Take two pills and call me in the morning….

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Bornin’, ebrybody.

*sniff*

The damn kids got me sick.

*ACHOO*

My head feels like an elephant is sitting on it.

*snurfle*

Ew. Sorry.

The kids got me sick, then had the audacity to kick the bug in only a couple days. Meanwhile, in old lady Bethie, it lingers. Figures. I give them LIFE…they give me a cold. Seems fair.

Guess what happened yesterday? I went to do a load of laundry.

” *gasp* ”

Oh hush. I do laundry. I just really, really hate it. It’s my least favorite household chore followed closely by washing out the fridge and scraping the crud from the oven when a pie bubbles over.

Anyway, I set the load going and then was cleaning the kitchen when a ghastly sound came from the washing machine. Unless the mice have constructed a pint sized roller coaster under there, I think it’s broken. After I haul out the soppy clothes and suck the water away with a shop vac, I’ll have to pop it open and see what’s going on behind the case. Personally, I’m hoping for the mouse amusement park.

…come on. Admit it. You are, too.

I’ll keep you posted.

I’m hoping to get some writing done today, too. Aside from this, that is. We’ve already agreed this doesn’t count as real writing. I’m well into the fourth book in the Great Mother series while the editor slashes and hacks at the third. It would be cool to try a double release on them. There’s a good chance they’ll both get raised eyebrows instead of praise. I tried something different…we’ll just have to wait and see if it works. The beauty of indie releases in digital format is that if they flop, you’ve lost nothing but time. And since I thoroughly enjoy the process of creating a world and have a legitimately good time when I write, it’s not really a waste, is it?

I was taking a look at the news this morning, and this headline grabbed my attention: Official: Ebola Team Attacked

“Are we doing a Headline Roundup?”

No, and you can’t talk me into it this time, so don’t even try. I actually wanted to talk about the article and the situation. I promise a roundup soon, but not today.

The current epidemic of ebola virus disease has killed at least 2,600 people in West Africa and shows no signs of stopping. WHO, the World Health Organization, has begged and pleaded with various nations to help stop the spread, contain the virus, educate the people in the infected zone on how to stay healthy, and donate much needed medical supplies to care for the infected.

This is apparently controversial.

I guess everything has to be a controversy these days, doesn’t it? The articles about this outbreak have been slanted depending on the news site making the report. I’ve read everything from, “This is a desperate humanitarian situation,” to “What do you expect in a third world country?” to “THE END IS NIGH!”

This IS a desperate humanitarian situation that does happen to be occurring largely in third world countries. As to the end being nigh, we’ll talk about that in a sec. First, what the hell is ebola, really?

The ebola virus is a very potent little bugger that starts in animals and gets transmitted to people through contact with blood, fluids, bites, or dead bodies. From there, it spreads through human to human fluid contact, killing an average of 50% of people it infects after they have a brief and very painful round of headaches, rashes, high fever, nausea, liver and kidney failure and bleeding from soft tissues inside and out, like gums and the brain. Of course, this depends on the strain. Some strains of ebola can kill up to 90% of those infected in this horrible manner. I told you it was nasty.

That’s ebola in an admittedly small nutshell. I’m copping to condensing a very large situation into a tiny little package, so don’t give me flak, epidemiologists. We know there’s far more to it. The key points are that it starts in animals and spreads a horrible death to humans at an alarming rate.

The WHO has begged for help in stopping the current outbreak from spreading even further. It’s the largest outbreak in history, with more victims than all other outbreaks of ebola combined. The resources of the WHO are stretched to the breaking point and they need some help. We’re helping, but it took weeks for us to say “yes”.

Why?

I’m going with the honest answer and say that it just boils down to nobody caring about Africa. No one’s really in a hurry to bail them out of anything. Sounds harsh and mean and unfair…but it’s true. The articles that highlight the problem being in “third world nations” over and over and over attest to the fact that an elitist attitude against all things African still exists. If you point out the poverty of a nation as a means to enlist aid, that’s one thing. If you say you have to help the poor folks who choose to live in squalor to make yourself seem like a do-gooder, that’s another kettle of fish entirely.

Think I’m reading something into it?

Consider this: One article I read was exploring the origins of ebola outbreaks. Now, as I’ve said, it’s an animal virus that gets transmitted to humans through fluids. While the article didn’t come right out and accuse West Africans of having sex with jungle creatures, it strongly suggested it. Another article said that poor conditions lead people to essentially eat rotting road kill. Another said that “foreign death rituals” are a major contributing cause to perpetuating the epidemic.

