a reflection – can anything good come out of ebola?

In the spring of this year, people began to die in Guinea. Shortly thereafter the culprit was named: Ebola. A viral, zoonotic (originating in animals, then spread to humans) disease without vaccine or cure. Ebola quickly crossed the borders of other West African nations, then, via air travel of infected persons, breached the European coast in Spain and American shores. Ebola, to date claiming over 7,500 lives, is a tragedy of pandemic proportion.

Regarding our worldwide readiness to identify and address apparently increasingly probable eruptions of deadly (including the far worse air-borne) diseases, so beyond my knowledge base, I can make no judgment. According to news reports, however, international coordination requires more intentional government to government collaboration in league with the United Nations’ World Health Organization and other numerous on-the-ground charitable and medical assistance operations.

Can anything good come out of Ebola? Nothing is good about Ebola. Still, to reply to my question, my learning or re-learning is my awareness of the interconnectedness of our global village.

(I was reminded of this in a personal way. Most recently, I sought urgent care for what turned out to be a severe bout of walking pneumonia. Sitting down to complete the raft of paperwork, at the top of page 1, I read: Are you experiencing any of the following symptoms: diarrhea, fever, headache, muscle or stomach pain, unexplained bleeding or bruising, vomiting? If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, recently have you traveled or been in contact with anyone who has traveled to regions of West Africa? If your answers to both questions is “yes”, please return immediately to the intake desk.)

Despite the sickeningly multiple examples of world-round factional, parochial, and racial violence, all, for me, demonstrable evidence of our lack of awareness and acceptance of our universal bondedness, we, each and all, are members of one race called human, sharing one world called Earth.

Another question. When can we learn to engage in war against all diseases that defile body and soul and not against persons who embrace, embody differing cultural, political, or spiritual identities?

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2 thoughts on “a reflection – can anything good come out of ebola?

  1. I can only imagine what you were feeling as you filled out the medical questionnaire. I wish I had an answer to your questions. I have many friends from Africa who like me are members in a professional security organization. During the height of the Ebola, some folks who I had deemed pretty intelligent did really dumb and insulting things to our common friends such as “unfriending” them on Facebook. Really?? They couldn’t possibly think they could get Ebola from seeing words and photos on Facebook did they? But alas, other stupid things occurred too. I learned other negative things I didn’t want to know either about how cruel people can be to each other.

    What I learned of a positive nature was that in spite of the danger so many people were willing to risk their lives to help those in the hardest hit areas. I was blown away by the decision of one of the American doctors who had contracted the disease and was cured, to return to the same place where he was infected to continue to serve. What I think we can all learn from his decision is that even in dire and potentially dangerous situations people still need hope and help and a few brave souls to stand up and say, “I’m not afraid to put my life on the line to help others”. I’m guessing that this doctor’s actions more than meets your definition of love and justice! Hopefully that type of action can spread and help us to handle these types of situations with more grace.

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  2. Loretta, I am sorry – though I am doubly-sorry, I feel, to write that I am not surprised – to hear of the reactions of some of your colleagues in breaking contact with African associates in light of the Ebola crisis. At the same time, I am heartened to read of your reflection about the physician who returned to administer healing care. My take away from your take away is to be reminded that I, as that doctor, in my time and place, can, must do what I can to do, to be love and justice. And, yes, that physician, for me, embodies love and justice!

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