Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Case 44/1999 revisited : Libyan AIDS children victims 0 - Bulgarian medics 0

I have been meaning to write a 'last' post about the Aids trial in Libya for over six months now , kept saving bits and pieces here and there. By now I have forgotten what I wanted to say. But I do recall writing two posts about this before. "Because of all its lobbying and political pressure Bulgaria has managed to make a big political issue about a malpractice crime and may have alienated many people in Libya " That was part I , click on it to read all before lashing out at me. And this is part II . "If they are innocent, they will walk out, if they are not they will be punished, and if a political settlement is reached well that happens too, look at all the court cases in the West. "

Well I read yesterday an interesting article by a Bulgarian journalist called Maya Dasin ( not sure about the spelling here ) in Arabic . she is basically giving a chronological recapitulation of the story since 1998, and how in her opinion the nurses and the Palestinian doctor have been framed and a merely scapegoats.

Well I'm going to state what I said before that Libyan hospitals were/are not in tip top shape so yes the disease could have been spread from there, but then pandemics happen even in the West. For example the superbugs in the UK . So I would not be surprised at hepatitis and Aids in Libyan healthcentres , but these were healthworker s and they should have paid more attention too.

As with regards to the Libyan judicial system , well if they have been tortured , then I hope that justice is done now that they have Bush on their side . But if they have survived so far to tell about it let them remember that others have not. If they are innocent I would like to remind them that the justice system in Bulgaria has not been that fair either sometimes on foreigners. Check what happened to a British 15 year old who was sentenced for 15 years for attempted murder . "As far as the Bulgarians were concerned, a local lad had been attacked and they wanted their scapegoat. " So even when the real killer confessed nobody wanted to listen at first . Life is not fair. The Bulgarian judge did what he wanted after all, and cut the speculation and story short . If all the accused had been executed ages ago this story would not have dragged .... but then maybe they ARE innocent ?

Anyway in December 2005 a retrial has been ordered, so death sentence is no longer hanging over their head . "They have always denied intentionally infecting 426 children with contaminated blood." It could have been most probably unintentional and I'm sure they will walk out free this time. But who will remember the children ? hope the Western media looks a little into their plight too as "[t] he children who are also the victims here have not benefitted from international exposure while everyone has been sympathasing with the health workers. "


programmer craig said...

Tortured and raped for 7 years for something they had nothing to do with? And if they are let go now, you'd call that justice?

Sorry, Highlander. I cannot go along with you on this one. The crimes committed by Libyan officials are FAR worse than the crimes the nurses were accused of. They need to be punished. That's justice.

Highlander said...

The crimes the nurses are accused off if true are equally bad as the ones the Libyan officials are accused of doing to the nurses.
Because when you say this :
"The crimes committed by Libyan officials are FAR worse than the crimes the nurses were accused of."

I immediately think it is because they are white european women so the crime is worse , while the children are only Arabs. Although I'm sure you did not mean it to sound that way...

However I totally agree that the officials should be severely punished if it is proved they tortured the prisoners.

7mada said...

I think Qaddafi regime is using the Bulgarian nurses and the Palestinian doctor as a scapegoat and manipulation for his disgusting acts.
Why would Bulgarian nurses who left their homeland in search search for employment and income purposely inject kids with Aids?
Maybe I'm wrong, may be I'm right.
It’s a mafia state, well politics generally is turning towards a 'mafia' theme (self-interest), but Libya is the king of the mafia (if that’s a true accolade).
Hidden agendas, no clear structure to the incident, Qaddafi is not the best fan of the Benghazi people.

But unfortunately no one will know the truth, you have three possibilities:

1. Either the injection was planned however the nurses had not known it would happen.

2. The injection was planned by the regime and the nurses knew of it and possibly took part – maybe by force.

3. The nurses themselves planned to inject kids with Aids?!! (doubt it)

Pissed of Lybian"AMERICAN" said...

