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Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor

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Submitted By wintersmisty
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Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor
Paul Farmer

Misty Winters
University of California, Santa Barbara

In the novel, Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor, the author, Paul Farmer combines his experiences as a physician and anthropologist in the Third World to bring about evidence and further analysis of poverty. While primarily focusing on health problems, and describing the effects of Tuberculosis, AIDS and other diseases, his experience in treating patients beaten by members of military dictatorships and those who experience malnourishment expose the severity of the social health problems.

To me, the first part of this novel is the most painful. It discusses Paul’s medical work in the poorest country in the world, Haiti. He details the many misfortunes of a few of his patients. After observing a growing number of AIDS patients who had no access to medical care, the countless civilians tortured and killed by the military, Paul gets to the root of the problem, which ends up to be a political issue. Haiti is a country that has been under the boot of the United States. Paul further states that the Haitian military was created by an act of US congress, and the US has supported the homicidal regime of President Duvalier, as well as the brutalities of paramilitary organizations. Even the Haitian leaders who give the orders to imprison, torture and kill civilians were trained in Fort Benning, GA. Paul narrates Haiti’s first joyful democratic election, the victory of J.B. Aristide, his dismantling of the military, the overthrow against him financed by the US, the drama of tens of thousands of political refugees turned away by US immigration, and their forced trip back to their country only to be tortured or killed.

In Haiti and Chiapas, Paul further explains that the collapse of...

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