Ed Koch reviews How to Survive a Plague but fails to mention his own failed response to the AIDS crisis and its role in the film. Koch suggests, too, that Larry Kramer and other AIDS activists should get the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and Kramer responds in the post's comments, calling the closeted Koch "a murderer of his very own people."
The person who makes the greatest impact in the film because of his superb speaking ability is Peter Staley. In his New York Times review of this movie, Stephen Holden describes Staley as: "A former closeted Wall Street bond trader with H.I.V. who left his job and helped found the Treatment Action Group, an offshoot of Act Up. Self-taught in the science of AIDS, the group collaborated with pharmaceutical companies like Merck in the development of new drugs."
Others named in the Times' review as major leaders of Act Up, which began its activities in 1987, are Larry Kramer, Robert Rafsky and Ann Northrop, all of whom appear in the film. I don't know if these individuals were ever honored by the White House for what they did in fighting government and powerful corporations. If not, I urge President Obama to do so by presenting them and other leaders recognized by Act Up with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Staley responds, in Poz:
Amazing how he fails to mention his own shameful role in this film, or this history…
And Larry Kramer responds, in the Poz post's comments:
What is this evil man up to as he approaches his death? Is he trying to make up to us? National Medals of Freedom from the White House! Would these provide a big enough enema to clean out his rotten insides? We must never forget that this man was an active participant in helping us to die, in murdering us. Call it what you will, that is what Edward Koch was, a murderer of his very own people. There is no way to avoid knowing that now. The facts have long since been there staring us in the face. If we don't see them, then we are as complicit as he.