Sunday, 10 August 2014
50 illegal crossing points from Zimbabwe to South Africa pose a major health, terrorism threat to the population.
Immigrés clandestins fleeing their beloved homeland for South Africa, is not a top priority for the Zimbabwean police people who claim to lack adequate resources to close down 51 illegal border crossings which are operated under the auspices of business persons. 50 of those illegal entry points are into South Africa. The points allegedly are used by people smugglers, and cigarette smugglers. Zimbabwean authorities, are not perplexed.
About 10% of the South African population, are not South African whatsoever. A massive influx since the end of Apartheid has seen the nation upon the southern tip of the Dark Continent: become a vastly diverse melting pot of people and cultures. Recent controversial immigration laws have made one of the most liberal immigration systems in the world slightly more restrictive. As a previous article by our news service has demonstrated, the immigration restrictions likely are in response to sporadic South African incidence of deadly xenophobia.
Borders are a bit like tonsils in the most serious sense, they help to filter out undesirable pathogens such as terrorism, criminality, and disease, which could kill the body at which service they rest. In the case of South Africa, our border defences against diseases such as Ebola are rendered useless when masses of population do not go through border checkpoints. Granted, Ebola has an incubation period of some weeks and there is a massive chance that an Ebola sufferer will pass into South Africa prior developing symptoms. With a population density such as is found in Gauteng province, Ebola could spread much faster in South Africa than it has in West Africa. Just as massive fires often destroy dozens of homes in South Africa’s informal settlements and closely packed formal townships, the extensive population density is ripe for the spread of disease. Persons in South Africa illegally, are also likely to avoid treatment options such as hospitals. Xenophobia could also be worsened should the virus enter South Africa through an illegally present foreign individual.
Besides haemorrhagic fever, terrorism is a very real threat in South Africa. Independent research by journalists and church organisations, suggest that Al Qaeda affiliated terrorism group Al Shabaab, has been operating in South Africa for several years now. The group is thought responsible for many immigrant deaths, specifically targeting Christians fleeing Somalia. Illegal entry points into South Africa also make it ripe for human trafficking, an evil activity for which South Africa has become an international hub. Weapons trafficking is another very real concern. Zimbabwe is unstable to say the least, and our other neighbours are sometimes on the verge of civil war. Instability in South Africa’s neighbours is hardly good for South Africa’s economy and stability as a whole.
Whether South Africa’s laws on immigration are liberal or conservative, should have no impact upon whether or not we adequately secure our border against illegal immigration. The problem with illegal immigration is not immigration itself, so much as what gets in through the border by the weak spots created by the influx of population.
South African police just recently announced the arrest of several dozen foreign nationals with false documents or expired documents. Some experts have estimated that several million individuals in South Africa are in the country clandestinely. Such a scenario is neither ideal for bona fide clandestine immigrants who are often preyed upon by unscrupulous individuals taking advantage of their illegal status, nor is it preferential for the internal and external security needs of the nation.
South Africa’s rhino population would not be at risk of extinction were our border with Mozambique better patrolled. Al Shabaab would not be able to operate within our borders, committing atrocities, were our security systems at the border more efficient. The location of each of these 50 illegal border crossings needs to be ascertained strategically by the South African government, and combated with immediate effect. As for the other debate, as to whether or not South Africa should be liberal or conservative in its immigration policy, that debate should be fought where it is rightly fought: in Parliament. There is very little danger in immigration to South Africa, though this danger should not be under estimated in its very real impact upon the poor: there is however very much danger inherent with this weakness in our border through which undesirable figurative and literal pathogens can spread undeterred and damage the South African population whether in the interim or permanently. Ebola spread so easily through three countries, because the first case, of an infant boy: occurred very close to the border of the three main countries where it is ravaging. A strong border is a vital first defence against many an evil. The relatively strong protections at South African border posts mean little in protecting the population of the nation if vast numbers of people completely ignore all these points of intersection.
