NewsMon Mar 31, 2008 - 12:15 pm EST
Condom-Promoters “Going Ballistic” over East African Skeleton Billboard Ads
By Hilary White
DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, March 31, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A project promoting chastity instead of condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS in Tanzania has caught the attention of authorities. Three billboard signs, bearing a photo of a grinning skeleton on a red background with the caption, "Faithful Condom User" in English and Swahili, were erected by an African affiliate of Human Life International (HLI) and local authorities are "going ballistic".
The caption is a send-up of the so-called "ABC" slogan commonly applied by the international aid organisations: "Abstain, Be faithful, use Condoms". With the minimum of ten percent failure rate for latex condoms, even when "correctly" used, and the 100 per cent fatality rate of AIDS, many experts have denounced the condom doctrine as a death trap.
Nevertheless, critics have called the ABC slogan, devised to appease the critics of condom promotion, disingenuous and racist, saying it implies that the goals of chastity are unrealistic for Africans.
HLI says that one large billboard was placed near a main road in the capital city of Dar es Salaam while two smaller versions were put up elsewhere in the city. Fr. Tom Euteneuer writes, "While we presumed that this message and graphic would be controversial, we didn’t expect the international condom lobby to go utterly ballistic over it!"
Tanzania is one of the countries especially targeted by the international population control movement that has been active in promoting condom use for AIDS prevention.
On Tuesday, the main newspaper in Tanzania, The Citizen, ran a story that described the response from "high-profile" international condom-promoting organizations like the United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, Family Health International, Population Services International and others as "up in arms" and government officials as "jolted."
The paper reports that the chairman of the Tanzania Commission for AIDS was "furious" at the billboards and that members of the Prime Minister’s office are holding meetings to discuss an "urgent intervention" to suppress and censor the signs.
Fr. Euteneuer said, "When the power structure of an entire country is rallied against us, that’s a sure sign that we’re right!"
Given the response, Human Life International is appealing for funds to expand the project. $24,000 will enable the group to fund billboards in Kenya and Cameroon but Fr. Euteneuer says they want to expand the project to 55 countries in total.
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