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Quickly Noted: Infectious Disease and Nation-States

July 2, 2010

Earlier this month, one of the more interesting bloggers out there, Chris Albon, posted a quick item on the nation-state of Lesotho. Lesotho is a tiny, land-locked nation bounded on all sides by South Africa. It is also one of the poorest nations in the world.

Chris theorized that the HIV epidemic may one day cause Lesotho to petition South Africa to assume control of the smaller state. The economic burden of the disease will only grow as more get infected and those already infected continue to get worse. In fact, Albon passes along information that petitions to that effect have already been drafted:

Ten days ago, several hundred people marched through the capital Maseru and delivered a petition to parliament and the South African High Commission requesting that their country be integrated into its giant neighbour, which completely surrounds it. “We have 30,000 signatures. Lesotho is not just landlocked – it is South Africa-locked. We were a labour reserve for apartheid South Africa. There is no reason for us to exist any longer as a nation with its own currency and army,” said Vuyani Tyhali, a trade unionist and initiator of the Lesotho People’s Charter Movement.

Public health permeates all we do. And it’s a very, very real security concern.

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