Saturday, 9 August 2014
Terrorist group Islamic Caliphate take pictures in front of White House in show of presence. #IS #ISIS #ISIL #AlQaeda
The group which feels great joy in the embrace of barbarism, which has somehow become a selling point for it, is not as yet known to shy away from modern technology. The image you are about to see, does not appear to have been indexed by Google on any major sites.
It’s only presence seems to be on Twitter itself. The logo within the image is that of the terrorist organisation. Islamic Caliphate has supporters across the world who use social media to promote its cause. One such supporter of the group seemingly took a photograph of the White House, in a terrifying show of presence. The fact that I was unable to find any other example of the photograph, suggests the photograph is an original and the real thing.
The Islamic Caliphate is perhaps well-known for images of its decapitating soldiers of the enemies of the group, and for their genocide against Christians in Iraq and in Syria.
Such imagery, much like gang signs in an area: such brazen photography targeting the White House, however suggest that the group certainly has a sympathiser base amongst Americans or people in America, within eyesight even, of a building which appears to have similar architecture to the White House, or disquietingly within a stone’s throw of the White House itself.
Les USA bombardent l’EI en Irak, l’EI réplique par des photos sur Twitter prises devant la Maison Blanche pic.twitter.com/AiOTTy9Ugy— Schola Sainte Cécile (@scholastececile) August 9, 2014
A truck and a bus crashed into nearby house after colliding in Hangzhou on August 8. 5 people were injured pic.twitter.com/WJGeUMYOCF— People's Daily,China (@PDChina) August 9, 2014
Sunday, 3 August 2014
‘The Ebola virus has an incubation period of 4 to 16 days. The onset is sudden and harsh. Infected persons develop fever, severe headaches and muscle aches, and loss of appetite. Within a few days the virus causes a condition known as disseminated intravascular coagulation, which is marked by both blood clots and hemorrhaging. In the case of Ebola fever, clots are concentrated in the liver, spleen, brain, and other internal organs, forcing capillaries to bleed into surrounding tissue. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea with blood and mucus, conjunctivitis, and sore throat soon follow. A maculopapular rash (discoloured elevations of the skin) appears on the trunk and quickly spreads to the limbs and head. The patient is then beset by spontaneous bleeding from body orifices and any breaks in the skin, such as injection sites, and within the gastrointestinal tract, skin, and internal organs. Death is usually brought on by hemorrhaging, shock, or renal failure and occurs within 8 to 17 days.’
("Ebola." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Deluxe Edition. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2012.)
According to the Oxford English dictionary the phrase Ebola Fever entered the English language in 1976. It was named after a river located in the northern basin of the Congo of central Africa (Encyclopaedia Britannica), the northerly Ebola river, headstream of the Mongala river which itself is a tributary of the famous Congo River, all of which are in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Wikipedia). Wikipedia places the Ebola river at: 3°19′24″N 20°57′38″E. Oxford describes Ebola, also known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever as “an infectious, and generally fatal viral disease marked by fever and severe internal bleeding.”
Encyclopaedia Britannica calls the Ebola virus a close relative of the Marburg virus. The Marburg virus was discovered in 1967 while records show that Ebola first attacked human beings in 1976. Marburg and Ebola haemorrhagic fever are the only members of the Filoviridae viral family to affect human beings. The same Ebola virus is known for attacking gorillas, chimpanzees, pigs and our own species, humanity. Ebola is differentiated by deep fever, profuse haemorrhaging and rash. Encyclopaedia Britannica states that in humans certain strains have fatality rates of 50 to 90%.