Articles like this really bother me because they taint opinion. They make the infected seem like they are worth less than the reader, and in turn, the reader starts to not really care. The reader starts having the opinion that those infected somehow caused their own situation and deserve what they get.

If a farmer in Liberia slaughters a chicken from his coop that happens to have ebola, he stands a great chance of getting it. What, we don’t eat meat here? Or if an infected animal bites a person, they will almost definitely get sick. There are over a million people bitten by animals in the US each year. It’s hardly a West African specific problem. And the death “rituals” the article talked about? Government officials have admitted that their response when a family reports that a person who died with ebola disease symptoms has been pitiful at best, leaving the dead bodies in the homes of the families who then must handle them without proper protective gear. The only “rituals” happening are that regular untrained folks are being forced by their government to perform the tasks the undertakers are refusing to do without the necessary equipment.

People in these third world countries are poor, sure. But they’re not screwing animals, eating road kill, and getting freaky and weird with the body of their dead Uncle Sal. They’re people, like you and me, living their lives until they become victims of nature. Period.

“But Bethie, you can’t ignore the fact that there’s a hygiene issue, or that people transmit the disease through sex. Simple education would help mitigate the damage and quell the spread.”

Yep to all of that. You’re absolutely right…though I will say a surprising fact about the ebola virus is that you can transmit it sexually long after your symptoms have gone. You wouldn’t think twice about getting it on with your significant other a few weeks after you’ve had the flu, would you? Can’t do that after you’ve had ebola, not even to celebrate managing to live through it. That just goes to show you that the education part of this issue is critical.

And that’s what the WHO is really begging for. Manpower. They need trained people to go and educate the citizens of West Africa about the ways they can stay healthy and avoid spreading the virus. We’ve finally agreed to send doctors, supplies, and humanitarian troops. Of course, we’re also getting real haughty about it, too, but I guess that’s to be expected. That’s just the American way. At least we’re doing something finally.

“Officials: Ebola Team Attacked”

Eight people involved with the WHO were killed in a remote part of Guinea. They were in the town to educate people on safety measures when the government officials say they were attacked by locals and murdered.

“See, Bethie? People tried to educate them and look what happened.”

And I see your point. However, may I counter with this?

In the US, there is a well documented history of certain members of the country perpetrating violence against people for their religious beliefs, their race, their illnesses… Gay people still get jumped and assaulted for no other reason than ignorance. People with HIV are still treated like they’re about to spread the zombie apocalypse. People hold protests against teaching evolution in schools. STILL. And shall we even get into the shitstorm that’s kicked up any time a scientist dares point out the fact that the climate is, indeed, changing?

“Bethie, that’s not everyone. You can’t lump the nuts in with the….oh.”

Exactly. We’ve got our crazies too, people. We’ve got millions of people who DO have access to all the education they could ever want. And yet, these people, these Americans who do NOT live in a third world nation intentionally choose to remain ignorant. And in their ignorance, they are scared. They lash out. They attack that which they do not understand.

So we’re supposed to get a pass? Our scared, crazy people are understandable while theirs “deserve what they get”? If you believe the Guinea government line on this story…

**CONSPIRACY INTERRUPTION: Seriously, do you believe that? Or do you think there’s something decidedly suspicious about it all? A terrible virus, a very robust strain, somehow breaks free and spreads in unprecedented ways, and one of the first teams to go in to stop it is found in the latrine with their throats slit… Maybe it’s just because I’m writing about THIS VERY SITUATION in a work of fiction, but sounds a little fishy, no? CONSPIRACY TIME OVER**

…then the educators were killed simply because people did not understand what was going on. They were upset and scared and lashed out. Sound familiar? Because it should. That shit’s splashed all over our news about our own citizens every single day. What makes us worth more?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

I’m glad we’re finally sending some help that way. I wish we weren’t simply concentrating on Liberia, but hey, it’s a start. However, people are still bitching about it. People are still complaining. Read the comments sections of the news articles and it’ll scare you just how vehemently people do NOT want to help. I specifically brought up the “they did it to themselves and deserve what they get” attitude because that’s a common thread, echoed by many Average Joes in these open discussion forums, and it’s terrifying. They believe US dollars should be spent in “better” ways.

“THE END IS NIGH!”

For a lot of people, it really is. For an average of 50% of the human beings that become infected, their end truly is nigh. And if it cannot be contained, if this virus which is spreading “exponentially” cannot be stopped, the end will be nigh for a whole lot more. They need help, lots of it, and they need it now.

Where the hell is the controversy?

Thus concludes what turned into a pretty good rant for Friday, September 19, 2014. I’m off to take more cold medicine and thank my lucky stars that’s all I’ll need to feel better.

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