I agree with highlander, its because they are White European women, the only diffrence is she is she is nice about it and I am not. Europe has been oppressing the world for hundreds of years, I say its time the world oppresses Europe!!! I don't think the nurses are innocent, and i don't think they have been tortured. But even if they are innocent, and even if they are tortured, who the hell cares. What about the folks in Iraq, what about the folks in Afganistan??? What about them, why is every one so sympathetic when it comes to America and Europe??? Are they worth more then every one else. How many people died on 9/11 about 3000, most of them where not even Americans, how many people have died in Iraq and Afganistan hundreds of thousands, its insane, how many people died in the London bombings, like 50, about over 160 people die in Iraq every day, and thats a good day!!!!!!!!! Why are Europeans held at a higher standard, is it because they have Blond hair and blue eyes,and every one else had dark hair and dark eyes? could that be a reason? NO!!!!!!! Look at Bosnia and Chechynya they kill them by the hundreds, and no one even cares. See in American and European eyes for your life to have value you have to be both A WHITE and A CHRISTIAN, if you are a White Muslim, then your worth nothing and If you are a Black Christian you are worth nothing as well, if you are a black christian you are nothing more then a "nigger" unless of course your in conflict with a muslim, then you are a CHRISTIAN BROTHER who is under attack by the evil "ISLAMOFASCISTS"!!!!!!!! And if that "ISLAMOFASCIST" happens to be a Arab or a berber with light skin, then you are a victim of "WHITE MUSLIM OPPRESSION"!!!!!!!!!!! Sorry i get carried away when i rant. highlander you rock!!!!!!

NBA said...

"Pissed of Lybian 'Americam'" MUST eb a deliberate flamer. Honstly, nobody can be that bigotic, one-sided and narrow-minded in real life.


Anonymous said...

I am sorry for staying out of blogs for 2 days because of Web problems. I am happy that others have defended my fellow Bulgarians and the poor Palestinian doctor. Thank you, Programmer Craig, thank you, 7mada!
Where to begin? Michael Shields was not 15 but 19 when he allegedly commited the crime. I do not believe his friend's "confession". A statement that does not carry the legal consequences of a confession is just talk, and the Bulgarian judge was right to prefer the eye-witnesses' testimony that it was Shields. What if I send to Libya a signed letter, "Release the defendants, it was me who infected the children"?
I agree that Shields's sentence was too harsh, and I hope the Supreme court will reduce it. However, it is one thing to give a hooligan a longer-than-due term, quite another to torture innocent people into confession and then sentence them to death.
There was some discussion about "white women". This has another aspect. It is well known among native Europeans that Arabs, especially Arab men, have deep prejudice against native Europeans, especially European women. In Bulgaria and presumably in the entire West, it was mentioned that out of the 7 people accused of INTENTIONAL infection, 6 were Europeans and of them, 5 were women. (As far as I know, the Libyan defendants were accused of negligence.) This was regarded here as an additional proof of the subhuman status of the white woman in the Arab (men's) eyes.
Highlander seems to think that the Bulgarians are more likely to have been negligent than villains. Well, once you don't entirely trust the prosecution, why do you retain partial trust? Why do you think that, if this was simple malpractice, it is exactly those people who are to blame? 2 of the 7 have NEVER worked in that hospital. (The blood banks were allegedly found in the home of one of these 2, at the FOURTH search of the home, and at this time Libyans did not have the means to detect presence of HIV in this blood; nevertheless, this presence was taken as granted.) And 5 of the 7 are nurses. If there is something wrong in a hospital, it is the doctors' responsibility, not the nurses'. Doctors are better educated, paid and empowered than the nurses and have to supervise them. Next time when something happens in a Libyan hospital, expect to see in jail some sanitary workers whose duty is to wash the floor.
One of the accused nurses, Kristiana Valcheva (in her home was the blood "found"), told her mother, "Ordinary Libyans are not to blame for believing that we infected their children, this is what they are told." Here I disagree with Kristiana. People have brains and are obliged to use them, no matter what they are told.
Highlander, why do you think that the West must have towards the infected Libyan children a different attitude than towards any other AIDS victims? If Bulgarians are quilty for the infection, then yes, makes sense, Bulgaria is a honorary Western country. But nobody in the West believes this, especially after the testimony of top Western AIDS researchers that the infection started before the defendants arrived at the hospital, and is clearly due to poor hygiene.
Perhaps you think that the West should have more concern for the Libyan children from purely humanitarian point of view. Well, do you remember at least the other large-scale infections of children by medical manipulations, in Romania and Russia? If you have forgotten (or never been aware) of them, then you have already done the very thing you accuse the West of.
And after you seem to admit that outside pressure is the main reason that the death sentences have been overturned, do you fully believe yourself that the defendants would have been acquitted anyway if innocent? Would you say, with a hand on your heart, that it is impossible or at least very-very improbable for an innocent to be sentenced in Libya?
How, in fact, could be their innocence proved to Libyans if the testimony of HIV co-discoverer Montagnier is not enough? Possibly a prophet is needed?
I agree with much of what 7mada said; I promised not to write such stuff, but I think it anyway.
Maya Markova, Bulgaria

highlander said...

