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An AIDS memorial for Canberra

By johnboy - 20 May 2012 89

Andrew Barr has announced he’s launching the Canberra Permanent AIDS Memorial Project.

This project will provide Canberra with a lasting commemoration to the lives of everyone affected by HIV/AIDS.

I will launch the fundraising drive at the 29th International AIDS Candlelight Memorial, to be held this evening at 6.00pm at the National Gallery of Australia.

Over the next 12 months the AIDS Action Council of the ACT and the broader community aims to raise $30,000 to build and install the Canberra Permanent AIDS Memorial with a view to unveiling it in 2013, which is the 30th anniversary of the Candlelight memorial, 30 years since HIV was first diagnosed in Australia, and the Centenary of Canberra.

Today there are more than 33 million people living with HIV worldwide – and more than 30 million people have died from an AIDS-related illness. More than 21,000 people in Australia are living with diagnosed HIV, and 6819 Australians have died from AIDS-related illnesses.

As a thought exercise are there any other diseases we should be memorialising?


UPDATE 20/05/12 21:26: Andrew Barr has Tweeted his disappointment in some of you:

Also on facebook he had this to say:

It didn’t take long… A profoundly disappointing, ignorant and bigoted response from some…


UPDATE 21/05/12 09:08: And then this:

What’s Your opinion?


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An AIDS memorial for Canberra
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HenryBG 3:13 pm 21 May 12

johnboy said :

Not just homosexual men. And even if it were. So what?

So it’s of no relevance whatsoever to the rest of us.

Memorials to people who have bravely died in the service of their country or community? Sure. Why not.

Memorials to people who acquired and happened to die of a particular disease? Why? Not my idea of a good idea. Apparently that makes me a bigot. I’m pretty sure I know what to take away from that.

Myles Peterson said :

I support this memorial. If it helps folks grieve and remember their loved ones, that’s all for the good.

Do these “loved ones” even number in the 3-figures here in the ACT? It’s completely stupid. Not quite as stupid as the enormously stupid SievX memorial, but in the same league.

Merle 2:57 pm 21 May 12

Ben_Dover said :

I agree there is no basis relativism, but isn’t putting forward a proposal for a monument to one disease relativist in itself?

Uh, no.

Ben_Dover 2:09 pm 21 May 12

Erg0 said :

From a quick skim: #10, #13, #24 (especially) and #31.

Out of those, I wil aquiese on 31, the rest do not indicate relitivism.

Erg0 said :

There is no basis for a relativistic argument on the “merits” of various diseases, as this is not being built instead of another memorial – if someone wants a memorial for cancer victims then they can go ahead and build one, regardless of the existence of this memorial.

I agree there is no basis relativism, but isn’t putting forward a proposal for a monument to one disease relativist in itself?

Memorials to people we lose are personal matters, when there is a great tragedy, as in the Canberra bushfires, memorials are apt. But to establish a memorial for a section of the community who have died of the same disease is rather odd. Barr getting his frillies in a twist over other people’s opinion isn’t going to help at all.

Myles Peterson 1:53 pm 21 May 12

I support this memorial. If it helps folks grieve and remember their loved ones, that’s all for the good.

Minister Barr’s being a bit of a sook again though. I remember when he blocked The Canberra Times on Twitter over some nonsense. For those unfamiliar with the platform, this doesn’t really do anything. His account was still visible. Mood in the newsroom was perplexed and amused.

Chill out, Andrew. You don’t want that “leaked” party polling to turn out to be accurate. Real underdog status is tougher than pretend.

eily 1:30 pm 21 May 12

Wouldn’t the best memorial be finding a cure?

And have you noticed the amount of what could only be called reverse bigotry is around. All a member of a minority, (I thought we were all human beings, well it would be nice) has to do is scream ‘bigot’ or ‘racist’ etc and all chance of an informed debate goes out the window.

While all minorities were at one time or another discriminated against (and some still are) so can be understandably somewhat justified in their claims, some seem to use that as an excuse to force their own ideas. But calling everyone who disagrees with their opinion a bigot does them and theirs no good at all.

And while there are real bigots etc out there, not everyone who disagrees is.

We all have are own opinions. And if one is different to another’s well welcome to the real world.

