The Marburg virus: contained outbreak or Ebola 2.0?
by Neo Allert
Ghana has confirmed several cases of the deadly Marburg virus, which belongs to the same family of viruses as Ebola. Being discovered in 1967, this disease is highly infectious and incredibly dangerous as it kills approximately half of those infected. Causing painful symptoms (e.g. fever and muscle pains), it often leads to death through extreme blood loss and shock after eight to nine days. There have been several outbreaks in the last 20 years, leaving hundreds dead.
Although those currently suffering from the Marburg virus in Ghana have died (all their contacts being quarantined), fear is spreading across west Africa. Nigeria’s Centre for Disease Control stated that it is on high alert, with heightened medical surveillance and attention being put in place. The risk of cases being imported from Ghana has been described as ‘moderate’. There still remains hope that a major outbreak can be prevented.
Polygamy and Feminist Movements in the Ivory Coast
by Kate Nuttall
Last month, a bill to legalise polygamy was introduced in the Ivory Coast by Member of Parliament Yacouba Sangaré. Polygamy is the practice of having more than one spouse at the same time. It can however also refer to non-marital relationships. The proposal has been met with controversy and many strong reactions online, including from feminist organisations. Many feminists disagree with the principal, stating that polygamy is inherently discriminatory towards women.
Nevertheless, the Ivory Coast has experienced a number of political and social changes contributing to more gender equality in the last few years. Bills have been passed in the Ivory Coast to increase representation of women in political spheres. In December 2021, hundreds of women protested in Abidjan to raise awareness for the UN’s violence against women campaigns. Gender-based discrimination is becoming more recognised in the Ivory Coast: the discourse around this potential bill seems to add to the ongoing conversation.
Rescue dogs shot and killed in Qatar
by Eleanor Austin
Outrage, hurt and anger has been felt online this week after it was revealed that 29 dogs had been shot and killed in Qatar. Four men, two with rifles, threatened guards and entered a secure dog rescue facility and opened fire. The reason for this attack has not yet been verified, with some suggesting a child of one of the men had been bitten by a dog. The facility, where dogs are cared for by the community, has disputed this, highlighting the secure nature of their site.
For Qatar, preparing to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup later in the year, this is only the latest event in a string of controversies. Despite the suspects being identified, many doubt that justice will be seen after this attack. Even though animal protection laws exist, they are rarely upheld. Hence, further attacks against these animals are likely, as they most often go unpunished.
Journalist’s breach of religious rule risks souring Israel–Saudi Arabia relations
by Connor Crout
A Saudi Arabian has been arrested on suspicion of helping a non-Muslim journalist enter the holy city of Mecca. The journalist, Gil Tamary from Israel’s Channel 13, filmed himself entering the city in defiance of the non-Muslim ban on the city.
A non-Muslim who attempts to enter Mecca can face penalties such as fines. Non-Muslims who are caught whilst inside the city will often find themselves deported from the sacred grounds. Non-Muslims have not been allowed to enter holy city since the Conquest of Mecca roughly in 630 AD, when the Islamic prophet Muhammad led an army of 10,000 Muslim men to defeat the Quraysh tribe.
Israel and Saudi Arabia have never had the best international diplomatic relations, with Saudi Arabia having imposed a trade boycott against Israel. Gil Tamary’s actions could further sour these relations.