On Saturday, Donald Trump tweeted that ‘The U.S. cannot allow EBOLA infected people back.” He qualified this by saying that “People that go to far away places to help out are great- but must suffer the consequences!’ This was in response to the news that two American medical missionaries had contracted the virus whilst helping infected people in Liberia.
There are numerous problems with Trump’s comment. Firstly, it reveals Trump’s lack of medical knowledge. I am, of course, assuming that this tweet was prompted by Trump’s belief that if people with Ebola arrive in the U.S.A. then others will become infected. (Although, given his blatant disregard for fellow-man, I would not be shocked to discover that he does not want them to return for more sinister reasons).
However, as horrific and deadly as the Ebola virus disease is, it is not airborne and can only be passed through close contact with blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids. Another important consideration is that if the two American workers were to return to the U.S.A., they would be treated in one of the most medically advanced and well-resourced hospitals on the planet.
Trump then retweeted a post from @BigBoie7531 which said: ’To all the liberal do gooders, this is the Plague you idiots! No cure!’ Whilst @BigBoie7531 is indeed correct that there is no cure for Ebola, you will be surprised to learn that he is not a leading medical authority. In fact, he has no medical qualifications at all, further undermining Trump’s argument.
Aid Workers and volunteers who dedicate their lives to alleviating the pain of their fellow-man, regardless of whether they live next door or in “far away places”, comprise the very best portion of humanity. They are not motivated by fame, money or even success, but rather a belief that every human life is precious- even Donald Trump’s. It’s very simple; the primary aim of Humanitarian Workers is to save lives. Thankfully, the decision to return the workers does not rest in Trump’s hands and both workers have returned to the U.S.A.
Trump should be supporting, in every way possible, the work that these people do, for it is they who counter-balance the destruction and death caused by un-constrained, self-serving, corporate greed. Whilst the likes of Trump make you despair at the world, aid workers remind you that, amidst all the injustice, there still remains a lot of beauty.
Perversely, we live in an age where one tweet by Donald Trump can gain worldwide media attention, whereas the mind-blowingly brilliant work of Aid Workers goes largely unreported. So in an attempt to begin to address this imbalance, I want to highlight the work of just a few Aid Workers, to whom we owe our thanks and praise:
- Sarah* is a Humanitarian Aid Worker who has been working in Baidoa in Somalia for 17 years. Sarah has worked tirelessly to relieve the famine conditions that exist in that area. She has helped establish Nutrition Centres to treat 20 malnourished children per day. Sarah has seen hundreds of people die right before her eyes due to a lack of food and, whilst she says she gets very frustrated that more is not being done by the humanitarian community to save lives, she has never given up on her work. (www.unocha.org/somalia).
- Two weeks ago, two female Finnish Aid Workers were shot dead in Herat, Afghanistan whilst on the way to their office. The women had been in Afghanistan to provide medical aid, education and economic support. They were part of an organization who support the locals with individual development projects.
- And we of course cannot forget the Humanitarian Workers who, as I type, are entering Gaza during the brief seven hour ceasefire. They go, knowing the catastophic instability; knowing that UN schools have been destroyed; knowing that no one is spared from the indiscriminate bombing. It’s almost impossible to truly comprehend the sacrifice they are making.
Last year 155 Humanitarian Aid Workers were killed. They were murdered as a consequence of wanting to help. That is 155 grieving families. A further 168 were injured, and another 134 were kidnapped. Now, in addition to all that, they have prominent figures like Trump suggesting that they aren’t worth saving while basically arguing the sacrifice must be theirs and theirs alone.
Luckily, as terrible as you are Donald, there are people out there who, if you were to get infected with a life threatening and contagious illness, would still put their egos and sense of self-importance aside to help you recover. And to those people we owe everything.