eumelia: (science will be okay)
Today is AIDS Awareness Day.
And looking through my other AIDS Awareness posts, I figured that talking about it a little differently was warranted.

It's a matter of fact that everyday is AIDS awareness day, because every day we need to talk and practice safe sex, practice safe use of needles and remember those who lost their lives and continue to lose their lives due to stigma and negligence.

Because it is due to stigma and negligence that HIV/AIDS was not treated like the health crisis it was and is and is instead still treated like a physical punishment brought upon the immorality of certain people's existence.

I was born in the age of HIV/AIDS. By the time I was child in the 90's various movies and PSA's were produced and shown across the world regarding AIDS.

Two incidences of popular culture remain ingrained in me regarding HIV/AIDS and I'm pretty sure they're not the ones that most people thing about when they recall how they were introduced to AIDS via popular culture.

The first time I heard about HIV/AIDS was when I was about seven or eight I think, yes at the time that Philadelphia was around. It was during that time that Degrassi High was syndicated in the afternoons on the Israel Broadcast Channel (one of the two Israeli channels available at the time as we did not have cable services yet) and Degrassi (both Junior and High) dealt with issues that to this day would spark controversy - I don't know about the Next Gen, but I have clear memories of that show (I'm kind of proud of my mother for allowing me to watch it unsupervised).

One of the sagas in Degrassi was to do with a boy who had unprotected sex with a girl and at the start of the season he got a phone call informing him that she has HIV and he should get tested. I don't remember how I felt when I watched it, but I remember how that boy looked - petrified. That episode (should Wiki be believed) was first aired in Canada in 1990 - I saw it two or three years later.

The second time was quite a few years later. HIV/AIDS in the context that I lived in, was something that happened to "other people", to "those people". I had no idea who these "people" were. When I was 11 or 12, I had my first sex-ed class, in which periods and nocturnal emissions were explained. I really couldn't fathom why that was important at this point in my life - I already knew all that, the perks of having two older sisters, a no-nonsense mother and pharmacist for a dad.

At the time, I was very much into the show (please don't mock, this was pre-Buffy!) Touched by an Angel, so this was about 1996 - Philadelphia had come and gone (which I never saw at the time, the first time I saw it had to be when I was about 14 or 15) and Gia hadn't been made yet (which is one of the first movies I saw that had explicit lesbian sexuality in it - yeah, I know! - which I also saw on an AIDS special broadcast on a movie channel of some kind).

Touched by an Angel also had an AIDS special and I remember it very clearly. It was about a father who disapproved of his son, because the son did not follow the path the father had wanted for him.
I remember crying when the son died and thinking about it now, it's fairly clear that the son was supposed to be gay, but of course, this is never stated explicitly.

But the metaphor that runs through the plot moved me, despite it's heavy handedness. You see, the father was a violin maker and he's been tasked to make a violin o the day his son was born, but woe, the wood had a flaw in the grain and so the violin was never completed. At the time, I didn't get it, but obviously the unfinished violin that is flawed is the son and the flaw is AIDS and by proxy, his gayness, because AIDS is what happens when you're gay.

By the time I was 13, I knew that "those people" who had AIDS were gay men.

Despite the fact that more than 20 years have gone by and statistics show that HIV/AIDS is most prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa and that those who have HIV/AIDS are people of every age, sex and gender (68% of all people with AIDS live in that region). South Africa has more people living with HIV/AIDS than any other country.

In Israel there is an increase in HIV infections among gay men:
Cases of HIV increasing among gay men
Israel's health care system plans to address the trend by introducing streamlined HIV examinations next year.
By Dan Even

The number of gay men in Israel with HIV is on the rise, according to data released this week ahead of World AIDS Day, which is observed today. Israel's health care system plans to address the trend by introducing streamlined HIV examinations next year.

In 2009, 382 new cases of HIV infection among gay men were reported in Israel. In 2008, 390 new cases among gay men were reported. Both figures are higher than the average annual figure for HIV incidence among homosexual males in Israel between 2005-2009, which stood at 360.
Between 1981 and the end of 2009, a total of 6,147 new cases of HIV were recorded in Israel. Of this total, 1,104 died of AIDS and 173 left the country.