Maya thank you for your showing up, I was thinking about you when I wrote this post and hoping to have your input.

To answer your question , no I cannot honestly say that innocent people would not be send to jail with our judicial system and I have my reasons which I'd rather not go into right now.

As for the West's attitude towards the Libyan children, I wished there would have been as much sympathy as other children in the world were getting,I was not implying they should have special treatment.

In a hospital it is true that doctors are responsible but their subordinates are responsible in carrying out the orders of the doctors with regards to hygiene or others stuff. On this occasion I would like to expand on my statement that the health system here is not brilliant and say that many of our own Libyan nurses are unprofessional in my eyes.

Furthermore you brought up the subject of wages and salaries, actually Maya a foreign nurse was making at that time and until quite recently astronomically more ( and in foreign currency ) than a Libyan specialist employed in a hospital. This is a fact. However, we should not blame that on the nurses ....

So I'm not really disagreeing with you , but just want to try and be objective about it, the whole outcry and care for the defendents while if they were Pakistanis no one would care. Look at the Sri Lankan maids in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon ? no one really cares. But look at a British drug smuggler arrested in prison in Saudi Arabia and watch how the world start to move for her release. I think this is mostly what is irking at the bottom of what I wanted to say.

Please send me links about the Romanian children you mentioned I read about that a while ago and also about the horrible situation of the Russian children with Aids - of which I am also aware.

Thanks Maya , you always bring a lot of interesting points to an argument. While Craig has a heart of gold :)

NBA said...

Highlander wrote:

So I'm not really disagreeing with you , but just want to try and be objective about it, the whole outcry and care for the defendents while if they were Pakistanis no one would care. Look at the Sri Lankan maids in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon ? no one really cares. But look at a British drug smuggler arrested in prison in Saudi Arabia and watch how the world start to move for her release. I think this is mostly what is irking at the bottom of what I wanted to say.

I think Highlander does have a valuable point here - it's certainly true that if for example a Westerner is taken hostage outside the Western world, it's given more attention than if the hostage were someone else. We know more less the Westerners who are currently hostages in Iraq but does someone even have a vague idea of how many Iraqis and people of other nationalities suffer the same horrible fate with far less publicity? And who cares about hostages in Colombia (they must number even far more than those in Iraq)?

But there's also another side in this coin, and now I'd like to get back to my old favourite topic, the Danish cartoons. We must also be very honest and say that if the cartoons had depicted any (and I really mean that) other historical or living religious or political figure, the outcry, killings (more than one hundred have been killed so far in cartoon-related rioting), embassy burnings, apologies, calls for boycott, death threats and last but not least Western self-censorship had been a fraction of what we saw now. That's why Jyllands-Posten was right in when they publishd the cartoons as an opening for discussion on whether any religion should be allotted a privileged status or not. No, no religion should (and Western lives are no more valuable than non-Western lives either).


highlander said...

I'm glad you do see my point NBA , and you DID manage to get back to your favourite topic did he he he ..masterstroke.

NBA said...

I might not be a five star sexmate whatever Cosmo tried to make me believe but I might be five star in turning a new discussion into an old one LOL.

No, honestly, it's really two sides of the same coin, and, Highlander, your observation of the kind of Western hypocrisy as what comes to publicity of certain world events is quite to the point.


Anonymous said...

