Friday 17 October 2014


I thought I’d give myself a day to process all this stuff that has been flying around in the media of late over the pandemic that is affecting us on a global level. Yes, I’m talking about the dreaded Ebola virus, and whether you’re putting your head in the sand on the topic or not, it is a very real and sobering event (for lack of a better word) in our world’s history. And as per usual it is in these times that we truly must grasp the importance of humans coming together and more importantly, humans using their intelligence and common sense when dealing with a disease of this magnitude.

As most things transmitted in the media there is truth, there is misconception, there is some hysteria and there is plenty of denial. Not to mention, as this disease is under a global microscope it is very enlightening (and alarming) to see how humans can greatly mismanage a situation. For the continent of Africa, Ebola is certainly not a new topic of discussion. Many West African countries have dealt – successfully – with outbreaks in the past. And to their credit, they have fought it without much aid from the international community. In fact, when this most recent outbreak finally hit the mainstream media (it took awhile as we all know, plights that often hit areas that do not concern the West, do not get much coverage), there was a slight condescension towards Africa’s ability to deal with the problem. From where I stand, yes many lives have tragically been lost, but the fact that they have been able to contain it to three West African countries for the most part with very little resources, speaks volumes, when America has allowed it to spread within a mere fortnight and made some egregious mistakes in their handling of things.

On that topic, here is where I begin to not only get concerned, but downright angry. Ebola is an issue that is not going away any time soon. It is a disease that reminds us human beings of our limitations and our lack of ability to control absolutely everything. There is much we know about it, and even more we don’t know, and for people to be cavalier about the issue or how it is dealt with, need a swift kick up the backside. For all those that have stepped forward to help those afflicted, willingly or simply because it is in their job description to do so, I commend you in more ways that I have words for; But if you are on the front lines, I implore you, BE RESPONSIBLE. Don’t treat the quarantines as a joke, step forward if you feel like the protocols are in place are failing (as the nurses’ union in Texas has done) and for god sakes, don’t get on a sodding airplane if you are monitoring your symptoms!!! This is not the flu or AIDS (where abstinence can be undertaken). This is a highly contagious disease with a 60% death rate and to put others at risk is not only irresponsible but it’s downright negligent.

Now, I’m not trying to be an alarmist or scare the sh*t out of you - as I realise I may have done -  but what I implore us all to do is to use our heads, educate yourself and make wise choices, not one’s based in hysteria (okay a little hysteria is expected; on my flight tomorrow I will definitely be wearing a mask, but I'm telling myself that is more common sense than hysteria). Moreover, we must realize that there are certain issues that demand calm, precision and intelligence, and this is indeed one of them. We are a global community in a fast paced age of travel, information and heavily populated communities and that is something each and every one of us should keep in mind in times like these.

Furthermore, I hope and pray that with time and money, Ebola joins the list of other diseases that past generations used to fear (used to being the operative phrase) - the chickenpox, measles, TB - diseases of their day that struck panic in the masses, and yet now we are downright blasé about them (in fact, many don't even vaccinate against them). Perhaps this day is a long time off, but it's nice to have a little hope in the face of such a thing.

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