Wealthy Nations Too Focused On Potential Pandemic Risk Of Ebola Rather Than Human Rights Concerns In Congo
Boston Globe: Caring about the Congo shouldn’t require an Ebola epidemic
Abraar Karan, global health physician at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School
“What is it about Ebola that so captivates the Western world? In recent weeks, an epidemic of the infamous hemorrhagic fever virus in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has prompted stories in the world’s most influential news outlets … Yet the latest phase in the ongoing rebel war in the Congo threatens to be far deadlier [than the Ebola epidemic]. … Now, the war has flared up again; according to the United Nations, more than four million people have been displaced. Yet even then, it takes a disease such as Ebola, with pandemic potential, to bring the plight of the Congo to global attention. While the risk of an international outbreak is highly uncertain, wealthy nations’ fear that the disease will spread to their territory — as it did in 2014 — seems to outweigh their concerns for vulnerable Congolese people. … We must ask ourselves: Would major human rights conflicts in Yemen, Syria, Venezuela, Palestine, and Myanmar gain daily international coverage if these areas were also suffering from a pandemic-prone disease? Unfortunately, our Western focus on the Congo has been framed more by our personal fears of Ebola than by the concerns of those men, women, and children most threatened by the virus — and far more than by the threat of deadly rebel warfare…” (12/5).