29 April 2009

Prevention or Persecution?

There was a story today about the government of Egypt deciding that, in order to prevent "the spread of swine flu", they would destroy all the hogs at hog farms across the country.

Now, many of you may be thinking, "Wait a minute. Aren't hogs 'unclean' to Muslim*? Why would an Islamic nation even have hog farms?" Well, according to the story, the hog farms are owned by, and produce pork for, the roughly 10% Christian minority in the country.

When I first heard the story, I thought, "This sounds like an attack on Christians by certain Muslim." There was no mention of possible remuneration for destroying these business owners' (hog farmers) stock in trade. Only that the hogs would be destroyed, leaving the hog farmers with no hogs to farm, and no way to continue business.

Thanks to @infidelsarecool, who posted this story while I was writing this blog entry. The people who collect the garbage to feed the hogs are protesting in the streets because they are among Egypt's poorest, and they will be devastated if there is no market for their product. There is mention in the story of compensation for the farmers, of 1,000 Egyptian pounds (120 GBP, or about $177) per animal. But it's also stated that the farmers have "little confidence" they'd ever see any of it.

Maybe I'm wrong, but given that the consumption of pork does not cause this "swine flu", and in fact the H1N1 virus has never even been found in swine (as stated in the 2nd story), it seems to me that this so-called pandemic is being used as an excuse by governments around the world to accomplish objectives that have nothing to do with the health of their citizens.

Update 2 (2009/04/30)
I saw some tweets about Massachusetts passing a bill to authorize martial law in response to a pandemic emergency. While that is not explicitly stated in this bill, the proposed Section 2A, Paragraph (b) authorizes the governor to activate the "comprehensive emergency management plan" in case of a "public health emergency". It is unclear
whether this could include martial law.

*Because in Semitic languages, the -im suffix indicates a plural, I use "Muslim" as a plural rather than "Muslims".
†By "unclear", I mean I didn't bother to look it up, since I don't live in Massachusetts.