Posts Tagged ‘Ebola’

How do you stop Corona? Screen the whites!

March 5, 2020

A headline at RFI yesterday: Mauritania sends 15 Italian tourists back. The story was that the tourists, coming from one of the most Corona-prone risks zones on the planet had to stay in their hotel until the health authorities established that they did not pose a health risk to the public.

A reasonable position, taken by all countries.

However, the Italians decided to leave the hotel anyway the next morning and thought themselves merrily on their way until they were intercepted at some 90 kilometres from the capital Nouakchott and sent on their way, according to the story. They didn’t see that coming, apparently.

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So far, the African continent has seen the grand total of about a dozen cases. This is a still from a few days ago.

Senegal has now acquired a second case (another old Frenchman), South Africa one (who had been on holiday in Italy) and perhaps there are a few new ones as I write this.

Do we see a pattern here? I think we do…

And yet, on France24 the other day, we were treated to the spectacle of a presenter asking with barely concealed astonishment why Africa had, so far, hardly been touched by the Corona virus. An elderly expert (France has an absolutely ENDLESS supply of them) of the renowned Institut Pasteur was on hand to confirm that, indeed, this was “a mystery”.

Indeed.

Why does Africa refuse to do what it is supposed to be doing, i.e. to be the uncontested epicentre of the worst diseases, the most frightening epidemics and all the other afflictions that stalk the planet? How dare Africa deviate from its prescribed role in the scheme of things?

A mystery.

Perhaps the good sir had already forgotten that at the height of the Ebola epidemic in 2014 at least three West African nations had managed to stop the disease from spreading: Nigeria, Mali and Senegal. It has been suggested to me that in the case of Mali there has been help from Médecins sans frontiers, which is plausible. But in the cases of Nigeria and Senegal (which I witnessed myself), the virus was contained as a result of quick coordinated action by the health authorities who identified, traced, isolated and where necessary treated individuals found to be with the virus.

Now mind you: this did not happen in some remote village in, say, deep Guinea where Patient Zero was located. No, this happened in giant agglomerations, connected to the entire world, home to at least four million people (in the case of Dakar) and as many as 20 million (Lagos).

These home-grown success stories received accolades from the World Health Organisation for containing a potentially catastrophic outbreak. Mainstream media missed them almost completely, though. Perhaps the interviewee on France24 was unaware of this story as a result, hence his nonplussed-ness at Africa’s virtually Corona-free status.

For those who respond with ‘Ah well, yes, but that’s because they lack the equipment to diagnose…’ I refer you to the previous two paragraphs that you clearly have not read yet.

Not all 50+plus health systems on the continent are the same. The reason why Ebola could strike in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone was because the health systems had collapsed as the result of five decades of criminal negligence in the case of Guinea and more than a decade of civil war in the other two countries. These conditions clearly did not obtain in Senegal and only to a very limited extent in Mali and Nigeria.

What’s that? Oh, sorry, yes! Back to the pattern I asked you about earlier.

This is how they arrive…
Pic: me.

Did you see one? I did. All the Corona cases on the African continent have been brought in by Europeans, mainly Italian and French. So it stands to reason to suggest that the best and the most effective way to prevent the Corona virus from spreading across the African continent is to rigorously SCREEN ALL WHITES that come flying across the Mediterranean for their holidays or whatever it is they do.

Butbutbutbut…doesn’t this look like the reverse of what European nations routinely do to people who do not look…European?

Not really. In this case, the screening has sound logical reasons. While European immigration officers appear to be obsessed by keeping black people out because they are black, African health authorities are wise to isolate whites because they are potential carriers of very dangerous diseases. It’s only fair. After all, there are numerous stories about whites who did carry dangerous diseases and went on to wipe out entire populations in, among others, the Americas.

And that’s not a mystery, mon cher. That’s historical fact.

Pestilence

October 15, 2014

This happened about a month ago in Guinea: villagers killed eight people who came to tell them about the dangers of Ebola.

It has been the topic of conversation ever since. Words most frequently used include “brutal”, “savage” and “barbaric”. While these words may accurately describe the killings themselves, they bring us no closer to understanding why this happened. As usual, in the bulk of media reports on events in Africa, there is an essential element missing. History.

From the perspective of an inhabitant of Guinea Forestière, the past 125 years or so have been marked by a litany of highly disruptive events, almost all coming from the coast. The list looks like this, in no particular order:

 

War

Colonial conquest

Forced labour

Land occupation

Forced movement of people

Cultural vandalism on an industrial scale

More war

Masses of refugees from across the borders

Illegal rebel camps

Mass displacement

Environmental degradation…

 

…and, as the French say, j’en passe. By and large, pre and post-independence, men with arms have had a bad reputation here. Historically, they have been mostly seen to vandalise, to rob, to loot and take people away.

It may well be that we now have the first government in history, ever since the French established Conakry late 19th century, that at the very least has good intentions. But that does not negate the view from the forest, which is, based on painful experience, that pretty much everything that comes from the coast, the capital, the government, is disruptive and violent. A convoy of cars appearing out of nowhere usually spells trouble. People have memories. The village has a memory. The region has a memory. Most reporting ignores that.

Here is a thought, then. After all, there is one item missing from that list above and maybe the thinking of the people in that village, Womey, when they saw that convoy appear, was along these lines: well here’s one thing that we haven’t yet received from the coast, the capital, the government: pestilence. And sure enough, that’s what they’re here to give us.

It is critical to understand where these killings have come from. History be your guide so that true lessons may be learned – and, may I add, not in the ritual sense so beloved by the development establishment. An uplifting story from elsewhere in the region suggests that this is beginning to be the case.