country a capital? That is almost as much an abuse of language as saying calling women 'the female species', as if there is such a thing as a species of females only, and use the term 'femicide' when talking about genocide.

    All this nonsense simply hides what is going on in the DRC, which is that the people's natural resources are not being exploited for the people's benefit, but for the benefit of foreign corporations, who pay a small bribe to whoever is in charge of a particular mining area. It is the control of that mining area, which is what the fighting is about.

    Somehow, that is not something they (including the likes of Eve Ensler or Christine Deschryver-Schuyler) want to talk about. To us, the names are actually quite familiar - Glencore, Nikanor PLC, Dan Gertler (diamonds), Beny Steinmetz (diamonds), Elwin Blattner (logging), Anthony Teixeira, Tony Buckingham, etc.

    It is very easy - tackle the oligarchs, sell raw materials only through the state, and the wars will disappear and soldiers will return to their baracks. No need to sully Africa's reputation with tales of 'femicide', or calling a country 'the rape capital of the world'.

    Congo: Three Cheers for Eve Ensler?
    Monday, 24 December 2007 05:00 keith harmon snow

    Gertler’s Bling Bang Torah Gang
    Israel and the Ongoing Holocaust in Congo (Part 1)
    by Keith Harmon Snow / February 9th, 2008

    Rwanda's Secret War
    U. S. -backed destabilization of Central Africa
    by keith harmon snow
    Z magazine, February 2005

  5. New spa resort in Liberia:

  6. Indian women peacekeepers:

  7. The first Congo "conflict minerals" law in the world:

  8. Some Africans, poor no more, hit by new diseases:


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