Colonialism in Africa and HIV/AIDS

This headline glared out at me and startled me out my somnambulist state on this day. The article is an excerpt from an as yet to be published book, "Tinderbox" by Craig Timberg and Daniel Halperin.

Nothing about it surprises me, but everything about it frightens me.

Having worked first with tropical diseases, primarily malaria, and later HIV and AIDS, I can only say that if the authors are even 50% accurate in their assessment of the transmission of the HIV virus from Colonial days to the pandemic of the 20th century, we haven't learned much about how fragile the eco-system is and moreover how easy it is to disrupt the balance of nature or that which is natural.

Plundering rubber and ivory in Africa is no different than the destruction of the Amazon region and its resources today, turning the indigenous people into pariah, and homeless refugees in their own land.  Not to mention the native non-human primates, bird and flora.

In Africa we got the HIV virus.  In the Amazon the natives never contracted malaria, but as soon as the builders of Empire took charge, their natural immunity dissolved.

Soon no one will be safe.

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