Friday, May 18, 2018 at 7:39 AM

Ebola Redux

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

What is it about the continent of Africa that it suffers the worst not only of man’s inhumanity to man, but also of Mother Nature’s wrath?

After all, no continent has been more beset by genocidal wars and political corruption on the one hand, and by drought and disease on the other. This led me to coin the alliterative lament (in one of my first commentaries on March 7, 2005) that Africa too often features among the continents of the world as a dark, destitute, diseased, desperate, disenfranchised, dishonest, disorganized, disassociated, dangerous and, ultimately, dysfunctional mess.

Alas, this latest outbreak of Ebola only affirms the Dark Continent’s dubious distinction in these respects.

(“Ebola,” The iPINIONS Journal, October 9, 2014)

That outbreak in 2014 killed nearly 12,000. But thank God a white American (a missionary) got infected early on. Because that made combating this virus an international cause celebre, which compelled the American government to dispatch all kinds of human, medical, and military resources to the Ebola front in West Africa.

The decision to involve the military in providing equipment and other assistance for international health workers in Africa comes after mounting calls from some unlikely groups — most prominently the international medical organization Doctors Without Borders — demonstrating to the White House the urgency of the issue.

(The Washington Post, September 7, 2014)

There’s no denying that, without those resources, the number killed would easily have doubled or tripled.

Unfortunately, here we go again.

Congo has confirmed a case of Ebola in Mbandaka, a city of 1.2 million, marking the first urban case in the latest outbreak, which is now the most serious since the epidemic that raged across West Africa between 2014 and 2016.

Ebola is much harder to contain in urban areas, so this development compounds the risk of contagion. The World Health Organization’s lead response official called the new confirmed case “a game changer.”

(The Washington Post, May 17, 2018)

The only question now is how many Africans will die before a white American (or any white Westerner) gets infected. Because I fear it will take another case like that for the US and other Western governments to dispatch similar resources to help Congo contain this contagion.

According to the WHO, this outbreak has killed 23 … and counting.

That said, I would be remiss not to lament the continental shame inherent in Africans still needing outsiders to solve African problems. After all, they are now nearly 60 years removed from the days of colonialism.

Yet every year since, for one reason or another, some African country has presented itself on the world stage as still “the white man’s burden.” Granted, that proverbial white man has been looking more Asian than Western lately.

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