In the News: Governments and NGOs in the Fight Against Ebola

Yesterday, The CIHA Blog assembled a number of articles about the ethics of treatment of the Ebola virus and the populations afflicted by it. Today, we are looking at a number of broader ethical issues, including distrust of NGO and government efforts to enact public health measures – often coming out of longstanding governance failures and the multitude of NGOs that enter during humanitarian crises.

How Not to End a Plague
by Clair MacDougall in Foreign Policy

Ebola Threatens to Derail a Decade of Peace
by Leymah Gbowee in The Guardian

Using a Tactic Unseen in a Century, Countries Cordon Off Ebola-Racked Areas
by Donald G. McNeil Jr. in The New York Times

As Ebola Grips Liberia’s Capital, a Quarantine Sows Social Chaos
by Norimitsu Onishi in The New York Times

Ebola, mistrust and humanitarian mobility
by Adia Benton for Mats Utas’ blog

Fear in Liberia turns violent as a mob attacks an Ebola clinic
by Marc Kilstein in PRI’s The World

Liberia’s poverty, skepticism of experts makes treating Ebola harder
by Pamela Scully for Reuters

On the off chance that war doesn’t change everything: More on Ebola
by Adia Benton for Ethnography 911 blog

On Ebola and the pathological movements of Others
by Adia Benton for Ethnography 911 blog

In the News: The Ethics of Ebola and Its Treatment

The CIHA Blog has had its eye on the ethical issues and questions around the treatment of the people who have been infected with Ebola and the efforts to fight the virus. In this post, we have gathered some posts about who gets the ZMapp experimental vaccine/treatment that has shown some efficacy, as well as who decides who gets to leave the West African countries for treatment in the U.S. and Europe and who must stay.

The Not-So-Secret Serum
by Adia Benton in Dissent Magazine

Opting Against Ebola Drug for Ill African Doctor
by Andrew Pollack in The New York Times

Hospitallers to regroup, return to Liberia after priest dies of Ebola
by Laura Ieraci for Vatican Radio

The Danger in Losing Sight of Ebola Victims’ Humanity
by Raphael Frankfurter in The Atlantic

Aid Worker Speaks Out On Why Ebola Keeps Spreading
by Eleanor Goldberg in The Huffington Post

NewLink says Ebola vaccine trial could start in weeks
by Sharon Begley for Reuters/Daily Maverick

For tomorrow’s post, we have a collection of articles to help understand some of the other ethical issues that the Ebola-afflicted countries (and their populations) face.

In the News: African Solidarity with Palestine

The continued resonance of anti-colonial struggles is particularly relevant for many African scholars in expressing solidarity with Palestine and demanding an end to the violence in Gaza. See the letter below.

African Solidarity with Palestine

African scholars and scholars of Africa

We, the undersigned African scholars and scholars of Africa, hold that silence about the latest humanitarian catastrophe caused by Israel’s new military assault on the Gaza Strip—the third and most devastating in six years—constitutes complicity. Member state of NATO which mounted an air war on Libya ostensibly to protect civilians in Benghazi have been by and large quiet about the fate of civilians in Gaza. World governments and mainstream media do not hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law. We, however, as a community of scholars have a moral responsibility to do so.

Neither the violation of international law nor the destruction of Palestinian life in Gaza, however, began or will end with the current war[1]. The suffering of Palestinians is not limited to Gaza: the occupation and dispossession in East Jerusalem, the Naqab (Negev), and the West Bank; the construction of walls and fences around the Palestinian population, the curtailment of Palestinian freedom of movement and education, and the house demolitions, all have long histories that will have to be addressed.

As employees in institutes of higher learning we have a particular interest in and responsibility to respond to the obstacles to the right to higher education that the Israeli state has created for Palestinians both inside Israel and in the occupied territories. In the past two months alone, Israeli forces have raided Al Quds University in Jerusalem, the Arab American University in Jenin, and Birzeit University near Ramallah.[2] In the current attacks, Israeli aerial bombardment has destroyed the Islamic University of Gaza. More generally, the Israeli state discriminates against Palestinian students in Israeli universities;[3]and it isolates Palestinian academia by, among other tactics, preventing foreign academics from visiting Palestinian institutions in Gaza and the West Bank.[4] We are also alarmed by the long history of confiscations of Palestinian archives and the destruction of libraries and research centers.[5]

The ongoing Israeli massacres in Gaza have been ghastly reminders of the complicity of Israeli academic institutions in the occupation and oppression of Palestinians. Tel Aviv University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Bar Ilan University, Haifa University, Technion, and Ben Gurion University have publicly declared their unconditional support for the Israeli military.[6]More generally, there are intimate connections between Israeli academic institutions and the military, security, and political establishments in Israel.[7]  To take but one example: Tel Aviv University is directly implicated, through its Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), in developing the Dahiya Doctrine,[8]adopted by the Israeli military in its assaults on Lebanon in 2006 and on Gaza today. The Dahiya Doctrine advocates the extensive destruction of civilian infrastructure and “intense suffering” among the civilian population as an “effective” means to subdue any resistance.[9]

We applaud the few dozen Israeli academics who have protested against their government, and the several dozen who signed a petition calling for an end to Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.[10]Alarmingly, they have faced disciplinary measures from their own universities.[11]We stand by these academics and support them.

