Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death -- Ebola's story is that of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

--Revelation 6:1-8
    As the Ebola crisis continues to unfold in West Africa we would do well to remember the prophecy of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. And no, I'm not foretelling the end of the world; these horsemen have appeared many times throughout history.
    The meaning of the white horse has been debated, but in recent years it has commonly been called Pestilence, or disease. The red horse is clearly war.
    The black horse is said to symbolize famine and want; but the instruction to spare the oil and wine is a suggestion that the famine's hardship will fall primarily on the poor.
    The pale horse is Death, always a traveling companion to Pestilence, War, and Famine.
    War and Death had already destroyed the infrastructure of West Africa. The reason there are so few doctors and health care workers in Liberia is because they all left or were killed during that country's brutal civil war. And so following in the footsteps of War has been Pestilence -- the Ebola virus. Ebola is also preventing almost all other diseases from being treated, so the death rate is magnified.
    Soon we will have Famine. In Sierra Leone, as many as 40 percent of farmers have abandoned their fields. Presumably a large number have done likewise throughout the region. Trade has come to a standstill and food is already in short supply. These supplies will get shorter still as untended farms produce no crops.
    I've made it clear that I'm more than irritated with the fact that our government has repeatedly given the public false information that the Ebola virus poses virtually no risk to any American and is incredibly hard to catch. This isn't true. But with that said I believe the chances of a major Ebola outbreak in the United States are quite low. It may sound like a quibble, but I object to the government claiming "absolutely no risk" in cases when there is "an overwhelming likelihood that there is no risk." There is a difference.
    But the real Ebola story is in Africa. Unfortunately, I've concluded that based on current efforts the Ebola virus will not be contained; it eventually will spread throughout the undeveloped world. I don't know what the eventual death toll will be, but unless a vaccine is developed I can't imagine that it will be less than 10 million people and could easily top 100 million or more.
    That's a lot of dead people, and even if not a single American dies it will have some major effects on our lives. A recent blog post by Jody Lanard and Peter M. Sandman entitled Ebola: Failure of Imagination sums up my view of the situation quite well. Essentially the authors say that the worst-case scenarios for the Ebola virus are so awful that we are refusing to even contemplate them, and yet by our very refusal to do so are failing to make rational choices that might stave of potential disaster.
    The United States has sent 4,000 troops and various countries are expected to send $1 billion in aid to the region. Certainly this is noble, but it's not going to be enough to stop this epidemic. Perhaps 40,000 troops and medics and $20 billion might do the trick, but there is no national or international will to do this.
    And so Pestilence will very, very slowly continue its march around the globe, often following the Horseman of War. Soon after will come Famine for the poor amid plenty for the rich. And always with them Death.


Pugnacious said...

Alan Huffman's book narrative--Mississippi In Africa:The Saga of the Slaves of Prospect Hill Plantation and Their Legacy In Liberia Today--did not do well in book stores. I read the hard copy version, which was selling on Amazon at the time for only $1. I also attended what I thought was a book reading at MSCW of the "Mississippi" book, but it turned out to be a reading of his book on the sunken ship along the Mississippi River.I walked away with a signed copy of my copy of "Mississippi" book, but nothing was ever mentioned of the Mississippi slave narrative during the "reading.".

Anyway, it was great book... Huffman was in Liberia during General Buck Naked's fighting against Sierra Leone, which kept Huffman from reaching "Mississippi" where the Ross family's returning "civilized appendages" had ultimately settled in the 1840s. He did talk with some of the Ross family war refugees--still carrying the Ross family name--who had fled to Monrovia during the fighting. The Greek Revival homes built after their return to Liberia in the 1840s were torched during the war.

Checkout the video below on life in Liberia today.I expect that R&R for the deployed US troops will still be staged in the Tel Aviv fleshpots, where it is claimed 275 whorehouses are in operation, bringing in shistas from central Europe, the Phillipines and the former Soviet republics.


Col. Reb Sez said...

Pug, I will confess that some of your comments are a bit different, but the book does look to be outstanding. I have ordered a used copy. Thanks for the tip.

Pugnacious said...

Latest VICE documentary on Ebola in Liberia. The good doctor warns of the exposure danger in removing the "protective" clothing after having entered "infectuous" areas. He claims the key to a "cure" is in managing and maintaining body fluids and electroytes which their staff is unable to do.


Pugnacious said...

I should have said that the good doctor warned that the most dangerous time for contact with the virus was when the protective clothing removal process occured after health care workers had already left the infectuous areas...warning the reporter to go home and be with his family.