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 News and opinions on situation in Haiti

Don’t let new AIDS study scapegoat Haitians by Edwidge Dandicat | Pye Kout Pran Devan: Is there a contaminated vaccination program being launched in Haiti, right now?

Date: 10 November 2007

Recommended HLLN Links:

“…In Haiti, where 6 percent of the population was HIV-infected in 2003, the situation has improved, with HIV rates dropping to 2 percent by 2006, the CDC says. “ AIDS study spurs Haitian outrage BY FRED TASKER AND JACQUELINE CHARLES, Oct. 31, 2007, Miami Herald

HLLN Recommended Links on the Origins of Aids/HIV


– Pye Kout Pran Devan: Is there a contaminated vaccination program being launched in Haiti, right now? HLLN, Nov. 10, 2007

– Don’t let new AIDS study scapegoat Haitians By Edwidge Danticat, The Progressive, November 7, 2007

Ezili Danto’s note: Pye Kout Pran Devan – Is there a contaminated vaccine program being launched in Haiti, right now?

Considering that the United Nations and World Health Organization (WHO), for approximately 9.5 million dollars to themselves, have just initiated a national campaign to vaccinate 5.7 million or 58% of the population of Haiti against various diseases, including polio, measles and a “tetanus vaccine” to be provided to ALL Haitian women who are of childbearing age (Haiti Begins National Vaccine Campaign By Z. Perry CLOUT INDEX

Considering the Ottawa Initiative, the 2003 foreign gathering where foreign ministers of the Western powers met in Canada and indicated they saw Haiti as a “threat” to North American countries because Haiti might have, by some estimates, a population of 20 million by 2019;

Considering that Canadian foreign Minister, Dennis Paradis is reported to have said at this white gathering that the prospect of 20 million Haitians by 2019, is a “time bomb, which must be defused immediately.”

Considering what we-Haitians have been learning about, these last weeks, in our efforts to understand the Worobey theory; considering we have learned that the Aids/HIV virus possibly came to Africa through a similar WHO polio vaccination program of the African population, all I can think to advise my people is: PYE KOUT PRAN DEVAN!!!!

It is critically then, that in reference to this World Health Organization (WHO) vaccination program, currently being promoted by the Internationals in Haiti, that Haitians remember that US/Euros have a history of experimenting on the poor (remember the Tuskegee experiment, et al…) and not a history of bringing to health and prosperity to Black people. Thus, right thinking requires that we-Haitians should ask our own trusted and non-embedded medical doctors to please advise as to whether this massive vaccination program, now launched, while Haiti is in the control of foreigners, won’t be about transferring more diseases to Haitians? (See, AIDS: The WHO Vaccine Conspiracy & Monkey Business by ALAN CANTWELL, M.D.

The Ottowa Initiative |; and Haiti Begins National Vaccine Campaign By Z. Perry CLOUT INDEX

Ezili Danto Li led li la November 10, 2007


Don’t let new AIDS study scapegoat Haitians By Edwidge Danticat, The Progressive, November 7, 2007

A new study on the early path of the AIDS epidemic threatens to stigmatize Haitians and Haitian-Americans once again.

Late last month, a group of researchers published a study that concluded that the explosion of the AIDS pandemic in the United States resulted from the virus first being brought from the Congo to Haiti around 1966 and then to the United States “after a single migration of the virus out of Haiti in or around 1969.”

Now I am not a scientist and I don’t pretend to understand every detail of the research conducted by the group, led by Michael Worobey of the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona. (The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.)

But prominent physicians argue that the group’s conclusions are highly debatable. And, by pinning the blame on a Haitian “immigrant host,” they could have potentially devastating consequences.

Worobey and his colleagues based their study on the blood samples taken from five Haitians in the early 1980s, patients who all happened to have been treated by a collaborator in the study, Dr. Arthur Pitchenik of the department of medicine at the University of Miami. Dr. Pitchenik had collected and sent their blood samples to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. The Haitians’ blood samples were later compared with 117 other samples from non-Haitians, and the Haitians appeared to have the oldest strain outside of Africa.

