Wednesday, December 9, 2015

In Liberia, cremation of bodies of Ebola victims causes ostracism for those who perform a public health function


Social culture in Liberia is ostracizing young men who performed the public health duties of cremating bodies of those who died of Ebola in 2014. Helene Cooper has a story in the New York Times on Wednesday, December 9, 2015 here.

Liberia is about 85% Christian.  Village culture views the burning of bodies (mentioned in Corinthians in Paul’s love chapter) as “erasing” the person, so the men who did what is necessary for public health are viewed as “erased”.

Cremation has been well-accepted in my own circles, and has been practiced in my own family.  I’ve never believed in making a big spectacle of the end of life.
 
What should happen if my own life were to end as a result of indignant or political violence is a sensitive issue with me, as I don’t think victimhood should be lauded.  But an end-of-life from a normal medical decline is not an issue.  But back in the 1980s, some people viewed death from AIDS as shameful.

In business, Liberia is significant because of its ship registry.  One of my employers in the 1990s owned a ship registry and someone was promoted to take over it, requiring travel to the country.

Wikipedia attribution link for picture of Montrovia, by Erik Hershman, under Creative Commons Share-Alike 2.0 license.

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