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 1:26 pm 21 May 12

schmeah said :

dungfungus said :

schmeah said :

Erg0 said :

Reading this thread, I can’t help but notice a few similarities with the arguments against gay marriage. Memorialising AIDS victims somehow devalues victims of other diseases? Puh-lease.

+1 well put!

I didn’t know so many people in society felt so strongly about getting a memorial for those who die from the flu. Maybe they should get their act together like the AIDS Action Council clearly has.

In case you have forgotten, the letter “A” in AIDS stands for “Acquired” and this is usually sexually transmitted by homosexual men. Anyone can get the flu. The AIDS Action Council is focused on a problem mainly resultant from a lifestyle which affects only a small portion of society and while a lot of society understands it they don’t want to be involved in it in any way. It is as simple as that. If Barr cannot understand that this then he should retire from politics as there is a conflict of interest about who he actually represents.

Ignoring the deeply offensive tone of this comment (‘they don’t want to be involved in it in any way’) that reinforces the stigma and “shadows” that comment #43 mentions, I think your definition of a “conflict of interest” is skewed.

Barr is merely SUPPORTING a community group. Just like other politicians support non-profit, community groups as spokespeople (the one that springs to mind is Kristina Keneally who is an official supporter and contributor to the Australian Stillbirth Foundation). Every politician brings their own personal persuasions to their job, that’s kind of what makes them get into politics (they have interests outside of themselves which they fully pursue), Andrew is clearly involved in the LGBTI community just like Fred Nile is involved in the Churchy movement. Supporting or promoting a community initiative, just because you have an alignment to it is not a “conflict of interest”.

One can’t help but think your objection stems from the ongoing stigma of HIV/AIDS in the community today.

Very sad.

And yet despite the speech you still managed to cast the church in a poor light.

PBO 1:22 pm 21 May 12

HenryBG said :

And if you object, you’re a Nazi bigot hater redneck. And ignorant. At least that’s the message I’m getting.
.

Lets leave the Nazi’s out of this because someone will make a pro-gay/anti nazi comment and then someone will point out that Hugo Boss designed the Nazi uniforms and then feathers will fly.

PBO 1:17 pm 21 May 12

Could be an interesting idea, but it is a bit biased and somewhat Stanhopian to impose something like this on the community. A memorial like this might also become a focal point of jokes in Canberra which could lead to national embarrassment; “And if we look over here behind this memorial, we can clearly see where it all began and we got Canberra’s own AIDS patient zero”.

What would the memorial look like anyway? Would it be designed by a local Canberra artist or will it once again be commissioned by an interstate artist and we have to accept it like redneck philistines. I personally think that it would be interesting to have a giant discarded concrete prophylactic nestled in the woods near the carpark on top of Black Mountain.

I imagine it would be seen as somewhat symbolic when one of the lookout enthusiasts raises his glance and looks up from the back of his “friends” head and sees a giant concrete representation of post-coital detritus strewn before them in an edgy, yet monolithic installation. Maybe paint it in bright friendly colours to make it less threatening to those in the community who do not like that sort of thing (NIMBY’S).

Why not have a memorial for ingrown toenails? We could just rename the tussock grass sculpture on the Gunghalin expressway and whilst we are on that road we could re-dedicate the boulders on umpires chairs to kidney stone research and awareness (which is just as important).

Back in my day an Aids related illness was when you got the clap from doing your personal assistant/secretary at lunch.

schmeah 12:33 pm 21 May 12

dungfungus said :

schmeah said :

Erg0 said :

Reading this thread, I can’t help but notice a few similarities with the arguments against gay marriage. Memorialising AIDS victims somehow devalues victims of other diseases? Puh-lease.

+1 well put!

I didn’t know so many people in society felt so strongly about getting a memorial for those who die from the flu. Maybe they should get their act together like the AIDS Action Council clearly has.

In case you have forgotten, the letter “A” in AIDS stands for “Acquired” and this is usually sexually transmitted by homosexual men. Anyone can get the flu. The AIDS Action Council is focused on a problem mainly resultant from a lifestyle which affects only a small portion of society and while a lot of society understands it they don’t want to be involved in it in any way. It is as simple as that. If Barr cannot understand that this then he should retire from politics as there is a conflict of interest about who he actually represents.

