Like a lot of you I saw Hotel Rwanda. I also had the pleasure of meeting the main character Paul Rusesabagina a few years ago. When I read his book earlier this year, “An Ordinary Man,” it prompted me to read other books about the Rwandan genocide. Though each of them viewed the tragedy from different angles, including one from the killers themselves, none proved favorable to Col. Theoneste Bagosora. Though its been more than a dozen years, one of the masterminds of the genocide has been sentenced to life in prison.
*Pictured: Former Rwandan Army Col. Theoneste Bagosora, right, arrived with his co-defendant Col. Anatole Nsengiyumva at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda on Thursday in Arusha, Tanzania. (Getty Images)
WAKE UUUUUUUUUUUPPP! That was the last line and the defining statement in the Spike Lee film, “School Daze” to sum up the message to the African-Americans students who fought a hateful and ignorant battle between light and dark skinned people. The message Dap (Lawrence Fishburn) yelled as he stood in the yard of the school was not just to those on the campus for the sake of the movie, but also for the sake of the audience who fight these battles in real life.
These words resonated with me once again when I saw the portion of the CNN series, “Black In America” when they showed the portion regarding the AIDS virus and it’s effect on the black community. Don’t take my word for it, read the article yourself. I will throw out some of the stats mentioned in the piece just to peek your interest:
Report: AIDS epidemic in black America as severe as in parts of Africa
CDC: About half of the just over 1 million Americans living with HIV or AIDS are black
AIDS leading cause of death among black women between ages 25 and 34
In Washington, more than 80 percent of HIV cases are among black people (1 in 20 residents)
Did you see that last statment regarding the nations capital? How amazingly scary and tragic is that? Speaking of the nations capital, I don’t hear anything from either presidential hopeful concerning these reports and statistics. This needs to be put on the forefront and the nation needs to face this head on!
I have been reading a series of books regarding the Rwandan genocide of 1994 where close to a million Africans were slaughtered for many complicated yet tragic reasons. This lack of awarness on MY part regarding the AIDS epidemic specifically in the black community is stagering. I do know this for sure, I have not done my part to contribute to fighting this disease. But I vow to my community to do something. I am not exactly sure what I should do specifically. But I know I am going to find a role where I can fight the genocide like results of this monster killing our people. My first step is this blog.
I say again like Dap, “Wake Up!”