How the West Views Ebola

16 October 2014HealthOpinionPolitics

Sophie Kleeman writing for Mic about her interview with Andrew Carrhilo, an illustrator and cartoonist from Lisbon, whose One Powerful Illustration Shows Exactly What’s Wrong With How the West Talks About Ebola:

“People in the African continent are more regarded as an abstract statistic than a patient in the U.S. or Europe,” he said. “How many individual stories do we know about any African patients? None. They are treated as an indistinguishable crowd.”

It doesn’t matter that West Africa has now lost more than 3,400 people to the disease. It is, and always will be, all about us.

I’ve been uncomfortable with a lot of things related to the Ebola outbreak that began almost a year ago, although you would have thought it began just last month based on our recent media coverage. It has been difficult to put what I am feeling down into something concrete as I don’t feel even remotely informed in any meaningful way. However, I do know that part of my discomfort has been the lack of response of Western media to cover the issue when it first emerged in West Africa and now their hyperbolic response to the potential risk that we face here in North America. It was depressing following #Ebola on Twitter last night – it was all about the recent cases in the US and there was virtually no mention of the devastation that continues to occur in West Africa.

I was discussing the Ebola situation with my good friend Alida tonight who then sent me this brilliant article, which eloquently captured the discomfort I was feeling.