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Campaign for AIDS memorial in London

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  1. It is absolutely vital that we have a permanent memorial in London that we can visit, to remind all of us and future generations that we have all lost a friend, a colleague a family member to AIDS.

  2. This idea is disgracefully vain, conceited, and self-serving.

    Where is “The London Coronary Heart Disease Memorial”?

    (Heart disease is the leading cause of death of men and women in the West.)

    Where is “The London Cancer Memorial”?

    (Cancer is the second leading cause of death in Western nations, the top three causes of cancer deaths being lung, prostate and colorectal cancer.)

    Where is “The London Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Memorial”?

    (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the fourth most frequent cause of death in Western nations. COPD includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, diseases that cause obstruction of the airways and reduce lung capacity for oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange.)

    Where is “The London Diabetes Mellitus Memorial”?

    (Diabetes mellitus is another leading cause of death here in the UK.)

    Need I go on?

    I could. For there are scores of hideous diseases that people are suffering from every day.

    We gay men don’t endear ourselves to the wider (non-gay) community, by demanding a memorial simply because we have a disease that has particularly, but not solely, affected us.

    As I say, the idea is self-obsessed, the product of self-importance and self-sympathy. It is vain and utterly conceited.

    Drop it immediately.

    AIDS is a frightful disease but it is one of many.

  3. Can I suggest that the massive amount of money that would need to be spent to create such a memorial be directed instead towards those research institutes that are working hard to find a cure for AIDS? Wouldn’t that be a finer thing to do with our money, particularly in these austere times?

  4. Wills (not really) 9 Dec 2010, 3:32pm

    I would like, as a memorial, to see a statue of Princess Diana hugging a patient. This was a seminal moment in helping remove the public fears of touching someone with AIDS as well as the stigma around having the condition, in the UK, and also the US, where she made a point of visiting and hugging some of the patients in New York. Her role should not be allowed to be airbrushed from history, and such a memorial may help in places where stigma, instead of compassion, is still being allowed to dictate policy, such as Singapore, where HIV drugs are singled out as not being eligible for subsidy purely because of social disapproval, resulting in potential financial ruin to anyone who is HIV positive.

  5. Wills (not really) 9 Dec 2010, 3:46pm

    In that respect, see this article @:

    http://yawningbread.wordpress.com/2010/12/08/singapores-hiv-policy-neither-rational-nor-compassionate/

    Spending money on things that draw attention to the issue, and help change attitudes and policies, can be important, as well as spending money on research which drug companies spend on in any event as part of their profit making business.

  6. The Poverty Shop Boys 9 Dec 2010, 6:37pm

    Minful of the £200,000-00 lost by London Aids Charity UKC and the £90,000-00 costs of winding up the charity people living with HIV/Aids are already owed approx £300,000-00 Is it payback time for the London HIV/Aids Charity Sector ? ? ? ?

  7. Disgracefully vain, conceited, and self-serving is it?

    That sounds like a shamefully bitter and ignorant comment .. and not just because Julian so vacuously insinuates that it is only the gay community campaigning for this memorial.

  8. The London Tuberculosis Memorial?

    The London Malaria Monument?

    The London Influenza Monument?

    Tuberculosis and malaria are two of the three primary diseases of worldwide poverty along with AIDS. And influenza results in the deaths of between 250,000 and 500,000 people every year, and has killed up to millions in some pandemic years.

    So why don’t we do the DECENT and HONOURABLE thing by ALL the hideous diseases of humanity and turn London into a Death and Diseases theme-park?

    The London Alzheimer’s Memorial.

    The London Multiple Sclerosis Memorial

    The London Parkinson’s Memorial.

    The London Cerebral Palsy Memorial.

    Now, where are all these extraordinary places of veneration to be constructed? Along the banks of the Thames, between Westminster and Tower Bridge, perhaps? Or should they be dotted all over Hyde Park.

    The London Leprosy Memorial.

    The London Pancreatic Cancer Memorial.

    The London Muscular Dystrophy Memorial.

    . . .

    . . .

    . . .

    . . .

  9. Perhaps with the generation we lost in the worst decade of the epidemic (circa 84 > 94) we lost most of our sense of community too.

    I lost my lover and most of my friends, there is still a yearning chasm in my life where those men should be. My anger and grief has subsided as the years have past but I do feel the need to commemorate them. If you don’t like the idea don’t give I’ll give a couple of hundred that would otherwise go on my holiday, because they were special, they were loved I do remember and I want a memorial to those precious loved and missed men from my life.

  10. PozBloke, what we do in this country when someone we love dies is we put a fine headstone on their graves or a fine memorial plaque in the grounds at the crematorium. That’s what we do.

    And if you want you can say on the headstone or plaque what it was that the person died of. But normally people don’t do that, it’s rather unbecoming and anyway it really doesn’t matter. For everybody dies of something. What matters is that they are missed and remembered.

  11. We didn’t get the chance to memorialise many of our friends as they died with families grabbing back the bodies of their dead sons in the grief and chaos of the time. Given the choice I’d prefer a memorial glade like San Francisco.