Just as Ebola itself is named after the place it was first discovered wreaking harm upon a population, the Ebola river: the five known strains of the deadly virus are named after the places where it emerged. According to Encyclopaedia Britannica: ‘Ebola-Zaire causes death in 80 to 90 percent of cases, and Ebola-Sudan causes death in 50 percent of cases. Ebola-Côte d'Ivoire, found in dead chimpanzees in the Taï National Park in southwestern Côte d'Ivoire, can infect humans, although only two human cases have been documented, and both individuals survived. Ebola-Reston, which was originally discovered in laboratory monkeys in Reston, Va., in 1989, was also detected in laboratory monkeys in other locations in the United States in 1990 and 1996, as well as in Siena, Italy, in 1992. All the monkeys infected with Ebola-Reston have been traced to one export facility located in the Philippines, although the origin of the strain has not been identified. Similar to Ebola-Côte d'Ivoire, Ebola-Reston does not appear to cause death in humans. The fifth strain, Ebola-Bundibugyo, was discovered in November 2007 in an outbreak in Bundibugyo district, near the border of Uganda and Congo (Kinshasa); it causes death in about 25 percent of cases.’ (Same article as quoted above.).
The first time I reported on the Ebola virus was on 6 January 2009. The epidemic had broken out in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, killing 13 and infecting 40. Angola shut the border quickly for fear it would spread. I reported how swiftly diseases cross African borders. At the time I was writing that article a disease from a Namibian rat had killed several people in South Africa and a cholera epidemic was hitting Zimbabwe. The strain of Ebola during the 2009 outbreak was killing one in every three people. Most outbreaks of the disease seem to only infect and kill either one or two people, a few dozen or a few hundred. When a form of Ebola present in pork products in the Philippines was discovered to have infected agricultural workers, the nation authorised the slaughter of thousands of animals. Just a few dozen infections can cause a border to close, the current epidemic has passed 1000 infected people and is set to pass an even higher number shortly.
News services concerned with Africa, have been covering the current outbreak with deep concern. In West Africa, superstition about witchcraft and witches continues to pervade society. It is the type of place where a cat might be crucified for fear it is a witch in disguise. News services reported that several villagers had begun to believe that the doctors treating Ebola were causing the disease.
Those who enjoy the works of JRR Tolkien, will be familiar with a scene where Gandalf the Grey is treated with deep suspicion, because he always comes where something is wrong. The people thought perhaps he was the cause of the wrongness. He was merely there to try and prevent it. One of the great written linguistic traditions of humanity comes from China, where the written work came from omens in bones. Signs of the supernatural can pervade human thinking. During the plague it was believed that spraying oneself with toilet water could spare one from the disease. Of course, toilet water, refers not to something present in a toilet but a certain form of low scented perfume, also known as eau du toilette. People believed that foul smell itself spread the horrid disease, rather than only being a symptom of it. Belief in vampires also came from that period, the plague dead often appeared to move in their state of decomposition.
Media have relayed how African villagers see a white person and go running away in fear, shouting ‘Ebola Ebola.’ With doctors unable to treat victims and ordinary nurses and others claiming to have a cure for Ebola, the virus has spread further and further.
According to Encyclopaedia Britannica: ‘It is not known how the Ebola virus attacks cells; however, it has been postulated that the virus produces proteins that suppress the immune system, allowing reproduction of the virus to continue unhindered. Viral hemorrhagic fevers similar to Ebola typically are carried by arthropods and rodents; however, the natural reservoir for the Ebola virus has yet to be discovered. Among the suspected reservoirs for Ebola are bats, primates, rodents, and insects that inhabit tropical forests in Africa and Asia. Ebola can be transmitted through contact with infected blood, bodily fluids, and possibly respiratory secretions. The virus has also been detected in the organs of patients after recovery from the fever. Unsanitary conditions and lack of adequate medical supplies may be factors in the spread of the disease.’
While not all people who are infected with Ebola are assured a swift and horrible death, the Church of medical science has yet to create a miracle treatment. Encyclopaedia Britannica relays that while there have been tests of possible medical treatments, the current approach is anything but high-tech. Doctors ensure that a sufferer has enough fluids in their system, and attempt to maintain their important electrolyte balance, while giving transfusions of blood and plasma to prevent a person bleeding out.
