Monday 18 June 2007

AIDS PEOPLE - The heart of prejudice - The Genevieve Magazine fallout

Social Responsibility irritates Socialite Reporting
I would never have thought I would be responding in any way to an article that appears on NaijaGal (Opulent and Edgy), her material which has by-lines that jump out on the Nigerian Blogs Aggregator hardly inspire me, but everyone has their niche contribution to the Blogging World and she fulfils a need of sorts.
However, she has waded into an area in which her contribution to the matter implies she has no expertise, knowledge or even hazard, an idea, about the furore that has come up about the insensitive coverage of HIV/AIDS in the so popular Genevieve Magazine, and for that, I would not hold my peace.
She ends her piece with - I say, "Please, let it be". She has apologised! Let's all work together.
My response - fleshed out.
This is how I began my response as a comment, but then I decided it was best to expose it as a blog than have it hidden in some comment and lost from required viewing.
I very well appreciate the time you have taken to highlight Betty Irabor's apology but I do not agree that she has completed the service of righting her unfortunate wrongs. I would, however, be the first to commend her for responding the way she has, for starters.
The fact is her article opened up a Pandora's Box, highlighting a number of issues when it comes to HIV/AIDS and how people and probably seeming enlightened Nigerians react to the issue of HIV and AIDS - prejudice, bigotry, apathy, ignorance, indifference and insensitivity.
AIDS People - the heart of prejudice
Her magazine being the popular organ that it is would have to go one further and start educating people about the facts about HIV/AIDS in terms of the dangers of exposure, the need for testing and the humanity of what she called "AIDS People".
There probably is a danger of exposure to HIV in beauty parlours and barber's shops due to the use of sharp instruments; reusable instruments should be hygienically sterilised after each use and disposable instruments must be unwrapped in the presence of the customer, used only once and properly discarded, but this should be regardless of whether an HIV-infected person is in the vicinity or not - that is just common sense.
Rather than getting hysterical she could have calmly asked for a newly unwrapped blade in the first instance and definitely going for an immediate HIV exposure or AIDS test would not have yielded any results to calm her anxiety, you need as least 3 months of incubation for the antibodies to be recognised by any tests.
What is not lost on readers of this article is the full caps and quoted hysteria expressed in the phrase "Suddenly images of my life as one of those "AIDS PEOPLE" flashed before me. Oh God. No!" That is as graphic as you will get the prejudice against HIV/AIDS and Betty Irabor's writing talent does not fail her here.
AIDS People or able people?
Here in Europe where the so-called AIDS PEOPLE live amongst us as productive members of society rather than stigmatised, ostracised, emaciated mendicants in need of false sympathy and that so-called ground-breaking cover-girl approach, Betty Irabor would have had to had to step down from her very public position on her own magazine and then embark on a serious educational and peace-making mission as mandatory community service.
This is a rough road she must travel and it would not be cut short with a measly apology and seemingly contrite self-flagellation (To say that the tone of her article would have been better but for editorial time constraints is disingenuous at best and almost dishonest having been caught in a maelstrom she has little control over.)
Social Responsibility and consequences
It is time for Nigerians to step up to the plate in social responsibility, also time to deal with uncomfortable issues with an honest and persuadable perspective - unfortunately for some, a few pages of essential fashion and tittle-tattle would be lost to this social responsibility crusade - it would be the best thing Genevieve magazine can embark on, it might even win them more commendable awards than one for being good advertisement fodder.
A Google search for "Genevieve magazine AIDS education" does not yield much in the context of the magazine that is supposed to cover women and social issues, it is a poor reflection that is in need of a radical redress.
Have we taught Genevieve magazine how to care again? No, not until the magazine goes beyond platitudes if Mrs Irabor thinks the people most offended and in need of an apology are just the Jegede-Ekpe's, she needs to read her public again - Was it a mix-up? That would be a gross understatement, it was an outright error of judgement and someone has to own up to that, at the very least.
This time, it would not be swept under the carpet for the sake of Naijagal's "Work Together".
The morning Dew article that caused the rumpus - Courtesy - NaijaBlog

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