“Epidemic In Africa”


Pencil drawing by Alan Bell.This is one of the saddest and most frightening subjects i have ever tried to express in a drawing. AIDS is still a hidden reality, a subject to avoid by condemning the victim. Could anything be more cruel and heartless?  Yet it is done, and silence hides the truth from all those in danger as the disease takes over the future of the lives of millions. How can such misery, isolation, separation, physical and mental suffering be endured, and also be labeled Shameful, the just deserts for illicit activity?  Those who pursue pleasure are so often in flight from pain and suffering; they walk into death looking the other way. And what of those infected by husbands or wives who have been away in the cities? A dying mother is watched by her child. A baby is born infected. An addict takes a used needle.  There is no compassion for the victims in the advance of an over-riding fear of death. They are rejected, abhorred,  ghettoized, exiled from the community that gave them birth, banished from humankind, refugees from Custom. The invasion by the Virus is followed by the condemnation of the Mortals, could anything be more unjust?

A Meditation: I did it all and came up POSITIVE in the  NEGATIVE way. Death will come sooner or later while I live the life of diseases in secret. Illness isolates one, but terminal illness isolates absolutely. The mere presence of a disease in someone creates an abhorrence for them by others who fear to be contaminated. Natural enough. The problem is that the sick person is now thought of and treated as the disease, and even faces banishment like the lepers of olden times. Thus the patient enters the clinic through the exit! It is bad enough becoming ill, which already feels like an invasion, but to be viewed as and even treated as the disease is a double catastrophe of injustice to the stricken ones. WE ARE STILL HUMAN, STILL ALIVE, suffering a life and death battle for survival AND facing exile at the time they need empathy to encourage and acknowledge our suffering and our courage in facing it all! Just think of all the sons and daughters lost to parents, and the orphans left to fend for themselves in the wake of their parents deaths. Judging and shunning those who suffer this disease does not protect you, it only makes you more ignorant and callous and heartless! Education will make you safe not prejudice!

On Retro-viral medication:  Receiving a LIFE reprieve on a DEATH sentence is a valid rebirth, a miracle of immeasurable revision of everything formerly taken for granted as usual or normal, just because used to it all as a matter of habit or custom. These survivors have been immersed in putrefaction, and lived to return to the Living who have no idea that life itself is a miracle!

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