There’s Fighting in Iraq but the Real Women’s War is in Afrika


Amazons need a different viewpoint of our own on world reality, and it has to be a military viewpoint. If someone isn’t waving a gun, women don’t think it’s military. But patriarchal capitalism doesn’t see it that way. With a wink and a nod, they know that in their world it all can be military—whether we are told to call it economics, nation-building, recreation or health.

Right now people are seeing by the light of burning cities in the Middle East that it isn’t about terrorism and it isn’t even about oil, so much as it is about the Bush Gang’s plan to restructure the entire Middle East. To occupy, police, rip apart and modernize Muslim nations along certain lines to better integrate them into global capitalism. And millions have been protesting in the streets.

But they’ve already done that to Afrika (and no women here were in the streets). This is a done deal. World capitalism covertly restructured Afrika over the past fifteen years first through endemic men’s civil wars sponsored by the NATO powers and then through the massive genocide of women. The genocide that they called “a health problem”. Biological warfare has already been committed on a continental scale, but it wasn’t any pipsqueak Saddam in Baghdad. It was the big boys, the u.s. empire and NATO and the U.N. , that are the war criminals. Check out this stunning admission & explanation of Afrika’s crisis by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

“A combination of famine and AIDS is threatening the backbone of Africa—the women who keep African societies going and whose work makes up the economic foundation of rural communities. For decades, we have known that the best way for Africa to thrive is to ensure that its women have the freedom, power and knowledge to make decisions affecting their own lives and those of their families and communities. At the United Nations, we have always understood that our work depends on building a successful partnership with the African farmer and her husband…

“But today, millions of African women are threatened by two simultaneous catastrophes: famine and AIDS. More than 30 million people are now at risk of starvation in southern Africa and the Horn of Africa. All of these predominately rural societies are also battling serious AIDS epidemics. This is no coincidence: AIDS and famine are directly linked.

“Because of AIDS, farming skills are being lost, agricultural development efforts are declining, rural livelihoods are disintegrating, productive capacity to work the land is dropping and household earnings are shrinking—all while the cost of caring for the ill is rising exponentially. At the same time, H.I.V. Infection and AIDS are spreading dramatically and disproportionately among women. A United Nations report released last month shows that women now make up 50 percent of those infected with H.I.V. Worldwide—and in Africa that figure is now 58 percent. Today, AIDS has a woman’s face.

“AIDS has already caused immense suffering by killing almost 2.5 million Africans this year alone. It has left 11 million African children orphaned since the epidemic began. Now it is attacking the capacity of these countries to resist famine by eroding those mechanisms that enable populations to fight back—the coping abilities provided by women.

“In famines before the AIDS crisis, women proved more resilient than men. Their survival rate was higher, and their coping skills were stronger. Women were the ones who found alternative foods that could sustain their children in times of drought. Because droughts happened once a decade or so, women who had experienced previous droughts were able to pass on survival techniques to younger women. Women are the ones who nurture social networks that can help spread the burden in times of famine…

“Because this crisis is different from past famines, we must look beyond relief measures of the past. Merely shipping in food is not enough. Our effort will have to combine food assistance and new approaches to farming with treatment and prevention of H.I.V. And AIDS… It will require new agricultural techniques, appropriate to a depleted work force. It will require a renewed effort to wipe out H.I.V.-related stigma and silence… Above all, this new international effort must put women at the center of our strategy to fight AIDS.”

U.N. chief Kofi Annan, suave and slick as a deodorant commercial, says that he is supporting Afrikan women in their terrible crisis (that he for one helped create). But under that guise what he is really saying is that since these millions upon millions of Afrikan women are dead & dying, their role is over. Their day as the main farmers of Afrika is over, and now Afrikan society  must be restructured in a more “modern” way—i.e. a patriarchal imperialist way.

Notice that the U.N. chieftain doesn’t discuss when the international agencies first got involved in the AIDS pandemic among Afrikan women.

Fact is that for well over ten years they’ve been observing & monitoring the explosion of this genocide through bio-warfare (in many areas over 25% of adult Afrikan women are HIV Positive). In those years the U.N. aided in the u.s. empire’s Gulf War with Iraq. The dicks flew thousands of troops into the Balkans to occupy large parts of ex-Yugoslavia. To say nothing of the u.s. conquest of Afghanistan, or the French and British military incursions to prop up corrupt regimes in Sierra Leone, the Ivory Coast and other neo-colonies. No end of global interventions.

