Poverty in UgandaI first read this article in the Detroit Free Press. It annoyed me at its simplistic and biased premise. Then it showed up on Little Green Footballs. And it bothered me more. I'm not going to jump on the "let's trash LGF" bandwagon, but for somebody who seems to pride himself on getting all of the information before entering into a fray, this post seems more of a knee jerk by Charles Johnson.
At age 45, after giving birth to 13 children in her village of thatch roofs and bare feet, Beatrice Adongo made a discovery that startled her: birth control.As I recall from just being alive for the past 50 or so years, Uganda has had other problems that have been much larger than a lack of contraception. Remember Idi Amin?
"I delivered all these children because I didn't know there was another way," said Adongo, who started on a free quarterly contraceptive injection last year. Surrounded by her weary-faced brood, her 21-month-old boy clutching at her faded blue dress, she added glumly: "I fear we are already too many in this family."
On a continent where fewer than one in five married women use modern contraception, an explosion of unplanned pregnancies is threatening to bury Adongo's family and a generation of Africans under a mountain of poverty.
Promoting birth control in Africa faces a host of obstacles — patriarchal customs, religious taboos, ill-equipped public health systems — but experts also blame a powerful, more distant force: the U.S. government.
Under President George W. Bush , the United States withdrew from its decades-long role as a global leader in supporting family planning, driven by a conservative ideology that favored abstinence and shied away from providing contraceptive devices in developing countries, even to married women.
Idi Amin Dada, who became known as the 'Butcher of Uganda' for his brutal, despotic rule whilst president of Uganda in the 1970s, is possibly the most notorious of all Africa's post-independence dictators. Amin seized power in a military coup in 1971 and ruled over Uganda for 8 years. Estimates for the number of his opponents who were either killed, tortured, or imprisoned vary from 100,000 to half a million. He was ousted in 1979 by Ugandan nationalists, after which he fled into exile.That's got to slow down a society's rise no matter how many children women are having. They got rid of him, but as always on the African continent, more troubles followed. Today, Uganda faces The Lord's Resistance Army, as twisted a group of primitive barbarian thugs as I've ever read about.
The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) , led by Joseph Kony, operated in the north from bases in southern Sudan. The LRA committed numerous abuses and atrocities, including the abduction, rape, maiming, and killing of civilians, including children. In addition to destabilising northern Uganda from bases in Sudan, the LRA congregated in the Bunia area in eastern Congo. They linked up with the Army for the Liberation of Rwanda (ALIR) and other rebel groups battling with forces from the Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD)Then there is the AIDS problem and the lack of tourism. Frankly, I'd want to know that I'd be safe from marauding bands of the LRA before I went to visit Uganda. And increased access to contraception will to what to slow down the spread of AIDS? Does the spread of AIDS have any effect on the economy? I'm guessing "yes."
To believe that poverty in Uganda is being caused by lack of birth control is naive. To present it as a news story in order to promote a "green" agenda and take another whack at the Bush Administration is dishonest. Treating the Ugandan population as pawns in this green Bush trashing article is criminal. How does this help Uganda rise out of poverty? It doesn't. In order to raise their standard of living, Ugandans would have to increase their "carbon footprint", and among Greenies that is a mortal sin. Better they should remain poor but have fewer children. That means fewer tiny poverty stricken carbon emitters, and the Greenies can pat themselves on the back for reducing the number of Ugandan poor.
As a final question, once contraception is available to Ugandan women, what will the excuse for Ugandan poverty be in a generation when women only have a child or two? Or will the greenies even care any more?