13 April 2008

The articles are captured from the original writer, MsMarina (with her permission). SambalBelacan is just compiling articles to make easier to find. Any comments received will remain un-respond because it's not mine.Reach her at her very own blog at
http://rantingsbymm.blogspot.com/ Please.

Wednesday April 9, 2008
Living in denial

Denial is a dangerous trait to have because it blinds us to problems we need to confront in order to solve them

ALL the years I spent working on the AIDS issue, one of the biggest problems we faced in many countries including our own was denial. When countries deny that they even had a problem, or when, if they had a problem, it was not big enough to warrant serious attention, then national responses have nowhere to begin.

Indeed many of the countries that have some of the worst epidemics today started off being in denial, and then had to face facts once they became literally “in their faces”.

Denial is a dangerous trait to have because it blinds us to problems we need to confront in order to solve them. We act as if everything is fine and dandy and there is no need to find creative solutions to anything.

As a result, the problems continue to fester until one day they burst out into the open. Just like the AIDS epidemic, by the time that happens, the problem is hard to contain anymore and people who need not have suffered, do.

Denial is often also the first response of people who have been told they have a grave, maybe fatal, illness. They can’t believe it is happening to them so they try and put it out of their minds and refuse to get treatment.

The subsequent delay thus results in their illness becoming more advanced and treatment becoming more difficult, even ineffective. Then there is no use for regrets and “if onlys”.

I read some of the statements made by some of our current leaders these days and it reminds me of those struggles to get governments to understand the AIDS problems.

People at the top presume to understand what people at the lowest strata of society experience even when they live vastly disparate lives. They believe that everyone’s experience is the same as theirs.

Thus when some people are happy they have gotten some high-salaried job, they believe that everyone else is happy too, quite forgetting that others did not get that same job.

They also think that when they ask people if they are happy, they are going to get a response that is wholly truthful. Why should anyone tell the truth to someone who so obviously has no empathy with him or her?

I cannot help but see symptoms of denial in some of the so-called analyses of the last elections’ results. There is no better indication of this than when blame is placed on individuals who do not agree with them, rather than on self-reflection.

The most courageous admission to make is “we screwed up” but deniers rarely ever do this. That’s also because denial is a form of cowardice.

To face problems squarely and to admit that you yourself may be at fault is courageous. To then deal with the problems realistically and intelligently takes even more courage.

And courage is exactly what we need right now, not the fear factor. Our people have shown what courage they have, by leaping into the unknown and voting in people whose abilities they only suspect but do not know for sure. They deserve in return to be treated with respect, to be led courageously.

I used to bemoan the constant sacrifice of realistic and correct policies on HIV on the altar of political expediency. Nobody had the courage to do the right thing because they thought it would cost them their popularity, especially at the polls. As if saving lives could ever be an unpopular thing to do.

I see the same thing happening with almost everything these days but most especially in the political field.

The difference is that the politically expedient thing to do is to take those steps out of denial. Instead we find denial after denial, blindness after wilful blindness, deafness after deepening deafness.

How nice to live in a world where we see nothing and hear nothing, where we live in splendid isolation. How comforting to see obvious losses as wins, to see obsequiousness as respect. If only all of us could live such cocooned lives.