10:19 AM
As of Sept. 5, the number of deaths from the West Africa Ebola outbreak has surpassed 2,000. International Business Times/Hanna Sender
Since breaking the story about Thomas Eric Duncan, I have come under barrage of attacks by some who sees my action as "evil" and “bringing my own down”. What is more sickening is the comments coming from some Liberians; especially those in the Diasporas. Based on those comments, I am led to believe that the reason Ebola is spreading in Liberia is not because of the lack of education.  It is spreading because many of our people literate and illiterate have chosen to remain ignorant and indiscipline in the face of sufficient information.

What is even more troubling is the naivety of people that professed to be educated. Even more alarming is the fact that so many in the Diasporas know so little about the Ebola virus disease (EVD). Listening to CNN interview with the brother of Thomas Eric Duncan and his girlfriend Louise, made it clear that we are all at risk because of the shallow mentality of few.

The culture of silence, sweeping things under the rug, misplaced solidarity, false pride and empty nationalism has proven to be our worse enemy. Pride is not knowingly putting others in harm’s way or thinking only of oneself; it is having empathy and doing everything to protect those around you.

When the American aid workers, and MSNBC cameraman started to signs and symptoms of the Ebola virus disease, they immediately put themselves in isolation. Had it been some of our compatriots, they would have ignored the warning signs like Thomas Eric Duncan, and exposed other to the virus. Indiscipline and selfishness is one of the main reasons Ebola is spreading exponentially in Liberia. While the government may have poorly handled the disease, we are an integral part of the problem.

Thomas Eric Duncan lost his right to privacy when he knowingly and deliberately put not only his family, but also the American population at risk. His selfish action has made every Liberian and African living the US vulnerable to marginalization and stigmatization.

Over the last month, we have been fighting possible marginalization and stigmatization of our people in Minnesota only to have such cowardly behavior from one of our own. Sadly, so many of us do not believe Thomas Eric Duncan did anything wrong.  

Statements like "Oh, he was desperate, because we do not a good healthcare system in Liberia" or "He was trying to seek world class treatment", are all selfish justifications. 

What if Mr. Duncan had thought, “I know that I have been exposed to Ebola and will do everything to prevent others from contracting it"?

In the last few days, I have heard anything from "you are violating his privacy", to "you are a snitch" or "you are bringing our own down" blah, blah, blah. This leaves me to wonder whether ignorance the new solidarity.

Some will even go extra length to attack others for exposing this deliberate callousness. Amazingly, these people will do everything to hide any possible interaction with Thomas Eric Duncan, citing privacy and national solidarity.

I am asking the Liberian community in Texas to do everything possible to report all those who interacted with Thomas Eric Duncan upon his arrival in the US. This is no time for silence or protecting someone because they are our friend or relative. 

Please let us treat this crisis as a threat not only to his family but also to the Liberian/Africa population in the Diasporas. The honorable thing to do is turn everyone who may have come in contact with Thomas E. Duncan to Texas authority.

I am also calling on the Minnesota African Task-force against Ebola, the OLM and every Liberian in Minnesota to remain vigilant not only towards those we perceive might discriminate against us because of Ebola, but also towards our own people. It is now time that we come together as a community and institute a prevention strategy.

Simple things like, making it known when you have a family or relative returning from Liberia or making sure that those who return from Liberia are kept away from the general public for 21 days could make a difference. We also need to educate those living in the US about the virus. As it seem, Ebola is no longer a treat to those living in West Africa; we are all vulnerable. These are just simple considerations that could protect not only the Liberian community but also the entire Minnesota population.

It is now time that we tell our people that there is nothing degrading or shameful in contracting Ebola. What is disgraceful is ignorantly keeping it secret at peril of you and the public.

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