Campaigns Deadlier Than AIDS

by Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye

Now, assuming you wake up tomorrow morning and hear that an effective, duly tested and proven curative and even preventive drug for HIV/AIDS is now available in every chemist shop, what would be your first reaction? Or rather, do you think that we should just celebrate profusely, and then draw with immense relief a huge curtain against a horrible scourge that has for some years now distinguished itself as the worst and most traumatic nightmare of this part of the world, aside poverty, irresponsible leadership and corruption?

I think we should be wary of oversimplifying the whole matter. For me, if a vaccine is found for HIV/AIDS today, it will now be time to brace up for the real, arduous work, more herculean, and more complicated than the search for a cure for the killer disease. All that the deadly virus needs to die in a person may just be some doses of an efficacious drug anytime one is discovered, and the victim would just be free. But how long will it take to recover society from the deep moral chasm into which it has been plunged by desperate and clearly misguided campaigners?

Just the other day, I stumbled on one of those so called HIV/AIDS awareness programmes on TV, and there was this totally revolting advert which in my opinion aptly distinguished itself as a classic example of child abuse: A very young boy of about ten or nine, or even eight, barged into a chemist shop, desperation and indecent enthusiasm written all over him. He wanted to buy something whose name he was either totally unfamiliar with, or had forgotten entirely. He battled to describe the item to the medicine seller (a popular actor). His palpable impatience was so sickening as he desperately asked the medicine seller about the “thing used to cover.”, “the rubber” or “the balloon”., I can’t really remember the finer details now. But the boy also tried to use gestures to indicate the function of what he was looking for. Eventually, with near paternal indulgence, the medicine seller came to his rescue. He fished out a pack of condom and asked the boy whether that was what he was looking for. And with sickening ecstasy, the boy snatched the condom from him and rushed out of the shop with demonic speed. And in what appeared like an afterthought, the medicine seller shouted after the boy, when he had sped well past earshot: “Don’t rush into sex-o!”

Now what will you call this? A deadly, devastating poison carefully packaged to destroy the moral fibre of today’s kids or what? Just what is this advert intended to achieve? To ruin or to recover? It is scary to note that other “AIDS awareness” adverts like this abound! I think we have a serious problem in our hands now, and unless we make haste now to sit down to determine, as Achebe would say, where the rain began to beat us, we would just wake up one day when it is too late and things have gone out hand to find ourselves in a deep gully, having been long swept away by a great, destructive flood. And then, we would wonder in utter helplessness how we found ourselves in such an irredeemable pass. It is only a foolish people that would sacrifice their moral health to safeguard their physical health. I insist that both are not in any way mutually exclusive.

Indeed, I have serious reservations about the motives and intentions of majority of these AIDS activists swarming the whole place. A number of years ago, one beautiful Filipino girl announced that she had tested positive to HIV and voluntarily joined forces with AIDS awareness workers to “combat the disease” in several cities and countries. At several well-attended HIV/AIDS concerts, she would mount the stage in her characteristic skimpy skirts and revealing blouses to the great admiration of the audience. The audience always went wild with her charm, beauty and exposed flesh, as she passionately “spread the message of AIDS” to enthusiastic listeners. Indeed, she was such a major attraction at the shows. But after several months, and before it could be discovered that this young girl had her own evil agenda, she had lured several men into fornication, including some of her fellow AIDS combatants! And the world was scandalized.

Decent society should really be worried that men and women whose motives are less than noble are let loose on us, a clear and present danger to the impressionable minds of our younger ones. While they claim to combat a dangerous disease, they end up re-infecting society with an even deadlier ailment, the moral breakdown in society, whose cure may never be found till doomsday! I am seriously worried because the boundless proliferation of these AIDS bodies automatically translates to a multiplication of the problems we are bemoaning here.

