Tuesday December 6, 2005

The Tiny Mind of Stephen Lewis

By C. Gwendolyn Landolt
National Vice President
REAL Women of Canada

Stephen LewisStephen Lewis, a former NDP politician, the leader of his party in Ontario between 1970 – 1978, failed to convince the voters to trust him by awarding him the premiership of the province. Frustrated, he resigned his seat in 1978.

Ironically, however, it was Progressive Conservative Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney who gave Mr. Lewis his big break-through when he appointed him Canadian Ambassador to the UN between 1984 and 1988. The UN and Mr. Lewis were a perfect match. Mr. Lewis’s pompous, arrogant posturing fitted perfectly into the UN style and made him an ideal UN bureaucrat.

In 1999, Mr. Lewis served as deputy executive director of UNICEF. During his time in office, UNICEF specialized in promoting abortion, contraception and sexual rights for adolescents – largely ignoring health issues, such as malaria, tuberculosis and cholera, as well as the necessity of clean water and improved education for adolescents. That is, these latter needs took a back seat to UNICEF’s demands for adolescent “reproductive health” issues.

Such a priority is typical of the UN which, in the best tradition of 19th century imperialists, determinedly tries to impose liberal western values on the unwilling populations living in the third world.

In 2001, Mr. Lewis was appointed UN special envoy for HIV-AIDS in Africa, reporting directly to Secretary General Kofi Annan. In that position, Mr. Lewis’s hyperbole soared to new heights. He toured the world, business class, demanding funding to curb the spread of AIDS in Africa. Mr. Lewis, of course, is an ardent believer in the value of the mighty condom as the main response to the spread of AIDS. As a result, the UN’s AIDS intervention in Africa has been ineffective. Dr. Norman Hearst, of the California-San Francisco University, has revealed statistics on Kenya, Botswana and other African countries, which show an increasingly alarming correlation of increased condom sale with rising HIV prevalence. Dr. Hearst stated that we are “raising a generation of young people in Africa that believe condoms will prevent HIV. This is concerning because condoms are not 100% effective, even when used properly”.

In 2003, the UN itself, through its AID’s agency UN AIDS, admitted that condoms have a disconcerting failure rate. This study revealed that condoms are ineffective in protecting against HIV an estimated 10% of the time. The admission from the UN points to a far lower failure rate than some studies, which have shown higher than 50% failure rates.

Facts, however, never stand in the way of the liberal and sexually liberated members of the international AIDS establishment, including Mr. Lewis. They believe that sexual promiscuity can be made “safe” via a tiny piece of latex. The UN’s and Mr. Lewis’s love affair with condoms knows no bounds.

However, Mr. Lewis believes that he is thwarted, in his great life’s work of spreading layers of latex throughout Africa, by two institutions which he regards as being dismally ignorant – namely, the Catholic Church and the office of the US President.

Apparently, finding it hard to believe that there is anyone superior to himself, Mr. Lewis has never been a fan of religion. At the UN Conference on Population and Development, held in Cairo in 1994, Mr. Lewis delighted the radical feminist chorus present, when he stated that organized religion – particularly the Vatican and the Islamic faith — were exhibiting “thinly veiled misogyny” and oppressing women in preventing the “thoughtful” wording of the Cairo documents from passing. The Cairo Plan of Action, by the way, included the provision that abortion be made an international human right. Also in 1994, Mr. Lewis participated in a panel investigating genocide in Rwanda. Instead of placing the blame where it properly belonged – namely, with the UN’s failure to intervene in a slaughter which led to over 800,000 deaths — Mr. Lewis blamed the US, France and the Catholic Church for being complicit in the rise of Hutu extremists in that country, which led to the deaths.

Initially, when US President Bush announced the $15 billion grant to fight AIDS in Africa, Mr. Lewis was full of smiles and kind words for the US president. Just think what he and his fellow UN bureaucrats could do with $15 billion! It would be enough to cover the cracks left when the fraud of the UN’s Oil-for-Food scheme was exposed, leaving some bureaucrats short of cash, as well as being without a project worthy of their efforts. The US $15 billion AIDS grant seemed to be an answer to their prayers. With this grant, Mr. Lewis saw himself as the international “Lord of the Condoms” with no one to match his power or influence in that area.