Ignoring the deeply offensive tone of this comment (‘they don’t want to be involved in it in any way’) that reinforces the stigma and “shadows” that comment #43 mentions, I think your definition of a “conflict of interest” is skewed.

Barr is merely SUPPORTING a community group. Just like other politicians support non-profit, community groups as spokespeople (the one that springs to mind is Kristina Keneally who is an official supporter and contributor to the Australian Stillbirth Foundation). Every politician brings their own personal persuasions to their job, that’s kind of what makes them get into politics (they have interests outside of themselves which they fully pursue), Andrew is clearly involved in the LGBTI community just like Fred Nile is involved in the Churchy movement. Supporting or promoting a community initiative, just because you have an alignment to it is not a “conflict of interest”.

One can’t help but think your objection stems from the ongoing stigma of HIV/AIDS in the community today.

Very sad.

johnboy 12:00 pm 21 May 12

dungfungus said :

In case you have forgotten, the letter “A” in AIDS stands for “Acquired” and this is usually sexually transmitted by homosexual men. Anyone can get the flu. The AIDS Action Council is focused on a problem mainly resultant from a lifestyle which affects only a small portion of society and while a lot of society understands it they don’t want to be involved in it in any way. It is as simple as that. If Barr cannot understand that this then he should retire from politics as there is a conflict of interest about who he actually represents.

Not just homosexual men. And even if it were. So what?

dungfungus 11:57 am 21 May 12

schmeah said :

Erg0 said :

Reading this thread, I can’t help but notice a few similarities with the arguments against gay marriage. Memorialising AIDS victims somehow devalues victims of other diseases? Puh-lease.

+1 well put!

I didn’t know so many people in society felt so strongly about getting a memorial for those who die from the flu. Maybe they should get their act together like the AIDS Action Council clearly has.

In case you have forgotten, the letter “A” in AIDS stands for “Acquired” and this is usually sexually transmitted by homosexual men. Anyone can get the flu. The AIDS Action Council is focused on a problem mainly resultant from a lifestyle which affects only a small portion of society and while a lot of society understands it they don’t want to be involved in it in any way. It is as simple as that. If Barr cannot understand that this then he should retire from politics as there is a conflict of interest about who he actually represents.

dundle 11:23 am 21 May 12

I’m horrified he’s calling everyone bigoted who is against this, that’s very immature and incorrect. I thought it sounded like a nice idea but now he’s foaming at the mouth I’m having a re-think. I think it’s a very odd thing to do considering HIV/AIDS is comparatively rare in Australia and Canberra, and (correct me if I’m wrong) has a fairly good prognosis if it is diagnosed and anti-retro-vitals are taken. I don’t know anyone my age (early-mid 20s) with a diagnosis but I know multiple people who have died from or survived cancer. I don’t think it devalues other diseases but I do think it’s a very odd choice and I’m not sure why he’s taking criticism so personally.

Erg0 11:20 am 21 May 12

Ben_Dover said :

Erg0 said :

Reading this thread, I can’t help but notice a few similarities with the arguments against gay marriage. Memorialising AIDS victims somehow devalues victims of other diseases? Puh-lease.

Can you point out where anyone has said this “memorial” somehow devalues victims of other diseases?

From a quick skim: #10, #13, #24 (especially) and #31. There is no basis for a relativistic argument on the “merits” of various diseases, as this is not being built instead of another memorial – if someone wants a memorial for cancer victims then they can go ahead and build one, regardless of the existence of this memorial.

Ben_Dover 10:58 am 21 May 12

Erg0 said :

Reading this thread, I can’t help but notice a few similarities with the arguments against gay marriage. Memorialising AIDS victims somehow devalues victims of other diseases? Puh-lease.

Can you point out where anyone has said this “memorial” somehow devalues victims of other diseases?

I have no objection to memorials to victims of any tragedy, but to enshrine a memorial to the victims of a particular disease, and not of others, seems odd to say the least.

HenryBG 10:57 am 21 May 12

Mysteryman said :

On a related matter – how does one get land to erect a memorial? Are the AIDS Action Council planning on doing this on their own land, or are they doing it on public land?

