My Letter to Melinda Gates
I am the sixth child of my parents, and in my childhood I was surrounded (both in my neighborhood and in my school) by children from large families that looked much like mine. And even though we were not wealthy at all, our parents were comfortable in their role of welcoming, raising, feeding, and forming many children. Whether we were planned or unplanned, we were certainly precious to our parents, and it was obvious that they thought of us as God’s gifts to them.
Africans are the most philoprogenitive people in the world. This reality is perhaps the single most inconvenient truth behind the resistance to population control in various African communities. It is the unvarnished truth that refutes every fragile project or policy built upon the claim of “unmet need”. It is the disruptive truth that population-control experts, ruling elites, and enthusiasts have chosen to ignore as they wage war against the fertility of African women.
In the town I come from, a new baby is always welcomed with much joy. In fact, we have a special song reserved for births, a sort of “Gloria in Excelsis Deo”. The day a baby is born, the entire village celebrates by singing this song, clapping their hands, and dancing. I can say with certainty that Africans love babies. With all the challenges and the difficulties of life in Africa, there is much to complain about, and Africans, like many other people, lament their problems openly. Throughout my life I have heard people complain of many things, yet I have never heard a woman complain about her baby (born or unborn)….Amidst all our African afflictions and difficulties, amidst all the socioeconomic and political instabilities, our children are always a firm symbol of hope, a promise of life continuing, a reason to strive for a bright future.
In 2012 I stumbled upon Melinda Gates’ plan to collect pledges for almost $5 billion to ensure that the African woman would be less fertile, less encumbered, and, yes, more “liberated”. With her incredible wealth she wanted to replace the legacy of an African woman (which is her child) with the legacy of “child-free sex”. I was so outraged that I wrote a public letter to Melinda Gates, which went viral on the Internet and is now posted on the webpage of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Laity.
In that letter, I explained to Gates, a Catholic, that many of the sixty-nine countries she was targeting for her contraceptive campaign had large Catholic populations, with millions of Catholic women of child-bearing age. Unlike Gates and other Catholic women in the developed Western world, African Catholic women tend to regard highly Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae vitae. African women, in all humility, have heard, understood, and accepted the precious words of the prophetic pope. Women with little education and material wealth have embraced what the average Vogue- and Cosmo-reading woman in the United Sates has refused to understand: that when sex and marriage and children are separated, promiscuity, divorce, abortion, prostitution, and pornography spread as never before. Contraception brings about not greater respect and freedom for women, said Pope Paul VI, but less…
In short, I concluded in my letter to Melinda Gates, I saw her billions of dollars as buying Africans not the real health care that they need but only misery.
Prayer: We are called to be saints, for Christ to increase in us while we decrease. Just because we cannot wipe away evil immediately or thoroughly does not mean we shouldn’t sit back and do nothing. Jesus, may You always strengthen us to do your will. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
Excerpted from “Target Africa: Ideological Neocolonialism in the Twenty-First Century” by Obianuju Ekeocha.