Tuesday, October 07, 2014

charles ellison again: why the military and not medicine to ebola stricken africa?


theroot |  The Take turned to UCLA African American studies and Black Diaspora experts Dr. Peter James Hudson and Dr. Jemima Pierre to offer some expert insight into how effective that strategy is, whether it’s too militarized and if pharmaceuticals are calling the shots.  Hudson’s dissertation Dark Finance: An Unofficial History of Wall Street, American Empire and the Caribbean, 1889-1925 is under review and Pierre is author of The Predicament of Blackness: Postcolonial Ghana and the Politics of Race.

Jemima Pierre (@BLK_DIASPORAS): No matter the scale or severity of the outbreak, the Cuban response should be contrasted with that of the US and Europe. The Cubans have announced that they are sending an additional 300 doctors and nurses to Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia to combat the spread of and to help those infected with Ebola. In total, the Cubans will have 461 healthcare professionals in West Africa combatting Ebola. This needs to be contrasted with, on one hand, the military response of the US government, and, on the other, the commercial response of American corporations like GlaxoSmithKline who are fast-tracking approval of what will become, undoubtedly, an extremely profitable vaccine.

Peter James Hudson (@darkfinance): For those who have been paying attention, the militarization of the Ebola response is not surprising. What’s not talked about much is the U.S. militarization of the African continent long before Ebola and the presumed threat of Boko Haram. The U.S. established AFRICOM (U.S.-Africa Command) under President George W. Bush back in 2008 for a number of reasons – not least of which to be prepared for the “threat” of China as it positions itself in the continuous scramble for African resources. But under Bush, few African countries wanted to host a U.S. military base, with the notable exception of Liberia’s president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Under Obama, AFRICOM’s presence on the African continent expanded exponentially, and the U.S. has a military presence (often under the cover of “humanitarianism”) in just about every African country.

Pierre: We honestly think the Western response is racist and that the U.S. is acting in bad faith. The consistent privileging of white U.S. and European health care workers and missionaries needs to be seen as part of a broader context of racist practices around Africa in general, and the Ebola epidemic in particular. In the first case, one could accept the excuse that ZMapp is experimental and manufacturers didn’t want to give it to Africans for a number of historical and ethical reasons, including the long history of medical experimentation on people of color.  But, then, we find out that Dr. Sheikh Umar Khan, ­a highly skilled and respected Sierra Leonean medical practitioner [who succumbed to Ebola], ­was not even told about the experimental vaccine or given the chance to make a decision on taking it. It must also be noted that the one U.S. citizen that was said to have died of the disease was a black man, Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian-American who had been working as a consultant to the Liberian government. 

Hudson: Even if we put aside the discussion of a lack of “infrastructure to facilitate vaccination,” when it comes to dealing with Africa, ­ especially around epidemics, the optics look bad because the operations, quite simply, are racist. Given the history of U.S. racist representations of Africa, their cover was egregious. But then you see highly skilled African professionals ­like Dr. Khan and Dr. Olivet Buck ­ allowed to die, and white missionaries are saved.

Pierre: We find it dishonest when those in the west withholding vaccinations for Africans are claiming that they do not want to “experiment” on black African populations. There’s documented proof of experiments on African populations by western pharmaceutical companies. Africans are well aware of this history. And that history, along with the white west’s actions around Ebola, may also explain why many are questioning why this disease just suddenly emerged, and why there was already a secret vaccine in the works.

5 comments:

makheru bradley said...

The dirty needles explains how the virus could have been spread in 1976, but there is still no good explanation for the origin of the virus. There is no good explanation for why Ebola disappeared between 1979 and 1994, although I expect some missing cases will be discovered or manufactured. The official line on Marburg is that it jumped out of a green monkey from Uganda in 1967 and infected several lab workers. For all we know it could have been a biological weapons test that blew up. Where is the William Campbell Douglas of Ebola? http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/sociopolitica/esp_sociopol_depopu30.htm

makheru bradley said...

[Prior research suggests that one or more people first contracted the virus from an infected chimpanzee in southeastern Cameroon. The new study holds that the individual(s) traveled to Kinshasa, where the virus became established in humans and spread.] The story reads like they actually knew they personal histories of these individuals, as if they were writing about Gaetan Dugas.

At least this story acknowledges that the Congo was a Belgian colony in 1920. The city in focus was named Leopoldville. That fact creates some skepticism about this study.

A Guardian article says: “While boats and trains spread the virus far, other factors played their part. Records suggest Kinshasa had a relatively high proportion of men and a consequent demand for sex workers. Some doctors may have unwittingly spread the virus further, through unsterilised jabs at sexual health clinics… At first, HIV was an infection confined to specific groups of people. But the virus seemed to break out into the general population and spread around the world after what was then known as the Republic of the Congo achieved independence in 1960.” In a colony and a city totally controlled by Europeans, who freely traveled back and forth to Europe, no European was apparently ever serviced by an HIV-infected sex worker, because the virus is confined to specific groups of people. However, as soon as the Afrikans gained their independence the virus began to spread around the world.

Infected by a chimpanzee in Cameroon (a German colony from 1885 until the end of WWI), the individual(s) travels to Leopoldville; exchanges bodily fluids with Afrikans, and the virus--confined to Afrikans--begins to spread across the Congo and to nearby regions.

The Guardian articles says: “Parts of the story can only be suggestive.” Really, only parts of the story are suggestive. Bull feces!

umbrarchist said...

What medicine is there for ebola?

Constructive_Feedback said...

When all of this is finished it will be resoundly obvious that EBOLA WAS STOPPED BY A COORDINATED PUBLIC HEALTH SYSTEM RESPONSE which effectively cut off its VECTORS FOR TRANSMISSION - rather than by some MASS INOCULATION of several hundred million Black Africans at risk - which abetted a massive INCREASE IN STOCK VALUE for the company that sold the serum.


WE ALL TALK ABOUT "Profiteering Off Of Medicine". There has never been a more obvious case that NATURAL HEALING would come from the coordinated HANDS OF "MAN"

CNu said...

Why so many meds being developed to counteract bioweapons if there isn't something in the werks?

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