But accidentally-on-purpose there was no intervention to stop the AIDS pandemic among women in Afrika. Even after the mass fear of AIDS in white middle class amerikkka led to a dramatic medical offensive, new therapies and government-sponsored roadblocks against the spread of AIDS in Smallville. But not in Black Afrika, and most of all not for Afrikan women.

For over ten years they knew but did nothing, day in & day out, this cold collection of men’s capitalist governments. Because they knew that to reverse the AIDS explosion in Afrika they needed to empower women. (Rather than have societies run crazily off the rails by the Mugabes and Mbekis). We don’t even need to have shaky conspiracy theories alleging CIA experiments in Afrika out of control or something. The bourgeoisie and their major institutions knew about the pandemic for over ten years, but did nothing. This wasn’t a “heath” decision, this was a military decision. After all, if the German Nazis had decided that all Jewish children would not have medical care or adequate food—and then watched as they died—would we have said that it was a “health” problem or would we have called it genocide? Afrika was the real biowarfare, not Iraq and its two-bit laboratories and isolated little dictator. When they point us in one direction, we should know that the real deal is the other way.

What Annan was referring to is that in many Afrikan rural societies the subsistence farming that feeds families is largely done by women and children. Women are the local social structure, in many senses. Men work in the cash economy, often leaving their village for long periods, or often don’t work at all. Annan is saying that with the deliberately unchecked AIDS not only the labor power but the traditional knowledge and skills are being lost. As he says, “Merely shipping in food is not enough. Our effort will have to combine food assistance with new approaches to farming…It will require new agricultural techniques, appropriate to a depleted work force.”

What he means is a version of Western-style, mechanized, biotech commercial farming. With lots of imported corporate products, fertilizers, insecticides, genetically altered seeds, and petroleum-powered equipment. Very “productive”…for some men. Because once farming leaves the zone of women’s production for family consumption and becomes commercial, part of the cash economy, it transfers to the zone of men’s economy. Fact is that it’s bourgeois men who get the land titles and bank loans and commercial contracts.

It is not just the immediate deaths. This U.N. sponsored restructuring is a military strategy to wipe out Afrikan women’s role in rural society, to modernize Afrika not in a liberated way but along imperialist lines to be a better gear in the emerging global capitalist machinery.

The U.N. chief issued his statement just as those noted humanitarians, the Bush Gang, were also announcing an unprecedented $15 billion aid plan to put AIDS in Afrika back in the box. The amerikkkan public has been puzzled by this contradiction. But looking at it from amazons  military viewpoint it all fits. They give the big dollars and rally the forces after the slaughter has done its work, after they’ve won their covert war that they called peace. Now they want to stabilize the surviving employees and tidy up Afrika’s house for the new owners.

The genocide against women is not just something long ago, so distant like a faint star that we can safely memorialize it on that one night a year that we celebrate women—if that. The greatest illusion women have is in the safety & stability of our permitted little lives, our little careers, our “small world” as Adolf Hitler fondly called the lives of women. As if staying within the legal boundaries of the sheep pen means that patriarchal capitalism will not move against us  As if men keep their word.

Figure it out—the greatest mass crimes are always said to be something else, always done under cover. Hitler ran a model concentration camp in the 1930s, even with a showcase Jewish orchestra and art classes, for the International Red Cross and foreign journalists to visit and falsely reassure the world about the fate of the Jews. When they burned millions of us at the stake over centuries in the Witchhunt, it was called “religion”. When the indigenous peoples of Hispaniola and Central America were conquered and slaughtered and starved to death by the millions, it was called “Discovering the New World.” When the u.s. invasion turned Saigon into a giant brothel, with 400,00 refugee women forced into being prostitutes to serve GIs, it was called “R & R”.

And when millions of Afrikan women are being killed to wipe out an inconvenient women’s economy that’s standing in the way of global capitalist integration, it’s called a “health problem”.

To the zippers it’s all about military, no matter what else they pretend to call it. And it should be for amazons, too. But in the metropolis women like to play the game cause it pays off for us. “U.S.” only means us. After all, until we get off we ride up & down with the zipper.


More by Butch Lee

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