Ebola: The Long Hard Times

“Of all that breathes and crawls across the earth,
our mother earth breeds nothing feebler than a man.
So long as the gods grant him power, spring in his knees,
he thinks he will never suffer affliction down the years.
But then, when the happy gods bring on the long hard times,
bear them he must, against his will, and steel his heart.
Our lives, our mood and mind as we pass across the earth,
turn as the days turn…” Homer’s THE ODYSSEY

Thomas Eric Duncan died in Dallas, Texas from Ebola last week. His troubles and suffering are ended as well as his journey on the road of life, but the controversy continues over his death and Ebola.

For his fellow countrymen and women in Liberia and the West African corridor where Ebola rages like an insatiable wildfire, their suffering is incessant. It seems on this planet traversing the cosmos the ones with the least material goods, medical care and hope are the ones to suffer the most as they struggle to survive in an increasingly hostile environment.

As family members and friends watch the body recovery squads carry away their loved ones and friends, one can empathize with their sense of loss, grief and hopelessness. These are very agonizing days for the living who are just holding on to life.

Unfortunately, the stigma of having a family member die from Ebola is an additional burden on the family. Their society views them as the dammed and shuns them out because of ignorance and fear.

From an evolutionary point of view this is a natural process where the weak strands of generic material are removed so the more dominant strands flourish. Survival of the fittest is a dispassionate viewpoint—it’s very cold and sterile when a human life is under the microscope and simply one more life form on the geological scale.

It seems axiomatic that all great powers, which have been the architects of social and economic systems, and all important systems themselves, have relied on and caused an increasing population and the expansion which naturally follows, to achieve and maintain power and erect those foundations upon which that power rests and feeds. The equivalent biological axiom would be that multiplication is a basic rule governing all organisms as natural selection favours the greater multiplication with its genetic plasticity.” ARMIES OF PESTILENCE, R. S. Bray

Doctor Bray continues to discuss “adverse pressures” on society where population control is lacking, and humans huddled together like cattle in a train boxcar are very susceptible to outbreaks and pandemics. Human contact is the agency by which a pathogen spreads like a tsunami.

West Africa is not alone where people are huddled together like a boxcar. This closeness in human squalor is fertile soil for exponential growth of pathogens.

From a religious perspective life, suffering and death all exist in a context of divine order of some grand design which humans are not able to fully comprehend because the mirror on the wall is tarnished. The image reflects what is distorted by the viewer’s perception and belief.

In the Wisdom Book of Job the reason for Job’s incomprehensible suffering remained a mystery to both Job and his wife. The reader is informed that this was a test of his loyalty to God, and he was blessed with more material possessions and children than he had before.

For people of faith their ultimate joy will come in the morning. This metaphor refers to what waits for them in the cosmic ocean after their journey of trouble and sorrow has ended on the shore of eternity.

Suffering has been the lot of humans either by natural or human causes since human history began on this orb. One can blame the natural selection processes or the gods who abandon their subjects to “their long hard times”.

David Nabarro, the UN special envoy for Ebola, made an emotional appeal to the United Nations for the nations to mobilize and join the fight against Ebola and gave this dire warning if they did not mobilize:

It will be impossible to get this disease quickly under control, and the world will have to live with the Ebola virus forever.”

Ebola is not just a West Africa matter. It is a global concern because we all share this planet, and we are all brothers and sisters of one bloodline.

G. D. Williams © 2014

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Ebola: Images Of Human Suffering

Liberia Races To Expand Ebola Treatment Facilities, As U.S. Troops Arrive
A woman throws a handful of soil towards the body of her sister as Ebola burial team members take her Mekie Nagbe, 28, for cremation on October 10, 2014 in Monrovia, Liberia. Nagbe, a market vendor, collapsed and died outside her home earlier in the morning while leaving to walk to a treatment center, according to her relatives. The burial of loved ones is important in Liberian culture, making the removal of infected bodies for cremation all the more traumatic for surviving family members. (John Moore/Getty Images)


Ebola: The Death Toll

The WHO said that as of October 8, a total of 4,033 people have died from Ebola out of a total of 8,399 registered cases.

The seven affected countries are split into two groups by WHO. The first includes Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone—by far the worst-affected countries.

The second includes Nigeria, Senegal, Spain and United States, which have seen a small number of highly isolated cases.

On Friday, David Nabarro, the UN special envoy for Ebola, said the number of Ebola cases is probably doubling every three-to-four weeks and the response needs to be 20 times greater than it was at the beginning of October.


Ebola: Alex Crawford’s Report From Liberia

The country has accounted for more than half of the world’s deaths from the latest Ebola outbreak in West Africa and despite assurances from President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf that it is under control, evidence on the ground seen by Sky News appears to suggest otherwise.

Whole communities are gripped with fear about the virus—and terrified citizens prefer to die alone, unaided because of the stigma attached to admitting to the disease.


Ebola: The African Cup 2015

“The government of host country Morocco says the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations should be postponed because of the Ebola epidemic.”


Ebola: UK Prepares

Medics in the exercise wore full protective suits, which can be used to stop the spread of the Ebola virus
Medics in the exercise wore full protective suits, which can be used to stop the spread of the Ebola virus

Dame Sally Davies, England’s chief medical officer and chief medical adviser to the UK government, said any cases in Britain would be “spill-over” from West Africa.

She said the screening was “unlikely” to pick up many cases, “if any”. But she stressed the “great advantage” would be that people would be alerted to what symptoms to look for and what to do if they fell ill.

This would reduce their chances of dying and of spreading the virus to others, she said.