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Just blame it on the Illuminati, Thabo

August 13, 2007

We thought we’d got over the period of beholding pale horsemen, thought that Thabo Mbeki had finally begun to find his way back to the evidenced-based world, back to the complicated and often frustrating reality where the rest of us live, where there are no easy answers.

No such luck. In the past week he fired his only decent cabinet minister, and blamed Britain for the crisis in Zimbabwe.

Back story for those who don’t follow South African politics:

Way back in the late 1990s, President Thabo Mbeki discovered a strange new invention called the internet. On the internet, he discovered many new and wonderous ideas, such as the one that HIV-Aids was created by the Illuminati to kill Black people, and that anti-retroviral drugs are a Western plot to enrich drug companies and murder even more Africans.

His loyal health minister, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang – also know as Dr Beetroot for her instance on beetroot as an Aids cure – parroted this line, while tens of thousands of South Africans were dying preventable deaths from HIV-Aids that the health department refused to treat. Here’s the Sunday Herald:


“Increasingly, health minister Tshabalala-Msimang has moved to the centre of the controversy. She has distributed to health officials throughout the country copies of a chapter of American author William Cooper’s book Behold A Pale Horse, which argues that President John Kennedy’s death, invasions from outer space and Aids are linked to a conspiracy by the Illuminati – a highly secretive organisation that has been in operation since the Middle Ages – and Jews to reduce the world population. 


Cooper further claims, in the excerpt distributed by the health minister, that the Illuminati introduced Aids to Africa in 1978 through the smallpox vaccine in an attempt to reduce Africa’s population. 


Cooper is also a regular attendant at Ku Klux Klan rallies in the United States, claiming on his own radio station that the Klan is “misunderstood” and that he simply supports the cult’s “Christian” ethos. Cooper has made a fortune from his books and by charging more than #10 a ticket for his well-attended lectures.” 

Now, I am open minded enough to read conspiracy theories too. I think that conspiracy theories are worth examining as a kind of modern mythology, as they tell us a lot about the cultures that create them. I’ve written about this before. The reason conspiracy theories thrive is because we know there are real conspiracies out there, and we know we can’t trust the politicians or the media to bring us truth.

But conspiracy theories are no basis for creating government policy. People die while Mbeki trawls the Internet looking for evidence of alien landings, and writes thoughtful nonsense on his own blog.

The Treatment Action Campaign fought a very long and hard struggle, and finally – a decade too late – things started to change. South Africa was blessed with a deputy health minister, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, who understood the science of HIV-Aids, and did everything in her power to help. She began to turn South Africa’s HIV-Aids policy away from the genocidal nightmare it had been, and actually treat people.

So what did he do?

He fired her, ostensibly for going to an HIV-Aids conference in Spain without his permission, but rather more realistically for opposing his denialism.

The South African blogosphere, as well as the press, is filled with outrage. There is a good post here, for example, and you can sign a petition here.

Mbeki likes Aids deaths because it helps bring the 40% unemployment figures down. He’s be over the moon if all the poor people just died and left him in peace with t’internet.

Mbeki turned the whole debate around HIV-Aids into a neo-colonial one, focusing on the fact that Western drug companies were charging a mint for anti-retrovirals.

Opposing the profiteering of the drug companies was a good thing, as is encouraging people to use nutrition and herbal remedies when they help. I’ve written about this before, too.

But for goodness sake: anti-retrovirals are proven to save the lives of people living with HIV-Aids. Make them available. The progressive position is that we should use generics versions, produced either by other developing countries, such as Thailand, India or Brazil, or locally.

Is that so hard?

Also very much in the news is Dr Beetroot herself, the one who turned up at an international HIV-Aids conference with some garlic and olive oil as a miracle cure for Aids, embarassing the whole country. She is, according to news reports, a drunk. But she’s a Mbeki loyalist, so she stays.

Then there’s this: Britain, apparently, is to blame for the crisis in Zimbabwe:


South Africa has blamed Britain for the deepening crisis in Zimbabwe by accusing the UK of leading a campaign to “strangle” the beleaguered African state’s economy and saying it has a “death wish” against a negotiated settlement that might leave Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF in power. 

Jesus Christ.

Now, there’s no denying Britain’s historical culpability as former coloniser, and its ongoing attempts around the world at imperial aggrandisement. Britain needs to be put in its place and realise it is just a damp little island in the north Atlantic, and not a global superpower. It’s also disgusting that Britain sends Zimbabwean asylum seekers back.

But if anyone is responsible for the continuining crisis in Zimbabwe, it’s Thabo Mbeki. Zimbabwe is a landlocked country. They get their electricity from South Africa – on credit. If Thabo said “Bob, enough’s enough”, and put the lights out – that would be the end of the dictatorship.

Similarly, Zimbabwe imports its fuel, and much else besides. Mbeki could pull the plug at any time.

There is no chance of a ‘negotiated settlement’ with Bob Mugabe. The man is a tyrant, and a fascist. He needs to be isolated, as I pointed out in my handy DIY guide to getting rid of dictators.

In the news a while back was the story that De Klerk could be tried for apartheid era crimes. I agree, he should be. But Mbeki should be put on trial as well, for killing far more poeple than De Klerk ever did.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. justin permalink
    February 14, 2009 5:16 pm

    wake up the nwo is here everything you know is a lie

  2. Sam permalink
    January 11, 2011 10:41 pm

    What do you mean by “here” justin
    That’s just the fear the motherfuckers want to breed. Do you?
    Although, that is how they work isn’t it… it’s almost viral.

  3. sihle jamjam permalink
    March 12, 2012 8:15 pm

    What a bunch of illiberal imperialist drivel. Quick to pull the trigger on a man because his stand point does not enhance your imperialist point of views. it puts me in a state of dismay that your main aim is to whole heartedly discredit a mans thoughts and more than adequate research to a suggestion of geoncide. What utter drivel ! Preadolescent drivel

  4. mercy permalink
    May 4, 2012 12:40 pm

    i second you sihle, if we can just open our eyes and do something about this thing of aids, we all gonna die with it without knowing how you got it, our government is so not serius about fighting this deseas. we all gonna die

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