Archive for Africa

Ebola: A Comedy

Of errors:

Two days after he was sent home from a Dallas hospital, the man who is the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States was seen vomiting on the ground outside an apartment complex as he was bundled into an ambulance.

U.S. health officials have said the country’s healthcare system is well prepared to contain any spread of Ebola through careful tracking of people who had contact with the patient and appropriate care for those admitted to hospital.

“His whole family was screaming. He got outside and he was throwing up all over the place,” resident Mesud Osmanovic, 21, said on Wednesday, describing the chaotic scene before the man was admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital on Sunday where he is in serious condition.

The hospital cited the stricken man’s privacy as the reason for not identifying him. However, Gee Melish, who said he was a family friend, identified the man as Thomas Eric Duncan.

The New York Times said that Duncan, in his mid-40s, helped transport a pregnant woman suffering from Ebola to a hospital in Liberia, where she was turned away for lack of space. Duncan helped bring the woman back to her family’s home and carried her into the house, where she later died, the newspaper reported.

Four days later Duncan left for the United States, the Times said, citing the woman’s parents and neighbors.

I mean, you have to laugh. (Until the headache and muscle cramps set in, that is). A guy returns from Ebola Central, having just handled a dying Ebola patient, reports to the hospital with symptoms, gets sent home with an aspirin, mixes with who knows how many people while symptomatic, returns to the hospital puking all over the place—and they tell us about their “careful tracking” and “appropriate care”.

Those are either tears of joy or sorrow running down your cheeks. It hardly matters.

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When the Going Gets Tough

The tough make hospital corners:

President Barack Obama on Tuesday called the efforts to combat the Ebola outbreak centered in West Africa “the largest international response in the history of the CDC.”

Speaking from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters in Atlanta, Obama added that “faced with this outbreak, the world is looking to” the United States to lead international efforts to combat the virus. He said the United States is ready to take on that leadership role.

Washington has committed more than $100 million to combat Ebola, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development. Obama plans to call on Congress to approve an additional $88 million as part of a bill to fund the federal government.

Last week, USAID said it would spend $75 million to build treatment facilities and supply them with medical equipment. The Pentagon says it’s working to shift $500 million of not yet obligated funds toward the Ebola effort.

Working through the Defense Department, the United States will plan and construct treatment centers that could house up to 1,700 additional beds. With a U.S. general leading the effort from Monrovia, American military personnel in the region could increase by 3,000, administration officials say, under the name Operation United Assistance.

The expected announcement will also include a plan to send more medical professionals to West Africa. U.S. medics will train up to 500 health care workers per week to identify and care for people with Ebola.

From the halls of Montezuma
To the shores of Tripoli,
We will mop up toxic fluids,
Be they blood, or poop, or pee…

Hey, why not? If we can spend half a billion dollars to stop the Ebola outbreak, shouldn’t we? It’s a cheap (!) fix. Of course, Ebola is a minor cold compared to the major killers in Africa, AIDS and malaria. (Nothing that condoms and DDT couldn’t fix.)

I just wish Obama showed half the resolve against ISIS that he has against Ebola.

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For Love of Country

Just don’t tell me illegal immigrants violate borders and flout citizenship laws because they so dearly love their adopted countries:

[I]n August a noted increase was recorded of illegal African immigrants leaving the country.

While there was no specific connection to the war, observers said that many in the infiltrator community were taken by surprise by the intensity of the war – and many of them have apparently decided that Israel isn’t necessarily the best place for them.

A total of 379 illegals voluntarily left Israel in August, more than had left the previous four months altogether. It was also significantly more than had left the country in August the previous year, when 216 illegals voluntarily emigrated.

So far this year, 5,388 illegal Africans have left Israel voluntarily; Israeli authorities who have investigated the infiltrators have repeatedly reported that nearly all of them snuck into Israel looking for job opportunities.

Did any of them volunteer to join the IDF? Would they have been allowed to?

We noticed that here in the States: when job prospects were at their worst, some speculated more illegals were emigrating from America than illegally immigrating into America. Fine with me, go. And don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. You’re welcome back if you go through legal channels; otherwise, be a stranger.

