Monday, January 12, 2004

Where do they get this stuff? 

The Boston Globe has an article about a Nigerian village where several children contracted polio and now have to live with useless limbs. The vaccine was available. Even offered door-to-door. So why did these kids come down with polio?

Muslim leaders in hundreds of northern Nigerian communities such as Batakaye limited or halted door-to-door polio immunization last year. They told millions of faithful in this Muslim-dominated region that the American government had tainted the vaccine with either infertility drugs or HIV, the virus that causes AIDS -- statements later proved false by independent laboratory tests.

Some leaders admitted in interviews late last year that they never believed such a thing. But they remained silent, they said, in order to stop anything associated with the United States. The US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, several said, had led them to believe that America wants to control the Islamic world, and the polio vaccination effort gave them an opportunity to resist a US-funded initiative.

They vowed to preach against polio vaccinations as long as the United States pays for them, even though it puts their own children at risk.

Brilliant. Absolutely ____ing brilliant. We'll let our kids get polio... that'll show those imperialist Americans!

Good Lord. What a bunch of nuts. I should stop before I let loose a string of invective. But this is hardly isolated. I remember over the summer reading an article about man-eating "tiger cats," which many Afghanis were convinced were dropped from low-flying American planes to prey on people. Or how about the Iraqis who believed that American soldiers had air-conditioning units in their underwear and x-ray vision in their Oakley sunglasses?

These are the same people who believe in the blood libel and accept the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as truth.

Honestly... What leads people to be so... well, ignorant? I could just call them stupid, but that's, you know, so judgmental. These places have doctors, they have scientists, they have their fair share of educated people who have been around the world. So what gives?
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