Thursday, October 8, 2009

Truth, shame, and education

If the truth sets you free, then why do people hide behind the shame of it all?? (photo: Osvaldo Zoom)

A couple of days ago, I blogged about I Am Because We Are. It very interestingly juxtaposed with something else I saw a while ago...a critically acclaimed film called The Education of Shelby Knox on PBS.

One might wonder how I Am Because We Are, a film about orphans in Malawi, relates to a film about a kid growing up in Lubbock, TX...but its quite clear. It doesn't matter where you are, the truth seems to scare people. And further, shame is a powerful motivator.

The increasing rate of orphans in Malawi is from the increasing rate of AIDS in the country. And what is universally acknowledged as the biggest problem is the lack of openness of the issues of HIV/AIDS in their communities. Government and Community leaders are refusing to speak about the issue openly. The lack of knowledge and wisdom, and the consistent shame value placed on AIDS is perpetuating the situation. In the absence of good sensible leadership, the frustrated, largely uneducated masses are getting more and more desperate. This is leading them to even more risky behaviors -- raping virgin girls, "sexual cleansing" of AIDS widows, and every kind of nonsense witchcraft that is sinking them deeper with infection and poverty.

On the other side of the globe, in Lubbock, TX, the rate of teen pregnancy has sky-rocketed. The conservative school and town leadership are refusing to speak openly about the issue, instead pushing abstinence down the throats of their youngsters...who defy all odds and continue to reproduce at alarming rates. This is where Shelby Knox (and her truly amazing family) come into the picture; Shelby, herself a 15 y/o conservative Christian pledged to abstinence until marriage, is trying to understand what the best way is to address this problem amongst her peers. Over three years the film follows her as she lobbies and repeatedly fails to get sex education taught to young kids. In the meantime,

And so here, the two sides of the globe (and lots of places in between) are united by the shame of speaking openly about sexual issues. How is the abysmal leadership of Malawi (second poorest country in the world) any different from that of Lubbock, TX (situated in one of the richest countries in the world)?? Why is it so hard to speak the truth...even if it does set you free??

I am struggling to understand this bit. Why NOT do the sensible thing?? And how do you fix this??

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