November 15, 2006

Spread the Net A Canadian comedian/actor and a Canadian politician went to Africa with Dr. Jeffrey Sachs. They discovered that 3,000 children a day die of malaria, and a $10 mosquito net can protect 2-3 kids for up to 5 years. As Rick says, we can all get behind the war on mosquitos, and Spread the Net aims to do just that.
  • Thanks for the link livii. It really is astonishing sometimes when a little bit of money can make a difference. Interesting campaign.
  • what would be interesting is, instead of importing nets, to set up community manufacturing enabling villages to, say make one for themselves and more to sell at a reduced price. this would have a knock on effect throughout communities. most malaria nets i've seen on sale locally are of terrible quality and of a design that isn't appropriate as many african families would need a large circular net that the whole family sleeps under, with a reinforced bottom edge, rather than the box design that is more appropriate to 'western' style beds. i'm also in the dark about how the nets are going to be distributed, who to and what mechanisms are in place to combat theft/fraud. who decides who receives the nets? how will we know they're going to the most needy and not, say the local corrupt village leader handing them out to his friends? i am very disappointed to see just how little information is on the website - especially for one asking for cash. indeed i wouldn't support such an initiative unless a great deal more information was avaliable - but after seeing a tremendous amount of aid projects and 'cool ideas' either fail or actually do harm, i insist on asking hard questions before i part with my cash. i also am suspicious of people who tell you absolutely nothing about themselves. it may be a 'cool idea' but the problem of malaria demands a well thought out solution. to be honest, i see no sign of that in the website.
  • Granted, Rick Mercer is a professional TV buffoon but if you click through you'll be at the website of Unicef Canada, who reputably have the skills and experience to organize such a distribution, given the funds. And he's only asking for ten bucks. but it's always easier to find reasons to do nothing.
  • I remember seeing something on the tube about this. I believe the nets are insecticide treated and designed with Africa in mind. He's not even asking for 10 bucks; whatever you can give. I won't participate tho' because they're probably going to air drop the nets on villages and crush people and family homes. And then they're going to stop using the nets anyway, because of something they find in the forest.
  • Good one, 56! Thanks.
  • Dr. Jeffrey Sachs has fought for some wonderful humanitarian causes, including Results, which is a D.C. based group that advocates the U.N. MilDev Goals (it's quixotry!) and reviles the evil John Bolton, another U.N.-hating political goon who's outta here. International dedication to the meeting of MilDev could be the "well thought out solution" that quaraan seeks! Extreme poverty, with help from world powers (which is hard-found), would end by 2015 under the U.N. plan. Kick-ass post, livii. It's a welcome reminder that many people still haven't forgotten the extreme conditions of poverty. There are many valiant organizations that could well use our political capital–the second most powerful capital–as well as our money.
  • *adjusts opera glasses*
  • White people don't die of malaria.
  • Mosquito is out, it's the end of the day; she's humming and hunting her evening away. Who knows why such hunger arrives on such wings at sundown? I guess it's the nature of things. - N. M. Boedecker, Midsummer Night Itch
  • Malaria by Dry Dead Fish I am a protozoa: Behold my polar rings! I luncheon on red blood cells, And do some wicked things. I am Apicomplexan, A parasitic breed. You know me as malaria, And I am vile indeed. MALARIA From Indian Love Poems, translated into English by: Laurence Hope (1865-1904) E lurks among the reeds, beside the marsh, Red oleanders twisted in His hair, His eyes are haggard and His lips are harsh, Upon His breast the bones show gaunt and bare. The green and stagnant waters lick his feet, And from their filmy, iridescent scum Clouds of mosquitoes, gauzy in the heat, Rise with His gifts: Death and Delirium. His messengers: they bear the deadly taint On spangled wings aloft and far away, Making thin music, strident and yet faint, From golden eve to silver break of day. The baffled sleeper hears th' incessant whine Through his tormented dreams, and finds no rest. The thirsty insects use his blood for wine, Probe his blue veins and pasture on his breast. While far away He in the marshes lies, Staining the stagnant water with His breath, An endless hunger burning in His eyes, A famine unassuaged, whose food is Death. He hides among the ghostly mists that float Over the water, weird and white and chill, And peasants, passing in their laden boat, Shiver and feel a sense of coming ill. A thousand burn and die; He takes no heed, Their bones, unburied, strewn upon the plain, Only increase the frenzy of His greed To add more victims to th' already slain. He loves the haggard frame, the shattered mind, Gloats with delight upon the glazing eye, Yet, in one thing His cruelty is kind, He sends them lovely dreams before they die; Dreams that bestow on them their heart's desire, Visions that find them mad, and leave them blest, To sink, forgetful of the fever's fire, Softly, as in a lover's arms, to rest.