Speech of the ex - President Nelson Mandela in the foreclosure of the XIII International Conference on AIDS.
I have no intention of belittling the many occasions on which I was privileged to speak when I say that this is an event where every word spoken, every gesture, must be measured in relation to the effect they may have and will have on the lives of millions of humans living on this continent and this planet. This is not an academic conference. It - is, in my understanding, a meeting of concerned humans to reverse one of the most serious threats that humanity is facing, and certainly the most serious since the end of the great wars of the last century.
I'm not normally use the word lightly. If 27 years in prison had some effect, was to use the solitude to understand how precious words are and how real speech is in its impact on the way people live and die.
If by way of introduction highlight the importance of how we speak, it is also unnecessary because a lot of attention around this conference was focused on a controversy unintentionally deflects attention from real issues of life and death we face as a region, country, continent and world.
I do not know enough about science and its technologies or on the politics of science and scientific practice to even try to contribute to the debate that has been developed on the outskirts of this conference.
However, I am old enough to have experienced conflicts and disputes during my life and to know that in all disputes arrives - up to a point where no party, no matter how right they were at the beginning of it, is totally right or wrong. This point, I believe, was reached in this debate.
The president of this country is a man of great intellect that deals with scientific thinking very seriously and leads a government dedicated to the principles of science and reason.
The scientific community in this country, I'm sure, appreciates the principle of freedom of scientific research, free from undue political interference and direction of science.
Now, however, the common people of the continent and the world - and particularly the poor who on our continent again bear the disproportionate burden of this scourge - would wish, if anyone bothered to ask their opinion, the dispute over the primacy of politics or science was postponed and continue treating the needs and concerns of those who are suffering and dying. And this can only be done together.
I come from a long tradition of collective leadership, consultative decision-making and joint action with respect to the common good. We had to overcome much of what is considered insurmountable in adherence to those practices. Faced with the serious threat posed by HIV / AIDS, we have to overcome our differences and combine our efforts to save our people. History will judge us harshly if we fail, and will be right.
Without ambiguity: a tragedy of unprecedented proportions this ravaging Africa. AIDS today in Africa is claiming more lives than the sum of all wars, food shortages and floods, in addition to the destruction caused by fatal diseases such as malaria .. It is devastating families and communities, smothering and depleting health care services and stealing school both students and teachers.
The business suffered, or will suffer loss of personal productivity and profits, economic growth is being undermined and scarce development resources must be diverted to deal with the consequences of this pandemic.
The HIV / AIDS is having a devastating impact on families and communities, societies and economies. Decades were pruned life expectancy and hopes to double that infant mortality in the most affected countries of Africa. AIDS Is A DISASTER CLEARLY, EFFECTIVELY ELIMINATING THE DEVELOPMENT GAINS AND FUTURE sabotaging.
Earlier this week we were shocked to learn that in South Africa, one in two, that is, half of our young people die of AIDS. The scariest thing is that all these infections and the consequent human suffering can be avoided.
Something must be done with the utmost urgency. After nearly two decades fighting the epidemic, we now have some experience of what it produces some effect.
The experience of some countries has taught us that HIV infection can be prevented by investing - in the development of information and practical experience among youth. Promoting abstinence, safe sex, condom use and ensure early treatment of sexually transmitted diseases are some of the steps needed and about which there can be no controversy. Ensuring people, especially young people, have access to counseling services, voluntary and confidential testing for HIV and to introduce measures to reduce transmission from mother to child initiatives have proved essential in the fight against AIDS. We recognize the importance of confronting stigma and discrimination and provide safe environments and support for people affected by HIV / AIDS.
The experience of Uganda, Senegal and Thailand showed that serious investments and mobilization around these actions make a real difference. Stigma and discrimination can be avoided, new infections can be prevented. And the ability of families and communities to care for people living with HIV and AIDS can be increased.
I do not mean I should add that the government of South Africa has not moved significantly in many of these areas. It was the first president delegate on my government that oversaw and directed the initiatives in this regard and, as president, continues to pose this question in the first place of national and continental agenda. He would be the first to acknowledge that much remains to be done. I do not doubt for a moment that he will continue attacking this task with the resolution and dedication with which he is known.
The challenge is to move from rhetoric to action on an unprecedented scale and intensity. There is a need to concentrate on what we know works.
We need to break the silence, banish stigma and discrimination and to ensure the full inclusion of people in the fight against AIDS. Those who are infected do not eat this terrible disease stigma want, want love.
