Two Horrors and a Hope

I read the news everyday. Al-Jazeera English, BBC, New York Times, the Economist, any local papers that make it onto Google News’s front page, I read them all. Most days, I simply come away with a boarder view of what is going on in the world. Sometimes I am motivated to talk to my friends about what I have read. Sometimes I write, or blog, about what I read. This week I found three stories which I felt strongly about, but could not figure out how to group them. I just came up with the above title.

The first is a story I actually read in hard copy, in the New York Time’s Op-Ed section. It’s called “A Death in Patchogue“. It is about an Ecuadorian man who appears to have been lynched by a group of teenagers in a commuter rail station. Those teenagers said they “had driven into the village from out of town looking for Latinos to beat up”. The man was Marcello Lucero, and had been in the US for 16 years.

The second story I found on my daily new troll, entitled “Two schoolgirls blinded in acid attack in Afghanistan“. Here is what happened in one of the victim’s said when she was interviewed by Al-Jazeera:

“We were on the way to school when two men on motorbikes stopped next to us. One of them threw acid on my sister’s face. I tried to help her, and then they threw acid on me, too,” Latefa, 16, told the Qatar-based satellite network.

“We were shouting, and people came to see what was going on. Then the two men escaped,” she said.

The men are still at large.

The third story I found today, entitled “Doctors: Marrow Transplant May Have Cured AIDS“. In a wildly skeptical follow up article, “Did a Bone-Marrow Transplant Cure AIDS?“, we discover that this path has been traveled unsuccessfully before, in the early nineties when doctors were desperately trying to control the epidemic. So this article offers little hope, but when you’re reading about HIV/AIDS a little hope is better than none.

Today I found quite a lot more hopeful articles surrounding HIV/AIDs than usual. There is this photo project from Mozambica, where AIDS orphans were given cameras to document their lives. It is both heart-wrenching and heart-warming.

Then there is this monologue by a factory worker in Zimbabwe about abstinence, safer-sex, and AIDS in his country.

I think what stuck in my craw about these three (really five) articles were the pictures. The strength of the images but also the portraits of life outside my comfort-zone. I couldn’t get the leader from the first story out of my head:

The friend who crouched beside him in a parking lot as he lay dying, soaked in blood, said Mr. Lucero, who was 37, had come to the United States 16 years ago from Ecuador.

Nor could I banish the picture of the acid-burned face of the young women in the beautiful headscarf from my mind.

The other stories stuck with me because of the hope implicit in them. Hope for a cure and hope for the future. Hope comes so rarely in international news, I couldn’t make myself let go of the articles without writing about them.

Inspirational Quote:

Malcolm Forbes – “Failure is success if we learn from it.”

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