Grief Lite, Recreational Grief, Mourning Sickness, Conspicuous Compassion, Tragedy Tourism, Guilt Tripping. Most of these terms were evolved by a British civil society think-tank called, "Civitas". They describe the spin-doctoring that surrounds a government's strategy to attenuate the emotional critical mass of the citizenry and thereby render them placid and manageable. Joe Q. Public feels that he has done something from the comfort of his living room and does not therefore have to engage in further decisive or effective action. ---- "Mourning Sickness" is a religion: Britons are feeding their own egos by indulging in "Recreational Grief" for murdered children and dead celebrities they have never met, claims a report. Think-tank Civitas said wearing charity ribbons, holding silences and joining protest marches all indicated the country was in emotional crisis. The author said "Mourning Sickness" was a substitute for religion. Rather than "piling up damp teddies and rotting flowers" people should go out and do some real good, he urged. In his report, "Conspicuous Compassion", author Patrick West said people were trying to feel better about themselves by taking part in "manufactured emotion". "Phony" Describing extravagant public displays of grief for strangers as 'Grief-Lite' Mr. West said these activities were, "undertaken as an enjoyable event, much like going to a football match or the last night of the proms". "Mourning Sickness is a religion for the lonely crowd that no longer subscribes to orthodox churches. Its flowers and teddies are its rites, its collective minutes' silences its liturgy and mass." "But these new bonds are phony, ephemeral and cynical", he said. "We saw this at its most ghoulish after the demise of Diana. In truth, mourners were not crying for her, but for themselves", he wrote. Years later, he claimed, "Diana had served her purpose. The public had moved on. These recreational grievers were now emoting about Jill Dando, Linda McCartney or the Soham girls." His 80-page pamphlet said that while the Soham murders were "unquestionably tragic", it was "almost as distressing to see sections of the public jumping on the grief bandwagon". He said the traditional minute's silence has suffered "compassion inflation" and become meaningless. "They are getting longer and we are having more of them, because we want to be seen to care." "When a group called Hedgeline calls for a two-minute silence to remember all the 'victims' whose neighbors have grown towering hedges, we truly have reached the stage where this gesture has been emptied of meaning", he added. Moving on to the wearing of charity ribbons, the report said the act served to "celebrate the culture of victimhood" and was an egotistical gesture to announce "I care". The trend had not been accompanied by a tangible increase in charity donations, it added, and there was now an "unspoken competition" to see who could wear their Remembrance Day poppy earliest, "particularly among politicians". And on going on demonstrations, the report said it was, "too often an exercise in attention-seeking". "Next time you profess that you 'care' about something, consider your motives and the consequences of your words and actions. Sometimes, the only person you really care about is yourself", said the report. Civitas, also known as the Institute for the Study of Civil Society, was launched in 2000 as an independent registered charity. Story from BBC NEWS: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/uk/3512447.stm Published: Feb. 23, 2004 © BBC 2006 ---- World AIDS day statement by Mrs. Jo-Ann Downs, Deputy President of the ACDP As we mark yet another World AIDS day it is time for South Africa to face reality. The recent release of statistics show that the pandemic is neither declining nor are treatment figures anywhere near optimum, yet every year we have candle-lighting ceremonies, expensive lunches and other high finance awareness programs. These events are known to have little effect on the actual plight of the sufferers as they represent an aspect of spin-doctoring recently identified by British think tank "Civitas" as "conspicuous compassion" or "grief lite" that lulls many public office bearers into inaction. Grief Lite is about feeling good but not about doing good. We must stop using red ribbons as a campaign rosette. It's time the government realized that it's utterly ridiculous to continue to do the same things and expect to get a different result. The current publicity orientated prevention and education campaigns have made absolutely no difference. Anti-retroviral rollout is pathetic when considering the number of people who need to be treated. This can all be personified in one little 4 year old girl whose CD4 count is less than 100. I met her at the free clinic where we noted that she was extremely ill, running a high temperature and in pain. The local clinic declined to treat her with antibiotics, which she desperately needed. She was sent home with nothing more than a dose of Paracetamol. History will judge the government harshly for its lack of foresight in dealing with the worst health crisis we have ever faced in our country. It's the plight of this small child that represents AIDS awareness to me, not the big public "mourning sickness" campaigns. I am so angry on behalf of this small child, she deserves much better. If you would like to help her, she lives within 10 km of your home, wherever you are in South Africa. A visit to her would be more productive than listening to a band in the park.