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Jonathan Berger Responds to the Minister of Health's spokesperson's racist nonsense about TAC in the Mail & Guardian.

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 Jonathan Berger is a researcher in and head of the Aids Law Project's Law and Treatment Access Unit

Sibani, thanks for your insightful analysis of the TAC. Now I know it is divided into "reasonable whites and Indians," "troublemaking coloureds" and "unthinking blacks."

As a white, aspirant marathon runner who works for the Aids Law Project, am I in Heywood's camp? Or as an openly gay man who enjoys a good fight, let alone an opportunity to "destabilise our democracy," am I part of Achmat's gang? Or as an African (are we not all Africans?), driven by my passion to deal with HIV/Aids, am I one of Mthathi's "useful idiots?"

Perhaps I am too stupid to care. In which case, kindly advise me on how to deal with a pressing matter - Matthias Rath. Should I:

  • As part of the "rational" faction, allow the honourable doctor to conduct his experiments only on "lesser humans," such as prisoners and asylum seekers with HIV? They're not getting access to ARVs anyway, so why not high doses of vitamin supplements?

  • As part of the "T-shirt wearing, rent-a-crowd faction," be concerned that the promotion of scientifically proven medicines undermines the dignity of Africans, offer to recruit further trial participants outside the Cape Town townships?

  • Or, as part of the TAC's "extremist rejectionist faction," take all legal means necessary to ensure that the Health Department's law enforcement unit, under the minister and director general's guidance, use the laws passed by Parliament to stop Rath and his merry band from exacerbating a public health crisis? -- Jonathan Berger, Interim Chairperson - Gay Jewish Men's Faction, TAC