We feel compelled to join the growing number of academics in Israel and around the world who support the Palestinian call to boycott Israeli academic institutions. This call responds to Palestinian civil society organizations’ long-standing appeal for the comprehensive implementation of boycotts, divestments, and sanctions (BDS) of Israel, and is supported by the Palestinian Federation of Unions of University Professors and Employees (PFUUPE).

Following in the footsteps of the growing number of US academic associations that have endorsed boycott resolutions,[12]we call on our colleagues to boycott Israeli academic institutions, and we pledge not to collaborate on projects and events involving Israeli academic institutions, not to teach at or to attend conferences and other events at such institutions, and not to publish in academic journals based in Israel. We call for doing so until such time as these institutions end their complicity in violating Palestinian rights as stipulated in international law, and respect the full rights of Palestinians by calling on Israel to:

  1. End its siege of Gaza, its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands occupied in June 1967, and dismantle the settlements and the walls;
  2. Recognize the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel and the stateless Negev Bedouins to full equality; and respect, protect, and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

For more information, please contact:

Palestine Solidarity
Dakar, Senegal
Phone: +221338259822/23

Here is the link  to the petition:


[1] Associated Press, “Israel used calorie-count to limit Gaza food during blockade, critics claim,” The Guardian, 17 October 2012,

[2] See incident report on Academic Freedom Monitor of Scholars at Risk Network,

[3] The Arab Cultural Association, Annual Summary Report 2011-12, November 2012,

[4] Campaign for the Right to Enter the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), Academia Undermined: Israeli Restrictions on Foreign National Academics in Palestinian Higher Education Institutions, May 2013,

[5] Gish Amit, “Salvage or plunder? Israel’s ‘collection’ of private Palestinian libraries in West Jerusalem,” Journal of Palestine Studies 40 (July 2011): 6-23.

[6] Also, see the following: for Haifa University,; for Technion,

12014/?type=1&theater; for Bar Ilan,

[7] Gil Eyal, “Military Establishment and Middle East Studies,” in The disenchantment of the Orient: Expertise in Arab Affairs and the Israeli State (Stanford University Press, 2008), 185-236. See also: Keller, Uri Yacobi. “The Academic Boycott of Israel and the Complicity of Israeli Academic Institutions in Occupation of Palestinian Territories.” Alternative Information Center (

[8] See The Goldstone Report, 24, and


[10] reported here:


[12] These associations are: the Critical Ethnic Studies Association (CESA), African Literature Association (ALA), Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (NAISA), Association for Humanist Sociology (AHS), Association of Asian American Studies (AAAS), and American Studies Association (ASA).

In the News: Sustainable U.S.–Africa Partnership

While the U.S.–Africa Summit met in Washington, D.C., last week, the world was reminded of several challenges faced by the African continent, as countries in West Africa battle the deadly Ebola virus and as Boko Haram attempts incursions into Cameroon as well as Nigeria. The response of the “international community” differs in each case; however, it has been as slow to respond to the Ebola virus as it was quick to offer military help to Nigeria as a counterpart to the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. And we are reminded that Libya has descended into chaos since the United States, Britain, and France sent their warplanes, drones, and warships to depose the authoritarian regime of Muammar Gaddafi just a few years ago. The United States and Great Britain have evacuated their diplomatic personnel from Libya and issued travel warnings, yet little is being said about their responsibility in this chaotic situation. The Libyan tragedy, it may be argued, clearly demonstrates the limits of the militaristic response to African problems.

Joseph Stiglitz, former Nobel Laureate, invites us in his piece for the Financial Times, through a critique of this militarism, to think about sustainable venues for building a lasting partnership between the United States and the African continent. South African President Jacob Zuma, during a forum organized by Bloomberg Philanthropies, said that it’s about time to acknowledge that Africa is changing and that the narrative ought to changed. The meeting of 40 African heads of state with the Obama Administration this past week had a similar theme. The question is how to engage in egalitarian partnerships that are not founded on militarism, paternalism, or rapacious investment policies.

In the News: “Saving” Africa

With hashtag activism working to “raise awareness” of the plight of various groups in Africa (see The CIHA Blog’s coverage of #Kony2012 here and #BringBackOurGirls here, here, and here), Adam Taylor asks in The Washington Post, “The West is obsessed with ‘saving’ Africa. Is that the problem?” He describes a Kickstarter-funded film project, Framed, which “investigates the images and myths that cast a continent as a victim.” As of now, the project’s Kickstarter has been fully funded, and the film is in production.