by Alan Goodman | October 20, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


The current Ebola epidemic in West Africa has killed between 10,000 and 20,000 people in the countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Beyond that, hundreds of thousands have been thrown into a nightmare of the loss of loved ones, round-ups, repression, the absence of basic necessities, and death.

Medical personnel and others from Africa and around the world are putting their lives on the line to care for victims of Ebola in West Africa. They are courageous heroes. Others are demanding or developing resources and education to prevent the spread of Ebola and to treat victims.

But the response of those who rule the United States and the other global powers has overwhelmingly been one of cruel disregard for the suffering in Africa, and instead a focus on preventing this disease from crossing the borders of the U.S. and Europe.

Above: Courageous Heroes: Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) treat 43-year-old Ebola patient in Guinea.

Below: Ignorant xenophobe outside the White House.

Photos: AP

Now a man from Liberia who traveled to the U.S. has died from Ebola, and two nurses who treated him have been stricken with the disease. Of course, their lives are also precious, and they deserve good medical care. But when Americans contracted Ebola, and when there appeared to be a danger of Ebola undermining stability within the U.S., those who sit atop the global empire of exploitation and oppression known as the "USA" hit the panic button. NOT to address the massive suffering in Africa in any serious or compassionate way, but to protect the social stability of their system of exploitation and oppression. And the Ebola outbreak is being seized on by fascist forces in the U.S. to whip up XENOPHOBIA—ignorant hatred and fear of immigrants, with an ugly and ominously dangerous edge.

Republicans demand a total ban on travel from West Africa (which among other things would mean that any medical volunteers who join those doing work on the ground there would be going into exile for all practical purposes). Fascist forces are crawling out of the swamps of ignorance and prejudice with their "STOP Immigration" signs. These zombies resurrect irrational fear, hatred, and violence of the kind directed at gay men in the early days of the AIDS epidemic in the U.S. They act as though only American lives matter, even if that means intensifying the suffering of millions, and despite the reality that the fate of humanity is tightly bound up in an intensely interconnected and interdependent world.

The Democrats? They mutter and mumble only the faintest objections to all this, accepting and in their own ways contributing to the atmosphere of persecution of immigrants.

The message from the entire ruling class: American lives count, other people's lives do not.

That morality—that American lives are more important than other people's lives—reflects, serves, and enforces this hellish world of exploitation and oppression. Anyone who isn't a slavish, unthinking, uncaring cheerleader for that hell should be repelled by, and explicitly reject, that immorality.

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