Barack Obama’s belated announcement today of sending 3,000 troops to Africa to help fight the spread of Ebola comes many months after the deadly virus first broke out and a full two months after Obama supposedly made it a national security priority. This action is now too little and too late to arrest a pandemic that is spiralling out of control, with the numbers of infected now doubling every three weeks.
The Australian government, which is ever-ready to charge into Anglo-American wars, is firmly part of the “global coalition of inaction” that Médecins Sans Frontièrs has charged with being “lethally inadequate” in responding to the deadly Ebola outbreak.
Indeed, at the very time the Ebola virus is spreading uncontained across the African continent killing thousands, not only is the Abbott government yet to respond with more than extra biosecurity at the airports, it is in fact ploughing ahead with slashing the CSIRO budget by an extra $112 million dollars, on top of the cuts imposed by the previous Labor government. This is forcing as many as 1,200 staff cuts across the CSIRO, including at Australia’s leading infectious disease research centre, the Australian Animal Health Laboratory in Geelong—a world class facility that is the only one in Australia equipped to deal with infectious diseases such as Ebola!
The indifferent response to this global pandemic threat, and the take down of Australia’s scientific capabilities, can be attributed to a deeply held Malthusian world-view that has stymied effective action because of a belief in “overpopulation”. This genocidal ideology holds that such pandemics are nature’s way of correcting overpopulation—the stated view of Prince Philip, the great David Attenborough, so-called peace guru Lord Bertrand Russell and the original British exponent, Thomas Malthus. This green ideology has infected the outlook of millions of people in developed countries, who onlybecome concerned when Ebola threatens to spread around the globe to their neighbourhood.
The deadly threat of Ebola
There is no “cure” for the Ebola virus. Once a person is infected, the death rate ranges from 30-90 per cent. The virus appears to originate in bats, which is then transmitted to humans when those bats are eaten as “bush meat”—a source of wild food for many poor Africans. The virus then spreads from human to human through contact with body fluids, such as sweat and saliva of the infected. When a person dies from organ failure as a result of Ebola, the body is still infectious, posing a very high danger of infecting others in contact with the body. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), as of 12 September, over 2,218 people have died from Ebola and 4,366 cases have been reported in five African countries.
However, the Ebola virus is not something new. In an Oxford study released on 8 September, new mapping of the virus reveals there have been 23 outbreaks in humans over the past 38 years, yet this current outbreak, which began in the west African countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone in December 2013, is the worst in history—far worse than all other outbreaks combined.
Why is this Ebola outbreak the worst in history? The primary cause is that nations around the world have chosen to ignore it. A silent genocide has been allowed to occur, as the crisis has been met with indifference from many national governments. In Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, there is virtually no healthcare infrastructure to deal with the outbreak. Hundreds of infected people are right now dying in the doorways of overcrowded medical clinics. The doctors and nurses who live in these regions are being killed by the virus too, and many now refuse to work in the clinics because they fear for their lives, due to lack of protective medical items such as face masks.
Over one month ago, on 8 August, the WHO announced that this crisis, now spreading into neighbouring countries Senegal and Nigeria, constituted “a public health emergency of international concern”. One month on from the WHO announcement, there has been no adequate international response to halt the outbreak. It is this lack of response that has provoked angry doctors on the ground from Médecins Sans Frontièrs to accuse leading nations of having “joined a global coalition of inaction”.
This is therefore not a crisis caused by the Ebola virus per se, but by the inadequate healthcare systems, and poverty in general, of a region which cannot cope. With an adequate response, it could have been contained early: as the Australian Medical Association President Brian Owler said in a 10 September press conference, the death rates for Ebola can be very high, but the provision of simple healthcare, such as receiving intravenous fluids for a period of up to three weeks, can cut mortality rates down to 30 per cent—a fact known all along, which didn’t require Obama to take two months to figure out.
The crisis is the lack of physical economic development in these countries—the result of a failed global economic system—that has abandoned Africa to whatever chaotic outcome ensues.
Citizens Electoral Council leader Craig Isherwood today charged that Australia’s lack of response, like other countries’, is because the Malthusian ideology governs both budget decisions and public health issues.
“Why are we in Australia laying off scientists at a time when pandemic threats such as Ebola are out of control?” Isherwood demanded. “The government needs to abandon its Malthusian fiscal budget, because it literally is going to kill people, at home and abroad.”
He continued, “To combat Ebola, we must combat the economic and environmental conditions that assist the virus to spread. Not only must we help Africa, with military and civilian logistical support, we must also dump the Malthusian and ‘zero-growth’ anti-development policies of the IMF and World Bank, who have failed Africa so miserably.”
Isherwood pointed to the BRICS countries—Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa—which in July established a New Development Bank with an initial capital injection of $100 billion, as an alternative to the IMF/World Bank system, to provide nations with credit for development.
Isherwood concluded, “Australia and every nation must abandon the failed London-Wall Street system that loots Africa for its resources, and instead join with the BRICS countries in their agenda of restoring the respect for national sovereignty, and collaborating on physical economic development to uplift the living standards of all people.”