Background to the Ebola tragedy in Africa: Part One


ONE story which is not going to go away soon and is likely to impact on Africa in a serious and negative way for long is about Ebola.
At the moment the epicentre of this disease is located in West Africa, specifically in three countries–Guinea-Conakry, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
So far this disease has killed over 3 000 people since March 2014 and the fatalities keep rising by the day.
According to medical experts, Ebola is a severe haemorrhagic fever, with a case fatality rate of about 90 percent.
Some of the first tell tale signs of this fever are headaches, muscle aches, body weakness soon to be followed by nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, shortness of breath and in some cases, confusion.
Bleeding followed by multi-organ failure often lead to shock and death.
The disease is often transmitted by coming in contact with bodily fluids of an infected person or corpse.
Although fatalities related to Ebola have been reported before in other parts of Africa, the spread of this disease has always remained local and brief and easily contained.
The difference with the current outbreak in the three countries is that it has now become an epidemic affecting both urban and remote rural areas, thus making it difficult to account for all cases and to quarantine all those who come into contact with infected persons.
Compounding the dilemma that Africa is facing right now is that there is no known cure for Ebola, although frantic efforts to develop appropriate vaccines are now underway in some Western countries.
For now it looks as if prevention is the best cure while quarantining those infected, as well as observing those suspected of having contacted the infected is unavoidable.
What is repeatedly said about the three West African countries bearing the brunt of this disease is that their health systems have been overwhelmed and have collapsed-more so when they have never been up to the required standard let alone adequate to cater for the whole population of each of these countries.
For instance in 2010 Liberia, then with a population of 4 million, had a total of 51 medical doctors, most of whom, we are told, are now dead because of Ebola.
The situation in Sierra Leone (6million) and Guinea-Conakry (11,5million) is not dramatically different, health-care wise, from that of Liberia.
The usual explanation is that these three countries are some of the poorest in Africa and, as such, do not have the required personnel and resources to fight such a dreadful disease.
But there is more to it.
In fact it is not true that Guinea is one of the poorest countries on earth as the so-called global media keeps on reminding us.
Guinea is richly endowed with minerals and is currently hosting under its soils a quarter of the world’s proven reserves of bauxite as well as two billion metric tonnes of high grade iron ore.
Further it has diamonds, gold deposits and considerable quantities of uranium.
All these minerals are being mined non-stop day in day out by several big multi-national companies from the USA in particular and from the West in general.
These companies are busy stashing stupendous amounts of Guinean wealth in their countries of origin, leaving the locals with next to nothing by way of revenue.
The result is an acutely embarrassing paradox: richly endowed country full of resources but home to an unbelievably impoverished populace.
The fact that Guinea has been under the guidance and supervision of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank(WB) since 1985 and has been following to the letter the so-called economic guidance provided by these notorious institutions says a lot about the wisdom or lack of it in following IMF and WB economic prescriptions.
The economic situation in Sierra Leone is not that different from the Guinean one.
The country is in the top ten of the largest producers of diamonds in the whole world. In fact its diamond wealth generated so much conflict, suffering and death, especially during its civil war, that it has given the world the phrase blood diamonds.
In addition, Sierra Leone is among the largest producers of bauxite, titanium and gold. Further it is home to the largest deposits of rutile, a mineral used in high tech alloys because of its light weight and high strength and therefore very useful across a whole host of industries all over Europe and the USA.
As for Liberia, its story about unending economic rape is as heart-rending as that of Guinea and Sierra Leone! And the rapists in all these cases are the usual suspects-Western corporations.
The fact that the USA has been running the affairs of Liberia ever since the 1820s, a country which to all intents and purposes has remained an American colony, says a lot about Uncle Sam’s ability to develop other countries.
Liberia is not a poor country as the BBC, CNN and Sky News want us to believe. It hosts a vast iron ore mountain range which, since the end of Liberian civil war, is being rehabilitated with a one billion dollar worth of investment from the West and meant to benefit the same West and not Liberians.
Further, Liberia is home to the largest rubber plantations in the world initially owned by Firestone Company of the USA and now by a Multi-National one. A certain Mr Mark Doyle had this to say in 2007 about the obscene character of Uncle Sam’s investments in Liberia:
“…the big plantations in Liberia have been extracting raw rubber for more than 70 years but have so far not manufactured so much as a single rubber band in the country”.
The Americans and their Americo-Liberians have been running affairs in Liberia for over 140 years yet the development of the country has been negligible, hence the embarrassing set up which we are witnessing now with the advent of Ebola.
It is not a secret that the backwardness of Liberia today is a direct indictment to the USA and to the host of puppet leaders who have always been foisted on Liberians.
It is therefore not surprising that Barak Obama has decided to send 4 000 American troops to West Africa, not to bomb the ebola virus, as some protestors in the US are mockingly alleging, but to protect American corporate investments, as the ebola driven panic takes its tall and threatens law and order.
In a nutshell the ebola outbreak provides a unique opportunity to saturate West Africa with American soldiers, thus implementing the geopolitical military strategy which AFRICOM is designed to achieve.
The ebola outbreak, tragic as it is to some, turns out to be a blessing in disguise for others The excuse for consolidating the American military presence in West Africa is a perfect one, if not messianic.


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