While Britain has called an urgent meeting for fear that Ebola will take root in its own population, the Republic of South Africa has attempted to keep calm. It is claimed by the government of South Africa whether factually or not that South Africans are at very low risk of contracting Ebola due to thermal scanners at the borders. The government also claims that someone who is infected with Ebola would find it hard to illegally enter South Africa. Whether these thermal scanners will pick up Ebola when it is only incubating and asymptomatic is questionable. Likewise, an asymptomatic person could easily enter South Africa illegally via an ordinary penetration of the border. South Africa is a safe haven for refugees, and a mecca for illegal immigrants. We certainly are more at risk of an epidemic in South Africa than Britain is. We are closer to the epidemic.
The World Health Organization has called the Ebola haemorrhagic fever epidemic “out of control”, as it is spreading further than it can be contained. Because the people who are being infected with it are avoiding those who can slow down the virus and also isolate them, the perfect conditions are ripe for something terrible to occur. Whether this event will be a small localised event of graphic tragedy, or follow the path of the Spanish flu or the Black Death depends largely on whether or not the virus can be brought under control. The current news is disquieting, it is not being brought under control, and has spread further than Ebola ever has before.
Saturday, 2 August 2014
America's Associated Press has a very one-sided article lauding Muslims who give up what many Muslims consider essential parts of their faith to fit in with the moving cultural landscape occurring in North America. The article wrongly treats Islam as though it were a religion based on the Quran, as evangelical Christianity might be considered based on the Bible. The Quran while a holy book in Islam is a recording in writing of the things that Mohammed said and so forth. Much of Islam whether Shi'ite or Sunni, centres on the authority of various teachers within Islam. The tradition of Islam is as important to the life of Muslims as can be stressed. Interpreting the Quran so as to fit in, in America, would not be considered proper interpretation by most Muslims.
The Associated Press states their view that the Quran does not condemn homosexual sex and homosexual civil unions. They also state that many a modern American Muslim are doing away with any differences between the sexes. This might be all good and well if it were in fact the dominant trend amongst American Muslims, however the Associated Press focus their attention purely upon small minority groups which do not in fact represent the whole. If such an article were written about the Catholic Church, it would certainly meet massive objection from The Catholic League, for the simple reason that it misportrays a major world religion.
There certainly are many modern Muslim scholars who have brought great fruits into modern Muslim traditions from ancient times. However, groups which place their first identity not in their religion but in political groups, following a specific political party in a specific country, are not representative of the whole.
While the Associated Press write with much joy of the reforming of Islam, and its naturalisation into something it is not in America, this could not be further from the truth. Firstly, the major strands of Islam are in no need of reform. Groups such as Al Qaeda are based on reformed interpretations of Islam, which ignore centuries of tradition. The centuries old versions of Islam are in fact quite tolerant of other religions and people with other lifestyles. The Quran needs to be interpreted within its historic significance. Muslims adopting the American approach of cafeteria religion, taking what they like and rejecting what they don't: is hardly a newsworthy article but is exactly what is occurring amongst the groups quoted. A proper reform of a religion, returns to its origins and gains more understanding of what the religion meant. The Catholic counterreformation is an example of this within the Catholic religion. Looking back at ancient texts simply to reinterpret them to fit a cultural need, makes the culture the dominant acting party, subjugating and reforming the religion to its own needs. If the dominant party is not the religion itself but an external political force attempting to change the religion, then it is not true reform whatsoever but a form of imperialism being practised by Americans upon Islam. Many Muslim nations are in fact very tolerant of people of other faiths and other lifestyles. Islam has taken strides forward that were unthinkable in the last century, but these strides originated in Islam itself. There is a massive difference between people who attempt to redefine religion to fit their lifestyle, and genuine progress in understanding the roots of a religion. Muslim people for centuries have well understood the difference between civil and religious law. Muslim nations have often also been highly tolerant of non-Muslims. Muslims can be highly tolerant of non-Muslims also, while maintaining fully their belief in the essential doctrines of Islam.
