Jean Marie Le Pen, founder of France’s right-wing Front National party, stated in May that Europe’s immigration problem would be solved if the Ebola virus were to resurface. Rising xenophobic attitudes in Europe, fuelled by political agendas, have resulted in the detachment of immigration from the ramifications of colonial and imperialist violence in Africa and the Middle East.
As scaremongering about demographic changes was retained to influence the outcomes of elections in the European Union – a common feature of exploitation – Le Pen deemed a deadly virus a solution: “Monseigneur Ebola could sort that out in three months.”
Now that the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa has proven difficult to contain, Western countries are primarily concerned with separating the political aspects from the humanitarian ones. Political responsibility for the exploitation of people and resources in Africa is being diminished in order to promote a distant projection of humanitarian concern which does not go beyond the rhetoric of borders.
Statistics distanced from tangible consequences have created the usual scenario whereby Africa is marginalized and deaths in African countries are treated as a regular occurrence.
Hence, the spread of disease features as a problem only when non-African individuals suffer an identical fate. At that point, Africa features within the parameters of marginalization, as U.S. imperialism prioritizes long-term projects with other imperialist allies, while the death toll rises unhindered.
The United Nations has appealed for $1 billion to fight Ebola – as of Friday, only 25 percent of that goal had been funded. The U.S. has donated $156 million and indulged in the militarized approach to overseeing humanitarian tasks – a process that has been previously deployed within the context of humanitarian disasters and which served only to expand American imperial conquests under the guise of humanitarian aid.
The World Health Organization has specified the urgent necessity of addressing the disease outbreak. This call has been echoed in insignificant statements from President Barack Obama: “We are not moving fast enough. We are not doing enough. Right now, everybody has the best of intentions, but people are not putting in the kind of resources that are necessary to stop this epidemic.” However, Obama is guilty of an omission – one that imperialists continuously neglect in order to maintain oppressive policies against anti-imperialist internationalism.
Clearly, political priorities and health care efforts — within an international context, in this case — stand in contrast to Cuba’s consistent internationalist efforts. Since the inception of the July 26 Movement headed by Fidel Castro which eventually led to the collapse of the U.S.-backed Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista, education and health care have been the top priorities of the revolutionary government. The commitment to these fundamental necessities has not wavered over the ensuing decades. Rather, the Cuban Revolution’s internationalist stance has constantly sought to impart its expertise in both areas to other nations both within the region and across the world. Read more.