But the way the press has covered it has been frustrating, a good example of the way Americans see Africa monolithically and don’t understand or perhaps simply can’t be bothered to understand the differences between different countries. “And I don’t mean fringe reporting,” Adichie added. “I mean the ostensibly responsible press.”
Adichie was in Nigeria when the disease was there, though it has since been declared Ebola-free. But it feels to her as though Nigeria has been deprived of that victory. “It’s been attributed to everything but Nigerian action,” whether that’s CDC intervention or something else. “It feeds into the same old narrative of ‘Africa is a place with no agency.’ If anything good happens, it has to be about someone else.”
Ebola is threatening much of the world’s chocolate supply.
Ivory Coast, the world’s largest producer of cacao, the raw ingredient in M&M’s, Butterfingers and Snickers Bars, has shut down its borders with Liberia and Guinea, putting a major crimp on the workforce needed to pick the beans that end up in chocolate bars and other treats just as the harvest season begins. The West African nation of about 20 million — also known as Côte D’Ivoire — has yet to experience a single case of Ebola, but the outbreak already could raise prices.
The World Cocoa Foundation is working now to collect large donations from Nestlé, Mars and many of its 113 other members for its Coca Industry Response to Ebola Initiative. The initiative hasn’t been publicly unveiled, but the WCF plans to announce details Wednesday, during its annual meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, on how the money will fuel Red Cross and Caritas Internationalis work to help the infected and staunch Ebola’s spread.
We’ve been covering the Ebola panic a lot here on LGF, but here’s something that really puts things in context, in a way that many people here might not have thought of. Stassa Edwards discusses the history of racists using fear of disease to attack and demonize minorities, and how that fear was used to justify everything from imperialism to nativist legislation. Warning, this gets pretty disturbing, in more ways than one.
On October 1st, the New York Times published a photograph of a four-year-old girl in Sierra Leone. In the photograph, the anonymous little girl lies on a floor covered with urine and vomit, one arm tucked underneath her head, the other wrapped around her small stomach. Her eyes are glassy, returning the photographer’s gaze. The photograph is tightly focused on her figure, but in the background the viewer can make out crude vials to catch bodily fluids and an out-of-focus corpse awaiting disposal.
The photograph, by Samuel Aranda, accompanied a story headlined “A Hospital From Hell, in a City Swamped by Ebola.” Within it, the Times reporter verbally re-paints this hellish landscape where four-year-olds lie “on the floor in urine, motionless, bleeding from her mouth, her eyes open.” Where she will probably die amidst “pools of patients’ bodily fluids,” “foul-smelling hospital wards,” “pools of infectious waste,” all overseen by an undertrained medical staff “wearing merely bluejeans” and “not wearing gloves.”
Aranda’s photograph is in stark contrast to the images of white Ebola patients that have emerged from the United States and Spain. In these images the patient, and their doctors, are almost completely hidden; wrapped in hazmat suits and shrouded from public view, their identities are protected. The suffering is invisible, as is the sense of stench produced by bodily fluids: these photographs are meant to reassure Westerners that sanitation will protect us, that contagion is contained.
Pernicious undertones lurk in these parallel representations of Ebola, metaphors that encode histories of nationalism and narratives of disease.
I wanted to write about something else before this, but this post by Doktor Zoom was about something too sick to ignore. I really felt the need to get it out there, just how disgusting this person is. I might have written something on this myself instead of pointing out to you what Doktor Zoom has wrote, but I’m kind of in a hurry and I don’t think I could have done a much better job than he did.
Former executive director of the South Carolina GOP, Trayvon Martin clairvoyant, ethics-free attorney, and avid penis self-photographer Todd Kincannon is proudly pro-life — with one exception, of course, in that he wishes Wendy Davis had been aborted. But he also recognizes that sometimes, in the face of a serious health crisis, you just need to man up and kill everyone who’s been infected or exposed. At Wonkette, we are sometimes given to exaggeration. But this is not an exaggeration: in a series of tweets on Saturday, Todd Kincannon, not satisfied with rightwing prescriptions like travel bans or embargoes on affected nations, literally advocated killing all Ebola patients, and napalming their villages for good measure, too. And we mean literally literally, not Joe Biden literally:
*Note : Sorry you guys might have to scroll up a bit after clicking on the link to read the rest of the article. I can’t figure out how to get it not to jump down to the comments.
In its dealings with Africa, China has taken its lead from centuries of European colonial exploitation there. Take all that you want, and too bad if the natives suffer for it.
China, with its rapidly urbanizing population, is the world’s biggest importer of wood products. And in its dealings with Mozambique, it is increasingly buying timber that is illegally harvested, according to a new report (pdf). The nonprofit Environmental Investigation Agency compared Mozambique’s official harvest numbers to global import numbers and calculated that 93% of Mozambique’s timber was illegally harvested in 2013, up from 76% in 2007—and most of that goes to China.
That’s perhaps no surprise; Mozambique is poor and timber is a good source of income. But the level of illegal logging and timber smuggling for the Chinese market is way beyond sustainable levels, despite claims to the contrary by Mozambican officials, according to the EIA. If the excessive focus on just a handful of commercial timber species continues, the country’s commercial stocks will be largely depleted in the next 15 years.
The illegal exports mean that Mozambique suffered losses of $146 million in potential export and exploration taxes from 2007-2013, the EIA says. That could have covered the 2014 state budget for poverty-alleviation programs more than twice over. It could, alternatively, have covered 30 years of law enforcement for Mozambique’s National Forest Program, according to the report from the EIA.
China is taking a lot of heat for its apparent neo-colonialism, but Chinese officials have generally waved such criticism aside as unfounded. But, just last week, China’s ambassador to Tanzania admitted that Chinese behavior in Africa is less than exemplary. shanghaiist.com
“Our people just cannot shake their bad habits,” Lu said, in an interview (link in Chinese) with the Chinese paper Southern Metropolis News yesterday. “Tanzania hosts ambassadors from about 70 countries, but none of them needs to constantly worry like us about consular protection issues,” Lu [Youqing] added.
Chinese citizens have been caught smuggling ivory out of Tanzania, and some are operating illegal gold mining operations throughout Africa.
They’re importing raw materials from Africa, while exporting standard Chinese business practices. Just what Africans don’t need — more corruption.
GoPro of the World Powered by Surfline entry on 05.29.14 in Namibia. Filmed by Benji Brand. Entry #030
GoPro of the World powered by Surfline will be won by the person who captures the single best GoPro video clip between May 1st and September 30th, 2014 anywhere on Planet Earth, awarding a $20,000 grand prize to the GoPro user who captures the best clip overall. Each month the Surfline audience will judge a winning wave that will be warded $1000, a year subscription to Surfline, and all finalists will receive a HERO3+ Black Edition. For the newest GoPro entries, contest details and to submit a clip visit GoPro of the World (link to: surfline.com)
Honduras retains the world’s highest murder rate, according to a United Nations report published on Thursday, with the Americas overtaking Africa as the region with the most peacetime murders per 100,000 people.
Torn apart by gang warfare and invaded by Mexican drug cartels, the Central American nation of Honduras had a 2012 murder rate of 90.4 homicides per 100,000 people, almost double Venezuela’s rate of 53.7.
According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s report, Central America fared particularly badly. Belize had a murder rate of 44.7, while El Salvador’s was 41.2 per 100,000.
In a previous report in 2011, Honduras topped the list, with El Salvador in second place and Venezuela in third.