God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensées of a Catholic priest

The day of the U2 concert

The day of the U2 concert has arrived and in the days before the newspapers were full of allegations against Bono, the lead singer, accusing him of supporting Julius Malemas “kill the farmer” song. Even when Bono retracted from his statement yesterday during an interview – there is another question open:
Is this singer turned activist a blessing or a curse for Africa? The same question applies to Bob Geldorf, who seems to have found a new role amidst politicians on high-profile meeting of the G7 leadership. Looking into their claims how to help Africa, there is in my eyes only one answer: they are a curse. Asking again and again for more money is a spin, we have had for the last 50 years and indeed, never has Africa received more money than ever. And the result is also clear as the world bank defines it: The people of Africa are not getting more rich or reaching the standards of a decent living: Africa has grown poorer in all these years.
In pushing for more money as Bono and Geldorf do, they just prolong the suffering of Africa as more money does not mean more development, more education, more clean water, more decent lives to live. It is not the solution but makes a solution more difficult in the development sector.
So I guess they should stay with their music and we can discuss whether we like the music or not. But they should keep out of politics like so many music stars, who seems to get into politics when their musical career is declining or even coming to an end. We don’t need Madonnas adopting babies from Africa, Geldorfs and Bonos pushing for more dollars and euros,  we also by the way don’t need the usual “one to one” partnerships between countries which gives the giving hand so much influence (like Minister Niebler unfortunately pushes in the case of the Global AIDS Fund) – we need to see and experience the life of ordinary people out here in Africa, we need to listen and then to act in a way bringing Africa forward instead our own interests.

Filed under: General, Networking, Reflection, Society and living environment, Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , ,

23.07.2010 Cutting the money

During the World AIDS Conference in Vienna, more news broke that amongst others Germany intends to cut the money contribution to the Global AIDS Fund.
According to Prof Jeffery Sachs from the Earth Institute of the Columbia University, Germany has broken several promises in the past and for him, the decision to cut donations would be shocking. In an interview published in “Die Welt” (Friday, 23.July 2010 page 4) he reminded the reader that Germany has promised in 2002 to donate for developing aid 7% of the GDP. In 2005 Germany promised with the G8 to double the aid for Africa until 2020 and to allow access for all to the HAART treatment. The Global Funds are organised to put the promises into practise. We know by know that the promises not materialize.
Prof. Sachs put it into perspective: The Global Fund would need 3 billion US Dollar – a lot of money; but compared to the 15 billion spend by the NATO in Afghanistan it seems to be a decent amount.

It the news of cutting down the donations towards are true, there is a second threat coming from the responsible German Minister Niebler. He favours bi-lateral assistance instead of multilateral fonds. I am sure every activist with some internal knowledge about bi-lateral assistance knows that this is tricky and very subjective. Prof. Sachs maintains that only global fonds guarantee optimal and objective use of the funds distributed.

I must admit knowing and reading about the amounts our politicians used and use to help the financial institutions, to support the war in Afghanistan or to bail or Greece it is an ethical disgrace to cut funding in the moment when we are on the way to reach treatment access for all and so add a preventive tool to our arsenal assisting to combat HIV/AIDS. And it seems that the lives of those in the developing countries once again count for nothing. Or as Prof. Sachs coins it: If Germany would cut funding it would be ” unscrupulous” .

Filed under: HIV and AIDS, HIV Treatment, Politics and Society, , , , , , ,

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