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The Impact of the West Point Violence and Looting

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Some Liberians seem still not to fear the deadly Ebola virus disease which spread to Liberia from across the border in neighboring Guinea early this year. Despite the alarming death toll of more than 400, some continue to deny the existence of the disease. A show of such deliberate ignorance was shown last Saturday, August 16, 2014 was displayed by some Liberians of the Coastline Township of West Point in Central Monrovia, when they looted mattresses and other items used by people believed to be either Ebola suspects or victims at a holding center established in the township by the Ministry of health and Social Welfare.

Because of their denial of the disease out of ignorance, they did not bother to know whether the mattresses and items they looted had body fluids, blood steam, etc, etc. – all they knew, they had made their breaks. The action of so-called angry mob was against the backdrop of the presence of the quarantine center in the community.

It was also reported that the so-called protesters had thought that the center was only for residents of West Point. Instead, Ebola suspects or victims from other communities outside the Township were being brought to the center- an action, they felt, was detrimental to the safety. Granted the foregoing reasons are in place, what really did such reasons have to do with the violence characterized by the extensive looting of the center? Why couldn’t they protest in a very civil manner with a petition statement to the government, calling for the closure of the Quarantine center?

So you see, their decision to loot and vandalized the place has not only put the safety of other Liberians in danger, but also theirs. The very mattresses and items they looted may transmit the Ebola virus to them and their families and neighbors considering how congested the Township of West Point is. Moreover, what’s more worrisome about their action is the reported escape of the17 Ebola suspects or victims from the center, as well as the 10 suspects or victims forced out of the center by their respective family members. These people may now be among other Liberians spreading the disease, and quite frankly, this is a major setback in the struggle to contain the outbreak.

When will we ever learn? When will we actually graduate from our violent approach to seek redress from those who govern us?

If the so-called protesters and looters thought they were solving the problem at their own according, it was the worst ever mistake they made – their action may just be more problematic for themselves and families than those they thought they were harming. The saddest thing is that they may not only be the ones to be infected; other innocent people may also be infected. So, it better now that the government, through the Ministry of Health, move in to take care of the situation before it gets too late- because some may not even be able to survive the two-twenty-day incubation period of the disease.

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