In the last couple of days, more than a few people have cautioned me about the deadly Ebola Virus that has broken out in Western Uganda, just a few hours drive from where our 2 CarePoints (Ogoloi and Bukedea) are located and where we will be in 10 days.
My first instinct was concern for my safety – especially because my wife is traveling with me and the idea of my two boys being without a mom and dad is one of the hardest I can think to bare. But those thoughts very quickly faded to others that I feel the need to voice.
Now it needs to be said that I desire in no way to offend those that brought this up. I know they were genuinely concerned for my well being. So this is not aimed at them….but rather at the bigger story behind the ….
…Deadly Ebola Virus!
So, yes….there is an outbreak of Ebola in Uganda.
Yes, there have been 16 deaths so far from this entirely in-curable and deadly disease in this remote region.
And Yes, the Center for Disease Control has dispatched a group of specialists to the region to help contain the outbreak in the small town in Western Uganda where the disease has appeared.
You can watch a brief video on the issue from ABC News below.
CDC Rushes to Contain Virus (Watch Video)
But if I can be so frank, may I ask, why on earth American News outlets are reporting on a disease in remote Uganda that has killed 16 people? Did these news outlets report this story, and not others, because they had not previously heard about the other news from the region? You know, like the fact that….
- more than 64,000 people die each year from HIV in Uganda (that’s 175 a day)? So in the 2 weeks since the Ebola Virus has sprung up almost 2500 people died in the same region from HIV.
- or that 47,000 people die annually from mosquito bites (that’s 128 people a day from Malaria)
- or that hundreds die in the area every single week from illness contracted because they had no access to clean drinking water
- or…I don’t know…that the militant leader of a sick and depraved rebel group responsible for the rape, torture and murder of tens of thousands is still at large with hundreds of abducted girls as sex slaves at his side and boy soldiers forcibly in his army.
But the issue is not just Uganda
Perhaps they missed the fact that…
- Around 16,000 children (that’s right – children) die from hunger around the world…EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. That’s one every 3 seconds. Think that one through….in the time it takes you to say “Deadly Ebola Virus Beakout in Uganda” one more child has died. Say it again… “Deadly Ebola Virus Breakout in Uganda” oh, there’s another dead child. And again….
- Or that the U.S. State Dept. currently estimates that there are around 750,000 sex slaves around the world
Or perhaps there is another reason that this story is “newsworthy” while others just don’t seem to be.
Now, I’d love to assume that this new found interest in the health of the Ugandan people was predicated on a new and fresh awakening to the suffering of the 50% of our world’s population that is in poverty and the 20-something percent that is in extreme poverty, and a sincere interest to look out for their health and well being.
But grant me some cynicism if I fall short of this hope.
You see, it perturbs me that in the midst of a world filled to the brim with ridiculous levels of suffering, hardship, and death for those who were unfortunate enough (by an accident of birth) to have been born into the African continent, that all of a sudden we seem to give a rip about their troubles, when for the first time their issues might actually possibly one day…….wait for it……..here is the punch line….
All of a sudden we seem to care about the death of 16 Ugandans because heaven forbid, the deadly disease that they are now suffering from could actually-possibly-one-in-a-billion-chance spread to the U.S. and wreak havoc on our comfortable lives and psuedo problems and concerns – like, you know, whether homosexuals should be able to marry; or whether we should vote for a corrupt and deceitful elephant or a corrupt and deceitful donkey; or whether the Packers can beat the Vikings etc
I apologize for the rant, but if you step back for just one second you might recognize that the sad truth about our nation is that we really only care (and I say this obviously as a generality) about issues that effect us. A deadly outbreak of Ebola that kills 16 is worth reporting for the ludicrously slim chance that it might spread into a “worldwide pandemic”, but we care NOT ONE BIT about the worldwide pandemics that around 50% of the world already suffer from every single day. And its sad!
Its sad because we know that although Ebola could possibly spread to our back yard, that poverty of the type that the “majority world” suffers from -will not. We won’t lose our kids to malaria. We won’t ever have to bury our family members because they literally died of starvation. We won’t have to explain to our kids that we will need to go another week without rice. And we most certainly won’t be hacked to death by rebel forces as we watch our kids be taken away as sex slaves. These just aren’t likely to be our issues. So…I guess why report on them? Right?
Well, if I am totally honest, I suffer from the same problem.
I believe we have our own “pandemic” here in the U.S. It goes by many names, and pops up in many forms, but its really all the same incredibly deadly disease for which there is no known worldly cure. Perhaps you know of this sickness?
Some call it “Self Centeredness“.
Others know it by the name “Narcissism“
But I prefer its less common name, “dont-give-a-crap-about-anyone-but-ourselves-itis“
I’m not saying we shouldn’t care about the Ebola Virus.
Its deadly, scary, and terrible that 16 people died from it. But seriously, lets put it in perspective and not pretend that we care about the 16 who died. We care about ourselves, our comfort, and our teeny tiny little problems. If we really want to care about “pandemics” that are plaguing our world, lets stand up and do something about the ones that are ravaging the world today that we do have every means to cure.
Here ends this evenings rant!