Ebola, Liberia, and the "Cult of Bankable Projects"

Ethics & International Affairs, Volume 29.1 (Spring 2015)

March 6, 2015

A nurse at an Ebola treatment unit in Liberia.

The first thing you notice is the darkness. Monrovia, Liberia’s capital, is an hour from the airstrip, and other than the occasional dimly lit chop-hut serving rice and fish, the way into the city is obscure. One is almost tempted to idealize this perfect darkness and its accompanying quiet as pristine elemental beauty, rather than what it really is: the wreckage of a disaster whose depths, as Ryszard Kapuściński writes, "condemned some to death and transformed others into monsters."

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