OK. Here is Take 2.

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Did someone read the other day about the burial workers in Sierra Leone mounting a protest over non payment of allowances that was due them for the last several weeks?

 

Now, I have tremendous respect for anyone who is doing a job that carries a high risk to their own lives.  For me, it depicts selflessness, a giving, a sacrifice.   Such a job gives us all faith in humanity.

 

Or at least so I thought!

 

But, these wonder men who were doing their country a golden service, had to go and do the most inhumane act that undid a lot of good they had already done.

 

Please can someone explain why anyone would conceive let alone deliver the act of being insanely mad to the extent of going to a mortuary to remove dead bodies?

 

And then take the dead bodies and dump them on the streets?

 

Or some in front of the very hospitals treating Ebola patients?

 

And some of these dead bodies include babies? (Yes babies, or so my brain relayed what my eyes read!).

 

And these decomposed bodies died from EBOLA making the risk of transmission highly infectious?

 

Just because you are making a point about non payment of your ‘danger’ allowances?

 

Sorry, but have I missed something?

 

But then we have the armchair critics who are waiting for headlines such as these to flash on their laptop screens, so they have an excuse to blast you know who!

 

Cannot common sense and COMPASSION for the dead prevail over deranged moments like this?

 

Why on this great big earth would people do this act to call attention to the government?  Any government even?  And be expected to keep their jobs after?

 

  1. Your point is that the government is chopping the aid money, lining their silk government pockets thereby killing their people indirectly.  Even if this was true, is not dumping dead Ebola bodies on the street killing your comrades indirectly?  This is akin to leaving a loaded gun in the kid’s playroom!  This proves beyond reasonable doubt that if you were in the government you will chop money too!  You have not been faithful with little so how can you be faithful with much?

 

Chai! There is God oh!

 

I have a few questions for you…

 

Does this act justify that babies be treated in the uttermost disrespect?

 

WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU?!!!

 

These innocent lives have been robbed of precious life because of an evil disease called Ebola, probably did not live to see their first birthday, and then you, a responsible adult, take their tiny bodies and give them an indecent disposal?  Is everything OK???  Can you be so consumed and incensed with anger that you lose the plot?  Excuse the pun!

 

What about the families traumatised by the death of their loved ones?  Tell me…are they the ones who stole your allowances?  Do they deserve to see their loved ones being used as garbage?  Don’t you think they have been traumatised enough?  Is ‘kindness’ not a word in our languages or your dictionary?

 

Whilst I catch my tearful breathe, we get to the point of the people who are trying to enter the Ebola clinics.

 

They are sick and full of terror, not knowing their fate.  They are now prevented from receiving the respite and dignity they deserve because there is a blockade of decaying bodies at the entrance of a HOSPITAL.  What did they do to you to deserve this mindless act?

 

No law in any country permits taking the law into your own hands.   In the West, such an act would be criminal.   So criminal, that the judge may be tempted to lock these protesters up and forget the keys.  And no one would even pay a blind bit of notice.  The government of Sierra Leone has kindly sacked these ‘fallen’ heroes.   I sincerely hope this was just a moment of temporary, very temporary, reversible insanity.

 

This war on Ebola is a collective effort.  A nation that is divided against itself cannot stand.  What should motivate us in the war on Ebola should not be centred primarily on money, but on a race of humanity for the 7 billion people on this planet.

 

As Africans, we need to step up.  Be selfless.  If the Cubans for example, can send a convoy to a nation for which they have no strong ties, at the risk to their health, why can we not be motivated to do something to end this war, incentives or no incentives?

 

Do you not think the people from around the world that are coming to our help do not have their own families?   Do you not consider that they have left their comfort and Ebola free homes to come to an unknown and often difficult terrain to save lives?  Do you think that money motivates these people or aid workers?   Are we not all trying to preserve a future generation, and nations?

 

Can we not learn lessons from the British nurse, William Pooley, who is back in Sierra Leone?  Did he need to come back?  Do you think that having come so close to tasting death, that he could have just lived happily ever after?

 

Let us not encourage senseless and dangerous acts by pointing our fingers and singing our ‘government dey tiff money’ mantra every time something goes wrong, true or not true.   Let common sense prevail.  We are also the government after all.

 

Let us not condone criminality.  Let us have a balanced and proactive view.

 

Everyone deserves a pat on the back.  And until the protest, so did the Ebola burial team.  However, we can put this behind us, forgive and move on now.

 

But not before one more iteration, be accountable, selfless…and kind!

 

That’s my plea!

inpho inphotopia

 

 

Writer, columnist, coach and public speaker, Zoe A. Onah is the author of the bestseller and the award nominated book, DEFYING THE ODDS – One man’s struggle and victory over mental illness and his wife whose trust in God never failed. Zoe met her husband, Eze in the 14th year of his tumultuous journey with mental illness and 4 years later, he bounced back, and defied the odds with a clean medical bill of NO mental illness! Their organization, Defying Mental Illness – Put a Full Stop (DMI), is reaching out to those faced with mental health challenges to help them not only defy the disease, but also put a full stop to the stigma and discrimination.


(All proceeds from DMI is currently going towards donations to Ebola. Zoe is a trustee for Stop Ebola Now, a non profit organisation that partners with King’s College Ebola Partnership to fight Ebola).

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1 COMMENT

  1. The burial teams need more respect. Removing bodies is sad but is obviously out of utter frustration. But let us not forget their sacrifices and personal endangerment. Many of these young burial teams have problems securing accommodation never mind some being disowned by their own families. The living must take precedence over those who have passed on. The least we can do is to ensure that before the government ministers and executives are paid these foot soldiers are taken care of. None treats the African with more contempt than other fellow Africans. This must change.

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