"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bill Gates Honors His Empire's Prime Directive on Uganda's Kill The Gays Bill

With Bill and Melinda softening any resistance to good old fashioned corporate colonialism in Africa with their foundation's unlimited supply of tax-sheltered handouts, Microsoft has established a lock on educational technology in Uganda and elsewhere on the continent. And just this week, Forbes reports that Gates has teamed with Coke and TechnoServe to assure Coca-Cola global advantage in the fruit juice market.

The project seeks to help local farmers whose fruit will be used for Coca-Cola's locally produced and sold fruit juices. TechnoServe will train farmers in improving quality, increasing production and getting organized into farmer groups, and it will facilitate gaining access to credit.

U.S.-based TechnoServe's corporate partners include Cargill, Kraft, Nestle-Nespresso, Olam International, Peet's Coffee & Tea and Unilever. Since its founding in 1968, TechnoServe has helped to create or expand thousands of businesses in more than 30 countries.

Hey, I wonder if TechnoServe will offer Ugandan farmers any "training" in workers' rights or union organizing. You think?

But while economic exploitation and corporate indoctrination continue to be greased by social entrepreneurship and vulture philanthropy that can be written off from GatesWorld tax obligations, when it comes to the Kill the Gays legislation under consideration in Uganda, Bill Gates suddenly sounds as hands off as a Starfleet captain honoring the Prime Directive of "no interference with the internal development of pre-warp civilizations." From ThinkProgress:

. . . .in a recent interview with the Seattle Times, Gates passed on an opportunity to denounce the potential law, suggesting that it’s not very important:

Q: Looking at health efforts in Africa, such as HIV prevention and treatment, are you concerned about the Ugandan anti-homosexuality bill, and have you spoken to anyone there about it?

A: The spread of AIDS is a huge problem and obviously we’re very involved. I talk in my letter about the great success with this male circumcision effort, and preventative drug trials. There’s a tendency to think in the U.S. just because a law says something that it’s a big deal. In Africa if you want to talk about how to save lives, it’s not just laws that count. There’s a stigma no matter what that law says, for sex workers, men having sex with men, that’s always been a problem for AIDS. It relates to groups that aren’t that visible. AIDS itself is subject to incredible stigma. Open involvement is a helpful thing. I wouldn’t overly focus on that. In terms of how many people are dying in Africa, it’s not about the law on the books; it’s about getting the message out and the new tools.

The bill has been strongly condemned internationally and should be especially troubling to Gates because it “in effect bans organizations working in HIV and AIDS prevention,” which it considers “promotion of homosexuality.” The U.N.’s Special Envoy for AIDS in Africa blasted to legislation, saying, “The law will drive [patients] away from seeking counseling and testing services.” AIDS activists in Uganda and the U.S. have protested the bill, and the U.N. has threatened to scuttle plans to build an AIDS research center in Uganda if the bill becomes law.

That's right, Bill--just keep on the sunny side of that corporate psychology and don't make waves for the despots who most enjoy your generosity--and let your Empire do the rest.

1 comment:

  1. More predatory pseudo-philanthropy and corporate colonialism by the convicted predatory monopolist from Redmond. Banana republics have given way to blue screen of death republics. Above all, this is another example of how arguments that Gates is somehow progressive are specious at best.