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Ebola? Let’s quote Mizner

Hama Tuma
By Hama Tuma

Hama Tuma is an Ethiopian writer,poet and journalst who has been for long active in the struggle for democracy and human rights in Africa. His collection of satirical articles have appeared in four volumes of African Absurdities (the latest one titled Why Don't they eat Coltan?).Some of his books of fiction and satire have been translated into French,Italian and Hebrew.

Posted on Friday, 7 November 2014 14:57

The lingering multiple questions about Ebola need immediate answers, especially if the international community wants to effectively respond to the manifold misconceptions hampering efforts to contain the crisis.

I respect faith, but doubt is what gets you an education

What is Ebola? Where does this new West African strain come from? Is it a plot, manmade, inflated malaria, Meningitis gone wild? What colour is it? Is it part of the historical effort to reduce the black population to nothing?

Some may call them conspiracy-theory incensed questions. I could almost beg to differ.

To quote Wilson Mizner: “I respect faith, but doubt is what gets you an education”. And what an education this whole Ebola affair has been!

Aggrieved, duped and hurt so many times, Africans have become doubtful of all negative things attributed to our beloved continent. Doubt equals education: Mizner.

In our world today, most viruses and plagues are attributed to Africa with some thinking the A in AIDS is an acronym for Africa. Thank goodness Ebola does not have a W or West Africa would bite the bullet and forever hold its peace, or its pieces, if you would.

Our fear-junkie world is in constant need of a dose of the apocalyptic drug, and Africa does not disappoint. When we fail, Fortress Europe politicians and Far-Far-Away land (American) media make sure we rise… in ill-repute.

Popular US comedian, Bill Maher once said AIDS was the product of copulation between an African and a monkey. Ebola is now said to be a result of monkey-eating Africans.

Even though Ebola did not appear in Asia, where monkey meat is a delicacy in some countries, African game is being blamed for Ebola with some implicitly suggesting Africans drop their uncivilised bush meat habits.

A few clarifications before we move on:
•The French eat snails and frogs (legs, feet or arms, they are still frogs)
•Game, or what Africans truthfully call bush meat, is quite the delicacy in the US
•Crocodiles are barbecued in Australia
•Russians go for tigers, wolves, bears, weasels… name a species and it’ll end up on your plate
•Insects, snakes, monkeys, dogs and scorpions are a delicacy around Asia.

But armed with Mizner’s quote unquote, after much observation and absolutely no research in West Africa, I am convinced that Ebola is non-black. I decided this would be my take on the whole situation, doubting Ebola’s black branding.

I say this to challenge the rising number of African Americans who do not want to be called African at all. In fact, a Time magazine journalist once blessed his ancestors for leaving Africa as slaves.

Such is our dilemma, the burden of being black. The sheer shame of it.

The everyday reality of some African Americans, including those who diligently lighten their skin and go under the knife to pass as non-black, gives substance to the tradition of shunning their black ancestry to pass over, to the white side.

I am throwing no stone, if it is to benefit from an Ebola-free white privilege, then so be it. Not everyone has the natural ability to remain stoic.

In connection, one wonders why the vaccine that saved one American was not given to the Dallas patient (colour black). Mizner, quote unquote.

One wonders how the thousands of Chinese and Lebanese in West Africa have managed to escape the grip of the fowler. I wonder why I consider Ebola or its management as being anti-black. Anti-black? Let’s make that anti-African.

So, is there an Ebola conspiracy against Africa?

Some, like the Vaccine Resistance Movement suggest the whole Ebola affair is a conspiracy (theory?) against Africa.

Of course, this allegation stands to be proven.

But hold on! The accusation that the depopulation of blacks, especially Africans, has long been on the agenda of western countries cannot be debunked, as some insane anti-western stunt. Check your history. Fact. Mizner aside.

What is more striking is US’s decision to send their military instead of medical teams like Cuba did. Doubts? Ask Mizner.

Notwithstanding the canker that Boko Haram has become and its growing influence in the sub-region, Ebola has become a more dangerous enemy. It gets gun-wielding soldiers to fight it, whilst Boko Haram, the region’s version of al-Qaeda, goes on a sunny tour of northern Nigeria.

The negative, fictionalised press Africa has fallen victim to time and over again has hit a new low, as the continent’s so-called enviable double-digit growth – which is yet to be experienced outside the elitist and middle class circles – continually fails to make international headline news.

All said, Ebola is now rearing its African head in Western countries, putting its alleged “Africanness” to test.

Fortress Europe and Far-Far-Awayland, here comes Ebola! Doubtful? Talk to Mizner.

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