Just days after Dr. Tom Frieden noted that, with the Ebola disease spreading exponentially, it is likely that it will be exported to other countries – the news that it had made its way to Dallas broke.
Until recently, it was in a far, faraway Country. And it could not touch us! But last week the Ebola disease earned a different level of respect in the USA – Dallas, Texas in particular. Many Mass Media outfits descended on the story of a Liberian man who traveled from Liberia to the US and has now tested positive for the disease.
You must be a living under a rock not have heard this story.
It is all over the news! And it has created a tense situation. To say people are concerned or cautious will be an understatement. The atmosphere in the nation now ranges from paranoia, fear, suspicion, right up to diplomatic panic. Even some high-profile people have gone as far as making the incendiary commentary that no one from West Africa should be allowed to travel to the USA.
This knee-jerk reaction although human, is unwise and not matured. When the disease was in far, faraway Africa it was ok. Now that it is in our own backyards, it is not ok. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for isolating and eradicating this disease!
When reports of the outbreak first hit, I was irritated by the ignorance with which many Reporters spread the news. To them, Africa is reduced to a Country although ONLY three Countries are currently struggling with the outbreak. And even in those Countries, not every region is affected.
As if things are getting better in the News Media. The label describing the affected areas has been upgraded to West Africa. Seriously!? Portions of three Countries and the whole West African region have been presented to the world as a basket case of Ebola infestation?!
If we need prove that we live in a global village, this current Ebola outbreak is a worthy school teacher. We are all connected to one another in one way or the other. That IS the TRUTH! The fact that it is not happening to me now, but rather to somebody else somewhere is a very convenient cocoon from which to offer heartless isolationist solutions and juvenile remarks masquerading as protected speech.
The late Martin Luther King said it well.
“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one, affects all indirectly.”
On Tuesday September 16, Dr. Kent Brantly, barely a month after he nearly died from Ebola told Capitol Hill lawmakers that, “It is a fire straight from the pit of hell. . . . We cannot fool ourselves into thinking that the vast moat of the Atlantic Ocean will protect us from the flames of this fire.”
The lesson here is simple. This is everyone’s problem and the sooner we all do something – even as little as educating ourselves about the disease – the safer this world will be.
In the meantime, the peddlers of xenophobia and its attendant hysteria together with ignorant Journalists need to turn off their rhetoric in favor of empathetic voices who are seeking solutions to this ruthless virus carrying out its destructive genetic instructions.
What additional steps do you think should be taken to ensure public safety in the affected areas, and in the USA?
To read about how Ebola sped out of control click here.