Thursday, December 14, 2006

Credit Must be given where it is due

This is a young man from Africa with a tumor growing out of the front of his face. Below is a picture of the same young man after his surgery. Now I have seen even more hideous tumors such as one the size of a basketball growing out of an old mans face and neck, or a tumor that was growing out of a mans eye that hung down to his stomach and to tell the truth some of the deformities these and other poverty stricken folks have to deal with is something that bothers me and causes me question the fairness of a god that would allow such awful things to happen( especially to children). However because of the work of Mercy Ships a Charitable Christian missionary organization thousands of people ( Africans) have been saved from slow and painful deaths. This young man for example was on his way to being either suffocated or starved to death all because of a mutant tumor that was removed by Christians on board of a Mercy Ship.

Although I do not endorse religion of any sect these guys from Mercy Ships, are putting in serious, profound and revolutionary work on behalf of humanity and for the Christian god they represent. For that I must show them love. Mercy Ships were formed back in 1978, they are a Christian Charitable organization, they operate a fleet of ships that travel all around the African coast providing free health care as well as other types of humanitarian aide. They have performed thousands of surgeries to correct life threatening deformities resulting from tumors, disease and not having access to even basic health care. These conditions are made worse for many people by not having access to clean water and sanitary living conditions. Add to that the lack of education and the damage to these places from war and unstable governments and you have a situation where the sick have very few places to turn to for care.

These Mercy Field workers often travel long distances to pick up patients in remote villages then drive them back to the Mercy Ships for Medical treatment. They also make these trips to find people in need of the services provided by Mercy, all of these services are free. When the Mercy Field workers find people with debilitating conditions and deformities they show those people the pictures of past surgeries of others with similar conditions who were helped by Mercy, then they try to convince them to travel to the ship to be screened and possibly treated. They also provide services such as teaching rural villagers new farming techniques, road building and repair in order to provide access for additional aide and commerce and well digging so that people can have access to clean drinking water. Over the years they have earned their credentials as warriors in the cause of making a positive difference in the world, when it comes to this they are innovate, relentless and effective. All of the Medical care and job skills training Mercy provides is free and most of the workers including the Doctors are volunteers who charge no money for their services.

For some people Mercy is a Miracle straight from heaven one which they have prayed for all of their lives. Because of the grotesque nature of some of these ailments, some people had been been ostracised by their communities and families, because it was thought that their deformities were caused by witchcraft. Some people had been ridiculed and abandoned by their own family members because of their conditions. Some people had exhausted all of their savings and traveled hundreds of miles over dangerous roads and territories to seek treatment in what few hospitals their are in those countries. Only to be told things such as the surgery would cost too much or that their ( African Hospitals) were not equipped to perform the surgeries. One boy did receive treatment for a giant tumor growing out of the front of his mouth, however the treatment he received was an intravenous drip which the tumor greedily drank and grew even bigger from. Some people helped by Mercy have even converted to Christianity and started working in the name of god to bring. Some people who received care from Mercy said that the kindness and love showed to them by the mercy staff had reaffirmed their faith in god and given them hope in humanity.

Now don't get me wrong I am resolute in my dislike of all religions and I will never let an opportunity to bash and/or to discredit any religion get away from me. However the truth must be told and broadcast to the world 24x7 no matter what the truth is because generally speaking I believe that the truth is the best policy. The Mercy staff are truly warriors and although I ain't feeling the Christianity part of their mission I do appreciate and respect the service they provide. I respect the Mercy folks for bringing love and hope were their was once despair and for relieving thousands of people of painful ailments and deformities. The Mercy folks are warriors in the struggle to improve the human condition and I would go into battle with them on behalf of that cause any day of the week. Credit most be given were credit is due. Major Kudos to Mercy ships and their staff they are truly a righteous christian organization.
By Mark Bey

I believe that we black folk can fund a cure for aids. I have no idea how long it will take. But imagine this, what if some progressive group of black folks as well as our social organizations got together to educate black people totally and thoroughly about aids. How is it contracted and how to protect ourselves from it? For those already infected where to get treatment and medication at. Such an initiative, I hope would fall under a larger promotion or effort to improve the quality of health and life for African Americans.

As a way of raising money I’m thinking we could hold a telethon to raise money for this initiative. I’m thinking something along the lines of those “United Negro College Fund“
Telethons that Lou Rawls use to host. However this telethon would be aimed at raising money to find a cure for aids, getting those already infected treated as well as bringing an overwhelming focus on this disease with the goal of ending its reign of terror over the world. The black church would have a huge role to play in an effort such as this one. It will be necessary to create and develop partnerships and cooperation with churches and our other social organizations who are already working on this issue in an aggressive way. .

Now to get this ball rolling it would take a serious amount of teamwork and discipline amongst hundreds, possibly thousands of people and organizations. It will take all of these people working together to create a program that focuses on

1) Killing the stigma attached to aids and taking the shame out so that everyone will get tested and treated if treatment is needed.
2) Aggressively educating the public on how aids is contracted, who‘s at risk and how to protect ourselves. .
3) Additional ways that generate income to expedite the massive amount of research necessary to find a cure for aids.
In a perfect or even ideal world Magic Johnson would host the telethon and we would have a lineup of twelve or so prominent artist and entertainers such as.
L.L Cool J
Erica Badu
Jill Scott
Lauryn Hill
Mos Def
Jay Z
Stevie Wonder
Alisha Keys

The celebrities would perform and then say something inspirational, then Magic and the artist could explain to the audience the purpose and goals of the telethon then ask everyone to please pledge as much money as they could spare because the money would be used to search for a cure for aids 24×7. I think it would be wise to have an independent organization investigate all of our transactions and then make that investigation public in the spirit of transparency, that way everyone will know that we are sincere and forthright in how we use the funds we raise. Institutions such as Bill Clintons and the Gates foundation could advise us on which studies and projects to fund using the money we have raised.

Last idea on this matter we could manufacture and sell very simple but perpetually needed products like tissue, napkins, soap deodorant, ect as a further effort to raise even more money for this project. For instance if every black person were to buy tissue or soap from a corporation that then donated all of the profits from this initiative to find a cure for aids imagine how much money could be generated. I’m thinking billions of dollars a year could be raised by simply rerouted the buying habits of black people and that income could then be used to help fund the cure for this murderous disease and I’m talking about an all encompassing effort, something along the lines of the what it took to build the first Nuclear bomb ( Manhattan Project ) or some of that John F Kennedy America will put a man on the moon in ten years juice along with the work to back it up.

This aids project would be black folks own version of those mandates except we would be taking responsibility on our own and we don’t need a penny from anyone or group to do this. We could get this ball rolling in the next 2 years with the right amount of community support in my opinion. Perhaps if we are good enough at raising and promoting the right climate for something like this, we could get everyone in America, who needs it on treatment thus keeping millions of Americans alive until a cure is finally discovered and made available through science.

There is nothing we can do to change the past but we can protect ourselves and our kid’s futures by using all precautions to prevent any more HIV spread or infections in our communities. I think we should engage in a mass treatment and training program targeted at the black community, organized and conducted by the churches, the NAACP, ECT. I think if we focus more of our collective energy into such ideas we could move the process of finding a cure for aids along a lot faster than it is currently moving. If black folk decide to do something collectively about this issue I believe we can when this battle the same way we won the Montgomery bus boycott during the 1950’s.