In this March 28, 2014 photo provided by Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), healthcare workers from the organization prepare isolation and treatment areas for their Ebola virus operations in Gueckedou, Guinea. One preacher advocated fasting and prayer to spare people from a virus that usually leads to a horrible death. Some people pray that the Ebola virus stays confined to a rural district. Others are unruffled and say the outbreak will blow over. (Kjell Gunnar Beraas/MSF/AP)
There is no wishing away the horror that is Ebola. There are no safe borders from the tragedy that this epidemic brings in its wake... And with the death of a Liberian national in Texas we can no longer rest in the false sense of security that thinking it is just a problem for some people far away from the assumed safety of our own borders. We live in a world that continues to shrink. The barriers of time and space are reduced daily by technologies that bring home the fact that we are more and more "a village" in terms of how we affect, and are affected, by each other's lives...and deaths. It is time for us to start to truly act as neighbors.
When a Liberian shows up in the Emergency Room of a Texas hospital describing in himself the symptoms of a deadly disease we must stop and take notice. It no longer matters whether or not he looks or sounds like us. It matters not whether he has health insurance. What matters is that we give him the attention due to a fellow human being... A fellow villager. In the face of the perils of a death-bearing condition, we are obliged to keep the promise of our common humanity. That promise dictates that we love each other as we love ourselves. To neglect to do so for any reason, is to bring upon ourselves the same fate that beset those we carelessly brush aside. Now let us wake up and fight this thing together.
And as far as "precautions" are concerned... Let us begin by washing our hands of the cultural insensitivity that besets us. Ultimately it is the "cloak" of genuine concern that will protect us all.