Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Scapegoats in Libya

Six Bulgarian nurses and one Palestinian doctor have been sentenced to death by a Libyan court for their supposed involvement in the infection with HIV of 426 children. The seven, who have been detained since 1999, have been accused of being at the centre of an international plot to kill Muslims, orchestrated, of course, by Israel. Despite it being proved by dozens of independent scientific tests that many of the children had been infected for up to three years before the arrival of the nurses in the hospital in question, and despite expert testimonies such as that of Luc Montagnier, the French scientist who was among the discoverers of the AIDS virus, the court has decided to find a scapegoat for the failings and corruption of Libya's health system.

There is much hot air expelled by neocon elements about the threat to Western civilisation by 'Islamofascists', as they call them. While the likes of al-Qaeda, Hamas and Hizbullah are not in any way favourable to democratic values, in the long run they are unlikely to do much serious harm. Judgements such as these, allied with similar ideological retrogressions such as the rise of Creationism in the US and the UK, are a much greater threat. No more than anyone with a firm belief in horoscopes should be put in charge of public policy or administer courts, then neither should religious fanatics, with a disregard for scientific opinion be.