Mhambi has been redeployed.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Gevisser: Mbeki is still an Aids denialist

According to the UK Guardian, Mbeki admitted to Mark Gevisser that he is an Aids denialist, but was forced to withdraw from the debate because of pressure from cabinet colleagues.

Gevisser reiterates the opinion that Mbeki's thinking on Aids is driven by his views on race and sexuality. A point made by previously by Judge Edwin Cameron.

It also mentions the 100 page paper Mbeki wrote on Aids. Mhambi is amazed that it has not yet found its way onto the internet.

Thabo Mbeki: The Dream Deferred describes how the president contacted the author earlier this year to reiterate some of the views that caused uproar in the medical community before Mr Mbeki stopped talking publicly about Aids several years ago. Mr Gevisser also describes how the president's view of the disease was shaped by an obsession with race, the legacy of colonialism and "sexual shame".

The book will reinforce the view of Mr Mbeki's critics who say his unorthodox opinions have cost hundreds of thousands of lives by delaying the distribution of medicines, and that the health minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, has continued these views.

Mr Gevisser recounts how Mr Mbeki phoned him late on a Saturday evening in June to discuss Aids. The president asked the respected Johannesburg author whether he had seen a 100-page paper secretly authored by Mr Mbeki and distributed anonymously among the ANC leadership six years ago. It compared Aids scientists to latter-day Nazi concentration camp doctors and portrayed black people who accepted orthodox Aids science as "self-repressed" victims of a slave mentality. It describes the "HIV/Aids thesis" as entrenched in "centuries-old white racist beliefs and concepts about Africans".

The author said he did have a copy but the next day a driver from the presidency arrived with an updated and expanded version. "There is no question as to the message Thabo Mbeki was delivering to me along with this document: he was now, as he had been since 1999, an Aids dissident," the author writes.

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