Taking his cue from the Gold Rush song “Oh My Darling,” Srgjan Ivanovik explores the political populism of Ebola.
The sad truth about the Ebola outbreak is that more than 4000 people have died from this terrible illness, at least the same number of people are infected, and many millions more are in status of mortal panic.
From these 4000 thousand—only one is from the USA and none of them are from Europe. Yet media and politicians are panicking as though Ebola has already taken half of the population in these regions.
Can we rationalize the need for sensationalism and political populism when the matter is as stark as the Ebola treat?
Not really. What we can’t understand is how, in the face of thousands who actually suffer from this disease and many thousands more who are in eminent danger from being stricken, westerners can be such cowards. Yes, in several countries in Africa people are struggling horribly in the face of this latest viral outbreak. The majority of cases are in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria. The World Health Organization (WHO) has called the epidemic the
“most severe acute health emergency in modern time.”
Assuming that WHO is right, humanity must act swiftly and responsibly to do what is necessary and provoking panic is certainly one way to do this.
We are facing a terrible treat and we must be on our best to beat this outbreak. Many steps are already being taken, but we still need a greater effort towards the extermination of Ebola. Doctors and epidemiologists should be doing their job with the politicians assisting them, helping them, and not waging political battles. We hear all the glorious speeches about how determined our leaders are in this battle, which is not even a real battle but a very complex medical operation. Presidents and minister can’t cure patients, only doctors do that.
So Ebola has became a weapon in the hands of politicians and their populist agendas. One in power is trying look like that they are doing something right, while one in opposition is doing everything to make sure the electorate knows the first hasn’t done nearly enough to preserve their lives from Ebola. Both the one in power and the one who wants to be in power are panicing. This is just another outbreak, but not from the Ebola virus. The panic is from the political “tools” of our leaders. Ebola is scary enough, there is no need to make the virus look scarier.
“Oh My Darling Clementine” is a song about the tragic demise of the daughter of an old miner, but instead of being a ballad this song is actually a parody. The girl died because she stepped on a splitter and fell in the river and drowned. Her feet were so big that instead of shoes she wore a pair of boxes. This funny song was made in hard times for “gold rushers,” but even though we are living in a bit different time today, political “miners” are using the same song to present Ebola.
“Oh My Darling Ebola” can win elections, can make people forget daily struggles on real problems, on taxes, on given promises, and betrayed trust. Yes, this song is very popular these days and may well become a “top of the pop” this winter.
In the meantime, many people are facing the real horror of the Ebola virus. There is no need of propaganda for these people, no need of the presentation of fear because they are already afraid. They have already forgotten everything else and are focused on finding a way to save themselves and their loved ones.
“Oh My Darling Clementine” is a parody, but the Ebola virus outbreak is not.
Don’t let the politicians mock us.Johan Larsson/Flickr