wait...so i think this is the first time i realized that the Nigerian government is representing the families affected by the 1996 Pfizer meningitis trials in Kano. i blogged about this case briefly sometime back. as of Tuesday, the Nigerian government, representing these unfortunate families, has decided to settle out of court with Pfizer. hmmmm, how convenient for enlargement of federal government coffers.
why, again, is the Nigerian government representing these families (scratches head)? i am all for government helping the needs of the less fortunate, but it seems that in the interests of these familes and the Nigerian government can and probably do conflict. I am not terribly familiar with the details of this case, since such info is not being broadly distributed to the public....but it seems like a better course would have been to hold two trials (unless I am in the dark and this is what is in fact going on...). One trial would be Nigeria v. Pfizer and would give the federal government the opportunity to sue the company for operating such a drug trial without proper permission from the Nigerian government. The second would be that of the Kano families v. Pfizer in which the drug company would be charged for crimes they committed against these individuals. Let me know what you think on this one....or please share other resources on this particular issue....
justice may remain elusive for these families after being pimped by large pharma (Pfizer) and now quite possibly, their own government. well, i guess this is the end of the road for this particular case. quite unfortnately though, this is an increasing trend on the part of pharmaceuticals to test their product in developing nations. trying to get my hands on Sonia Shah's "the body hunters," which I plan to devour and share after i get thru a brutal exam next week.
in my younger brash days, I used to be among the many who saw advanced fee fraud, popularly known as 419 scams, as fitting "punishment" for westerners attempting to get rich quick from the corruption that runs relatively unchecked in Nigeria. in fact, upon receiving one of these 419 emails some years back, i replied giving the scam artist tips on how to make his emails more believable (hint, getting rid of the CBN@yahoo.com address and using sentence case rather than all caps, etc)....it was out of jest at the time....but i now find my actions regrettable. these days i have sobered some and realized that not only do these scams destroy families and their livelihoods, it has an enormous impact on the willingness of foreigners to engage in the Nigerian economy. It hurts us in the long-run moreso than we think.
anyway, i am happy that some on the receiving end of these scams are wising up and I was pleasantly entertained by this man's attempt to get the scammer at his own game....i believe making almost $200 in the process (which he says he later donated to charity). thanks BB for giving me a good laugh with this one...
....and not the world.
I personally cast my vote on November 4, 2008 in favor of Barack Obama as president of the united states. although I appreciate his mass appeal to just about everyone on this planet, i do have to come to the realization that Obama was indeed elected to look out for american interests and the welfare of its various alliances and whatnot.
american presidents have been doing this since the birth of this great union...and we can expect this trend to continue - kenyan-blooded president or not. considering the position of the united states as the rome of its day and its founding principles of committment to justice and equality for all, i have never been totally comfortable with such a self-interested view. i have mentioned this in a previous post american independence day 2008, when I came to the conclusion that in the US the life of one american seems to be far worth the life anyone else.
as i tuned into the comments of newly minted President Barack Obama on the Israeli attacks on the Gaza strip, i find that i now have to amend that previous conclusion. the life of one american and perhaps its allies trumps that of hundreds of other non-american or non-allied people. as much as i love the man, i must be very honest - the position of Barack Obama - and democrats in general - is not terribly different from past administrations such as Bush I and II. i guess Obama does admit that humanitarian assistance is needed in the Gaza strip - but that is about it. i find this very disconcerting.
Since the unrest late December, there have been a total of 13 Israeli deaths (mostly soldiers) while on the Palestinian side, the number is at 1,200, with the majority being innocent civilians. as much as i am for any country defending its borders, i think that common sense would tell us that the punishment did not fit the crime. however, in keeping with the american ideology that americans and their partners lives are worth far more than that of others, a CNN poll found that the majority of americans felt that the israeli use of force was too little or just about right...
of course i found this incredibly troubling especially after watching the account of this young man, a former middlebury college student, who lost two brothers due to this "justified" onslaught of violence against palestinians. as someone who has brothers of my own, i could not help but see myself in him and consider that quite possibly, we all are deserving of the right to life - regardless of nationality or affliation.