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Sirleaf’s obvious insensitivity toward Thomas Eric Duncan reminds me of what she said about Patrick Oliver Sawyer

By Tewroh-Wehtoe Sungbeh                            Thomas Eric Duncan



Thomas Eric Duncan is dead.

He died not in the loving arms of his teenage son and the love of his life, Louise Troh; he died in the Ebola wing of the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas.

Yes Dallas; Governor Rick Perry’s backyard, and home state of senator Ted Cruz. You know them? That’s another article.

Duncan joined his fiancé and the son he hadn’t seen for over a decade, and ended up in that part of Texas.

Prior to his departure for the US in this Ebola era, he reportedly assisted a pregnant neighbor in Monrovia who had been sick with the Ebola virus, and later passed away.

Thomas Eric Duncan’s troubles with the Ebola virus and the (racial) politics of Ebola that eventually took his own life faraway from his country started from that fatal encounter with his young neighbor.

Why did he even touched or provide assistance to the young lady in these Ebola times knowing she had the virus, and knowing he was about to leave for the country that could change his life for the best?

This question and other questions, I want to believe continued to pour out of our unguarded mouths in the wake of Duncan’s illness and eventual death.

However, at one point in our lives, we have been told to always provide assistance to those in need. And when something bad happens, as was the case with brother Duncan, we just have to live with the painful reality of our decision, or die with it knowing that we helped others.

In life, pre-Ebola Duncan was an unknown Liberian who was minding his own business trying to navigate the tough living conditions in Liberia.

In death, Duncan became famous for the wrong reasons for “knowingly” lying on his application to come to the US with Ebola, to infect others.

Truth is, I don’t believe Duncan’s knowingly lied on his application to come to the US, after he knew he had Ebola.

He showed no sign of the virus during the application process, but started showing signs of the virus after he arrived in Dallas, Texas on September 20. He later walked into the emergency room of the hospital on his own on the night of September 25, and told those people that he just arrived from Liberia, consider the “epicenter” of the virus.

A very sick Duncan did the right thing by turning himself in voluntarily to the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, with a 103-degree temperature reading. The obviously incompetent, untrained, confused and perhaps racist medical staffers at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas turned Mr. Duncan away.

Do you blame the sick patient from Liberia who turned himself in knowing he had Ebola, or do you blame the hospital that turned him away; when the hospital could have rushed to treat the man immediately to save his life and contain the spread of the virus?

And why did it take days to treat Mr. Duncan, when the experimental Zmapp drug was immediately rushed to Liberia to treat Dr. Kent Brantly and missionary Nancy Writebol, both of whom were transferred to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta? Both former patients made it through and are now happily reunited with their families and friends.

Did Mr. Duncan’s race; nationality and politics had anything to do with the delay and the confusion that surrounded his treatment?

As Mr. Duncan laid sick in his hospital bed, our own Liberian government and Madame Sirleaf unleashed her usual unpatriotic and Un-Liberian venom at the sick man, threatening him with prosecution for knowingly telling lies on his application that he did not come in contact with anyone with Ebola.

“The fact that he knew (he was exposed to the virus) and he left the country is unpardonable, quite frankly,” She said.

“The U.S. doing so much to help us fight Ebola, and again one of our compatriots didn’t take due care, and so, he’s gone there and … put some Americans in a state of fear, and put them at some risk, and so I feel very saddened by that and very angry with him, to tell you the truth,” Sirleaf said again.

Remember Patrick Oliver Sawyer?

This is the same Madame Sirleaf who went on a vicious Un-Liberian tirade when she publicly berated Mr. Sawyer, who was also sick in Nigeria at the time with the Ebola virus. Sawyer later passed away in Nigeria.

The Liberian president, bowing to international pressure for showing incompetence in her fight to contain Ebola, told the public that Mr. Sawyer showed “indiscipline and disrespect” when he knowingly traveled with the Ebola virus on a plane to Nigeria.

When did it become “hip” and presidential for a sitting president to publicly berate an ailing fellow citizen, who is fighting for his or her dear life in another country?

Playing to the drums of her foreign friends, which perhaps ought to be done privately or not done at all, is one thing. Showing compassion to comfort the tormented and bereaved families, and reaching out to the country during this Ebola era when Liberians are suffering and dying at home and abroad, would have won Madame Sirleaf some points as a caring and compassionate leader.

Madame now wants to have the dictatorial power to restrict the movement of Liberians. This is a no, and a breach of the rights of all Liberians.

As a slap in her face, Liberians all over the world and in Liberia, should take to the streets of major cities and town to protest the Sirleaf administration, and ask her to resign.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf got to go!

Madame Sirleaf is known to enable corruption and nepotism, and has never prosecuted any member of her family or inner circle.

Why threatened to prosecute an ailing Liberian, or say bad things about the individuals in their deathbeds, in the first place?

There is a need for accountability.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf cannot continue on the current paths of insensitivity and recklessness, as if Liberians are supposed to sit down supinely, be quiet, and take the abuse and enjoy it.

Those days are no more!

It is time for Ellen Johnson Sirleaf to resign.




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