this house believes that africa is the heart of darkness
Debate Rounds (3)
BillyTal posited a thesis that Africa is the "heart of darkness" insomuch as it is a continent riddled with "deadly diseases." On these grounds I will argue a counter-thesis that Europe has historically battled deadlier diseases, and is also largely responsible for the present-day ailments in Africa.
I will argue my first point on the bases of two examples: the Bubonic plague, and the 1918 Spanish Influenza. The Bubonic plague is a commonly known event in the annals of history.
This disease, first appearing in the mid-14th century, exterminated approximately 50 million people in just fifty years, while many more also suffered through symptomatic gruesome black pus-filled pustules. This disease affected large swaths of people, but perhaps none quite like the Europeans. Worldwide, the bubonic plague claimed approximately 12.5% of the population. In comparison to Europe's population, those dead range from an estimated 20-30%. The Bubonic plague continued its assault over a span of 400 years. In summary, David Perlin and Ann Cohen write:
"Plague epidemics ravaged London in 1563, 1593, 1603, 1625, 1636, and 1665, reducing its population by 10 to 30 percent during those years. The Italian plague of 1630 claimed between 35 and 69 percent of the population. The German plagues between 1709 and 1713 were equally devastating, and in 1720, plague reduced the population of Marseille by 40 percent. The bubonic plague is believed to have killed 137 million people during its 400-year reign of terror."
Secondly, I ask you to consider the lesser known Spanish Influenza of 1918. Appearing at the end of the first world war, the Spanish flu killed upwards of 40 million people over the course of one year; more deaths than those sustained during World War I in the years prior. This one-year death toll practically matches the heavy casualties the bubonic plague caused over its initial four-year period. Like the bubonic plague, the Spanish Flu likely originated closer to Asia, however both diseases took a particular favor with European victims, with its name coming from the heavy moralities sustained early in parts of Spain. This disease infected approximately one-fifth of the world's population, spreading easily to soldiers of many nationalities huddled in trenches in the plains of France and Germany.
Lastly, I shall succinctly state the last half of my thesis, namely that Europe is to blame for present woes in Africa. In the American worldview, many people contribute characteristics of hunger and disease to Africa. However Africa has not always been lacking in resources from which to treat hunger and disease. It was the 19th-Century "Scramble for Africa" that saw several European countries rush into Africa to forcefully seize African natural resources with little payment, often subjecting the locals to slavery in order to harvest such resources. The heavy-sustained harvesting on African resources caused large-scale soil-deprivation, which still affects the continent. Secondly, as far as disease goes, the sex-trafficking and prostitution the Europeans subjected on African women during the same time period resulted in rampant STD contraction. With high rates of disease, a low condition of life, and diminished resources, Africa is presently ailed with many tragic diseases such as AIDS and Ebola. However, before we take that fact at face value, we ought to look deeper into the proponents of the conditions that allowed those diseases to take hold of the African continent.
Europe therefore is a better candidate than Africa to be labeled the "heart of darkness."
BillyTal forfeited this round.
BillyTal forfeited this round.
4SCOREand7 forfeited this round.
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