That’s all. I’m out.

This is my Farewell Post. I’m done.
In January 2010, I read a news report while googling news stories about autism and autistics. A gastroenterologist named Andrew Wakefield had been found guilty of misconduct for a case study he’d done on 12 autistic patients. Also found guilty were John Walker-Smith and Simon Murch. Curious, I researched more. I found that there were two viewpoints on Wakefield. Some regarded him as a hero crushed for taking on a bent system. Others saw him as a charlatan who had got what he deserved. As I researched more, I came to realise that the latter view was correct. Wakefield had been hired by lawyers to find evidence linking the MMR Triple Vaccine to autism. To obtain it, he subjected twelve autistic children to invasive tests – lumbar punctures; colonoscopies; blood draws. Despite this, the data didn’t yield the results he wanted, so he distorted it. He also tried to set up companies to profit from scaring people away from MMR.
I also learnt that despite the overwhelming evidence of vaccines’ efficacy and safety, there were people who feared and vilified them. They believed that vaccines were more dangerous than the diseases they prevented. To justify their beliefs, they fitted the evidence to them instead of the other way round. They abused and even threatened those who supported vaccines. They insisted that vaccines were responsible for all sorts of ills. They also hijacked autism advocacy and used the lies of Andrew Wakefield to steer research away from things that could assist autistics and to vaccine causation.
I became angry, and that anger motivated me to speak out. So in May of 2010, I set up my first blog. It was called “African Jungle” and it was on the domain. The “Jungle” was a nickname given to me. My tagline was “A blog on Autism, Anti-antivaccination and life by a South African Autist”. A lot of people on other sites could not access iBlog (it seems that in some areas, .za domain sites are blocked), so I created another blog on the WordPress domain.
My first series of posts were background data. After Wakefield released his “case study” in 1998, people in the U.S. approached the Vaccine Compensation Programme to win awards for vaccines causing their children’s autism. I also posted about how journalist Brian Deer exposed Wakefield as a fraud and liar.
Some 5000 families approached Vaccine Court. To expedite proceedings, the Special Masters whose job it is to make rulings in Vaccine Court combined the families into the Omnibus Autism Proceedings (OAP). The lawyers became the Petitioners’ Steering Committee, and were tasked with selecting the best candidates to use in Test Cases. Had the candidates been successful, autism would have become a Table Injury and automatically qualified for compensation. In the end, all six Test Cases lost resoundingly, with the Special Masters heavily criticising the petitioners’ “experts” and “theories” of causation. The Test Cases fared just as well on appeal, with higher courts upholding the Special Masters’ verdicts.
In 2010, some well-meaning but misguided people put forward a “Communication Shutdown”. The idea was that on November 1 2010, people would stop using electronic communications for 24 hours in support of autistics. This was stupid, as electronic communication forms like blogging and social networks are a boon to autistics. Kathryn Bjornstatd and Corina Becker proposed “Autistics Speaking Day”. The idea was that on November 1st, autistic bloggers and social networkers would post. I was one of the bloggers who posted that day. The counter-idea worked so well it became a yearly occurrence. I have posted on November 1 every year since then.
I’ve written and published 268 posts in total over the last six and a half years. And it’s become tedious.
I’ve spoken about the same things over and over again. The stupidity and mendacity of antivaccinationists. Parents murdering their autistic children. Sensory Processing Disorder. The films I’ve seen. Testing software. My work testing software. Seeing Tori Amos live in 2011. My presentations to the Special Interest Group in Software Testing (SIGiST). SIGiST Presentations I’ve attended. Politics, including the corruption riddling South Africa. Vaccines. Children too young to be vaccinated and those intentionally not vaccinated dying of vaccine preventable diseases. Antivaccinationism starting and flourishing in South Africa. People from history who may have been autistic. The ableist and dead wrong belief that autistics have such terrible lives that death is sometimes better. The failures of “Autism Speaks” advocacy. And I’m done.
I’m tired and fed up. I’m done with saying the same things over and over. I’m done with banging my head against a wall.
ETA: I mentioned my Twitter Account @AfricJungle. I’ve deleted that too.


About autismjungle

I am a Software Test Analyst. Shortly before I turned 21 I was officially diagnosed, although I had long suspected I was autistic. Welcome to my blog
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