However, this dream was not to be. Mr. Bush’s aid programme, which was called the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), by-passed the UN’s bureaucracy and Mr. Lewis. Instead the US decided to spend the money directly in Africa itself. This was a severe affront to Mr. Lewis. As stated by Western Standard columnist Mark Steyn (October 3, 2005)

While one understands Mr. Lewis’s irritation at the US disinclination to acknowledge his primacy, the US project is surely complementary, rather than competitive.

In addition to by-passing his good graces, the US programme also focused on AIDS prevention by abstinence rather than condoms, following the successful model adopted by the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. The Uganda abstinence campaign has been so successful that it has been likened to an effective vaccine: it has reduced HIV transmission rates from 30% in the early 1990’s to 5%. The Ugandan model has also led to a marked reduction in pre-marital sexual activity among Ugandan youth and a reduction in extra-marital activity among adults.

This was all too much for Mr. Lewis. He came raging out of his corner, claiming Mr. Bush was damaging the AIDS fight by hobbling Africa’s largest pandemic by downplaying the role of condoms. He bizarrely claimed that the Bush programme of shifting AIDS funding from condoms to abstinence promotion has led to a shortage of condoms in Uganda! Mr. Lewis stated, “ To impose a dogma driven policy that is fundamentally flawed is doing damage to Africa.” Who is preaching dogma here? Clearly it’s Mr. Lewis. Mr. Lewis also expressed his bigotry against religion when he stated, “ What PEPFAR has done is to have made it possible for a number of Pentecostal and more fundamentalist churches to pursue the abstinence agenda.” Oh my.

Uganda, however, has not remained silent in this ongoing campaign by Mr. Lewis to destroy its abstinence programme. The Director of the Global Center for Uganda’s strategy, Mr. Martin Ssempa, in an open letter to Kofi Annan, demanded that Mr. Lewis be immediately fired and removed from UN AIDS.

In his letter Mr. Ssempa stated that Mr. Lewis “is using the entire body of the UN for his personal agenda of condomizing the developing nations. Why he has the audacity to fight the only nation which has demonstrated success in reducing HIV/AIDS is utterly beyond me.”

He went on to say that “Mr. Lewis is further sinking the credibility of the UN in the Great Lakes region in that Mr. Lewis is the type that reminds us of the UN staff who did nothing to stop the genocide in Rwanda where close to a million Africans were butchered under the close supervision of the UN.” Mr. Ssempa also demanded to know “why isn’t Lewis talking about Botswana, South Africa and other nations which have taken UNAIDS advice of more condoms but now have the highest rates of HIV in the world? Why is he picking on Uganda which has been a shining example of behaviour change since 1988?”

Finally, Mr. Ssempa stated, “We are tired of these western officials who fly in a few hours and become experts in our campaign. Steve (sic) Lewis should come to Uganda and spend a few months at the feet of activists who are on the frontline … He is spending far too much time doing teleconferences, flying from conference to conference and listening to his stooges who keep telling him what he wants to hear…’there is not enough condoms. Send us more so we can condomise the world’.”

Mr. Ssempa ended his open letter with a direct plea that leaves no doubt about his frustration: “Kofi Annan, do us a favor. Fire this Steve (sic) Lewis and restore credibility to the institution of United Nations.”

The problem with Mr. Lewis, however, is that he does not seem to have any original thoughts, nor does he seem capable of grappling with concepts outside the socialist box which challenge the concept of absolute sexual liberation. In fact, Mr. Lewis is so “liberated” that he even chose the sperm donor to inseminate his lesbian daughter, Ilana, [Saturday Night Magazine, October 2005.] who said, “ Dad chose the same one as I did” suggesting it was because the donor “was a socialist.”

Mr. Lewis is so intent on blaming others, whether the US, the World Bank, Western nations or the Catholic Church etc., he is failing to look to himself for the failure to stop the spread of AIDS in Africa. Tragically Mr. Lewis is far removed from the culture and faith of his African clients. It’s no wonder that he is inadequate, and has been a failure in his mission to curb the spread of AIDS in Africa.

Republished with permission from
November/December 2005
Reality Newsletter

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