Up through the end of 2009, 4,870 persons were known to be living with the HIV virus in Israel. Estimates hold that there are 7,000 such persons today.

To conclude. One of my peeves is that HIV/AIDS is stigmatized, the fact that whenever I donate blood that section regarding unsafe sex with a man who has had sex with a man after 1979 enrages me every time, though my blood pressure remains superb.
And it is stigmatized because the it broke out and took hold of a population that was already disenfranchised and marginalized. The fact that it was framed as a "Gay disease" continued to haunt and continues to create disinformation regarding the risks of HIV and how it is actually transmitted.

Remove the stigma. Find a vaccine. Stop the unnecessary body count and educate ourselves on what HIV/AIDS actually is, does and how we can reduce risk to ourselves and others.
eumelia: (Default)
I don't suppose I need to tell you about the inhumane law regarding executing people convicted for the "crime of homosexuality" in Uganda.

I'm not going to write about that right now. I'm going to write about the fact that in Malawi a gay couple will have to face justice after getting engaged.

The fact that they are being charged with indecency is a problem.
The fact that homosexuality is illegal anywhere is a problem.

I have a different issue.

This may seem tangential, but did you know that the indecency and sodomy ("bugger") laws in Palestine were imported by the British mandate after the Ottoman Empire lost the region after WWI.

Did you know that Malawi was also colonised by the British.

In Israel, the sodomy law was repealed in 1988! Israel considered itself a Western nation, with Western values and ideals and ideas, so it repealed them along with the majority of the Western world.

So when I read quotes like:
The BBC's southern Africa correspondent Karen Allen says Malawi is a deeply conservative society.

It feels as though they're saying: "Those stupid, backward, inhumane and atrocious savages don't know anything about being civilised people", when the bloody law was imported by "the civilised" ones in the first place!

But some voices in government have started to call for more openness about homosexuality as the authorities try to tackle high rates of HIV/Aids

HIV/AIDS is viewed as a disease passed by heterosexual intercourse, In South Africa at least (I just know more about it there and can't comment on Malawi). It doesn't bear the stigma of a "gay disease" within black communities, it is more so in white communities.
But because of the lack of acknowledgment of queer people, lack of access to information regarding safe sex and the transmittance of the disease, creates it's own unique problem.

In any event, the couple in the article - Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza - are incredibly brave and I salute them both. I hope they don't end up being punished for their love.


Oct. 29th, 2009 11:12 pm
eumelia: (Default)
I think I'm an idiot sometimes, getting emotional over stories of this kind.

I really like Clint Eastwood as a director, his subject matter(s) and execution of all his films are epic, humane and historical in their own way.

Watching this trailer and having South African roots really struck a cord:

I'm interested in seeing the movie, because the trailer appears to give equal footing to Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon, the poster (here) seems to give precedence to Damon making him front and centre, but enlarging Freeman.

Clint Eastwood is really good at portraying problematic racial dynamics... South Africa is an understatement when it comes to that.

Any way, it's going to be an Oscar film. And a Bechdel fail.

I'll report on it when I see it.
eumelia: (Default)
I woke up at an unspeakable hour this morning... looking at the time I'm updating it is still unspeakable.

I went with my uncle (to be known as Uncle D), Granny and Daddy to the air port to see him off, I'm staying in the Rainbow Nation for a few more days and staying with my other uncle (Uncle P) and his family, both are Daddies little brothers (is it still all right to call 50+ year old men "little"?)

In any event, yesterday being the last day of Daddy's holiday I got kind of weepy and annoying, I hope I didn't make things more difficult for him seeing as today is my birthday (yes, yes, many happy returns) I didn't want him to feel guilty.
Uncle P is taking out for a drive today to places called Kalks Bay (very pretty beach place), maybe Cape Point (where the two oceans meet) and it being the first clear day since I've arrived (remember I spoke of the mist and not being able to see a hundred meters ahead? It stayed that way from Friday until yesterday afternoon) I'll most likely be going up Table Mountain, which is my clearest memory of SA from when I was nine years old.

