Friday, August 21, 2009
Bill Gates' Problem
Bill Gates has a problem. A global problem that he cannot solve like so many of his computer algorithms. His problem is global health, poverty, malnutrition, disease and infant mortality and on and on and on. While his funding programs can do so much to relieve the poor, starved, huddled masses across the third-world spectrum, the road to hell might be paved with good intentions. He talks about Africa in his annual letter, a country that is the cradle of civilization and the poor farming and irrigation trends that span that country is a focal point of his philanthropic thesis. We must aid the lowly farmer and help him to grow more food in an efficient manner. This is accomplished through better fertilizer to grow sweeter yams that might promote an unnatural disposition of food production and agriculture on the African continent like kangaroos in the United States when throughout history Africa has been replenished by the torrential rains in the African plains that have for thousands of years nourished the soil and where animals have grazed freely and openly. I wonder about his medical programs that have brought an inordinate amount of healthcare like heaps of plastic needles that contaminate and pollute the grand expanse of the glorious continent and undermine its image in the world rather than quench its thirst from the cup of life. I wonder how much of the world's problems he can solve with his tamed charity that sweeps the world with a cold surgeon's glove and a rational heart. I wonder how the Africans and others truly feel about healthcare handouts and the unrelenting message of the Gates Foundation that "we are here to help," that "you need us," that "survival depends on this," that by hospitalizing the great African nation will make it more powerful and glorified in the end but in the process defy the ancient wisdom of the African shaman and the writing on the scrolls that have long been stored away in the recesses of innate memory. These notions to me, no matter the starvation, famine, illness that now plagues the innocent and unborn, are deeply without meaning or true salvation. Like the baptisms of the great religions, the Africans need a spiritual awakening, so that the land itself can yield greater fruit and a burgeoning civilization can once again thrive like the hanging gardens of Babylon that once mesemerized all human existence. It's hard to conceive that these programs are not in the least politicized and provide another proxy position to fight radicals in Somalia or awkwardly camouflouge U.S. forces fighting abroad and further downplay the desire of indigenous Africans to be liberated. For what reason . . . for purpose . . . for what intent. Bill Gates sticks out like a sore thumb in Africa and has branded the nation as a grieving childless mother that never nursed its young, cared for them or raised them to great intellectual, cultural and artistic heights. I am reminded of a quote in the Devil's Advocate where the devil exclaims, "There is no future." What future indeed, the righteous soul must concede, when Africa is now the slave to Dr. Livingstone - the imperial missionary who must be sought out and confronted. How do we do this? How can this be accomplished? More questions abound than answers when Bill Gates arrives in Africa.