Dear Mr. President:
I write to thank you for your leadership in the fight against the deadly Ebola virus ravaging West Africa. Your commitment is evidenced by your leadership in deployment of 3000 US troops, allocation of resources and your public statements denouncing Ebola fear and hysteria. Mr. President, I wish the world had acted quickly to stop Ebola. However, it’s never too late to save a life. In fact, in order to prevent more unnecessary Ebola deaths, now is the time to escalate the fight against rising Ebola fears, hysteria and embarrassing official intimidation and harassment of American health workers returning from Ebola ravaged West African countries. I urge you to take the lead by taking long overdue bold actions to buttress your words against hysteria in America. Kindly consider the following immediate actions:
- End the Cold War-inspired Cuban Embargo now-Continued isolation of Cuba is counterproductive when Cubans are fighting alongside Americans against Ebola.
- Designate Ebola ravaged Liberia, Guinea & Sierra Leone now as countries appropriate for Temporary Protected Status (TPS/DED) as winter approaches
- Introduce emergency measures now to help replenish Ebola- battered health workers in Liberia, Guinea & Sierra Leone.
In order to take these common sense actions, you must first take off your political shoes and step into the human shoes of an Ebola orphan, a West African front-line health worker, a Liberian stranded in America because of Ebola, a Cuban health worker and an American health worker in Ebola hot spots.
“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew"- These words from Abraham Lincoln, are appropriate foundations for urgent humane and rational actions in escalating the fight against the deadly Ebola epidemic ravaging West Africa and counterproductive rising Ebola fear and hysteria sweeping across America.
Mr. President, step in the shoes of an Ebola orphan and you would begin wonder why help arrived too late when what is needed to stop Ebola has always been clear from day one: more community involvement and ownership, contact tracing, more trained medical staff, more isolation units, more supplies and more beds for quarantined and sick people. You would agree that our world has more than sufficient human and material resources to have stopped Ebola in its tracks in March 2014.You would wonder why with such enormous resources at the disposal of private citizens and governments in rich and poor countries Ebola was allowed to take away your parents.
Now, Mr. President, please step in the shoes of a Liberian front-line health worker and you would be perplexed at the complacency in America about the potential dangers of Ebola before Ebola hit America. It was business as usual while Ebola took its toll on West African health workers without access to basic protective gears. You would be ashamed that the world was watching as Ebola kept spreading further worldwide, creating higher risks for humans everywhere.
Here is how Ebola is spreading —
- February 2014: Ebola killed only Guineans in a remote village.
- March 2014: Ebola death spread to Liberia.
- April 2014: Ebola began killing Sierra Leoneans.
- July 2014: Ebola Killed an American in Nigeria, leading to eight (8) Nigerian deaths.
- August 2014: American hospitals admitted two (2) American Ebola patients.
- September 2014: Ebola killed Spanish citizens at a hospital in Spain.
- October 2014: The 1st Spanish patient infected with Ebola in Europe was admitted at a hospital in Spain. Eric Duncan, a Liberian, died at an American hospital and a nurse treating Duncan contracted Ebola.
Mr. President, please step into the shoes of a Cuban health worker who cannot travel freely to the United States, thanks to the 1960 Cold War-inspired embargo and the-Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917. You are only 30 years old. You just arrived and you were greeted by a red, white and blue flag and a sign “Welcome to Monrovia”, the capital city of America’s only de facto colony in the world. Your mission: to rescue little America from Ebola. You are risking your life and personal safety to do what the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama preaches: “Iit was essential the United States and other countries work to stop the Ebola outbreak at its source in Africa…”.
Take another new pair of shoes and step into one worn by thousands of Liberians, Sierra Leoneans and Guineans. You are stranded in America-your flights cancelled-you are uncertain of when you’ll return home. As a result of the deadly Ebola virus spreading exponentially, you have lost loved ones whose graves you will never see and everyday grim news of rising death tolls of ordinary people. Without TPS/DED designation, the message from the White House is mixed: Ebola is deadly. Oh, Ebola epidemic is not serious enough for designation of protected status.
Finally, Mr. President, step into the shoes of an American health worker. You risked your life to help fight Ebola in West Africa. Upon your return to the United States, you are subjected to official harassment and stigmatization because of your service. You wonder if you should ever consider returning to West Africa to fight Ebola.
Finally, Mr. President, take off the shoes worn by millions of human beings just like you and return to the White House as the President of the United States of America. I wish you well as I remind you of the word of a songwriter: “Action speaks louder than words.” Politics aside, ending the Cuban embargo now, designating Ebola ravaged countries for Temporary Protected Status (TPS/DED) and replenishing West Africa’s battered health workers now are all the right things to do. Mr. President, Kindly consider these actions in the fight against Ebola.
Rev. Torli H. Krua
Torli Krua is founder of Boston-based Universal Human Rights International (UHRI). UHRI promotes immigrant rights in the USA and democracy through ballot initiatives in African countries. Krua may be reached at: 20 Roche Brothers Way, Suite 6-182 North Easton, MA 02356 Email: [email protected]