On the anniversary of Word Aids Day, we should be celebrating, but we are not. Some celebrate in fine style. They boost a profile, while asking others to raise the bar. Still others boost morale, yet few seem focused on boosting self esteem through compassionate care. This idea is one India (among other countries) is beginning to realize. As they warm up to this stance, how well India copes with Aids is as much our denial as it is anyone else’s.
While many return for the battle, it takes more than a day to move us into compassion with the fight against Aids. If we are to move forward at the root cause of Aids we must first address why this epidemic is still out of proportion to the population base in India, as well as other nations. Self esteem and compassion play an integral part in this equation. While it is important to look for funding for prevention, education and implementation of programs that need continual administering, this is one facet of the larger picture.
Self esteem and compassion are being overshadowed.
Pilot projects of pet celebrities while moderately admirable; do not begin to scratch the surface of the root cause for this epidemic. Certainly we should look for renewable resources for funding, but not to the disdain of the human condition. Why have they taken leave of their senses? What were they doing yesterday or five years ago when the need to create justice in a nation where women’s rights are far overshadowed came head to head with this disease? Who was speaking for those women who suffered in silence then?
We cannot address Aids without addressing other necessary milestones
A victory for people suffering from Aids or HIV would most certainly be a victory in our need to see progress on how women are treated in India. The fact is women rank well below on the list of proportional spending even with regard to Aids funding. Men have always welcome change in this country if it suits their means and lines their pockets. If this were not true, then why would over half of the country’s most impoverished people include more woman, young girls and their malnourished children? What celebrity speaks out to a more informed point of view with regard to the larger picture of compassion?
How can we make a difference?
This is done quite easily in fact. We can look at the labels we purchase. We can decide not to purchase labels from India without due diligence on our part. Over 75% of clothing manufactured in this country is done so on the backs of women who are paid a pittance for their efforts. Secondly and more importantly we can request that companies audit their import practices more than they do and substantiate these efforts on their web site as a means to continue acts of goodwill and compassion. This will send the message and links back to intent. Some wish not to shine a light on this area in fear of lost profits. So be it, send the message through your purchasing power.
Educate yourself and get involved.
Be prepared to do some homework. There are several organizations that do the homework for you and shine a light on their efforts abroad to address these issues. They are worthy of much more support than they are receiving. Look at what some of the groups in India are doing to recognize inequality. If we stand by, we treat others with less compassion. In doing so, through complicity in effect we help spread Aids. It is that simple. We cannot allow others to stand by and resort to such myopic thinking that supplying more pills will eradicate this disease, for in and of itself it will most surely not.
Compassion isn’t for the foolhardy
Many organizations hold out their hand. Many strive to make change and many fail on so many stratospheric levels. Your generous donations are not always used in the manner in which you would think. Before you donate, ask questions, poke around more than the corporate web site. Compassion is a lack of favoritism and selfless giving. It knows a favour does not need to be returned; it does not turn away when the human voice calls. We in the west must learn to call upon those on the ground who can answer our questions with a more approximate testimonial to what, where and whom we should be associating with, celebrity or not.