TRUTH ABOUT EBOLA

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Dr. Joia Mukharjee says racism is to blame for the slow response to the Ebola epidemic in Liberia and other African countries. Mukharjee is a professor at Harvard Medical School and chief medical officer at the Boston based non-profit Partners in Health.

According to PRI (Public Radio International), Mukharjee said: “I think it’s easy for the world — the powerful world, who are largely non-African, non-people of color — to ignore the suffering of poor, black people.”

It’s difficult to see what she’s talking about when most (all?) of the volunteers who go over there to help are white. The two American doctors who almost died from Ebola were both Caucasian. And only the white western world is sending any help.

Perhaps the lady has never been to Liberia.

Thirty years ago, I used to visit Liberia regularly, where I took care of a congregation.

Liberia is an interesting country. It was founded by African-Americans, freed American slaves, who were returning to Africa in the early years of the nineteenth century. They were part of the “Back to Africa” movement. They called their country Liberia, meaning freedom. Their capital was named after the American president at the time, Monrovia.

Until 1980 the descendants of the original eleven families who settled there, ruled the country.   95% of the population was native African, members of local tribes. It was a unique colonial situation, where both the rulers and the ruled were black.

When the natives finally overthrew their oppressors, it was really bloody, leading eventually to ethnic conflict between the tribes. Visiting Liberia became very unpleasant and dangerous.

It’s safer now but still has serious problems.

Liberia did not receive any of the benefits of colonialism because it was not part of a European empire. Its infrastructure and health care are very limited. At the time I was going there, only 5% of the people were literate, the lowest rate in Africa.

Ignorance and superstition play a major role in prolonging the Ebola outbreak. This is not unique to Ebola – AIDS is very similar. In Europe, so was the Black Death in the fourteenth century.

Health workers have been attacked in West Africa, as people blame them for the spread of the disease. Eight health workers were murdered in neighboring Guinea a few days ago. Their attackers thought they were spreading the disease.

When victims are quickly buried to stop the spread of Ebola, they are often dug up again by relatives anxious to put them through traditional burial rites. Again, this aids the spread of the potentially fatal illness.

Western missionaries and medical volunteers are also suspect. It’s inconceivable to the local people that anybody would risk their own lives to help them, so they are often accused of being CIA. They also risk being labeled “racist” when they clearly are not, or they wouldn’t be over there in the first place.

Here’s another way we can help. I’ve spent months in the hospital this year. About half of the doctors and nurses working in the two hospitals are from overseas. They come from poorer countries to better themselves. But they are desperately needed in the countries they came from. We need to look at this and see what we can do to help countries like Liberia fight outbreaks like Ebola using the talents of their own people.

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3 thoughts on “TRUTH ABOUT EBOLA”

  1. Very insightful and sad in the same thought. Education is what separates us from the civilized world and oppression follows the ignorant. A similar mindset is found in our inner cities in the US. If an inner-city leader accepts help from outside their city or allows Caucasians to help, they are called names like Uncle Tom. Almost stating that we are not good enough to be helped so there must be an ulterior motive. When someone lacks education and self-worth it can be dangerous.

  2. All these show that we are living in the “last Days” where the Bible says that there will be pestilences. May all of us look forward to the time when only God alone will do away with sickness forever as recorded in his word the Bible at Revelation 21:1-4

  3. I might be totally incorrect, but perhaps it’s more a matter of money than “race”: To my knowledge and memory, there was very little help from the “West” in Rwanda and South Sudan and Zimbabwe during their times of great duress, relative to billions of dollars spent intervening recently in more prosperous areas of Africa, such as Egypt and Libya.

    By the way, the word “race” as popularly used today is seemingly foreign to God’s vocabulary. It appears only four times in the KJV, and all four times it refers to a speed contest.

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