Do you hear the cries of a little girl ringing in your ears because her friends call her an ‘untouchable’? Why is she an untouchable? Because she is infected with AIDS. A touch, a hug, a little time may not mean anything or make little difference to you, but for a little girl who is clueless as to why she is an outcast, the same gesture would have made her feel a little less lonely and a little happier and wanted.
160 years have passed since AIDS was discovered as a life-threatening disease. While most of the diseases discovered by men have been eradicated or have been less debilitating due to the advancements in science and medicine, there is limited cure which temporarily curbs the menace of AIDS. The red ribbon which is significant worldwide as a symbol for raising awareness of AIDS is still understood by a few as a signal of danger or as a symbol worn by those who are infected with the disease.
On the 30th of November 2019, hostellers at United Academy were shown the movie Philadelphia on the occasion of World AIDS Day. The screening of the movie was also part of our own initiative at United Academy to collect funds for donation as part of our first AIDS fundraising charity event.
Philadelphia, an Oscar awarded movie tells the story of Andrew Beckett a hard-working attorney with a bright future who was discriminated and wrongfully dismissed from work because he was identified as having AIDS. The story shows his hardships of trying to prove his innocence along with trying to convey his message that AIDS does not spread through a touch or a handshake or a meeting. More than fighting the battle of a lawsuit between a large corporation and an employee, the movie revolves around the fight of the victims of AIDS against the prejudice carried by the majority of people around the globe, their mentality and wrong notions established of the disease and the diseased. At the same time, the movie also touches upon the issue of homosexuality and the societal taboos associated with it. Andrew had to not only hide his illness but also part of his identity and sexual orientation because back then, people almost naturally linked the spurt of AIDS with homosexual men.
The movie at large sends a deep message to the audience and is enlightening for it definitely establishes a sense of consciousness, sensitivity and awareness.
Written by Subekshya Shrestha of grade 11 ‘A’, Science faculty.