This simple enough map by the BBC News illustrates the spread of cholera in Zimbabwe and, by extension, the years of infrastructural neglect, failed land policies, and a world community too impotent to deal with humanitarian crises. Confirming that no disease cares much for arbitrary lines drawn on pieces of (digital) paper, it also shows the epidemic crossing international borders into South Africa.
The abstraction is powerfully unnerving, for it belies the human tragedies on the ground: barren farms, shuttered schools, empty hospitals. In Harare, “manhole covers in the streets hemorrhage water because underground pipes have burst” only to be mirrored inside homes, during the night, by bodies draining of fluids.
As a review and a prediction, this is the year nearly finished and will be the year nearly here.
This is now and the future, everywhere.