Edinburgh was lucky enough to host the Stop AIDS Speakers, Daisy and Jay, again on Wednesday and following their meeting at HIV Scotland, it was time to strike out an action against Merck to demonstrate their harmful provisions in their Patent Laws. Typical Edinburgh rain did not dampen the passion of our campaigners as we staged a “dying” stunt in the central area of the University to pressure the South African government to derail their drug patent laws. We had Saoirse imitating a Merck employee stealing our cheap, generic medication and as we lay on the ground dying she stomped all over us, demonstrating the barbaric nature of the actions carried out by pharmaceutical companies. However, with continued pressure there is still hope patent law reform efforts will succeed as we resurrected from the dead to chase the nasty Merck employee away! (Sorry Saoirse!)
Friday was the day all of us at Edinburgh had been waiting for as the night of the Speaker Tour was finally upon us! Throughout the day society members sold freshly baked cakes outside the library to advertise the event and all the flyers were distributed with great enthusiasm. All members also embarked on an immense social media invasion in an attempt to drum up as much support as possible. At 4pm we were ready to campaign (wolf onesie in check) to try to encourage fellow students to sign letters to MEPs to make drugs affordable to the developing world -who could say no to that? After some time spent campaigning it was time to get ready for the main event (not before a cup of tea and scoffing of leftover cakes of course!)
At 6pm we made our way to the venue where we were joined by the Speakers and had time to frantically write more templates of MEP letters as well as hand out information sheets (and condoms) to attendees. When we were ready to start at 7pm, everyone was anxious to finally hear the uninterrupted stories of the speakers we had met a week previously. Daisy, Jay and Nick eloquently conveyed their stories in a tremendously courageous and inspiring way which was hugely emotive for the audience. The opportunity for questions at the end was met with a wide variety of interest and all Speakers responded with great honesty with every question that was asked.
Following the success of the Tour we all headed to the Union for a well deserved drink and a burger. All I can say is – bring on next year!