It’s going on your front yard.

And if you object, you’re a Nazi bigot hater redneck. And ignorant. At least that’s the message I’m getting.

Who have we got left to vote for in this town? The Libs prefer NIMBY complaints to industry, the Labs are full of this kind of spurious garbage, the Greens seem to have forgotten about the environment in favour of fringe nonsense, leaving who?
I just want a town council who can forget about ideology and catering to their favourite minorities and just work on getting my rates down, getting my rego fees down, and for the sake of the younger generations, FFS do something about the ridiculously high price of land.

schmeah 10:15 am 21 May 12

Erg0 said :

Reading this thread, I can’t help but notice a few similarities with the arguments against gay marriage. Memorialising AIDS victims somehow devalues victims of other diseases? Puh-lease.

+1 well put!

I didn’t know so many people in society felt so strongly about getting a memorial for those who die from the flu. Maybe they should get their act together like the AIDS Action Council clearly has.

Mysteryman 10:06 am 21 May 12

Oh of course… disagreeing with something makes you a bigot/redneck/philistine. I had forgotten how things worked in the legislative assembly.

What a dolt.

On a related matter – how does one get land to erect a memorial? Are the AIDS Action Council planning on doing this on their own land, or are they doing it on public land?

Oped 10:01 am 21 May 12

It is fantastic to get engagement from a broad range of people on the launch of this Community initiative.

As way of education there is a difference between HIV and AIDS. HIV infection is a virus, which thanks to years of medical research and treatment development is now considered a long-term manageable chronic illness and allows many people living with HIV to never develop AIDS (which is a disease of the immune system) and live relatively healthy lives.

To correct the stats quoted by HenryBG there are over 31,000 people known to be living with HIV in Australia and only about 10,000 people in Australia have ever had an AIDS diagnosis, thanks to the community response in the early 80’s when the epidemic first started. That being said it is expected that around 25% of people living with HIV in Australia are not aware of their HIV status.

The AIDS Action Council of the ACT is a health promotion organisation that engages with the many sectors of the Canberra community that are impacted or at risk of HIV. This includes not just gay men (or men that have sex with other men) but hetrosexual women, children and men. A constant conversation and education is required to ensure people within our community in Canberra are able to make informed decisions when engaging in behavior that may put them at risk of contracting HIV.

As seen by the tread above HIV and AIDS still is very misunderstood by the boarder community even after 30 years and it is a lot different from a public health perspective as quoted by some HIV/AIDS is seen as an acquired disease. Some may argue that obesity; diabetes and heart disease are just as acquirable although I do acknowledge that genetics can play a role. Many people living with HIV in Canberra do so in the shadows yet if you have cancer, diabetes or another chronic illness (or a common cold) there is broader community sympathy and support.

May 2013 will mark the 25th Annual Candlelight Memorial held here in the ACT (which just also happens to be Canberra’s Centenary year). There is no permanent memorial site for these memorials to be held so the community fundraising efforts are to put in place a permanent reminder and honor the memory of those in the ACT Community that have been lost to AIDS and to also provide a place of reflection for those living with HIV, their families and friends who are impacted and affected by this virus.

Unfortunately in 2012 we still need to be ‘in your face’ about HIV and its risks as new infections within our community are still occurring. The message and conversation needs to continue, with the hope that one day it will be eradicated in our community just like small pox.

Scott Malcolm (President – AIDS Action Council of ACT Inc)

Ben_Dover 10:00 am 21 May 12

Dracon388 said :

I think it’s a wonderful idea. HIV/AIDS effects people and has such a social sitgma around it, a memorial to remember those lost would be great.

“Affects” FFS!

And I must agree with many others here, this is a politically correct vote grabbing attempt nothing else. We all die of something, HIV/AIDS is a terrible disease, but not as prolific as say malaria which caused an estimated 655 000 deaths last year.

To single out HIV/AIds for a “memorial”out of all reasons for death in this country, cannot be justified. It woudl be a meaningless gesture.

SnapperJack 9:55 am 21 May 12

This is another example of ideologically based gesture politics, like the SIEV-X memorial in Weston Park. Incidentally, more gay men have died – and continue to die – from prostate cancer than AIDS.

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