Posts Tagged ‘Black Death’

The Return of the Black Death

March 6, 2014

I also found another email from Melanie Jones, when I checked my email. Watchdog.net is concerned about an outbreak of bubonic plague in Madagascar.

Dear David Hoffman,

The bubonic plague once wiped a third of the world’s population — and now, Black Death is sparking one of the worst outbreaks globally in years.

Black Death has already killed 20 villagers after a sudden outbreak in Madagascar, and the Red Cross warns the island nation is at risk of a plague epidemic. Even worse, strains of the disease seem to be spreading, and may even be mutating to populate at lower elevations.

The World Health Organization needs to send help to Madagascar, and to keep this potentially deadly disease from spreading. With antibiotics, bubonic plague is now treatable — but without them, this devastating illness will cause lymph swelling, pustules, gangrene, and an agonizing death.

That’s a fate no one should suffer — and a problem we can’t afford to ignore. Please, join us in calling on WHO to start beating this plague virus back, treating victims and keeping it from spreading!

PETITION TO THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: Don’t ignore the bubonic plague outbreak in Madagascar. Help the Red Cross keep it from being an epidemic, sending medicine and stopping it from spreading the other nations.

Click here to sign — it just takes a second.

Thanks,
— The folks at Watchdog.net

P.S. If the other links aren’t working for you, please go here to sign: http://act.watchdog.net/petitions/4115?n=59053903.CFWH_H

This is a serious problem and I certainly hope that the World Health Organization is doing everything it can to help the victims in Madagascar and to prevent the spread of this disease. I have no problem with Melanie Jone’s message or petition. I just wonder what good signing this petition is going to do. I doubt that the World Health Organization is going to pay any attention to an online petition. I imagine that the WHO is already doing what it can with the resources at its disposal. If they are not, no petition is going to make the people in charge change their minds.

This is why I don’t usually sign online petitions. I think that online petitions are just a way for people to think they are making a difference without actually doing anything to make a difference. Clicking like buttons on Facebook or signing petitions is actually worse than useless because it leads to a sense of complacency that might discourage any real effort to help resolve the problem. There is little or nothing I can do about the bubonic plague in Madagascar and I am not going to delude myself into thinking that typing my name while sitting on my butt is actually doing something.

 

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Europe in the High Middle Ages

March 25, 2013

Europe in the High Middle Ages by William Chester Jordan is the third book in the series The Penguin History of Europe. The High Middle Ages is the name given to the period of medieval history from 1000 to 1350. During these years, European civilization reached heights not seen in the West since the fall of the Roman Empire. The political situation in Europe stabilized somewhat, trade increased, cities grew, universities were established and learning flourished. The nations of Europe ceased to be helpless victims of foreign invasion and, through the Crusades even began to project power outside the continent.

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Although the nations of Europe began to take their modern shape during the high middle ages, political power was extremely decentralized, especially in France, more than in the period immediately before and afterwards. The Papacy became more prominent on the international stage and powerful Popes could even challenge kings and emperors for influence.  It all ended in the middle fourteenth century with a change in climate that caused a decade of famine. Then the horrors of the Black Death struck Europe in 1349. No institution in Europe survived unscathed, and the optimism and vitality of the High Middle Ages was gone. When Europe began to recover from these disasters, it was no longer the Middle Ages, but the Renaissance, and the West was moving in a new direction.

 

William Chester Jordan brings this fascinating period of history to life in his book. Like the other books in The Penguin History of Europe, The High Middle Ages focuses less on a detailed chronology of events and more on a general overview of cultural and historic developments, especially including the political development of the emerging nation states of Europe and their relationship with the Papacy. There is also a lot of information on the intellectual trends of the High Middle Ages as well as a good account of how it all seemed to fall apart in the fourteenth century. Unfortunately, the author breaks of the story in 1350, just as the Black Death is ravaging Europe, leading to a kind of cliffhanger effect. He also doesn’t give much space for the influences of Islamic culture on Europe’s development. Still, I can recommend Europe in the High Middle Ages for anyone who wants to learn more about that fascinating period of history.

 

 


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