This is the story of Luna.

Luna is not her real name. Luna is the name of the moon in Latin and as the moon appears each night in the sky and glows so gloriously, it seems like an appriopriate name for her.

Luna is thirty-six years old. She is married and has a young child. She has been married for eight years. She has a part-time job at the local sports club and her husband works locally in the building trade.

They live in a small rented house with little money in a village in the Indonesian island of Java.

Last week, Luna was told by a doctor that she has a terminal illness with no known cure and that she is going to die.

At first, religious leaders in the community arranged a solemn gathering in prayer and devotion.

This was followed by an approach to a witch-doctor who acclaimed the affliction was as a result of sinning but Luna does not know how or when she ever contracted the disease.

She is not a prostitute or a drug addict, paedophile or a terrorist, yet her continued presence in the community brings shame to the family. It makes people in the community feel nervous, afraid, unsure, apprehensive, disturbed and outraged.

A few days ago, Luna’s husband received a cash payment from the neighborhood chief. In the quiet of the night, while Luna was sleeping, she was discreetly removed from the family home. It is not likely that the husband or the child will ever see Luna again.

This is a society in the twenty-first century who have a limited, perverse and misguided understanding of the communicable disease which Luna has contracted.

Zero tolerance would be no less applied in this community to a deformed child or someone who had a mental illness.

So the mindset contradicts the idea that education is meant to broaden the mind and general understanding of life. People make impulsive, snap judgments based on whims and indoctrination.

This is social stigma taken to extremes.

Living in a ghetto. Being microchipped. Having your front door painted red as an immigrant or a big cross marked on your house to single you out as a debtor. Wearing a prisoners clothes. Your name appearing on a published blacklist.

.Marrying someone of a different religion or race or of a different skin colour. Not marrying at all. Not producing children during a marriage or producing a child while unmarried. Not having a job while capable of working. Wasteful living. Having a communicable disease.

This is the kind of society in which we live. There are the rules, principles and morals people decide to live by everyday.

Political correctness, social conscience and religious hypocracy are the order of the day.

Luna has been diagnized with level 3 HIV-Aids. There is no known cure for her disease which she supposedly contracted more than ten years ago, before she met and married her husband.

This is a story without an end because whatever happens, Luna will fight back, if only to show the world that she is a human being with a conscience and a determination that the obstacles of ostracization and the disease itself can and will be overcome.


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