24 Days To Go: World AIDS Day

347px-world_aids_day_ribbonOne of the less joyful holidays of this busy season is World AIDS Day—so busy, in fact, that most people usually miss it. If Christmas means anything, though, surely it encourages the kind of generosity and global community that this holiday strives for. So how are we doing this year?

Progress: The Obama administration has lifted the ban on entry into the United States by HIV-positive people. South Africa has decided to offer free HIV treatment for infants under the age 1 and expand access for pregnant women.

Regress: The Obama administration has not been as proactive in fighting HIV/AIDS as the Bush administration was. Uganda is adopting an anti-homosexuality law that criminalizes gay sex.

Obviously, we have a long way to go. Here are a few simple (and entertaining) ways for you to add your vote to the “Progress” column:   Continue reading “24 Days To Go: World AIDS Day”

A Surprise, a Rebuke, and an Opportunity, All in One Award

My latest post is up on the Sun-Sentinel site. I was up until 1:30am — that’s London time, so 8:30pm EST — working on various writing projects, but I couldn’t come up with a worthwhile topic for a blog post. I went to sleep, and when I woke up, there it was: The bizarre Nobel Peace Prize that everyone is talking about. Of course, when I first heard it, everyone wasn’t talking about it yet because, well, everyone in the United States was asleep. So I had a head-start on most of you. Here in Europe, we were all waiting for the American chattering classes to turn on the morning news so we could watch the news cycle explode. But just before that happened, here’s what I wrote.   Continue reading “A Surprise, a Rebuke, and an Opportunity, All in One Award”

The Somalia Syndrome Continues to Go Untreated

Jason McLure had a good article in Newsweek last week giving the history and latest sad news on Somalia:

An estimated 3.8 million need humanitarian aid (fully half the population), according to the U.N.’s Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit for Somalia, which calls the crisis the worst since 1991–92. In the past six months alone, the number of people forced from their homes by fighting—between the country’s barely functional transitional government and Islamist insurgents—has grown by 40 percent, to 1.4 million. Most live in squalid camps that a new report from Oxfam calls “barely fit for humans.”

It is, however, easy to miss the bigger picture in McLure’s story. I call it “the Somalia Syndrome.” Here is how I explained it in the Hazleton Standard-Speaker in January:   Continue reading “The Somalia Syndrome Continues to Go Untreated”