Wednesday, August 09, 2006

1,000

On CBC's the National, another report on AIDS - this time from South Africa. It is frightening how quickly we have become inured to AIDS and in particular AIDS in Africa. [Realplayer, begins at 25:30, link will work until evening of 10th Aug]

So many blogs and so many journalists have weighed the tens and hundreds of deaths in Israel and Lebanon, looking for a few more killed on the side they favour to prove some kind of point. In Africa the deaths come in thousands, and tens of thousands. The crises in Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan have so many fewer deaths than the conflicts in Somalia, in Congo, in Sudan, and in the AIDS pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa but so many more column inches.

One thousand is the number of AIDS deaths each day in South Africa. The documentary made no mention of the Mbeki regime's disastrous attitude to AIDS - if the apartheid regime had acted one tenth as culpably there would be demonstrations about genocide in every university, every union hall, every Western capital and rightly so.

Instead I fear there is a reluctance to acknowledge the sheer horror of what is unfolding, a thinking that it is killing those who would die of something else anyway, that these countries are poor, corrupt, "failed".

But South Africa, a country with gold and diamonds, that had a nuclear weapons project, is spending billions to host the World Cup in four years - this is the reality, where volunteers and grandmothers are the first line rather than the last line of defence of children, many of whom who have inherited a death sentence in the womb?

While at the cinema this weekend, I saw a trailer for this film, which tells of a world bereft of children. In South Africa and many other African countries, there are children and no parents, and even the grandparents are now dying of AIDS too.

Update: I would really like to know what Stephen Harper was doing today which decreed that he couldn't make time for this.
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