Friday, March 04, 2005

The Eradication of a Nation

90 million people, it made me cry to read this figure. The horrible loss of life in the Holocaust, in the genocide of Rwanda, the number of lives lost in nearly every epidemic in the history of man hardly stand up against Ninety million lives by one preventable disease. The BBC somberly reports, “Nearly 90 million Africans could be infected by HIV in the next 20 years if more is not done to combat the epidemic, the UN has warned.”
The story also reports this statistic; “Some 25 million Africans have HIV, which causes Aids, at present. The world body estimates the next two decades could see 89 million new cases of the disease in Africa - or up to 10% of the continent's population.” There is medicine that could help those that are dying; there is medicine that could help prevent this from happening. The next time you feel sorry for yourself imagine watching everyone you have ever met, not just your family or your friends but everyone you have ever seen in your life (have you actually seen 90 million people in your life?) Is going to die of a disease that could have been prevented. This is not a horror story to scare the children, it’s not part of a blockbuster script for the movies, and it’s as real as the sun shining and the earth revolving. You’ve read of the age of the plagues. You’ve read of Hiroshima and the lives lost. How can you conceive of 90 million lives lost?
The BBC also reports, “The UN report concludes that if millions of Africans are still being infected by HIV by 2025, "it will not be because there was no choice". "It will be because, collectively, there was insufficient political will to change behaviour at all levels... and halt the forces driving the Aids epidemic in Africa." So don’t change the channel, don’t say I am not going to read another article about AIDS. Face the miles of children whose graves dug end to end could reach across the continent of Africa. What will we do if this disease ever comes to our shores in this way? Have hearings? Put up roadblocks?

- Chris Mansel

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