Africa and Gates-keeping

I have been, over the past year or so, making a slow conversion to free software. It started when I interviewed Richard Stallman and tried to get ZNet moving in the direction of free software, along with some help from my friend Tarek. It’s been a long process and I don’t want to minimize the difficulties, but I have decided to aim for full conversion once Windows Vista replaces Windows XP to the point that XP is no longer supported (I’m typing this from an XP machine). I had decided this a while ago, and then I saw an excellent article by Raj Patel called “Tunnel Vista”. The article is available at an excellent site – looks like a blog and is, I note, done in drupal, a free software content management system that this blog will soon be converting to – called “Stuffed and Starved” about our food system.

Raj connects the behavior of the Gates’ in their philanthropy with Africa and their corporate behavior as Microsoft. I’ve been thinking about Africa recently. I’ve been reading about Sudan and Darfur, and that got me thinking about the Congo, and that got me thinking about AIDS. The common thread that runs through Africa’s problems, to my mind, is that the whole continent has been stripped of its sovereignty. Its independent development, its economies, and its governments, have all been destroyed and undermined. The serious problems its people face, they aren’t able to solve, because all the levers of control are outside of their control. The idea that a continent of so many peoples is to depend on philanthropy for vaccinations at all is really angering. Anyway, please read Raj’s piece, and check out Stuffed and Starved.

Justin Podur

Author: Justin Podur

Author of Siegebreakers. Ecology. Environmental Science. Political Science. Anti-imperialism. Political fiction. Teach at York U's FES. Author. Writer at ZNet, TeleSUR, AlterNet, Ricochet, and the Independent Media Institute.