The scientific value of the research, we are told, is — aside from historical curiosity — to help study mutations for a potential AIDS vaccine, which would indeed be good news for everyone.

But one of the critical problems with the study is how sweeping a conclusion it draws from research that involves such a tiny group of people. “This is very slender evidence on which to base such a grand claim,” Dr. Paul Farmer, a professor of medical anthropology who has been fighting the AIDS epidemic in Haiti, told the Miami Herald.

What’s more, the study places inordinate significance on its Haitian “immigrant host” when other carriers are equally if not more plausible.

First of all, there were only a relatively small number of Haitians working in the Congo, and of these, many chose not to return to Haiti because it was under a brutal dictatorship at the time.

Second, there were plenty of missionaries, aid workers, Peace Corps volunteers and revolutionaries returning from the Congo to the United States and other parts of the world who also could have spread the virus.

Previous claims on the origins of the AIDS epidemic have proven to be wrong, so we should look at the current one with a great degree of caution. The hunter theory that blamed Africans for eating bush meat, the vaccine theory that blamed scientists for making guinea pigs out of millions of people, and the Patient Zero theory that blamed one promiscuous Canadian flight attendant all have for the most part been abandoned.

The problem with the Haitian hypothesis is that by the time it is further elaborated, vetted, debated, clarified and scientifically contested, the lives of thousands of people may be irrevocably altered, just as they were in the early 1980s, when as the only high-risk group identified by nationality, Haitians lost jobs, friends, homes and the freedom to emigrate.

At that time, a struggling Haitian tourism industry was crushed. Children, including myself, were taunted or beaten in school by their peers. One child shot himself in a school cafeteria in shame. Haitians who tried to donate blood faced a ban by the Food and Drug Administration, which eventually realized that banning donors by nationality was not the answer as much as more thorough screening of the entire blood supply.

Already, in one public discussion in Miami, a caller on a radio talk show jeered that all Haitians should be kept out of the United States.

The truth is, as long as the pandemic exists, it is all of our problem, however it started, whoever carried it, and whoever is now infected by it.

Stigmatizing Haitians will do nothing to solve that problem.

Edwidge Danticat is a Haitian-American writer living in Miami. She won the American Book Award in 1999 for “The Farming of Bones.” Her most recent book, “Brother, I’m Dying,” is a finalist for the National Book Award . She can be reached at

Forwarded by Ezili’s Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network

See also:

‘The Geography of blame’ – Haiti, AIDS and Racism in the Mainstream in the Media

Haitian HIV Link Criticized

Haitians Didn’t take this Bitter Pill in 1990, Won’t take it in 2007: HIV/AIDS Origin in Haiti

En Memoires Des Arawaks et Tainos D’Haiti

Haiti Defamed by controversial HIV Study ; ; , and

Haitians May Sue Over HIV Research Claim – A HBN First, by Philomena Robertson

AIDS study spurs Haitian outrage BY FRED TASKER AND JACQUELINE CHARLES, Oct. 31, 2007, Miami Herald


The Two Most Common Storylines about Haiti and Haitians

U.S. Patterns in Haiti


Foreigner sexually abusing defenseless and poor Haitians:

Sri Lankan peacekeepers in Haiti sex scandal, Nov. 2, 2007, AFP

– UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – More than 100 Sri Lankan peacekeepers have been accused of sexual exploitation and abuse in Haiti and will be sent home on Saturday, the United Nations said, in the latest sexual abuse scandal involving U.N. peacekeeping missions. Nov. 2, 2007

UN Peacekeepers in Haiti abhorrent violation of the fundamental of care: sexual abuse and engaging in child prostitution

See also: – Dessalines three Ideals – “…In the sixteenth century, Europeans insisted that syphilis originated in Haiti, and was brought back by Columbus’ sailors. (the converse now appears to have been the case.)”
Excerpted from: The Uses of Haiti (1994, updated 2005) —by Paul Farmer;

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