Will try and update again before I get home, but I make no promises.
eumelia: (Default)
Traveling is hard!
But fun when you're being taken care of by dear Papa.

Arrived, finally, at half-past eight (local time) in Cape Town. My memories of the place are very vague and everyone seems so much shorter and older.
Seeing as the last time I was here I was nine, this makes sense.

I slept like a rock. I don't think I moved the whole night.

Nobody can believe how big I am and some of the people keep referring to me with my older sister's name, Leigh. I suppose their sharpest memories of Leigh are of her with short hair, like I now have.

Today we went to wine country near Cape Town called Franchhoek (pronounced Fraan-tzuk... don't ask me how, I do not know how Afrikaans is built) and went around the very sweet and picturesque town. It was founded by the Huguenots (French Protestants who escaped France in the 17th century after the Nantes edict proclaiming France a Catholic Kingdom) who built the whole wine industry in the valleys in the area of the Western Cape which include Franchhoek, Paarl, Stellenbosch and another one which I can't remember, because there weren't any road signs to that one.
We decided to go because of the weather. The fog and most is blinding, you can barely see 100 meters ahead of you. We're hoping it won't get worse, but you can never know. It is weird going from the beginning of summer into what amounts to the middle of winter for me, even if they only started with winter now.
I'm chilly.

Daddy and I called Mummy while we were there and it appears that two people she and Daddy knew from their History live there, we only found one and Daddy said it was amazing how much time passed.

We went wine tasting too, which was fun, it's something I'd been wanting to do since I saw the movie "Sideways" but it was more the idiosyncratic characters than the setting in Napa Valley California that made it such a great movie.

We have since returned to our home base and will soon be going to sup with my Granny (who I saw last night) and the uncles, aunts and cousins I hadn't seen in years.
eumelia: (Default)
A day of honey, a day of onions (euphemism for tears, of course).

I went to the fireworks and watched Machina play for 45 minutes.
It was fun.
I had a great time listening to the music and seeing the fireworks with my family and singing along with the hundreds (maybe thousands) of my towns people to the songs which have become a part of the soundtrack of our lives.
Kind of like U2.

Elsewhere there are "alternative" ceremonies in which Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs are participating together talking about what this day means to each.
There are also ceremonies commemorating a calamity. Period.

Last year I went to a demo about a homophobic musician.
This year I'm going to South Africa and actually missing the brouhaha that will now doubt erupt while I'm gone at least by the 15th of May.

In any event, no matter what you are celebrating, commemorating or just having a weekly Wednesday night (or morning and day depending on the time zones) make it a good one and make it count.

יום עצמאות שמח!

Happy Yom Azmaut!

זיכרו את הנכבה!

Remember the Nakba!
eumelia: (Default)
[ profile] morin for the WIN!!!

Two tests down, five to go.
Yes, I'm groaning in despair, but all will be well, I have plenty of time to study for them all in fact. The two exams I had this week went really well (at least I'm feeling confidant) and I'm having a really fun time just vegging on the campus grounds after the exams with my peeps.

But I have something to look forward to, not only the end of exams, but also the fact that I'm going to South Africa for the first time since I was nine years old.
GD that's a long time, I mean I've seen my extended family since, but certainly not as much as in the first decade of life.
My Granny is turning 90 (tfu-tfu-tfu and spins around three times while knocking on wood) and Daddy (her son) and Mummy thought it would be a good idea for me to represent the Israeli contingent of her very far flung family.
Not only would it be excellent to see Granny (who I haven't seen in two years), it will be really great to get back in touch with my cousins with whom I'm not so close, seeing as the last time I saw them was at least five years ago if not more.

It's more than a month away and I'll not be in Israel for my B-Day (I'm only a few days after Granny), but I'll be sure to mention it at the time, if I have access to Internet, which shouldn't be a problem... maybe I'll take Frida with me.

Another good thing about being away on the specific dates is that I'll be missing weeks between Independance Day and the Nakba Commemoration Day, which are sure to be, um, quite charged.
60 years may not seem like a long time compared with countries with triple digits, but you know, thing are intense...

