This week you discussed Venezuela, racism in healthcare, and regime change in Libya. We share your letters for “Guaido’s Failed Foreign Tour Ends With a Flop,” “Black Mothers and Children Die Because of Racist Medical ‘Science’,” and “Libya: Before and After Muammar Gaddafi.”
In “Guaido’s Failed Foreign Tour Ends With a Flop” Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers, who are facing trial for defending the Venezuelan embassy from being handed to Guaido’s coup forces, analyze the US designated leader’s unsuccessful tour of the United States.
Kweli Ngumu writes:
“When the sovereignty of nations and their diplomatic representations are no longer subject to the norms of civilized behavior and international law, but are instead hijacked by crooks, international peace and stability is threatened with unprecedented chaos. Mob rule and gangster tactics must not be allowed to prevail. The Venezuelan Embassy belongs to the legitimate government of Venezuela, not to an imperial puppet and certified thief like Guaido.”
In the Black Agenda Radio segment “Black Mothers and Children Die Because of Racist Medical ‘Science’” Deirdra Cooper-Owens, of the University of Nebraska, argues that centuries of medical experimentation on enslaved and free Blacks and scientifically erroneous assumptions about Black bodies have created “a crisis in Black maternal morbidity and infant mortality” in the US that is only now being recognized.
Keon Pearson writes:
“I’m writing because I just listened to the interview with Dierdre Cooper Owens about the disparities between Black and white maternal mortality. As a Black physician in training who is deeply involved in health disparities work, I wanted to make sure that mistruths are not perpetuated throughout the Black community.
“You and she alike stated that Black bodies are no different from any other bodies. This is sadly not the case. One can clearly see clusters of genetic variations that identify a person’s ethnicity. Some of these genetic variations have substantial effects on health outcomes. APOL1, a gene with a variant exclusively found in persons of West African descent, is protective against Trypanosomiasis but which also predisposes to chronic kidney disease, a disease which disproportionately affects African Americans. The Val122Ile variant of the transthyretin gene is exclusively found in persons of West African descent, and it predisposes to a severe form of heart failure cardiac amyloidosis. Lipoprotein (a) is a genetically-determined type of lipid in blood that is found in all races, but people of African descent have substantially higher levels of this lipid and as a consequence are at 2x greater risk of cardiovascular disease. I could go on with several examples of real genetic variations that track racial and ethnic lines and that have significant health impacts, but I think you get the idea.
“The same applies to obstetrics and gynecology. There are very different rates of uterine fibroids and endometriosis across racial lines. Black women unfortunately suffer much higher from these conditions. Black women also undergo menarche (their first period) 1-2 years earlier than white women, and this has substantial impacts on gynecological health. For one, the age at which obstetrical complications are the lowest is younger in Black women than it is in white women. The prime age for a Black woman to have a child without complications is 15-16 years old, as opposed to 17-19 for white women. The terrible politics around teen pregnancy do not escape my attention here. I in no way intend to suggest that Black women should have children earlier in life. I merely point out that the same biological clock that applies to women of all races is actually accelerated in Black women. It is worth noting that complication rates may be higher now than they were during the times of enslavement because Black women can now control their own fertility and are having children at later ages.
“I completely agree with your and Prof. Owens’s point that structural racism inform all of the health disparities that we see today, but I urge caution before attributing all of the disparity to racism alone. Genetics are real. Biology is real. And we will fail to fully address these problems as long as we deny the role of these important biological factors.”
“Libya: Before and After Muammar Gaddafi” by Roxana Baspineiro examines average Libyans’ longing for Gaddafi’s tenure.
Eric Anthony Norwood writes:
“And so it is. Every time the U.S. disapproves of a leader of a sovereign country’s attempt to govern in their own best interest, the U.S. will destabilize and reduce the social order into anarchy then claim that the failure to adhere to neoliberal policy, the IMF, and the WTO is why. All the middle east is a wreck as well as south and Central America because they resisted imperial and colonial intrusion.”
Kweli Ngumu writes:
“America is unique in its rhetorical drivel on democracy, freedom and human rights. Fundamental to such precepts is the question of self-determination and alternative concepts of social justice. America has always actively opposed countries that aspire to self-determination, freedom from economic, political and cultural control by the imperial metropolis. Those tolerated or patronized by America are submissive to the imperial will or are kindred spirits, lending a racist dimension to the imperial project. All countries firmly situated in imperial cross hairs belong to that category representing an unflinching spirit of independence and putting the public interest uppermost. Gaddafi epitomized that spirit for his nation and for Africa. The Evil Empire decreed he had to go. And go he did. In a manner not even befitting the most ferocious of predatory beasts.”
We cannot undo the destruction of the Libyan state but our writing and organizing can hold those responsible to account and educate the masses about regime change.
Jahan Choudhry is Comments Editor for Black Agenda Report. He is an organizer with the Saturday Free School based in Philadelphia, PA.
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