First off, a big thank you to the cute blonde across the way who keeps wandering around in boxers and no shirt. Love those pecs. Welcome to the neighbourhood, neighbour.
Kindness… With Strings
If you attach conditions to kindness, it doesn’t seem to be so much that it’s humanitarianism you’re after, y’know?
So, it was with great amusement – albeit bitter and pissed amusement – that I took note of the sanctimonious stipulations attached to all the “donations” being made by the Bush administration since 2003 in the name of AIDS assistance throughout the world. This was all shown during the brilliant Frontline “The Age of AIDS” documentary I mentioned in an earlier posting.
When it comes to countries like Uganda and Brazil, they’ve stood face-to-face with some pretty grave dangers posed by the horrific disease, and through understanding the culture and society in their nations, they’ve managed to come up with social programs to stem the rate of infections.
In Uganda, they teach abstinence and faithfulness, but they also implore the public to use condoms. There’s an intense movement towards education, and they’ve managed to go from having one of the highest incidences of AIDS to a much more stable number (and I’m too lazy to grab facts right now). The government was providing copious free condoms for the public to use. This proved extremely effective.
In Brazil, they’re not kidding themselves. It’s a very sexual country. They work hand in hand with the sex trades to try and control the amount of unprotected sex going around, and they push condoms onto the public awareness stage. It’s working. They’ve also created a system by which their citizens are ENTITLED to the drug cocktail known to keep HIV in check (most of the time). They’ve struck deals with pharmaceutical corporations and they have in-nation drug-manufacturing plants that allow them to make drugs for their citizens at a reasonable price. This is not a wealthy nation, but they have their shit together.
The US has attached stipulations to both these nations. In Uganda, the government provision of free condoms for the masses has apparently dropped by 80% since the Bush administration intervened, favouring instead the preaching of abstinence. In Brazil, they were insisting the Brazil government condemn prostitution (as it’s legal there), which prompted the Brazilian government to say, essentially, “Fuck you” to the money so they could maintain their autonomy.
Brazil’s aggressive approach to controlling AIDS, which includes HIV treatment, massive condom distribution and explicit HIV education, has produced one of the few success stories in the developing world: In the early 1990s experts projected 1.2 million infections in Brazil by 2000, but the interventions cut that number in half.
As the Brazilian government rep said to the documentary’s producers, “This year it’s prostitutes, and maybe next year it’s homosexuals. Where do you stop?”
That’s a very good question. Where do you stop?
You stop when it’s your moralizing that is limiting the potential for other nations to save the lives of their citizens. You stop when it’s your failure to realize that husbands and wives get AIDS and, thanks to their marriage vows, they should expect to be able express their love in physical terms, and telling them to abstain, and not to use a condom is something that will get you laughed out of most bedrooms. You stop when your vision is so narrow that you’re not even seeing the dangerous ramifications of your moralizing. You stop when the disease has afflicted more than 5 million people in a single year (2005). You stop when the total number of dead now exceeds 25 million in just 25 years. You stop when more than 40 million people are living with it worldwide.
You stop when your sanctimonious beliefs mean you’re being a hypocrite to the very faith you profess to believe in. It’s about saving lives. It’s about letting people live, helping people live, and, if you happen to believe in an afterlife, letting God do the judging at the end of those lives.
You just fucking stop. You help. You do whatever the fuck you can to end the deaths. Because that’s what a good person does. They help in the face of all adversity. They help when they’re called upon. They don’t put conditions on it. They don’t judge those needing help. They just help.
If, in fact, AIDS (as Pat Robertson and his ilk believe) is an epidemic unleashed by God in an effort to punish the immoral, then why has “He” given man the tools to treat it even the least little bit?
I despise hypocrisy. More importantly, I despise the knowledge that 40 million people on this planet will more than likely die from this disease that we seem unable to find a cure for, but that many of them will die far sooner than they need to, and more will contract it than are necessary, all because of to many governments who have been too ashamed to admit they need help, or those who are too fucking sanctimonious to offer help without strings.
The United States wants to be a world leader? Then fucking lead from the trenches, not the pulpits. Get in there and get dirty, and don’t worry how the fuck it looks. Be like Nike, and just do it.
IMPORTANT NOTE: I just read this, and it blows my mind. YOUTH, AGED 15-24, ACCOUNT FOR MORE THAN HALF OF ALL NEW HIV INFECTIONS WORLDWIDE. More than 6,000 are infected daily. Wear condoms, kids! Fuckin’ hell!