La Influenza Porcina

I have to be amazed at the human condition sometimes when I read the news, the H1N1 virus, or as it is also known as swine flu, scares the living lights out of some people, as it should, it is after all an illness, whether it is as serious as it was formerly thought it would be or not, the regular flu, if there is one, takes the lives of many every year.

A recent story in the news is that a group of “religious” people prevented a few volunteers from posting flyers and passing them out to people passing by one of the mosques in Jeddah… I do not find that very funny or amusing… but disturbing. The men were volunteers handing out educational material.

This material is medical in nature… which is better than “the burn some incense of so and so to ward off the H1N1 virus” email that has been circulating, which for some reason I never hear the religious establishment refuting.

However the flyers were banned because they contain pictures of “those with spirits”, lets just forget that they have their pictures all over television in Ramadan and out of Ramadan, and the money they handle has pictures of Saudi Kings on them.

It is not just people in the Muslim world of course that are terrified of H1N1, but I found a video of Jewish rabbis flying over Tel Aviv chanting prayers and blowing horns to ward off the influenza porcina virus.

p.s. I just wanted to write influenza porcina instead of the swine flu… just sounds better to me.

Piggy bank



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17 thoughts on “La Influenza Porcina

  1. This story was all over the news today my dear Qusay!
    I thought it was a joke at first. But…

    P.S. My mother has it. And at least 45 members of my family have tested positive for H1N1.

  2. Sorry to hear about your mother and family members getting that, I hope all of them are doing well… I am sure you can dispel some of the myths now 🙂

    Thanks for your comment.

  3. While conserving religiosity might be important, it should never come at the expense of health. Swine flu might be a rather lame virus (no promises on how bad it could mutate though :s), but even the slightest risk should never take precedence over religious issues.

    Remember the time when they prevented schoolgirls from escaping a burning building because they were in there without 3abayas? That was way more extreme but is also an indication of how bad it could get if these people are given free reign.

  4. I think religion and science shouldn’t mix. So far the deaths due to the swine flue are relative low but daily the media tell us about the spreading of the flue and the possible treats.

    By the way when I reach your page I was puzzled for a second…i wonderd myself if I reached the right page since the title is in italian 🙂 there’s a tiny mistake it should be L’influenza porcina

  5. A note to clarify what happened:
    The pamphlet wasn’t allowed in the mosque. But they were free to distribute it at the door outside the mosque.
    So the question should be : Should imams allow pamphlets with full human pictures posted inside the mosque?
    I’ve asked at least a dozen people after friday prayer today and they all said no, full picture should never be allowed inside the mosque!
    Beats the hell out of me 🙂

  6. After I stopped laughing at La influenza porcina (in Spanish) or L’influenza porcina (Italian), I found this all rather sad. It reminded me that while Saudi is doing so much right about public health, the Haj, and “swine flu” they continue to increase anxiety by testing for it routinely and reporting deaths from it in the newspaper, whereas other countries have stopped doing so, since it is most often mild, less easily transmitted than “regular flu”, and has caused far fewer deaths. Most countries now only test for it in those with flu symptoms requiring hospitalization (eg for dehydration, other complications–usually in the medically compromised, very young, and very old since those 2 age groups have poor immune responses).

    Since I and my nephew both had it in June and after 5 days of high fever, sneezing, coughing, achiness and fatigue recovered fully (I had the usual post-viral cough X 2-3 weeks, and he had the kid’s extra couple of days of feeling unwell), I know from experience that it is unpleasant but most often a non-issue, especially for those who live in countries where flu is an annual ritual. On the other hand I was banished from family gatherings, including Father’s Day until the cough was gone and I sent scientific evidence by email that I hadn’t infected my nephew and wasn’t contagious X3 weeks.

    Bottom lines of prevention: wash your hands, cough into your sleeve, avoid other people’s sneezes, get regular annual flu shot
    Extra precautions necessary only for the immunocompromised.

    Bottom line of treatment: rest, good hygiene and diet, drink alot of fluids, the Advil/ Panadol/ Tylenol anti-fever, anti-pain medication of your choice
    Extra treatment eg Doctor or hospital visit only for the immunocompromised or very severely affected.

    The CDC notices are scientifically good on the H1N1 virus, and the pandemic of mild flu:

    or for the hispanophiles:

    and for me paisani (no H1N1 but handwashing for prevention):

    et les francophones

    NB picture (warning a little “one with a spirit” and a porcine friend, and major tooooo cuuuuuteness, or gross depending on your perspective):

    Saudi Aspire–I hope your mother and other family members affected have mild cases only, and that the rest of you are spared. Thanks for the further clarification.

    Country Girl–grazie per l’inspirazione


    Qusay–another excellent post!

    Will go back now to laughing at “La influenza porcina” LOL 🙂

  7. PS to my comment waiting moderation–Can you imagine the reaction to a similar video of imams reciting the Quran while flying over MENA countries? or to the reality of it? WWIII methinks!

  8. i honestly thought that we were over the whole pictures with visible faces have souls and are therefor prohibited.. specially when you see posters with faces in the streets again..

    i stand corrected..

  9. As you said, you would think that… but have in mind that they blur the faces on the posters!, and the faces on the posters and/or pamphlets in the mosques.

    Thanks for passing by and leaving a comment.

  10. A small number of people have died from the swine flu in this country, but all of them had related medical complaints, just as many people die every year of the standard flu, the media has blown this flu up out of all proportion to its virulence.
    Just take adequate precautions – like washing your hands well frequently and using a tissue to cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing and you should not catch this flu or any other.

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