Ebola “State of Emergency” and “Martial Law” “Authoritarianism” vs. “Freethought” – 09/22/2014

In light of what is happening with the Ebola crisis in Africa and, unfortunately, maybe, worldwide, we may want to revisit the notions of “state of emergency” and “martial law”, their “pros” and “cons”, “uses” and “abuses”.

Liberia declared a state of emergency for 90 days due to an outbreak of the fatal disease Ebola.”

“A government may declare that the country is in a state ofemergency. This means that the government can suspend and/or change some functions of the executive, the legislative and or the judiciary during this period of time. It alerts citizens to change their normal behaviour and orders government agencies to implement emergency plans. A government can declare a state of emergency during a time of natural or man-made disaster, during a period of civil unrest, or following a declaration of war or situation of international/internal armed conflict. Justitium is its equivalent in Roman law.”

“It can also be used as a rationale for suspending rights and freedoms, even if those rights and freedoms are guaranteed under the Constitution. Some countries do not have an embedded Constitution such as the United KingdomNew Zealand and Israel. Legislation covers a state of emergency in these countries. Under the protocol of the ICCPR, rights and freedoms may be suspended during a state of emergency, for example, a government can detain citizens and hold them without trial. All rights that can be derogated from are listed in the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights. Some sources argue that non-derogable rights cannot be suspended.However this theory is contested. Emergency law does and can override non-derogatory rights during a state of emergency.
Some countries have made it illegal to modify emergency law or the constitution during the emergency, other countries have the freedom to change any legislation or rights based constitutional frameworks, at any time that the legislative chooses to do so. Constitutions are contracts between the individual government and the citizens of that Country. The International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is an international law document signed by states. Therefore the Covenant only applies to states not citizens. However signatories to the Covenant are expected to integrate it into national legislation. The state of emergency (within the ICCPR framework) must be publicly declared and the Secretary-General of the United Nations must be contacted immediately, to declare the reason for the emergency, the date on which the emergency is to start, the derogations that may take place, with the timeframe of the emergency and the date in which the emergency is expected to finish. Although this is common protocol stipulated by the ICCPR often this is not strictly followed.”

“Martial law is usually imposed on a temporary basis when the government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively (e.g., maintain order and security, or provide essential services). In full-scale martial law, the highest-ranking military officer would take over, or be installed, as the military governor or ashead of the government, thus removing all power from the previous executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government.
Martial law can be used by governments to enforce their rule over the public. Such incidents may occur after a coup d’état(such as Thailand in 2006 and 2014); when threatened by popular protest (China, Tiananmen Square protests of 1989); to suppress political opposition (Poland in 1981); or to stabilize insurrections or perceived insurrections (Canada, The October Crisis of 1970). Martial law may be declared in cases of major natural disasters; however, most countries use a different legal construct, such as a state of emergency.”

“Martial law has also been imposed during conflicts and in cases of occupations, where the absence of any other civil government provides for an unstable population. Examples of this form of military rule include post World War IIreconstruction in Germany and Japan as well as the southernreconstruction following the U.S. Civil War.
Typically, the imposition of martial law accompanies curfews, the suspension of civil lawcivil rightshabeas corpus, and the application or extension of military law or military justice to civilians. Civilians defying martial law may be subjected tomilitary tribunal (court-martial).”

In the case of Africa, the civilian population has historical reasons to be suspicious of government initiatives that, more often than not, can be examples of “authoritarianism”, more particularly “racial and ethnic democracy”.

“Racial and ethnic “democracies” are those in which “certain racial or ethnic groups enjoy full democratic rights while others are largely or entirely denied those rights,” such as in South Africa under apartheid. The far-reaching implications of denying a different group republican privileges can contribute to the typically highly negative popular and international views of these types of governments.”

“Authoritarianism is a form of government characterized by absolute or blind  obedience to authority, as against individual freedom and related to the expectation of unquestioningobedience.
Juan Linz, whose 1964 description of authoritarianism is influential, characterized authoritarian regimes as political systems by four qualities: (1) “limited, not responsible, political pluralism“; that is, constraints on political institutions and groups (such as legislaturespolitical parties and interest groups), (2) a basis for legitimacy based on emotion, especially the identification of the regime as a necessary evil to combat “easily recognizable societal problems” such asunderdevelopment or insurgency; (3) neither “intensive nor extensive political mobilization” and constraints on the mass public (such as repressive tactics against opponents and a prohibition of anti-regime activity) and (4) “formally ill-defined” executive power, often shifting or vague.

Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds opinions should be formed on the basis of logicreason and empiricism, rather thanauthoritytradition, or other dogmas. The cognitive application of freethought is known as “freethinking”, and practitioners of freethought are known as “freethinkers”. After World War II there was a strong sense of anti-authoritarianism based on anti-fascism in Europe. This was attributed to the active resistance from occupation and to fears arising from the development of superpowers. Anti-authoritarianism also became associated with countercultural and bohemian movements such as the Beat Generation in the 1950s, the hippies in the 1960s and punksin the 1970s.”

Maybe the first step to eradicate epidemics, of any kind, is a strong injection of “freethinking”……
A line from “Clifford’s Credo” by the 19th-century British mathematician and philosopher William Kingdon Clifford perhaps best describes the premise of freethought: “It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.””

Traditional African medicine, with its belief that illness is not derived from chance occurrences, but through spiritual or social imbalance, differs greatly from Western medicine, which is technically and analytically based. In the 21st century, modern pharmaceuticals and medical procedures remain inaccessible to large numbers of African people due to their relatively high cost and concentration of health centres in urban centres.”

In the case of Western medicine response to Ebola crisis in Africa it would mean “separating the wheat from the chaff” in the advice of “traditional medicine” “doctors” who keep control on their “clientele” including the “disease spreading” procedures of “washing the deceased” Ebola patients before “traditional” burials, when getting in contact, without sufficient protection,  with the deceased fluids is a guarantee of contracting the deadly infection ending with an average of over 60% deaths, including the “burials practitioners”…….:+(


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