Anyway, that's what I had to say - more tests, going over-seas, intense national atmosphere and hopefully by the time I come back and am 23 things will be back to "normal", though I doubt it.
eumelia: (Default)
I knew Daddy had an uncle who fought and died during the WWII, but I didn't know he had died at El-Alamein and is buried at the War Cemetery there.

My next visiting place (after visiting the Family in the US) is definitely Egypt, if we don't go to war with them first, of course.

My great uncle Private Norman Selwyn Barron.
eumelia: (Default)
As most of you know, my family immigrated from South Africa to Israel in the early 80's.
I never lived there, but I remember visiting before and after Apartheid was abolished, to the eyes of the nine year old girl I couldn't see much difference, since black people were still acting as servants to white people.
But now it is thirteen years since the end of those terrible decades and things are not much better, the backlash is intense and people, of both colours and those with means obviously, are uprooting and making new lives elsewhere.
One of these people is Ann Paton (widow of Alan Paton, author of "Cry, The Beloved Country").

Why I'm fleeing South Africa by Anne Paton )

In addition, the genocide in Darfur must be stopped.

וכמו כן, צריך לעצור את רצח העם בדרפור.
eumelia: (Default)
I talk about the Holocaust )
After we rested a bit, since as I said it was quite overwhelming, we went to the gift shop and bought a few books, Daddy bought Ellie Wiesel's "Night" and I bought K. Tzetnick's "The Doll House".
Afterwards we went to have lunch in Abu Ghosh, I love the Hummus and Pita in Abu Ghosh, in my opinion it's the best in Israel, better than Yaffo or Haifa. After we were full we drove home, I slept in the car.
It was a very good day, a great way to spend some quality time with adults and not be cooped up with Mummy, Leigh and the kiddies everyday. This is especially good because Jade is coming with Shvo and Libby for ten days on Sunday, so I'll be spending a very long time with most under six year olds for company.
I also gave in my resume to Shira who is going to try and get me a job at the local DVD rental store.

Ah, life.


eumelia: (Default)

June 2015

 12345 6

V and Justice

V: Ah, I was forgetting that we are not properly introduced. I do not have a name. You can call me V. Madam Justice...this is V. V... this is Madam Justice. hello, Madam Justice.

Justice: Good evening, V.

V: There. Now we know each other. Actually, I've been a fan of yours for quite some time. Oh, I know what you're thinking...

Justice: The poor boy has a crush on adolescent fatuation.

V: I beg your pardon, Madam. It isn't like that at all. I've long admired you...albeit only from a distance. I used to stare at you from the streets below when I was a child. I'd say to my father, "Who is that lady?" And he'd say "That's Madam Justice." And I'd say "Isn't she pretty."

V: Please don't think it was merely physical. I know you're not that sort of girl. No, I loved you as a person. As an ideal.

Justice: What? V! For shame! You have betrayed me for some harlot, some vain and pouting hussy with painted lips and a knowing smile!

V: I, Madam? I beg to differ! It was your infidelity that drove me to her arms!

V: Ah-ha! That surprised you, didn't it? You thought I didn't know about your little fling. But I do. I know everything! Frankly, I wasn't surprised when I found out. You always did have an eye for a man in uniform.

Justice: Uniform? Why I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about. It was always you, V. You were the only one...

V: Liar! Slut! Whore! Deny that you let him have his way with you, him with his armbands and jackboots!

V: Well? Cat got your tongue? I though as much.

V: Very well. So you stand revealed at last. you are no longer my justice. You are his justice now. You have bedded another.

Justice: Sob! Choke! Wh-who is she, V? What is her name?

V: Her name is Anarchy. And she has taught me more as a mistress than you ever did! She has taught me that justice is meaningless without freedom. She is honest. She makes no promises and breaks none. Unlike you, Jezebel. I used to wonder why you could never look me in the eye. Now I know. So good bye, dear lady. I would be saddened by our parting even now, save that you are no longer the woman I once loved.


-"V for Vendetta"


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