    We won’t agree our journeys are different. But if we want to spend our own money remembering those tragic years for gay Londoners and the generation we lost I see no harm in. I am happy times have changed, and I understand younger, provincial and suburb guys will see things differently. But for gay Londoners who survived the 90’s this is important if you don’t like it don’t donate.

  12. The Poverty Shop Boys 13 Dec 2010, 3:25pm

    How about a Memorial for the Trustees of the London HIV charity that sent their HIV staff a e-mail advising them “pain and suffering to alot of people” “If Crusaid is so bad get another job with a better employer” Yes that would be CRUSAID in 2004

  13. Pozbloke – it’s not only important for those who survived the 90s, but also for those who are living with it now, to remember how lucky they are to be in a time where medication is available, in a country where it is available. Julian – this is a movement created by a community (the London AIDS memorial facebook page currently has over 5000 members) who got off their backsides to do something about it. If the communities of those suffering those undeniably horrible conditions equally want to do something about it, good on them, I want rain on their parade, so don’t rain on mine!.

  14. Nobody’s “raining on your parade”, “Roland”, but some people ARE saying that this is begging for special treatment for people who have suffered from just one particular awful disease out of many awful diseases.

    Also, just because 5000 computer users have clicked a button to say they like an idea does not in any way mean that it is a sound idea.

    1000s of simple-minded people clicked a button supporting cruel revenge on the woman who put a cat in a wheelie bin, such that that woman had to be given constant police protection for many weeks.

    Did your mum never tell you: “Just because others stick their heads in the fire, it doesn’t mean you have to stick yours in as well”!

    Exercise a sense of responsibility. Don’t always think:
    “Me! Me! Me!”
    “I want! I want! I want!”

    Put things in perspective. Some people who lose loved ones to a disease and feel a great need to do something specific in remembrance of those loved ones, do something much more helpful and worthwhile than just crying out loud in a public place. They go quietly along to a hospice three or four times a week and actually give of their time to tend and care for a few of of the thousands and thousands of people who dying of terrible illnesses in this country TODAY.

    Are you aware of them, at all?

  15. Alan, I’ve spent the best part of the last 25 years working as a volunteer to prevent onward transmission of HIV in large part spurred on by the grief for the lost generation.

    I get the sense that we are just not understood by some posters here. I know there are lots of other diseases and continuing crises in the world, but that does not detract from our experience. There are many cities around the world with memorials, now is London’s time, personally I’d suggest a glade of trees in Battersea Park, like the one in Golden Gate Park, but I’ll leave that decision to the organisers.

  16. Alan – since I was diagnosed 4 years ago I have trained (in my own time at my own expense) as a facilitator for positive living courses, have done outreach work (trying to persuade people in the streets to be tested) led support groups for newly diagnosed people and given talks in schools on the subject. It is not all about “me, me, me” and I very much resent the implication of your remark. It is not just about those who have gone but a reminder that this disease is still present. I continue to be shocked when I speak in schools at the level of ignorance on this topic in youngsters. A visible reminder of what it means can do no harm.

  17. I’ve just learnt that a friend’s husband has been suffering from “Cluster Headaches” for years. He doesn’t suffer from any other condition. Have you heard of “Cluster Headaches”? I hadn’t. But there’s masses about them on the Internet.

    “The pain of cluster headaches is markedly greater than in other headache conditions, including severe migraines; experts have suggested that it may be the most painful condition known to medical science. Female patients have reported it as being more severe than childbirth.

    Dr. Peter Goadsby, Professor of Clinical Neurology at University College London, a leading researcher on the condition has commented:

    “Cluster headache is probably the worst pain that humans experience. I know that’s quite a strong remark to make, but if you ask a cluster headache patient if they’ve had a worse experience, they’ll universally say they haven’t. Women with cluster headache will tell you that an attack is worse than giving birth. So you can imagine that these people give birth without anesthetic once or twice a day, for six, eight, or ten weeks at a time, and then have a break. It’s just awful.”

    The pain is lancinating or drilling in quality, and is located behind the eye (periorbital) or in the temple, sometimes radiating to the neck or shoulder. Analogies frequently used to describe the pain are a red-hot poker inserted into the eye, or a spike penetrating from the top of the head, behind one eye, radiating down to the neck, or sometimes having a leg amputated without any anaesthetic.

    The condition was originally named Horton’s Cephalalgia after Dr. B.T Horton, who postulated the first theory as to their pathogenesis. His original paper describes the severity of the headaches as being able to take normal men and force them to attempt or complete suicide.

    From Horton’s 1939 paper on cluster headache:

    “Our patients were disabled by the disorder and suffered from bouts of pain from two to twenty times a week. They had found no relief from the usual methods of treatment. Their pain was so severe that several of them had to be constantly watched for fear of suicide. Most of them were willing to submit to any operation which might bring relief.”

    Indeed, cluster headaches are also known by the nickname suicide headaches.”

  18. the poverty sisters 1 Jan 2011, 10:07pm

    How about a Memorial to the Management and Staff at Bankrupt London AIDS Charity UKC that finally admitted to people living with HIV/Aids that they lost £200,000-00 of their money on “failed vanty fundraising events” after which the Management were awarded £10,000-£15,000-00 Pay rises ?

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