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    Who will help Zimbabwe?

    Fauth K

    Global AIDSLink. 2003 Aug-Sep; (81):10-11.

    Rampant, unchecked HIV/AIDS, a famine that threatens 7 million of the country's 12 million people with starvation, a tradition of male dominance, a dictatorial president whose land "reforms" have decimated the formerly bountiful farms, and an 80 percent unemployment rate have pushed the once prosperous nation of Zimbabwe to the brink of collapse. As a social activist deeply concerned about AIDS, I've traveled to Zimbabwe three times in the past two years and witnessed the ever-deepening humanitarian crisis there. Since the beginning of the AIDS plague in sub-Saharan Africa more than 20 years ago, our nation has consistently failed to adequately respond. The term "criminal negligence" is not too harsh to describe the way we have averted our eyes from the exploding AIDS pandemic that now imperils the entire region. Finally, President Bush has taken the extraordinary step of promoting a landmark global HIV/AIDS bill (HR 1298) to provide US $15 billion ($3 billion annually for five years) to fight AIDS in parts of southern Africa and the Caribbean; Zimbabwe, however, is not included. Despite the fact that Zimbabwe is the second hardest hit nation in the world, it appears the Zimbabwean people are to be punished for President Mugabe's reign of terror. While it may be understandable that our government chooses not to offer assistance to a country controlled by a dictatorial leader, it is terribly troubling that those among us who generally champion the rights of the oppressed and disenfranchised have also looked away. (excerpt)
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