THE Plague vs a plague
AIDS vs Ebola
I am not prepared to debate or even discuss on equal terms, the comparison between these two horrific scourges. I am simply struck by the frenetic, hyperbolic, media-saturated, coverage of the “Ebola Crisis” versus 30 years of AIDS weariness when, for the first 10 years of it at least, our government and ALL their officials would not even mention the word while it spontaneously erupted like California wildfires and consumed hundreds of thousands of lives in America before jumping back across the oceans to its origins and engulfing other continents as well.
Seemingly suddenly, with the help of a few brave Hollywood hearts, AIDS became a cause celebre and started garnering some of the much needed attention and money it would require to even start to combat the ravaging it was effecting.
By The Numbers
8,400 cases of Ebola, so far. 4,300 deaths
At the end of 2009, an estimated 1,148,200 persons aged 13 and older were living with HIV infection in the United States, including 207,600 (18.1%) persons whose infections had not been diagnosed
In 2013, there were 35 million [33.2 million–37.2 million] people living with HIV.
Since the start of the epidemic around 78 million [71 million–87 million] have become infected with HIV and 39 million [35 million–43 million] people have died of AIDS-related illnesses.
Analogous demographics in terms of fatality rates albeit proportionality is not considered.
The Swedish furniture giant IKEA has pledged £4.1million to combat the deadly disease Ebola, far more than several wealthy European nations.
Paul Allen, the Microsoft co-founder, has increased his commitment in the fight against Ebola to $100 million on Thursday.
Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation has given over $14 million in grants to more than 40 states and 31 countries…..in 25 years.
The Elton John AIDS Foundation has raised 200million dollars………in 25 years
Am I the only one who is noticing the blatant, dichotomous, knee-jerk, discrepancy in these two epidemics?
Did the AIDS crisis of the last century prime us to respond better to global health threats in general? Or did the fact that AIDS was viewed, initially, and to some extent still is, as a “gay” disease and, as such, not quite as threatening to the white, hetero-normative, culture that still prevails amongst us?
But, if that is the case, then why Ebola Hysteria? After all, it’s primarily an African phenomenon and, as such, those same pesky, white, hetero-deniers that tamped down AIDS funding for generations should not be quite this hysterical over Ebola.
Or should they?
Is this just another form of the chest-thumping, black-baiting, racism that has pervaded our country and our culture since its inception? It could be argued that for exactly this reason alone, corporations, individuals, and countries, are ponying up funding to fight Ebola in unprecedented numbers. Racism or Anti-racism. Call it what you may. Every wants/needs to beon the “right” side of this one.
Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that Bill Gates, Paul Allen, IKEA, or any of the powerful and potent contributors are racist in any manner, just as I would not call them homophobic on a personal or professional level either. I don’t know any of them that well.
I will only say that race and gender identity aside; it makes better economic sense today for them to jump on the Ebola parade float than it did 30 years ago to wave a rainbow flag and rush to help the millions that were suffering and dying on the same streets that they walked every day…….in their own countries.
I suppose it’s a muted testament to the power of the 24hour news cycle and the pervasiveness of the Internet and its subsequent dissemination of information that we do have more knowledge with which to form opinions today, albeit skewed (FOX, MSNBC) and skewered. Axioms rule:
The More You Know
When You Know Better, You Do Better
But just how much more do we need to “know”?
We know the facts. We know the science. We know the social geography that paralyzes justice and forward movement.
When will we move beyond the newsreaders, the politicians, and the social constructionists, and embrace the facts?
We can stop these diseases now. Today. We have the ability. If we can put a man on the moon with less technology than is currently being held in our hands on a daily basis, we have the brainpower and the science.
We need to unleash the world and ALL its resources, friend and foe alike, in a global initiative to end AIDS, Ebola, and any other scourge that will present itself in the future….and they will come……more and more of them.
Instead of a US Emergency Task Force to be dispatched to the next Ebola sufferer, we need summits, confabs, and direct action monies and manpower and brilliance, all working together, across imaginary political lines, for the betterment of the world. Every country professes a desire to enhance and protect “our” planet. It’s time for the rubber to meet the road.
Instead of posturing for political advantage; for the next border skirmish, the next weapons contract, the next election cycle, if we actually did what we said should do; gather together with a sense of morally guided purpose to rid humans of horrendous suffering, then religious groups, atheistic moralists, economic pragmatists, everyone, would have to agree that the end justifies any means taken to reach it.
Whether global warming (call it what you will, believe in it or not, again, that’s a political ploy), toxic chemicals, nuclear waste, plagues or pestilence, we could solve them all and in the process, a lot of what separates us would wash out in the rinse cycle.
The real question is do we have the will? The will to raise ourselves above the noise. The will do the correct thing and not the expediently right thing.
The will to be…….better.