And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; (Acts 17:26)
Having knowledge of the scriptures, science, medicine and history dispels the stupidity of racists who have errantly misapplied the accounts of Genesis 9:25 in their attempts to blame the continent of Africa in general, and Africans in particular, for a plethora of things that serve to support their errant, radical fundamentalist theology.
We will start with shedding real light on the epidemic of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), a lentivirus, that causes infection and over time an acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Africa is a continent with diverse climate range…from widespread desert to tropical rainforest. This is fertile ground for both disease as well as disease vectors (i.e.: animals that can carry diseases that can lead to human infections…monkeys, bats, mosquitoes etc.). The same can be said of South America and Asia. It’s not as true of Europe, Australia and North America. Those geographical areas that get very cold limit the insect populations. Moreover, animals such as monkeys and apes that act as prime agents for cross contamination to humans do not have natural habitats in cold climates. Epidemics have much to do with environmental conditions that make it easier for diseases to develop and also allow vectors to flourish year round.
Zoonotic diseases are when animal pathogens transfer into humans. Where are you going to see lots of animal pathogens? Zoonotic diseases flourish in those regions with lots of animals, with high biodiversity. Biodiversity is the range of genetic variation in plant and animal life. Tropic climates which have rain forests are prized for their biodiversity. Where the plant and animal life is very diverse, so is the bacterial, parasitic, fungal, and viral life. Because the range is so great, mutations can produce greater novelty. And novel viruses, for example, are more likely to find a host in which they can survive and mutate further. The history of infectious diseases has been a history of microbes on the march; of microbes that have taken advantage of the rich opportunities offered them to thrive, prosper, and spread. Simply put, “germs” like warm. It has nothing to do with a curse, based upon errant theology, being applied to any specific group of people or geographical region. At the onset of the creation, climate was fixed; long before the Great Flood and Noah.
First, the origin of the virus plays the most dominant role in its flourishing in a particular area and then radiating outward to those areas surrounding the place where the virus was first detected in humans. Diseases (especially viruses) don’t care about nationalities or borders. They look for hosts and they get spread by particular practices.
Second, one must understand the reasons for the transference of diseases from animals to humans. Locally produced animal protein is extremely scarce in most of the regions in Africa. This is fundamentally because the region’s geography is prone to Tsetse fly infestation, a problem that has limited domestic livestock production. The result is that traditionally and historically, the meat of wild animals, commonly called “Bushmeat”, has been the primary source of animal protein for most communities. Animals used as “Bushmeat” are carriers of numerous endemic diseases; including the human immunodeficiency virus. Transference of the diseases occurs during the cutting of the meat, in which animal blood, and other bodily fluids, end up on the people cutting it; thereby, infecting them. Another way that people get infected is due to the fact that the meat may not be completely cooked. This happens due to the type of heating source employed: open fires over which the meat is simply hung.
Third, our ability and resources to combat any epidemic are crucial to limiting the spread of any disease. Africa in general is very poor compared to other continents and countries and while they need medical help, scientists know those residents cannot afford medication even if it was available. Unfortunately, if researchers can develop a drug that requires years of research and huge amounts of capital investment, without any certainty of financial gain, they simply will not dedicate their career to such pursuits. It sounds terrible to say, but research requires a lot of education and money and it’s usually spent knowing that there will be some return from the recipient. Why do you think there are so many heart medications and diabetes drugs? These are reoccurring conditions flourish in developed nations (America, Canada and Europe), but their citizens have the means to pay to save their lives. Most African countries depend a lot on outside help for many issues; even those besides medically related problems. Help becomes entrenched in bureaucracies and it is difficult to even get approval for research and development of drugs to combat diseases originating in those countries. What incentive for profit would there be for pharmaceutical companies to have deadly diseases, with no cure, to erupt in countries where the victims are desperately poor and could not even afford a cure?
Most pharmaceutical companies exist because of their profits made from the development and manufacture of medications for chronic conditions such as pain and inflammation, high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes and erectile dysfunction. They make very small profits on short-course antibiotics which “cure” an infection in a matter of days or weeks. Their profit is highest on drugs which people start taking, and never stop taking.
Racists are narrow minded and conveniently overlook facts. The Black Plague came from Asia. Syphilis is from the Americas. The 1918 flu came from Asia. Measles is European. Cholera came from India. If we look at recently emerging diseases, Legionnaires, Lyme disease, Sin Nombre, and the hemorrhagic Hantaviruses are from the Americas, Nipah is from Malaysia, Hendra is from Australia. Additionally, an estimated 17.7 million people died from cardiovascular disease in 2015, representing 31% of all global deaths. That sounds like a real dangerous disease. It is most prevalent in developed nations that have diets high in fat, salt, sugar and cholesterol. Welcome to America!
One thing for certain…we can expect radical fundamentalists to spin the truth of Scriptures, continue to compartmentalize an entire continent and its people and in doing so justify their racist views.