Unfortunately, an intimidated society is left helpless, unable to formulate an appropriate response. The reason is that even the mere mention of the deadly disease has a benumbing effect, due to its capacity to destroy hope and existence of its victims. So, people have assured themselves that whatever is done to halt its further circulation, no matter its grievous side effects, is welcome. It is like this: a monster is out there ready to devour, so, even if we destroy all that is dear, worthy and precious to us in order to escape its cruel clutches, it is all good and welcome. But when the monster goes, what do we have left to go on as rational, decent human beings? Is it not better to tell ourselves that it is only the straying child that the monster devours? Yes, is it not better to stay out harm’s way and save the things we had to sacrifice to escape the monster, which do not even guarantee for us a 100% protection? These days, parents watch helplessly as their tender children of five and six years old are brutally disrobed of their innocence and fragile morality by clearly ill-intentioned “AIDS activists”. Campaigners now invade primary schools to deflower the innocence of hapless kids by arousing and exciting their senses about sexual immorality and putting packs of condoms in their hands. In most cases, the AIDS messages are meant more to titillate than educate!

I beg to differ. I totally disagree that the best way to keep a child’s mind pure and off sexual immorality is early boundless exposure to pornography. It is like they are saying: Don’t wait for them to reach puberty stage; just tell the child all that is to be known about sex at six or five, warn him sufficiently, tell him about condom, and then leave him to make his choices. These days many parents have equally become AIDS campaigners themselves. Once their child is up to six years old, or even younger, they would call her into the warmth of their bedroom are tell her: See, make sure don’t allow any boy to do it, but if you must allow him, make sure he uses a condom! What a damnable alternative, a defeatist strategy. By the time the child is twelve, she has already sampled all the boys in your street. In some cases, the child may not even fully understand the orientation she is receiving, but the curiosity already awakened in her urges her on to try: after all, Mummy said, condom should always be there as a great defense, an escape route. And what follows is unrestrained sexual immorality as campaigners invade schools to amplify the messages Mummy has already given them at home.

My view is that people should rather be warned of the consequences of all their actions, and then let the looming consequence of every action constitute enough deterrence. That is what differentiates animals from human beings. You see a danger, and you endeavour to avoid it, because you know the consequence of not doing so. I am wholly against any form of stigmatization and discrimination against AIDS victims. They are indeed victims and need the support, love, care and encouragement of all. But, I do not think there is anything wrong with referring to the mistake of somebody and using the consequences he is suffering a result of that mistake to warn others to be careful. Knowing that there are other ways through which HIV could contracted, the warning will have to be all-embracing. Every person ought to know that just as one must avoid allowing unsterilized metals puncture one’s body, the same way, if sex is strictly restricted within the safe confines of marriage between faithful couples, there is a 100% assurance that the virus will not enter one’s body. A number of people who had had difficulty restraining themselves have discovered that turning to God in all sincerity and healthy fellowship has helped a lot, since with Him remains super abundant grace and enablement to say no any sinful habit. Already, a lot of studies and findings are tearing to shreds the dubious confidence AIDS campaigners have for self-serving reasons built on condom. We know that when reduced to a very micro level, we would realize that several objects, especially rubber and plastics, have tiny holes through which very minute micro organisms could pass. Genuine and conscientious experts are warning that the virus that causes AIDS belong to the category of those very minute micro organisms which could pass through the walls of a condom. Hey, remember it is your life that is at stake here, my dear, so you better ignore the dubious, self-serving assurances of AIDS merchants and save your sweet, precious life! Oh, yes, you have an can say no, if you really mean to.

I insist that instead of making light very dirty habits and presenting them as ennobling ways of life, let’s emphasize the consequences such ugly preoccupations attract. They would certainly serve as sufficient deterrent. Why would a child want to contract a terminal disease when he or she had seen another girl or boy from the next compound die of the same disease? The great tragedy of this age is this clear approval being gradually given to licentious lifestyle, which then translates to a deregulation of sexual immorality. What girls and boys get from those campaigns are an unambiguous encouragement to go on rampage once they are sure they are dully “protected”. Whatever then happened to good old abstinence, if one may dare ask? What is now the difference between dogs and humans? And if I may ask, what is the use living, if one must be a dog?

