“Ebola is a tragic and frightening disease, because it is transmitted by the most basic human acts of community. Wiping tears, carrying a child, cleaning up a mess, hugging. And it seeks out those most caring.” (Dr. who survived Ebola while treating patients in Uganda in 2007)
I was absolutely stunned when I read this statement. It exposes a truth. Those of us who would selfishly run away to look after ourselves, are the safest. Those acting the most selfless, loving, or those refusing to abandon the side of those sick and suffering pay the price.
Crisis exposes how deeply rooted the higher spiritual human values of courage, love, care, selflessness, and sacrifice are, or are not found in each of us.
Tell me, is life fair? The good people, those espousing the highest and noblest aspirations of care for humanity are the ones who get exposed, kicked, and criticized the most.
To be honest, I am stunned (also very thankful) Ebola has not already crossed over Mali’s southern border with Guinea. But, as of this writing there has not been a single case of Ebola in Mali, and yet we are asked repeatedly, “Are you still going back to Africa?. “Yes!”, we reply. “What about Ebola, it’s pretty bad over there you know?”
We understand the reaction, people care for us, and “Africa” is one place to many Westerners. Even though Mali and Ivory Coast are projected to be the next outbreak regions, as it stands at this moment it would be a total overreaction to cancel our work among some of the poorest and most neglected people on earth. Our development work does not even call us to the ebola frontlines, so our risk is NEGLIGIBLE – Define Negligible: adjective, “so small or unimportant as to be not worth considering; insignificant.”
“Wise and prudent people that we are, we manufacture a thousand logical excuses for doing nothing.” (Brennan Manning)
From what I have seen from Americas CNN over the last few days, I believe people are reacting needlessly, almost insanely hysterical and selfish. I believe journalists are reporting this hysterically. However, I know Ebola is a real and SERIOUS crisis affecting three countries who need rapid outside help with needed supplies to rapidly establish health facilities to properly address the sick.
But we do not need fanaticism, nor a “let’s protect our own” tribalism or nationalism. We need courageous and selfless people to wipe the tears, administer the medicine, and clean up the messes. Nothing more, nothing less. (Andy Rayner)
Thank you to the selfless people serving. Thank you for making violent war against Ebola at the source.
“We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.” (Winston Churchill)
Avoid the thick gelatinous stream of comfortability and ignorance.
“Conservative historians describe any man with a passion for greatness as a megalomaniac. “Look at him,” they say to one another, “the idiot! Why doesn’t he settle down and establish himself in the community? Why is he forever restless, forever trying to get something beyond him? The man is crazy.” These conservatives are partly right. Play life safe and you will keep out of harm. Be careful, be cautious, don’t take risks and you will never die on Mount St. Helens. Your failure is measured by your aspirations. Aspire not, and you cannot fail. Columbus died in chains. Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. Let us all live snugly without risk, and life will soon be little more than a thick gelatinous stream of comfortability and ignorance.”
(Myles Connolly, Mr. Blue (New York: Macmillan, 1928), 91.)