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The New Holocaust Denial

One of the more odious tactics of today’s historical revisionists is the outright denial of the Jewish Holocaust. Beginning with the Nazis themselves, and continuing through modern Hitler apologists, it has always been fashionable among the desperately anti-Semitic to claim that the six million exterminated Jews simply never existed. Now a similar deceit surrounds the tragedy of starvation in Africa. And judging from the “Biodevastation” protest event held during the past few days in St. Louis, the new Holocaust deniers are today’s anti-biotech campaigners.

According to Oxfam America, more than 14 million people in Southern Africa face starvation. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations says that 16 million more are starving in the continent’s Eastern regions. One UN report puts the total number of starving Africans at a whopping 60 million. And making matters even worse, the British Medical Journal published a letter last year outlining the connection between African malnutrition and the rapid spread of AIDS.

Foods improved through biotechnology are among the tools available to fight this catastrophic reality. Biotech crops can produce greater amounts of food. Many are bred to resist the dry conditions, the native diseases, and the insect plagues that make it so difficult for African farmers to feed their nations’ people.

But the environmental activists gathered in St. Louis are more interested in destroying the Life Sciences industry than in feeding the hungry. Activist speaker after activist speaker at the “Biodev” event — some flown in from Africa just for the occasion — categorically denied that Africans are starving.

Leading the charge was Zambian science adviser Mwananyanda Lewanika, who made the final recommendation last year that his country should turn down genetically enhanced U.S. food aid — that is, after European-funded activist groups had propagandized the rest of Zambia’s executive branch. Lewanika told the gathered activists that Zambia simply doesn’t have a hunger crisis. When asked about a United Nations estimate that 2.9 million of his countrymen faced starvation, he responded that the UN must have “exaggerated.” And recalling incidents of hungry Zambians (literally) looting food-aid storage facilities rather than going hungry, Lewanika insisted that the 6,000 looters “were paid to do it” by Westerners. Uh-huh.

Similarly, Raymond Bokor, an organic-only agriculture activist from Ghana (whose organization is also funded by European governments), claims that his people “were never starving” in the late 1990’s, when American scientists offered to help Ghanaians cultivate biotech maize. But the “Feed the Children” organization notes that even today, “ twenty-seven per cent of all children under the age of five in Ghana are underweight, due to malnutrition, inadequate feeding and starvation.

Add to the mix Lawrence Tsimese, an African socialist who is enrolled full-time at Vermont’s radical Institute for Social Ecology. “Apart from a 1983 drought,” Tsimese insisted on Saturday, African nations “don’t have hunger problems.”

Unfortunately, hunger problems abound. And there’s no question that anti-biotech scare mongering has a human cost. In the case of Africa, that human cost is measured in millions.

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