Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The media’s culture of fear

Do you remember the “Africanized” killer bees? Do you remember how in the 70s and 80s we were told they were coming to wipe us out?  Do you remember all those really bad movies they made about the bees? Most importantly, do you remember what happened? Absolutely nothing is what happened; the so-called killer bees are now part of the native bee population and we are all still alive.
“The hybrid bees are far more defensive than any of the various European subspecies. Small swarms of Africanized bees are capable of taking over European honey bee hives by invading the hive and establishing their own queen after killing the European queen” (really?)
Meet the latest “African threat”:  Deadly giant snail found in Houston”
“Residents of a Houston neighborhood are being warned to stay away from giant African land snails after a woman found one in her garden and snapped a photo of it. The snails, researchers warn, are potentially dangerous to touch, in part because they can carry meningitis. Scientists have warned anyone who comes in contact with them to wash their hands thoroughly”.

“There are some misconceptions out there that land snails carry harmful bacteria and diseases that people can become very ill from. That is not true so do not worry if you touch some of their slime or items they have come into contact. You do want to wash your hands well with soap and water though after handling them”.
“However, people can become ill of the snails they eat aren’t properly cooked. If you are trying new recipes then you want to make sure you follow the cooking instructions well. That way you can avoid this becoming a problem. There are plenty of terrific recipes to try too so if you don’t like snails cooked one way give a new approach a try. Not everyone is a fan of eating them though so don’t feel obligated if you aren’t comfortable with it”.
I remember as a child in Nigeria, eating these so called very “deadly giant African snails”, and the only thing I can remember is that they were delicious. None of us caught any disease or got sick because they were cooked properly.
Snails will eat your plants and mess up your garden, no doubt, but have we not heard this BS before? Why does the media try and keep us afraid? In addition, why do they continue to use Africa to do it? Africa is a continent, not a country and it is one of the most diverse continents in the world (yes it is). This giant snail that is here, if it even does causes disease, has nothing to do with Africa because it is here not there. How many cases of meningitis have actually been proven due this snail?
The continent of Africa deserves more recognition than war, poverty, disease, and death. It is most likely the birthplace of humanity and there is a rich history and many positive traditions that still exist.

Let us teach our kids about the positives of Africa shall we? Who knows, they might even enjoy learning about it.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

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