As I leave my office every evening and see some little boys and barely clad girls wanting to “do it” right there on the streets, it really dawns on me that the “anti-AIDS campaigns at home and school are yielding the expected dividends. Even the concerts where HIV/AIDS is vehemently “combated” end up achieving only one thing: promotion of casual sex. The musicians “spreading the message” indulge in horrible immoral gyrations before hapless youths convoked to be educated about AIDS at those totally ungodly concerts. What an irony! Some of the participating youths are in the process so sexually excited that at all the dark spots at the stadium or square, AIDS is being mutually distributed by immorally intertwined couples while the “message against AIDS is on! It we should be sick and tired of this clear fraud by now.

Well, I know that AIDS activism has now become a very lucrative business. That is why everybody is now an AIDS “expert” or “activist” “spreading the message” at one concert, workshop, or the other. For you to remain and proper in this business, and ensure the dollars keep flowing towards you, you must continue to speak the language of your pay masters. And the Western sponsors have only one mission: to demonize abstinence and promote unrestrained, “protected” sex as if it has become a great offence to remain a virgin. I have said it before that the so called Western “civilization” is presently in serious crises because of the silly interpretation they had given to freedom in their societies a long time ago. My guess is that with the collapse of all that is moral and decent in the West, they are now minded to destroy Africa’s clearly superior moral fibre and turn their peculiar failure into a hallowed standard. And they are succeeding because, due to the abject poverty ravaging these parts, they will always get eager and willing marketers. Great is the power of money. It destroys the conscience and wreaks untold havoc to every considerations for scruples and decency. Or else, what on earth, for instance, could motivate parents today to allow their tender daughters undress before the world just to win meaningless titles of Miss This or Miss That? Indeed, if poverty has not wrought unqualified damage on our otherwise decent heritage, the parents and relations of Oluchi Onweagba would have since disowned her because of the near-pornographic pictures of hers circulating around the world, and even refused to touch the totally filthy money she is getting from such a reprehensible trade. I must tell you that if I decide today to organize a “Miss Erect Breast” or “Miss Nude Beauty” pageant, with a promise to pay about one million Naira as annual salary to the winner, some parents would certainly come bribing me to shortlist their daughters. They would not mind even when they know the contest would surely involve baring it all before the world. Cursed be poverty and those whose bad leadership of this nation has unleashed it on us. Do you know that even advertisers will just be falling over themselves to sponsor such a pageant. It is indeed terrible.

So the AIDS campaign has become one big racket. The media has also not helped matters by their eagerness to spotlight these dubious campaigners. Once someone is unemployed now, the next option would be to become an AIDS activist. And all you need to get foreign sponsorship is the “linguistically correct”: Yes to Condoms, No to Abstinence! And then, a good media coverage. I sincerely doubt the motive of this generous sponsors because, this appears to be one job I know in which we have a preponderance of “experts” without any training. But if I may dare I ask: What kind of greed and desperation could really make our people accept to be paid to go on carry out this deadly mission with sickening enthusiasm? What a pity.

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tsk tsk September 27, 2006 - 11:02 pm

Gosh, the article is more a revelation of your deep-seated biases than anything else. So young people in Nigeria were not having sex before the anti-AIDS campaigns started? And you know for a fact that a youngster's reaction to hearing about AIDS and condoms from "mummy" is to run out and have sex. Unbelievable. Have you actually spoken to any young people to confirm that your perceptions are reality? Would you retract your piece if you found out that providing balanced information about AIDS actually helps some young people to put off having sex? Somehow I have a feeling the answer is no.

Doubra Porbeni April 7, 2005 - 7:07 am

Nice write-up.


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