We need bold initiatives to prevent new infections among young people and actions on a large scale to prevent transmission from mother to child, and also to continue international efforts to seek appropriate vaccines. We treated aggressively opportunistic infections, as well as working with families and communities to care for children and young people to protect - them from violence and abuse, ensuring that they grow in a safe and supportive environment.
For this there is the need to focus, be strategic and mobilize all our resources and partnerships to sustain the effort until this war is won. About two years ago I received one of the stars that opened this conference, Nkosi Johnson, and talking with him, I asked: 'What do you want to be when you grow old?' And he said, 'Well, I do not know'. Then he said 'you have enough time to ponder this question,' and completed 'you do not want to be president?' and he said "seems to be hard work. ' But the point is that we all have a duty to support and love all those who, on many occasions, made up with HIV, especially children.
Invited to go to my home a guy who has 16 years and he asked me a question that I dreaded because during the conversation with other children, some of them with cancer, others with HIV, other tuberculosis, he told me: 'What you think of men like me? ' It was very difficult to answer this question because he suffers from a type of cancer that affects the bones and their bones become so fragile that every time someone touches it harder something is broken in your body. He asked me this question: 'what do you think of people like me?' The difficulty is that I do not want to give him false hope, ms at the same time could not evade answering the question, then said to him 'the important foot that you are alive, you have the security of having parents who love him , you are intelligent young u. Do not think you will leave your family, your loved ones, your country, your people, under a cloud of shame. You must be determined to disappear under a cloud of glory 'and quoted a verse that I often repeat frequently, especially when I find myself in the position of having to say goodbye to someone. 'Cowards die many times before their more brave and death only prove once. Of all the wonders I've seen seems very strange that men should fear death, a necessary act is death when death comes. ' This is Shakespeare and all who hear these words disappear under a cloud and glory make - if worthy candidates for immortality. Want from rhetoric to practical action and, as already said this morning, we want men and women who pose penetrate the outside and enjoy the beauty of every human being.
Need, and this is increasingly evident, the resolution to combat this African war., The other will not save us if we do not strive first. Do not underestimate the resources required to conduct this battle. It is vital partnership with the international community. A constant theme in all our messages has been that this globalized and interdependent world must indeed be responsible for our brothers and sisters. The case can not be more obvious than in the common fight against HIV / AIDS.
As a small contribution to the great effort that is necessary, instruct my Foundation to explore in consultation with others the best way to get involved in this battle that has been plaguing our continent and the world. There is, I believe, something that can be performed by a single individual. No matter how important and influential in every country you need a package between governments, because no government anywhere in the world has the resources to be able to fight and win this battle. Thus, there must be a partnership between businesses and the community without which the battle will be won and also use the practice, experience, research being conducted around the world to enlighten our people on how to address this tragedy.
With these words, I sincerely thank everyone for their involvement in this fight. Let's combine our efforts to secure a future for our children. The challenge is no less.
On numerous occasions asked me which heads of state impressed me most. I have to be careful because the response can create a diplomatic mess many countries not listed may withdraw their ambassadors from South Africa, but often say that my heroes are not necessarily the men and women who have titles, but men and women who are humble in all communities and the world who have chosen as the scene of their operations, they think the biggest challenges are the socio - economic defying the world, such as poverty, illiteracy, disease, homelessness, the impossibility of sending their children to school. These are my heroes.
Any head of state who qualify will be my hero.
Translation Anamaria Monteiro
Extracted from the bulletin number 45 of the ABIA (Interdisciplinary Association of AIDS) of the months of July to September of 2000
Editor's Note Soropositivo.Org:
This speech is the time I started with this site.
When I first read it, I was thrilled, somehow bestowed.
In the darkest days of this my journey, I come here and read this text ...
And always cry paragraph in green ... As far cry ...
I would have been able to and with him, to kiss his hands, and thank the boost he gave me with a simple (...) sentence, which always renews me when the night is darkest ...
Nelson Mandela will not see in this life.
However ... though perhaps I may venture to say of myself, that "the world did my stage of operations" and fought like a mad dog in his eagerness to be assumed this hero Mandela ...
I do not know ... All I know is that I know nothing ...
But someday, when I die, and I WILL DIE, will not be afraid to cross the gates ...
Follow ahead, persevering in good, with the certainty that I will live forever ...
A brief biography of Nelson Mandela (this link opens in this browser window. It is only fair that I give space to this name.
“Nelson Mandela: Tantu nominum nulum par elogium”