Hi, Highlander,
Here is a link about the Romanian children:
and about the Russians,
There are of course other cases. In fact, many scientists now think that a substantial part, if not most of AIDS cases in Africa are due to unsafe medical procedures. For details, you can google iatrogenic hiv.
About the chance to sentence innocents - I retain some doubts. There is of course some chance to accuse and sentence an innocent for any crime and in any country - by honest mistake. I did not mean this, but the attitude of the people who investigate alleged anti-government activities. Vladimir Bukovski wrote about these investigators in Russia that, although they are considered great professionals, when moved to the ordinary criminal investigation, they cannot properly investigate even a simple theft of a handbag in a bus. And this is because they focuse not on the alleged crime, but on the alleged criminal: once they decide that this person is guilty, or merely that it is time to jail him, they subject the entire investigation to this decision.
About the double standard considering e.g. Western and non-Western hostages - I don't think there is something wrong. Of course the Westerners and their media would be most interested in Western hostages among all hostages in Iraq, while a hostage from Pakistan should be most extensively covered by Pakistani media. And it is above all the Iraqi media to write about Iraqi kidnap victims. This is related to problem solving in the society: if a British wonders whether to accept a job in Iraq, he needs data about British and other Westerners kidnapped in order to assess the risk. Also, we can read about kidnapped Iraqis and sympathize, but nothing more; only the Iraqi society can cope with this problem. About Colombia we all know very well that it is dangerous, so there's no need to publish many new reports.
It was interesting to me to learn that Bulgarian medics working in Libya are better paid than Libyan personnel, because I did not know this, while I knew that other foreigners in Libya are much better paid than Bulgarians. (The law of demand and supply.) I have wondered, why does Libya keep relying on foreign medical personnel for so many years? My explanation (I'll try to formulate it carefully): The "best" citizens of a country are those who can hardly read. The educated, the skilled read too much, think too much and can become troublesome. Look at the Soviet dissidents - most had finished or at least begun university study. Look at the Czech republic - who was on the streets in November 1989? Mainly students. Hence, it is good for the law and order to have fewer students and fewer professionals with university education. It is better to hire them for abroad, to take their passports to ensure that they will be obedient, and to let them work, even though they cannot say "Good morning" in Arabic. Bulgarian doctors and nurses emigrating e.g. to USA have to pass an endless row of examinations in order to be allowed to practise.

NBA said...

Maya. your theory is interesting but Highlander is the expert to reply to that for the Libyan part. However, the lack of trained medical staff and the need to hire them from abroad can be attributed to other causes than just an anti-intellectual claim as well. Anyone correct me if I'm wrong but the Gulf countries are swarmed with foreign (well paid Western and poorly paid Asian who anyway earn more than they would in their home countries) medical professionals simply because the locals don't think being a nurse is worth their prestige (like manual workers in some Western countries).

However, there are serious lacks of medical professionals, doctors and nurses, even in well-off Western countries. Even the UK and Norway (the latter being surely one of the most well-off and democratic countries anywhere) actively recruit medical staff from abroad because they haven't trained enough of them or those they have trained prefer not to work in the public health service. This surely isn't because the UK or Norway would actively discourage education in order to discourage opposition :-).


Highlander said...

Hi again Maya. Thanks for the links.

In principle your theory about 'alleged crime and alleged criminal' could apply to the measures currently in effect in camp X or even the US justice dept with regards to Muslims ?

with regards to hostages, the problem is that ( in my opinion) in the West they expect for example the Pakistanis to be more concerned about the fate of a western kidnapped person, sympathise and do something about it than a Pakistani one.

All foreigners in Libya ( except illegal immigrants) are better paid than Libyans in contractual jobs , that's why they come to Libya as expats for the money.

While your theory about the intelligentsia is nice , I would like to assure that there are no shortages of Libyan doctors, recent graduates are even UNEMPLOYED. But guess what ? there is a brain drain in the country and our great specialist and surgeons are mostly based in the UK. Yes 25 years ago we did bring a lot of foreign medical staff, but that has considerably dwindled.We especially hired Bulgarian and Philipino nurses, and also staff from ex-Yugoslavia. We did have a shortage of nurse because as NBA said this was a job that many Libyans avoided, now they do not and the institutes are produced a lot of qualified nurses who are actually willing to work not just look pretty.

Education is free in Libya up to University, so there is no reason why people are not encouraged to read and do well in their life. Universities are packed, but the objective is how to best exploit that education , the mentality that will use it ? Either develop or remain stagnant. We do have our artists , intellectuals , thinkers etc.. they are just not in thelimelight, we also have our martyrs for freedom.

Foreign professionals in Libya do not have their passports confiscated - where did you get this idea from ? As for Bulgarians in Libya I'm amazed at how quickly they learn to speak Arabic. Eastern Europeans in Libya always speak Arabic , Western Europeans and Americans do not.

I guess Maya you have to keep coming to this blog to learn a bit more about Libyans :) and not to find 'ammo' about Islam. You may be pleasantly surprised.

NBA thanks for your input I think you understand the situation on the ground more. Yes you are correct in your assumptions.

Anonymous said...

I agree with highlander, its because they are White European women, the only diffrence is she is she is nice about it and I am not.

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