The essence of tolerance, does not consist of forcing a person to change. If the Associated Press tolerated Islam they would not demand that it change and reject centuries of tradition as though they were worthless. Islam well knows tolerance, tolerance is precisely that, because it consists of respecting a person despite the fact that they act in a manner you might find unbecoming within your religion.
In this sense, the Associated Press article is in fact tragic as it does not tolerate Islam, but treats it as something "evil", so "evil" in fact that no orthodox Muslim of either of the major strains of the religion was given an opportunity to comment on the article. We always hear about how Muslim woman cannot pray in certain areas of a mosque, but very seldom about English gentlemen's clubs who do not permit female membership. There is a massive difference between treating the sexes as unequal, and valid ritual which spans for centuries. Men are not allowed in certain monasteries in the Catholic religion. Women are not allowed in certain monasteries in the Catholic religion. This is not something unjust, but something which is merely ritual. If a woman is not permitted to drive or is not permitted to be educated, then that is something of concern. However, whether men and women pray shoulder to shoulder or not has no effect on their everyday lives.
If the major leaders of Muslim religion across the world were in fact to endorse homosexual unions, gay sex, extramarital sex in massive casual doses, female imams and so forth then that would be newsworthy, that would be a change in a major religion. However, a couple of Muslims who give up their cultural identity to impress little white kids and the white and or Hispanic editors of the Associated Press, are mere outliers are not the core. How does the Associated Press think their article will be viewed in the Muslim world? Do they think it will make Muslim countries like America more, that they laud people who prefer America to Mohammed? Or do they think such articles as theirs will not be used as propaganda to spread extremism? In fact the American Constitution exists precisely to prevent people from having to choose between their god and their country, their rights and their country, their soul and conscience and their country and so forth.
'Muslim movement accepts once-taboo causes' by the Associated Press is linked to below: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/muslim-movement-accepts-once-taboo-causes
I think many people joined Facebook almost as a game. They tried to build up as many connections as possible and were not discerning in their choices. I take a similar policy to my LinkedIn as I take to my Facebook: by choosing whose invitations to accept or ignore, by determining who to add: I am able to avoid being simply annoyed with Facebook. Yes, every connection on social media might be potential business as proponents of Facebook have pointed out, however a mass of connections does no one any good. What does good is the real human connection increased or formed through Facebook or other social media. Posting to a mass of connections might well get you more visibility, but it can also result in others becoming incredibly annoyed with you as a person they have never actually met or only met for a short time, I believe it is this numbers game which has caused many to hate their Facebook account. Also, many people like to show that they know how to party on Facebook: although in reality the party is often nothing but a photo shoot, nonetheless a negative impression of the person is formed in the business person's mind.
For me Facebook like all social networks is not the end but the means. By Facebook I can connect with human beings and be connected with by human beings.
I have often found that upon adding a person on Facebook who I got to know in real life: I discovered that they were not the type of person I thought they were.
If Facebook is bad it is because it involves more exposure to other human beings. There is the famous story of the cosmonauts stuck in a satellite circling the earth, becoming crazed and homicidal in their thought patterns.
If someone's posts annoyed me, I can unfollow them without unfriending them. I can also have full control over what pictures appear on my profile. Fortunately we have a lot less to fear from Facebook if we do not portray ourselves through our actions, undesirably.
Sooner or later, the very people who are annoyed with Facebook will become annoyed with whatever other social network they follow. Perhaps it is nothing else other than overexposure to something: much as one might become annoyed with a certain foodstuff if one eats it every single night. Perhaps also, their annoyance with Facebook is suggestive of the type of company they keep, for they are not fleeing Facebook but they are fleeing their friends upon Facebook.
I would be interested in your thoughts.
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