"Unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno"
"E pluribus unum."
Today (with the rest of the world) I solemnly contemplate and put the attention of my heart on the many among us who have died from AIDS and the millions around the world who currently live with either HIV or AIDS.
This year’s theme is leadership, urging all the world’s citizens — including you and me — to put their individual and collective focused, sustained attention on efforts to keep the promise to finally find a cure for the deadly disease.
Leadership is such a positive, energy-filled world. I really like it.
Any movement that catches on and inspires widespread affirmative action has always been the result of charismatic, compassionate leadership. Think Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa.
I couldn’t help but notice, however, that some of the language used in the global HIV/AIDS campaign seems to promote just the opposite than what is intended.
The rhetoric to "Stop AIDS" or to come out "Against AIDS" or to ‘fight this global scourge’ sounds a lot like war propaganda. I’m sure there are many who would agree with this assessment, affirming that we are indeed at war — war against a deadly disease that is steadily claiming lives at alarming rates.
The problem is that there are no winners in war. Casualties are inevitable. Sustained, relentless fighting makes soldiers tired and war-weary.
In the case of "the war" against HIV and AIDS, this has shown up as complacency and apathy (especially among young people) in weathly nations, and in poorer nations, as a profound lack of education and acess to health care.
To be sure, education of the realities of HIV/AIDS is essential, as is the need to effectively promote healthy and safe behaviors.
But truly powerful and motivating leadership requires that we plant our focus on what is working and on what we do want, rather than giving the majority of our attention on what we don’t want.
I believe such concentrated, collective ("One for all, and all for one," right?) attention (including our time, effort and money) may be just what we need to move us closer to reducing the rates of HIV infection and to finally finding a cure.