It is ironic that those countries worse hit by the Ebola virus, like Sierra Leone, Liberia or Guinea, know all about what it means to live in community, sharing freely and lovingly in a culture that through its focus on integration has contributed to the spread of a disease which thrives on touch and connectedness. We have much to learn from them, and if the outside world had offered the hand of help and friendship sooner, in a spirit of global community, thousands of lives could have been saved. Instead, once vibrant towns and villages have been silenced, and gregarious people isolated.
In other “developed” countries, community consciousness is rare, as satisfying the needs of the individual has become the priority for many. Our challenge, yours and mine, is to learn to consider others before ourselves and to recognise that we have a shared responsibility for the well-being of others in need, and for the harmony of the Planet. An attitude of selfishness and greed prevails, and it is not attractive, nor helpful.
It is extraordinary to hear, today, that the UN trust fund launched to help to fight Ebola has received less than 1% of its target, and that wealthy Germany, among other countries, is only now starting to contribute to the aid effort. As Kofi Annan said, it was only when the US and Europe saw Ebola in its own territories that the international community was stirred to take a - vested - interest.
I am ashamed of my world, a world that shows such selfishness, and a lack of compassion which is highlighted by the heroism of the people working at great personal risk to help the people and countries worse affected. You may say, “but there is nothing I can do”, but there is: money is needed and you can give. Prayers are needed too, and that is something you can do, very well.
Ebola is a cruel teacher. Let it lead to something good.