A Proposal for War
By Yemisrach Kifle
For those of you have been itching to fight a war; for those waiting for Ethiopia’s enemies to appear with your AK-47s clenched to your chests; for those inventing causes to pick up weapons; the time has come to fulfill your warring soul’s fantasies. A potent enemy, who requires determination, foresight, courage, and unyielding spirit has arrived. You shall now fulfill your destiny fighting this new enemy, along side the everyday people of Ethiopia or die in shame.
According to the study just released by the Ethio-Netherlands AIDS Research Project, there will be half a million souls lost to AIDS just in Addis Ababa by 2024. If you take this figure in the context of Addis Ababa’s total projected population 4 million, we are talking about one in eight of Addis Ababans heading for their graves. Although the figures given above are only for Addis Ababa, the national numbers are equally terrifying. Three million of Ethiopians are already infected. If it is not contained, of course, the disease will continue dragging more people into an early grave.
So, it is clear that currently, AIDS stands as the number one public enemy Ethiopia faces. Given our tendency to boast and talk about how courageous and incentive we are when it comes to defending our country; one would think people would descend on this killer with vengeance. Although, there has been some incredible work done by some amazing individuals and organizations, the response from citizens is still on the cool side when compared to the ferocity of the disease itself. It is especially disappointing to see people promote destructive political agendas even while the very people they say they care about are teetering towards a calamity of unknown heights.
Today I would like to appeal to everyone to fight against this disease that kills everybody it infects in an equally gruesome manner without favoring one over the other. Although in the past I have participated in the campaign against AIDS by donating my time, I have also finally taken a new step and pledged a small financial contribution to an organization whose leadership I trust. I urge you to do what you can as well. Just taking the time to talk about the disease openly with people you know such as family members, relatives and friends itself is a major contribution. Read up on the cultural constraints the country’s AIDS campaign faces; attempt to break tabs. If you have a bit of extra money, find an organization you like; contribute. If you have time, again, find an organization you trust and volunteer your energy; lend your mind.
We have fought a ridiculous number of wars in Ethiopia. The difference between the fight we face now and our past battles is, the war against AIDS is actually worth fighting. Be a civic soldier and shine!
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