September 19, 2012 (HLIWorldWatch.org) - The sights in Africa are beautiful and exotic. Think Tanzania, with its snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro; plains and waters populated by zebras, wildebeest and hippos; and with the Milky Way splashed over unimaginably dark skies at night. But the best part of Africa has always been her people. Tanzanians place a premium on politeness, and if a conversation does not begin with “How is it?” or karibu (“welcome”), things can get very awkward indeed. Meals are usually chicken with ugali (blanched maize paste with mild sauce), served with a side dish of endless and pleasant conversation. And the dusty days end with a surprisingly refreshing cold shower followed by a deep and dreamless night of sleep.
Sounds like paradise, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, some people just can’t leave a good thing alone.
Tanzania has only about 120 people per square mile, but the population controllers talk endlessly about overpopulation in the country, claiming that more people means more poverty. Yet England has a population density eight times greater than that of Tanzania — over one thousand people per square mile — and nobody talks about overpopulation there.
My fourth trip to Tanzania took place during the last week of August and the first week of September. My primary message for Tanzanians was that people are a source of power, and that corruption, not population, causes poverty in Africa. After all, Japan and South Korea have population densities about ten times greater than Tanzania, and their gross domestic products (GDPs) per capita are 87 and 43 times greater than Tanzania’s, respectively.
Unfortunately, the population control cartel is immune to such logic. It has its sights set on Tanzania, because it has one of the highest population growth rates on earth at 3.1 percent annually. It is an extraordinarily young nation where the median age is only 17, and women still average 5.5 children. About $3 billion have been spent since 1991 trying to convince people to have fewer children, but the message is falling on deaf ears. The total fertility rate, or TFR, has only fallen by one child per family since 1950. Still, gigantic billboards advertising condoms are everywhere. And harmful birth control drugs are easy to find.
At a dinner event I attended near the beginning of my trip, everyone seemed to personally know young women who had experienced the severe side effects of powerful birth control drugs, which are usually administered without even the most basic precautions—such as taking a medical history. During a press conference organized by my friend Emil Hagamu, Human Life International’s (HLI) regional coordinator for English-speaking Africa, four such local women spoke publicly about the harm caused to their personal health from taking birth control. Their stories were tragic, and equally as heartbreaking was that the effects on their health were completely avoidable but for the disinformation leading them to take those drugs.
I spoke to local media about the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s “No Controversy” campaign for Africa and the rest of the developing world, and how it is aggressively and insidiously undermining the pro-life values of the African continent. While wrapped in the language of “development” and health, Melinda Gates’ plan to increase contraception use will do nothing more than make large poor families into small poor families, while actually endangering the health of millions of women.
My journey to Africa also took me to Malawi, where I gave presentations at a week-long seminar on pro-life issues for about 40 seminarians at the Kasina Spiritual Formation Centre near Dedzu. While speaking with these seminarians, I again emphasized the harmful population control plan of Melinda Gates, but I also covered condoms, homosexuality, assisted reproduction and the wisdom of God’s plan for our lives.
At one point, I asked a question that Fr. Paul Marx, OSB, the founder of Human Life International, used to ask seminarians: “How many brothers and sisters do you each have?” Most of the seminarians had more than four siblings, and the average was about five. Only two of the 41 seminarians were sole children. This proves once again that generosity sown in the hearts of the children by the example of their parents always bears much fruit.
As always, I was sorry to leave beautiful nations like Tanzania and Malawi, with their warm and friendly people, but was equally anxious to get home to my family. Emil and other pro-life leaders in Africa do not have the billions of dollars Melinda Gates and her partner anti-life international organizations have, but they have God on their side, and the truth of the Gospel of Life. Through much prayer and sacrifice, the struggle to protect the dignity of life in Africa continues.
Brian Clowes, PhD, is the director of research for Human Life International, from which this is reprinted.