Opinion Piece Discusses Importance Of Accurately Framing Challenges In Eastern DRC To Stop Ebola’s Spread
Foreign Policy: Cliches Can Kill in Congo
Christoph Vogel, former U.N. expert on the Democratic of the Congo and researcher with the Conflict Research Programme hosted at the London School of Economics, and colleagues
“…Combating Ebola requires dealing with [attacks on treatment centers and health workers] — and that, in turn, requires understanding the motivations fueling them. By that measure, an article recently published in Foreign Policy by Laurie Garrett was a step in the wrong direction. … The suggestion that armed groups funded by conflict minerals are involved in the killings of Ebola responders is not only mistaken, it is also dangerous. This framing of the problem could inadvertently ramp up a heavy-handed militarization of the Ebola response. Given the violence that has punctuated the region’s recent history, increased militarization is likely to heighten people’s fears and deepen the divide between people in eastern Congo and those working to stop them from getting Ebola. Linking Ebola to conflict minerals distracts from the real challenges in eastern Congo. The international Ebola response should be based on an accurate analysis of the perceptions and interests that are driving negative reactions to Ebola interventions. This includes developing an understanding of the complicated ways in which local power struggles intersect and overlap with national political dynamics and regional geopolitics. Reaching that understanding requires careful efforts from journalists, scholars, and humanitarians…” (4/30).