"Working Hand-in-hand for the Just World"
Africa Japan Forum HAYASHI Tatsuo
Address made at the "2009 UNU/UNESCO International Conference on
Africa and Globalization
- Learning from the Past, Enabling a Better Future -"
United Nations University, September 28 - 29, 2009
Visitors to Africa are attracted by ghumanityh and gdignityh
although African people have been facing difficulties for survival.
Africans are supporting each other. Now we need to control the greed
of the global business that hinder universal access to food, water,
health and education. It is the time to Globalize ginter-dependenceh
, the value of Africa.
I have been working as a medical doctor in Africa and Asia. More
than one million of drought victims died in Ethiopia 25 years ago. It
was a natural disaster. When I researched the most affected village,
I was afraid to be attacked by the drought victims because they were
extremely hungry and I had some food. However, on the contrary, they
shared their last food with us instead of attacking us. I learnt
ghuman beingh can keep gdignityh in any condition.
Ten years ago, I met a child who was affected by HIV in a hospice.
HIV affects the next generationfs health and human right. HIV is
widening the gap between man/women, urban/rural, rich/poor and who
can survive/who cannot survive. The destinies of PWHs (People Living
with HIV) in the world had been equal until 1996, when the
combination antiretroviral treatment has completed. It was
gmiracleg in high income countries which brought their survival.
But the poor who live in developing countries cannot access to the
treatment. The treatment was too expensive because of the WTO patent
policies with global legal enforcement. The WTO policies made the gap
between poor/rich and who can survive/who cannot survive. So this boy
stayed in a hospice.
In Kenya, PWHs/mothers are supporting each other. They say gIf you
die earlier than me, I will take care of your children. But if I die
earlier, please look after my children.h We enjoyed dancing
together. Some of the mothers asked me gWhen shall you come again?"
I answered gMaybe one year later.h She said gItfs too far.h It
really was too late. When I went back there, they all had died.
HIV is not only health problem but also human right abuse. gStigmah
hurts PWHs in their school and in their job. Some said gStigma is
more painful than be killed.h In Africa millions of people have been
affected by HIV, but nobody liked talking about it. It had been
dominated by gFearh and gSilenceh.
In South Africa, one PWH started to talk about HIV and broke the
silence. I am a doctor, but a patient knows the problem better than I
do. It is part of his life. So the patient is a leading player.
Sometimes a patient does a greater job rather than a doctor. He did
save the lives of 2 million PVAs (People living with AIDS) in the
world. He organized protest marches and asked the universal access to
the HIV treatment. Global action and support have come to challenge
and change WTO policies. More than one million voices supported the
movement. Finally WTO policies changed to protect public health
rights and access to medicine for all. After the rule changed, gsurvivalh has come. The children at the hospice can access to the medicine. We could start to bridge the gap between who can survive and who cannot survive. The change has saved lives not only in Africa but also in other developing countries.
In 2000, the Millennium Development Goals were agreed. In 2005, we
NGOs organized the global call for action against poverty. It was the
advocacy of the debt cancellation and not the charity action like 20
years ago for Ethiopia. African friends said hWe are not beggars. We
need more just world.h More than 4 million White Bands were sold in
Japan. This showed the will of people for the poverty reduction.
In 2008, historical hunger has come. It happened by sudden rise in
price of food and fuel, although there were enough resources in the
world for all. Twenty-five years ago the hunger was a natural
disaster. But the hunger this time is a man made calamity through
global speculation. Food, water, health and education are not for
sale. We need to control the global business that hinder universal
access to them. Now we need voices to change the global policies, to
What we should learn from Africa is ghumanity towards othersh; h
Ubuntuh in Uguni, gBotoh in Soto. It is the time to globalize
ginter-dependenceh. Letfs globalize the value of Africa.
The world is affected by poverty not only in the developing
countries but in the developed countries as well, as the gap between
the rich and the poor continues widen. All those affected by
injustice in Japan and in Africa need to work together. Letfs work
hand-in-hand for the Just World.
Letfs raise the voices, change the world and gain the survival and
hope. Thank you.
Africa Japan Forum