Death among the sugarcanes – HIV&AIDS

Death among the sugarcanes – HIV&AIDS

Death among the sugarcanes – HIV&AIDS

I traveled to Africa with a feeling that I had given myself an impossible mission: to write about AIDS. But how could I write about the AIDS catastrophe in sub-Saharan Africa without people simply turning to the next page? How could Pep’s images and my text capture the attention of readers who would rather be spared? Readers who are tired of all the skeletal, dying people, all the overflowing graveyards, all the children abandoned after their parents have died.

Solidarity has two preconditions. The first is knowledge. The second is the realization that events in distant lands do, in fact, concern us. Despite everything, we must choose to see what we see, and we must have the courage to take it to heart. All of us have a responsibility towards the AIDS catastrophe, even though those of us who live in Western Europe now only rarely die of the disease.

Today, however, solidarity is a word and an idea that makes many people hesitate. So dizzying is the scale of the AIDS catastrophe that many simply avert their gaze. Possibly they drop a few euros into a collection box, but scarcely much more.

Text by Henning Mankell.