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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Tuesday 14 October 2014

Godzombies: What Ebola and ISIL Have in Common

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There is a terrifying disease multiplying rapidly and ravaging a foreign population.  We here, however, aren't immune - there is the ever-present risk of someone on our side of the pond being infected.
This applies just as equally to Ebola as it does to the violent ideology of ISIL.  They both are infectious, but only one is actively trying to decimate mankind.  The other does so because that's its nature.  Right?
There are policies and procedures in place designed to mitigate the spread of infectious diseases.  The problem with these procedures is that the involve containment; in a busy global economy, that's time people can't afford to lose.  Fast food pharmacy has been developed to help us get over illness quicker and get back on the line sooner.  Limitless growth, limitless consumption - that's the capitalist way.
What happens, though, when the democratic/capitalist system (and women's rights, religious tolerance and all the other trapping of civilization) are thrown aside?
ISIL's ideology is one of dominance, strength and conquest.  While they seek chemical and biological weapons to destroy their enemies, there's something of an implication in their lifestyle that they are hardier, purer, more godly than others - which suggests to me that they're buying into the concept of the superhuman ancestor and perhaps placing themselves in the role of superhuman descendants.
Enter one more factor - climate change.
Drought has been eyed as a causal factor in Syria's civil war.  Ice storms and hurricanes have smashed communities around the globe.  It's one thing to live without electricity (something Skyping terrorists haven't yet done, mind you) but it's another entirely to live without clean water.
Without clean water, people die, disease festers and bad things happen.  Without shared disease management strategies and collaboration over things like cures, it doesn't matter who the bad guy is - us and them will fall together.
Laissez-faire consumption is not enough to beat disease.  Virulent ideology is not enough to stop disease.  And whether it's a global flood or a shrinking of the water hole, us-vs-them isn't enough to build a sustainable society.
They are never the disease, merely a symptom of it - we are the cure.

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