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Today, December 1st, is recognized around the globe as World AIDS Day. With some crisis or another grabbing the news headlines, it is easy for the importance of AIDS research and funding to somehow be diminished, if not totally pushed aside. While we should all be concerned with this far more often than once a year, I suppose this once-a-year observance at least serves as a reminder that HIV/AIDS is a fight not yet won, one that needs our constant attention and concern, and one that can easily affect each and every one of us.

We are well into the third decade of a scourge that has expanded exponentially beyond a small specific group to almost every corner of the globe. Whilst in some areas, incidence may have turned, prevalence continues to rise and will do so for a long time- more young people will be infected, more orphans will occur.

Yet, today still 70% of infected people don’t have access to life saving therapies. Many still face stigma, economic deprivation and rejection because of their infection. Many still don’t have access to basic information or simple interventions that will reduce risk. This is not the time for complacency nor apathy. It is the time for compassionate leadership that recognises that the voiceless are often those who suffer most- who can they turn to if their leaders do not listen and heed their cries.

–Archbishop Emeritus Desmond M Tutu

Thanks to my friend Davi for reminding me of the following videos. The first video is of Elton John, Axl Rose, and Queen, from the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert to raise AIDS awareness. The second one, the 2001 Artists Against AIDS Worldwide’s All-Star remake of Marvin Gaye’s classic “What’s Going On”, is unfortunately just as relevant today as it was then.

ALL-STAR TRIBUTE LYRICS

“What’s Going On?”

Tell me
People dying
People crying
Lord help us

Mother, mother
There’s too many of you crying
Oh, brother, brother, brother
There’s far too many of you dying
That’s right
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today

Oh my father, father
We don’t need to escalate
You see war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today
Barricades, can’t block our way
Don’t punish me with brutality

Talk to me
So you can see

Oh what’s going on
What’s going on
Yeah what’s going on
Ahh what’s going on

What’s going on in a world filled with pain
Where’s the love for which we pray
What’s going on
When our children can’t play
Homeless can’t eat
There’s got to be a better way
What’s going on
When we politically blind
Can’t see the signs of endangered times
What’s going on

What’s goin’ on in the world today
I’d rather be dead than to turn my head away
We got this first world vision too
Comfy to lift up our hands in the air
And cry for a switch

Father, father
Father help us, come on
Everybody thinks we’re wrong
Oh, but who are they to judge us
Together we can all be strong
United we stand, divided we fall
Oh you know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some understanding here today
Barricades can’t block our way
Don’t punish me with brutality
Baby talk to me
So you can see

Yeah, what’s going on
Hey, what’s going on
Somebody tell me what’s going on
I’ll tell you what’s goin’ on-uh

What’s going on ‘cross seas
Every minute a child dies by this disease
In record numbers indeed
Got momma’s crying out please
My baby hold on
My child ain’t done nothing wrong
Still I want to holler
Ask them why they don’t bother
Oh no, oh no
Make me turn to my father
And ask him why they all got a trapped soul

I can feel what was bothering Marvin
Why his words forever remain
Dealing with these modern day problems
‘Cause of ignorance surrounding me and my constituents
Too many infected
Too many lives diminishing
Nobody say Protestants, Jews, Blacks, and Whites, Latinos and Asians
Pray together
Less fight
We better unite
As genocide chemical war
And the rich and the poor
Know that God delivers a cure

It’s a shame our reality is devastating
People praying for a cure
Dying while they’re waiting
Ask the Lord for the comfort and strength to face it
All the kids with dreams
Won’t get the chance to chase it
Makes me sad
Think about the lives they would’ve had
Think about the orphan babies got no moms and dads
How can we sit back and not try to make it right
We gotta come together
We gotta fight for life

Somebody tell me what’s going on
(What’s going on)
We got human beings using humans for a bomb
But everyone wanna live
Don’t nobody really want to die
You feeling me right
I can’t be watching people die (die)
And watching people cry
Let me break it down for a minute
If there’s enough room here for you and me
There’s plenty of room for some humanity

Somebody tell me what’s going on
(What’s going on)
Somebody tell me what’s going on
(What’s going on)
Somebody tell me what’s going on
(What’s going on)
Somebody tell me what’s going on
(What’s going on)
Somebody tell me what’s going on
(What’s going on)
Somebody tell me what’s going on
(What’s going on)
Somebody tell me what’s going on
(What’s going on)
Somebody tell me what’s going on
(What’s going on)

Sniffin’ out the info

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