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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Stigmatized by AIDS




A week ago I was watching OTV's new show - Baladna - for the first time and they were talking about AIDS. As usual there were two camps; a guy (I wish I could recall his name) who was calling for the integration of the AIDS patient into the society, and a woman who supposedly represents the voice of religion. There was also an AIDS patient on the show .. sitting in the dark to avoid the AIDS stigma.

I will start with the woman's argument. She basically said that there are two types of people with AIDS. The First type are those who got it through illigitimate sexual encounters. The second type are those who got it by an accident - like blood transfusion or an infected marriage partner. Then she called for discriminating between the two types because the first type is a criminal and the second type is a victim. She literally said that those who belong to the first type deserve what they got and those who belong to the second type deserve sympathy - but both should be isolated in a colony of their own to avoid spreading their infection in the society.

The guy argued well but he was not given a fair chance to present his case (flawed presentation.) He said/wanted to say/ tried to say that because of such harsh opinions and clear ignorance AIDS is spreading fast in Egypt. People who have casual sex and multiple partners withold from getting tested for fear of being stigmatized. They would rather continue their sexual practices risking getting infected and infecting others. People who were not infected because of sex live among us and hide their illness for fear of being judged or isolated. He also attempted to make a very valid point: from a psychological perspective AIDS patients get angry and feel that life was not fair to them. Avoiding them only makes them angrier. If they cannot get jobs, if they cannot have friends, if they cannot get married, if they are always pointed out with disgust and apprehension, they will just get more infuriated and they will seek revenge; they will not get tested, they will not inform others of their illness, and they will get others infected just out of revenge.

The guy also tried to explain how people get infected with AIDS and how dealing with an AIDS patient at work or even at home does not mean that you will get infected. He tried to highlight how ignorance and false beliefs are adding fuel to the fire. He even told the woman that an AIDS patient could propose to her daughter and she wouldn't know ... that an AIDS patient could be her colleague at work and she would never know ... he had a lot of things to say but her was never given a chance ... the voice of ignorance, judgment and rigidity seems to be louder than the voice of reason, compassion and tolerance.

Had I the chance, I would have called and told the women to shut her hole! She is not God ... people like her are not God ... no human being has the right to judge another human being ... no human being has the right to discriminate against another human being ... and a part of me wondered how would she feel if she had Hepatitis and people treated her like a plague? This holier than thou shit just drives me through the roof.

5 comments:

excitingegypt.co.uk said...

Well,Having travelled To a lot of countries round the World,Iam afraid that most egyptians i have met in Egypt are very ignorant about HIV/AIDS,they remind me of the story of a frog who lived under a cocnut shell and always thought that was the only world,they should be told about HEP. C Virus wich is more deadly!but i have also met few international egyptians like my self who are so enlightned about Hiv/Aids and never judge anybody,after all onlly God Is allowed to judge&May he have mercy on all of us!Salams

WS said...

I am wondering if the woman who was talking in the name of religion will say the same if she was infected with HIV!

Bastawisi said...

look for the more stupid opinion and you will find people with religions are the ones who tell it.

FUCK RELIGIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

مدام منال عز الدين said...

هاي أعزائي
أدعوكم لزيارة مدونتي والتعليق عليها وخصوصا العزيزة المستنيرة مروة رخا
مدام منال عز الدين
http://manal-ez-eldin.blogspot.com/2009/04/blog-post.html

Lee Crust said...

It is interesting to observe that many religious persons from different faith backgrounds are nonetheless the same in many respects. This is particularly evident in their sense of self as keepers/interpreters of laws, and arbiters of right and wrong actions. This does not make religion a bad thing per se, but it gives cause for thinking individuals to look carefully at the behaviours and motivations of their religious leaders especially as we mature and decide for ourselves concerning our personal belief system and our actions either as believers or as rational beings.

Regardless of the foundation of our value system, as frail mortals beset by temptations our whole lives, we can all see that none of us is perfect by our own very human nature. So why should I want to (or be allowed to?) judge my brother or sister when I know my own faults so well? The fact that these faults may not be as visible to my neighbours, co-workers, or family certainly does not make them non-existent. I recently watched an interesting video on Youtube of a Muslim religious leader speaking out against young women wearing bikinis and extolling the virtues of covering themselves. I was amazed at how well he was able to describe the different types of bikinis, what they covered and failed to cover - it was clear he had done his homework! Isn't it true that it is always easier to find faults in others than to admit the faults in ourselves?

How should I act then? Another gentleman has commented above to allow God alone to judge. But this better describes what I should not do - what of my own actions and behaviour?

Let me make effort (and yes, it sometimes takes effort) to treat others as I would like to be treated showing compassion, mercy, generosity and trust. Ironically these are some of the virtues of godly men and women (think of Mother Teresa)! Only then can I be said to be free of hypocracy and be consistent with my chosen way. And let me do this for no other reason than the fact that it is the right thing to do.