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Notes and Reflections on Books and Media

by Hannah Leitheiser


Sleeping Sickness

Fleming Mant SANDWITH


Finished a book on sleeping sickness (1912). Near the end, was a short poem lamenting trying to understand and solve the problem of the disease for the Africans:

"...And bid the sickness cease ;
And when your goal is nearest,

The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen folly

Bring all your hope to nought.

Take up the white man's burden — "

Although it's been over a hundred years, and it's no longer in vogue to draw as stalk lines of civilized and savage based on skin color, this basic dynamic remains. Often you have one group -- the educated, the professionals, the officials trying to achieve some goal for a group of people and complaining, "If they'd just do what we say! How can they be so ignorant?!" And you have the people who say, "Go away, we were just fine before you showed up!" Is there ever really a resolve?