Bigotry inhibits advancement of medical science
ONE of your most esteemed columnists, William Saunderson-Meyer, quite rightly postulates the enemy of bigotry is reason.
He does not go on to test the corollary that the enemy of reason is wilful ignorance. However, reason is no proof against a determined bigot.
Take the case of an Israeli research scientist, who stumbled upon a chemical compound that eradicates cancer cells without harming normal cells. The substance may prove to be the long sought-after “holy grail” in the wider field of cancer treatment. For now, it shows promise as a specific weapon against breast cancer.
While doing DNA research, the substance’s effect on cancer cells was an unexpected, and potentially huge, discovery. The scientist explains: “We found those drugs somehow turn on a mechanism in cancer cells that causes them to die within 48 to 72 hours without harming normal tissue... In fact, the normal cells continue to proliferate even in the presence of the drug.”
Against this exciting, earth-shattering discovery, international news networks have touted a US-based organisation’s conference on breast cancer awareness, to be hosted in Egypt, as an example of “unprecedented co-operation” in the region.
But the celebration of unity may be premature. Israeli doctors were invited to the event as well. Last Sunday the doctors received brief notices, telling them they were no longer invited to the conference, by order of Egyptian Health Minister Hatem el-Gabali.
Kenneth Price, PhD, a clinical and forensic psychologist of Dallas, Texas, said: “I am puzzled that a medical conference (of this nature would be held) in Egypt, given the backwardness of Egypt’s health care system.
“In contrast, tiny Israel has produced thousands of medical scientists and physicians who have published numerous research articles that have advanced our knowledge in medical science (among other areas).”
What kind of bigotry and unreasoning hatred would allow politicians to shoot themselves in the foot and inhibit the advancement of medical science by banning the pre-eminent leaders in the field from such an important conference? And who would later, hypocritically, use the resultant Israeli development for their people’s benefit? Rodney Mazinter