Genocide Charge Against TAC Hits SA Media by Celia Farber

Ten days ago Anthony Brink and the Treatment Information Group of South Africa filed a draft indictment against Zackie Achmat and the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) on charges of genocide for their promotion of AZT and other so-called antiretrovirals with the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

I have read the complaint carefully, twice. Despite my 20 year immersion in the mind-reeling odyssey of the HIV Drugging Wars, I was disoriented, shocked, and wounded from this.

It is so psychologically, politically, morally, and bio-chemically bizarre that one feels crazy from it.

Coincidentally, the night I first read it, I had a visitor from Holland--a gay man who came into my kitchen with tales of drug toxicities, maimings, deaths, and pained admissions that the anti-HIV pharaceutical utopia of the past 20 years has turned into a hell of good intentions and poisoned bodies. He told, laconically, of friends who had recently and not so recently died on the drugs, from the usual--heart attacks, renal failure, lymphomas, strokes. One friend had had his circulation destroyed by AZT and had both legs amputated. Now he'd also suffered a stroke on cocktail therapy. Then he told me of one HIV positive friend who'd gone 20 years without the medications and remained healthy. "How did he make that decision?" I asked, given that the man had just told me that the Dutch media had permitted virtually no unorthodox AIDS reportage. He answered quietly: "He was an HIV counselor. He saw it."

I turned off the stove and sat down motionless, as that sunk in.

Then I returned to the cooking. And this is what makes life so peculiar. Everything seems so unreal and we grasp next to nothing. Except in flashes; It was his quiet delivery that made it sink in, at last.

There is nothing quiet about Mr. Brink's 59-page polemical indictment and documentation of what he views as Achmat's crime of genocide against the majority black population of South Africa. It builds calmly at first, then turns increasingly merciless, like the sealing bricks at the end of Poe's The Cask of Amontillado. One gasps--and wonders about mercy. About tone. Restraint. Decorum. It ends on a note of wild rage--a revenge fantasy Mr. Brink permitted himself, perhaps wisely, perhaps foolishly, but either way, with full intent and eyes wide open.

The first shock waves have already begun to wash over South Africa as reported here today, and a copy of the indictment is available here.

The Chinese saying goes: "Every man has his reasons."

To understand Mr. Brink's reasons, you must read all 59 pages. I'd be most eager to hear what you think.