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Ebola! The Musical

I don’t really get a kick out of zombie movies. If 28 Days Later is on, I might settle on it for a while, but the basic plot—that zombies want to eat your brains and turn you into one of them—doesn’t change much from film to film. Same thing happened with Resident Evil the other night. I turned it on in the middle, and stuck around for a while (mostly to see my gal, Michelle Rodriguez, sweaty and toting an automatic weapon). I did like the Body Snatchers movies (the original and the remake), which employ the same devices, but don’t feel the need for an entire franchise of them.

Escape of the Ebola Patients, however, I might pay good money to see. Especially if they can cast Jessica Alba and Scarlett Johannsen as the missionary doctors, wiping sexy strands of sweaty hair from their faces as they bend over to tend to their patients.

Ebola patients fled during an attack at a health care facility in Monrovia, Liberia, on Saturday, Liberian National Police spokesman Sam Collins told CNN on Sunday.

All patients who ran away had Ebola, and some chose to stay at the facility, Collins said.

The assailants stole mattresses and equipment, he said, adding that no one was injured in the incident and the attackers were not trying to free the patients; rather, they did not want the quarantine there. The assailants were using weapons but not wielding guns, according to Collins.

“It was an attack from people afraid of Ebola,” Collins told CNN. “Everybody is afraid.”

Any good therapist would tell you to confront your fears, not hide from them. Which is why it makes perfect sense to steal the mattresses of people with a fatal disease communicable through bodily fluids.

PS: This is not the first example of “intolerance” toward ebola victims.

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How Embarrassing!

In the ongoing Competition for Carnage™ between ISIS and Boko Haram, Boko takes a huge blow:

Chadian troops have rescued 85 Nigerians kidnapped last week by the Islamist terror group Boko Haram, security and human rights sources in Nigeria said Saturday.

Dozens of Boko Haram insurgents stormed the Doron Baga fishing and farming village on the shores of Lake Chad late Sunday through Monday and took away 97 young men and boys plus several women, residents said. The raiders killed 28 residents and burned scores of homes, according to residents.

It’s all well and good to murder and pillage, but if you’re going to kidnap people, they damn well ought to stay kidnapped:

Chadian security officials reported intercepting a convoy of buses carrying 85 Nigerians” believed to have been kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists from Baga,” a Nigerian security source said.

“The convoy being led by six Boko Haram gunmen was stopped on the Chadian part of the border along Lake Chad for routine checks and the huge number in the convoy raised suspicion,” said the source, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak on the issue.

An official of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Maiduguri confirmed the rescue of the 63 male and 22 female hostages.

The source, who asked that his name not be used, said more than 30 hostages were still being held by Boko Haram. He said their captors sped off with them in motorboats when they spotted the convoy being questioned by Chadian soldiers.

Run away!

What a pack of nancy-boys. You don’t see ISIS losing their captured, or running from Chadian troops (Chadian troops!) at the first sign of trouble. Those they don’t kill, they convert; those they don’t convert, they rape—to take the blond hair and blue eyes out of their lineage. That’s how you terrorize a population.

Yadda-yadda-yadda. Get your act together, Boko.

PS: As I wrote above, this is how you terrorize a population.

In yet another harrowing chapter in the tragic plight of Iraq’s Kurdish Yazidi population, eyewitnesses have described how girls raped by Muslim fighters from the Islamic State” (formerly ISIS) committed suicide en-masse after returning to their families, as evidence of systematic rape by Islamists against non-Muslims continue to surface.

Among the tens of thousands of Yazidi refugees trapped in the Shingal mountains while fleeing IS’s deadly advance through Iraq, several survivors told Kurdish Rudaw TV how a group of three girls were returned after being abducted and raped – only to hurl themselves off a cliff after being traumatized by their ordeal.

A Kurdish reporter said the mother of one of the girls had given an interview in front of the camera, but claimed Kurdish fighters from the YPG militia had seized the camera and erased the interview – possibly in an attempt to avoid sowing panic.

The mother reportedly told of how in their desperation the girls begged other refugees to kill them, but when no one would comply they killed themselves.

Game, set, match, ISLAMIC State.

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You Idiot

I admire someone doing God’s work, I really do.

But use the brain God gave you!

Dr. Kent Brantly said in a statement that he is receiving “the very best care possible” and “growing stronger every day.”

