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Ebola and Boko Haram: different rules apply

Ebola and Boko Haram: different rules apply

As some Christians advocate for “just war” and claim airstrikes are necessary to support populations vulnerable to ISIS, where is the same level of global outcry for Islamist extremist group Boko Haram and the threat of Ebola? Dr. Paul Valelly, visiting professor of Ethics and the University of Chester explains:

They are only Africans. They may be dying from Ebola in record numbers, but who really cares? Such are the politics of plague. And then there is the politics of war. In Nigeria, the Islamist fanatics of Boko Haram are stoning men to death and pouring petrol on women and burning them alive. Yet where is the talk of air strikes in Africa, let alone boots on the ground? The murderous terror-mongers of the UnIslamic State in Iraq are deemed to constitute a threat to the streets of the West. But Boko Haram, like Ebola, is just another of the apocalyptic four horsemen which for ever stalk that far-away continent of which we know little and care less.

Of course, no one says as much in such bald terms, not even in the farage of plain-speaking that characterises the demagogic rhetoric of our times. But it is hard to escape the sense that such is the reality of our political priorities…

Yet here there are no American air strikes as there are in Iraq and Syria. The Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot – who has become the first Western leader to deploy troops against what he calls the “murderous death cult” of the UnIslamic State – is not claiming that Australia’s streets, and those of the wider world, need protecting from an “unprecedented terrorist threat” in Nigeria.

Why not? Because, as with Ebola, the deaths of Africans have no strategic, or even symbolic, significance in our global realpolitik. All this is not just deeply unjust. It is politically and epidemiologically myopic.

For the full article please visit the The Independent.


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