When travelling to West Africa you are very aware of a lot of things that can kill you. Falling planes, erratic cab drivers, Ebola and Mosquitoes.
For most people this miniscule flying missiles are a simple annoyance when you sleep, but here they are assassins. They have dipped their spears in a vile of deadly Malaria.
When one sits and enjoy a light cocktail, or a pint of beer outside in the humid air of Accra, and you hear one of those insects zoom past you, you are vigilant. A ninja. You cautiously place your beer on the table, stop conversation, listen intently and wait for the ambush. And then you swap like a crazed lunatic, trying your best to kill the little fuc..creature. Most probably only ending up looking like your waving frantically to the prostitute at the bar whilst the blood-sucking pest still lazily zooms around your head. But you will try your best. Every time. You’ll try to kill it. Before it kills you. It’s just survival of the fittest, or the fastest or the biggest.
Sadly, for male mosquitoes, the reality is that only females carry this deadly disease, which, by implication, means that they are innocent victims in the eradication of all mosquitoes by man. No one bothers catching one and investigate it’s genitalia before killing it. A mosquito’s head is also way too small to see who sports a goatee and who doesn’t. Humans kill mosquitoes, period. Condemning this insect as a murderous, relentless, ruthless abomination, going to extremes to ensure the survival of their specie. Innocence sacrificed in pursuit of vigilantism.
I’ve travelled to Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar. I’ve met several Moslems living and working in these countries. I’ve not come across one person who has a preconceived judgement based on the fact that I’m a Christian. A westerner. Maybe I was lucky. Maybe I was ignorant. Maybe it was just my charming personality. I concur that their beliefs might be different, and in some cases surprising. Especially when you consider that one can have great pasta in Jeddah, but they don’t allow you a serving of red wine. For goodness sake, pasta and wine go together like Adam and Eve. The one was created to be a companion for the other. By only serving one, you are committing culinary homicide. And there is a very specific kind of food-hell for people who does that.
Point is, we’ve seen shocking and horrific images of what ISIS are doing in Syria and Iraq in the name of Islam. Not even comprehending the atrocious and tragic killing of James Foley. And the reaction of the world is just. The retaliation warranted. Extremists and terrorists should be eradicated, as it remains a disgrace for committing violence in the name of religion. In doing so you are actually contradicting everything that religion or faith is suppose to stand for.
Watching CNN, seeing all the violent chaos breaking out around us, I’ve realised once again how dangerous it can be for mankind to generalise. Like mentioning Ebola and referencing the whole region of West Africa, even though there’s only confirmed cases in four countries.
Prejudice is rampant and alive. We are quick to assume. It might be because we don’t know better. It might be because we’re scared. We form opinions about things or groups or people just because it’s easier to judge everyone as the same, instead of allowing individuals to have a voice. Once you are willing to listen, you might find that members of an assumed group will not only contradict the general accepted opinion, but condemn it. Disassociate. (This obviously excludes politicians as they are all the same.)
But not all mosquitoes are the same. Even if they look like a mosquito, fly like a mosquito, sound like a mosquito, or make love to another mosquito, if doesn’t make them a mosquito carrying Malaria. You’re not a killer just by association. Unless they carry a gun, of course.
And the same goes for fans of comic books. Don’t assume just because I like superheroes I’m a fan of DC. I’m not. Marvel rule.