Brantly and the Writebols talked about what led them to Liberia, where they thrust themselves into the midst of poverty and disease with a mission focusing on those in need. They also spoke about their struggles now to overcome Ebola.

Brantly, 33, went to Liberia with his wife and two children last year to serve a two-year fellowship through a Samaritan’s Purse post-residency program to practice general medicine.

But everything changed when Ebola started to sweep through West Africa. Brantly got a new role as medical director for the Samaritan’s Purse Ebola Consolidated Case Management Center in Monrovia.

“I held the hands of countless individuals as this terrible disease took their lives away from them,” he said Friday. “I witnessed the horror firsthand and I can still remember every face and name.”

You did what?

You held their hands? It’s not all that easy to get the disease, I’m told, but holding their hands might just be the way.

It was in Monrovia where Brantly said he “immediately isolated” himself after first feeling ill. Three days later, his Ebola diagnosis was confirmed, though it didn’t trigger the emotional response one might expect.

“When the result was positive, I remember a deep sense of peace that was beyond all understanding,” he said. “God was reminding me of what he had taught me years ago, that he will give me everything I need to be faithful to him.”

He was reminding you to wash your hands and wear surgical gloves, dummy! Pardon me for saying so, but it was the CDC, Emory University Hospital, Mapp Biopharmaceutical that developed the miracle drug, and, yes, even President Obama that gave you “everything you need”. God would say so himself. Just as, I believe, He didn’t send you over there to get sick and cost however many thousands of dollars are being spent to save your life.

Or does God care only about the lives of white Americans? The mortality rate among black African victims of Ebola would suggest so.

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Killing Them Softly

Let me stipulate: I’m happy. I’ve never met an Islamist terrorist I didn’t think deserved to be bombed. But I wonder.

Did President Obama drop leaflets in advance to warn people that he was about to go ballistic? Did he call them on the phone and broadcast alerts over loudspeakers?

The rampage of religious violence that Sunni Islamist extremists have wrought in Iraq had the U.S. administration talking of “genocide” on Thursday.

President Obama used the term when he announced he has authorized targeted airstrikes against the extremists, after fighters for Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS, drove ethnic Yazidi families up a mountain, where they hungered and some of their children died of thirst in the scorching summer sun.

“I believe the United States of America cannot turn a blind eye,” Obama said on Friday. “We can act, carefully and responsibly to prevent a potential act of genocide.”

Great. Fire away. The only good decapitator is a dead decapitator, I always say.

But I also have to ask: will Obama set up field hospitals to treat the wounded—enemies? Will he hold fire when civilians are shown to be at risk? Will he target only infrastructure, leaving ISIS in power? Will he put the lives of young men at risk to accomplish a vital mission?

The administration has adamantly reassured Americans that it won’t put U.S. boots on the ground…

Of course not. Who would send troops into harm’s way when you could level the place thrice-over from the sky? The UN wouldn’t mind.

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Whatever Happened to “Our Girls”?

Hey, did they find the girls while I was gone?

Sorry! It was an innocent question.

Not.

RUSH: Grab audio sound bite number 24 this afternoon on the House floor. You’ve gotta hear this during One-Minute Speeches. Members of the House get to go to the well of the House and pontificate for a minute. Nobody has to listen. There is nothing official attached to it and nothing to do with legislation, per se. They can just go mouth off.

Today, Representative Frederica Wilson (Democrat-Florida) went to the well of the House during one-minute speeches to speak about the Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram.

WILSON: (shouting) Three months without our girls means that the time is now to keep pressure on the Nigerian government! We must tweet with the fervent expression that extends beyond the glamour of a breaking news story. We cannot slow down. We cannot lose momentum. We cannot rest until our girls at home. Every morning between nine and 12, tweet #BringBackOurGirls with the hashtag: #BringBackOurGirls. #BringBackOurGirls. #JoinRepWilson. #JoinRepWilson. Hashtag! Tweet! Tweet! Tweet! Keep tweeting until we bring back our girls.

“We must tweet with the fervent expression that extends beyond the glamour of a breaking news story.”

That’s rather beautiful, actually. But even more telling. Telling of the utter vacuity that lay behind the initial “glamour” campaign.

