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need your comments on report on 6/14 ahf not fab forum

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thank  you for being honest and direct and open and coherent. itís such an important discussion for me to be able to haveói hope for you too. for me, it's a way of thinking out loudi am mirroring our posts on awo, if thatís not a prob. thank you.

i would like to refer you to a book called ďwitness to aidsĒ by edwin cameron, who is a member of south africaís supreme court, who is out about having aidsónot just hiv.

[canít find my book in the clutter right this sec, and don't really want to keyboard it all. this is a cut-and-paste passage excerpted from my report on gay pride in preparation (been kinda prolific of late) same material: what made cameron come out about his hiv status and become an activist.

was there a particular catalyst which made you break your silence?
the trigger was the death of a young woman called gugu dlamini in a durban township. she spoke publicly about her hiv status just before christmas in 1998, and was killed for it. members of her own community stoned and stabbed her to death because of her speaking out. i thought, Ďiím living with the professional and middle-class protections, surrounded by caring friends and family, and iím not speaking, but this woman didí. thatís what compelled me to speak. i also knew that i had to confront the dichotomy of my life. i was well known in aids circles as someone involved in aids policy and human rights as a lawyer and later a judge, and yet i was also someone living with hiv. i hadnít integrated those two things, and speaking out enabled me to do so.

what is your response to this story, particularly to what cameron calls ďthe dichotomy of my lifeĒ?

inner aids and outer aids?

thank you in advance for your thoughtful response.

cut-and-pasted from (comment from thread

Consider these defintions:

Activism - nudging the world toward being the way one thinks it ought to be.

Activist - one who speaks out and takes direct action in in the effort to change the world.

Supporting Activism - doing what one can do to help activists one approves of.

Responsbile for Activism - Either be an activist, or support activism.

Responsible in the World - To be responsible in the world, one must be responsible for activism in some form.


I used to be more of a direct action activist, marching in the streets, doing political performance art, writing. As the years have gone by those things have gotten harder - and Iíve taken more of a back seat, supporting projects and people with my talents, time and financial donations in ways that leverage my investment.

I often hear a voice in my head that says ďI should speak out directlyĒ and I know I have stories and ideas and writing that is valuable. But I believe that I am doing well in supporting activism, and when itís right for me to speak more directly, and share my ideas and stories, Iíll do that.

Mostly for me, itís an issue of working with my inner demons that are fearful of being hurt when being public in the world. They are demons I will likely live with all my life. They draw power from injustice in my life and injustice in the world - the same injustice also powers my desire for activism.


what I'm getting is that Mr. Cameron, by virtue of his career, was probably bombarded with "signs" imploring him to do more, way before Gugu Dlamani ... He was probably getting these cosmic messages for years but blocked them out because in his mind, it made life easier. Then, Gugu Dlamani's murder.

re: "dichotomy" interpreted as inner AIDS and outer AIDS: Yeah that's one way to look at it. Inner connoting influential/visible (Mr. Cameron's clout) and outer connoting obscurity (Ms. Dlamani's life and senseless death) ... Yet what wasn't plainly visible were Cameron's ethos and raison d'etre = Obscurity.

what was  visible was the choice Ms. Dlamani made and the events that followed = Influential.

this was likely part of the changes in Cameron's psyche
as you can seee, i'be been a busy boy--two more sets of posts.

you raise some important questions about personlal activism and cameron. in the intervening time, i thought about what i've been asking, and decided i need to put my thoughts down about why i AM an activist rather than saying, "shouldn't everybody be an activist?" will take me a little time to compose that, and i also have a qigong class to teach and a party to host tonight. and then probably a bunch of naps.

will check in again soon. look at the other two suites of posts if you have time.


(short for love you, richard)

i would put a picture of myself on this thing if i know how.

to put cameron in terms of mlking: he stopped being concerned about what would happen to him if he disclosed, but what would happen to everyone else if he didnt. could he be a good samariitan wothout being out?

try reading the gladwell story. it has a power that is reminiscent of the speech liam neilsson gabe at the endof schindler's list--i could have done more. also an activist's lament.

part 3: edwin cameron: the gladwell story (262)



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