I have to give Congresswoman Wilson credit: like Cindy Sheehan, she’s the only one still talking about the issue that so consumes her. All the Beautiful People have moved on. Well on.

Boko Haram hasn’t:

Boko Haram gunmen killed many villagers and set homes ablaze in a northeastern Nigerian town just 53 miles from the strategic center of Maiduguri before dawn Friday, according to survivors.

Residents of Damboa town called The Associated Press to say they were “piling up corpses.”

Half the town is up in flames, say civilian defense fighters there according to Nigerian Vigilante Group spokesman Abbas Gava.

Well-armed Islamic extremists attacked as residents were preparing for the 5 a.m. dawn prayers and the civilian defense fighters could only resist with clubs and homemade shotguns, he said.

What’s a “homemade shotgun”? Whatever it is, never bring one to a AK-47 gunfight.

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Contagion

Back from my travels, I lifted my jet-lagged head off the pillow at 5 am. Needing coffee (as I always do upon rising), I zipped down to the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts shop for a medium hazelnut (hot, cream no sugar) and a couple of Old-Fashioned (plain) doughnuts—breakfast of champions. These are the fleeting moments I permit myself to listen to NPR.

A reporter from Sierra Leone described the hell that is the Ebola outbreak there. Sensing that this story might be free of slander toward Israel (though you can never be certain), I listened on. Damned if I didn’t learn something.

The audio/transcript won’t be online for a few hours yet, but the reporter called in with a similar take yesterday:

NPR’s Jason Beaubien is in Sierra Leone, covering the Ebola outbreak that began in March in Guinea and has spread to neighboring countries. We’ll be speaking with him throughout the week about what he’s seeing on the ground. Today he’s in Kailahun, the largest town in the country’s eastern province, with a population of about 18,000, and the epicenter of Sierra Leone’s outbreak. In the past week, Doctors Without Borders staff in Kailahun have treated more than 70 patients with Ebola-like symptoms.

When we called, Beaubien was with a team driving to the treatment center to pick up the body of a 70-year-old woman who died of Ebola. Burial was scheduled for this afternoon.

What will happen at the burial?

The Ministry of Health is handing over body management to the Red Cross. This is one of the first bodies they’re going out to do, so there’s a whole bunch of people [who will be at the burial]. It may turn into a bit of a mob scene. And there’s a lot of anger in the community; there’s a potential that family members might not be happy that such a large group of people are showing up at the burial.

That’s where this morning’s story picked up the trail. The poor woman who died wanted only to be buried behind her simple house. Her son had dug her grave. Before her body arrived, however, the “mob” filled in the grave, in the presence of the regional chief, who forbid the burial of an infected body so near other people. Bury it deep in the bush, he counseled, where it won’t infect the drinking water.

Was he right? Can ebola (which is transmitted by bodily fluids) seep out of a body bag (two, out of an abundance of caution) and into the water table, infecting whole towns? I certainly don’t know.

But doesn’t this sound eerily similar to the AIDS crisis of the 1980s? An unknown disease that seemed to effect only intravenous drug users, homosexuals, and Haitians with terrifying afflictions, before the inevitable death. Nobody wanted to have anything to do with that. We shunned, we turned our backs, we kept our hands in our pockets.

As who would not?

Ebola spreads by contact with bodily fluids. What precautions are people taking?

People have been told not to shake hands. But this is West Africa. People usually grab your hand in both their hands and don’t let go, especially someone who really wants to engage with you. It’s very hard for people not to shake hands. You go into an office, and people have their hands in their pockets just to keep from pulling them out and shaking hands.

America needs no remind of its shortcomings. Slavery, Jim Crow, mistreatment of native peoples, homophobia—ours is not a spotless record. But that doesn’t make America racist, genocidal, or otherwise intolerant, it makes us human. If these Sierra Leone villagers succumb to panic—from one of their own, one whom must have been known by all—they are only human too.

Arthur Miller’s The Crucible is playing in London at the moment (to excellent reviews). Miller’s merciless tale of the Salem witch trials is universally seen as an allegory for the anti-red witch hunts of his own time. But would the “brave”, “heroic” Mr. Miller have the nerve to set a modern Crucible on West Africa?

I don’t think so, either.

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Out of Africa

Our advice—and Africa’s demand—to Jewish people:

The opening ceremony for the 23rd African Union Summit in Malabo was to begin Thursday with a declaration of support for the three kidnapped Israeli teens by a number of participants, until bad blood brought tensions to a boil.

“I have never seen such racism, such anti-Semitism. We were humiliated,” said several of the Jews in attendance, who had left Equatorial Guinea in a fury after changing their flights.

“It all began when one of the Arab delegates, from Egypt, approached us at dinner the night before the opening and asked what we were doing here, pointing at the men wearing kippahs,” said Israeli businesswoman Yardena Ovadia, who had organized the invitation of the Jewish delegation to the summit.

Ovadia, who has close ties with Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang, said that she explained to the delegate that her and her friends were Jews from the US, not Israelis.

The following day representatives of the Arab League refused to enter the hall until all the Jews left, or as they called them, the “Israeli delegation.”

“We were already seated in the conference hall,” said Ovadia. “The heads of the Arab League announced a boycott of the conference until the ‘Israeli delegation’ left. We officially declared that we were Americans, not Israelis, but it didn’t help.”

“There was a representative of the US congress with us. She was shocked and said that there will be an official government statement,” Ovadia added.

Fourteen delegates from the delegation of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations stood up and left the hall, and the proceedings opened after an hour’s delay.

“The president of Equatorial Guinea called us to personally apologize and invited the Conference of Presidents’ delegation to a special dinner, but we had rescheduled their private flight and they had already left.”

Maybe I should have titled this post “Apartheid Continent Update”. Whoever were the organizers of this poxy conference, they had a choice to make: between the Jewish invitees (be they American or Israeli) and the bigoted Arab League. They chose, and may they dine alone (if they dine at all).

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Now We’re Getting Somewhere!

Out: Michelle.

In: Adokiye.

A 23-year-old Nigerian pop singer has offered her virginity to the militant group Boko Haram in exchange for the kidnapped Chibok girls.

“They are between 12 and 15 year old girls for Christ sake. I am older and more experienced. Even if 10 to 12 men have to take me every night, I don’t care. Just release these girls and let them go back to their parents,” singer Adokiye told the Vanguard in an interview.

“This is 11pm in the night and do you know what I am thinking about? Those little girls, where they are and what could be happening to them. It is just unfair. They are too young. I wish I could offer myself in exchange,” she told Vanguard.

She seems to speak from an awful lot of “experience” for someone who is offering her “virginity”, but subhuman Islamist savages can’t be choosers. They should be so lucky to get even a piece of the lovely Adokiye.

Just one more thing, Boko, and it’s going to cost you beaucoup:

At 23, looking hot and rather willing with her liberated personality, her fans found it hard to believe, but Adokiye said it is true and that whoever wants her virginity should be prepared to buy her mother the private jet she long promised her.

This may seem awfully silly and trivial, but, really, any sillier or more trivial than this?

Since we limp-wristed (among other similarly afflicted body parts) types began our hashtag offensive, Boko Haram have killed, kidnapped, and blown up with abandon. Unless ours is a rope-a-dope strategy, designed to wear them down by daring them to punch themselves out, I’m putting my money (limited as it is) on the virginity of Adokiye and any sister virgins willing to follow her lead.

PS: What will this get me? Second base, and it’s Mama Adokiye’s with my compliments.

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Stop Me if You’ve Heard This Before

Islamist terrorists kidnapping Kenyan schoolgirls? Nah, could never happen.

Suspected Boko Haram militants have abducted at least 20 women close to where 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped in northern Nigeria, eyewitnesses say.

The women were loaded on to vans at gunpoint and driven away to an unknown location in Borno state, they add.

The latest incident occurred close to where more than 200 schoolgirls were snatched from the remote Chibok town near the Cameroonian border on 14 April.

A member of a local vigilante group set up to resist such attacks said that in addition to the women, the militants also seized three men who had tried to stop the abduction.

“We tried to go after them when the news got to us about three hours later, but the vehicles we have could not go far, and the report came to us a little bit late,” Alhaji Tar said.

There is one difference in this story from the previous occasion:

The women are from a mainly Muslim community of cattle herders.

Muslims kidnapping Muslims: it’s just a family dispute. I’m sure they’ll sort it out.

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