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A humanitarian aid worker with an Ebola survivor
A humanitarian aid worker with an Ebola survivor
Rémi Barroux

MACENTA — Just a few months ago, people would queue outside the shop of Jean Segbé Bavogui, 41, a tailor in Banizé, a neighborhood outside the Guinea town of Macenta. But the small workshop is now empty. Bavogui hasn't seen any clients or received any orders for over a month. Even the well outside his door where his neighbors used to collect water has been deserted. This is all because Bavogui is an Ebola survivor, which makes him a damned man in the eyes of his community.

Bavogui was infected by his wife Jeanne, becoming sick on Sept. 28 just as his wife was being released from the hospital — cured. As soon as the first symptoms appeared, he rushed to the treatment center in Guéckédou, which is run by Doctors Without Borders, before going through the living hell that the disease creates for patients: vomiting, diarrhea, fever and bleeding.

"I thought I was going to die," he says. "Three other patients in my room passed away. I wanted to call my brother, who was taking care of my children, to tell them goodbye."

The tailor is among the lucky ones. Between 50% and 80% of those infected die from the virus — 1,192 patients of the 1,971 infected since the beginning of the outbreak in March, according to the Guinean Health Ministry. Doctors declared Bavogui "healthy" Oct. 5 and gave him a certificate to confirm he was cured and carried an immunity against the virus.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Sergey Lavrov, Putin’s Decoy-In-Chief

The Russian Foreign Minister, among the country’s most recognizable figures, embodies both the corruption and confusion of the Putin regime. Not everything is what it seems — and that’s the point.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a diplomatic reception for heads of African diplomatic missions

Anna Akage

From the outside, one might have the impression that the Russian Federation is run through a highly complex and well-coordinated apparatus that ensures that any single cog in Vladimir Putin’s system is by definition both in synch with the other cogs — and utterly replaceable. The Kremlin appears to us through this lens as an impregnable citadel with long arms and peering eyes that are literally everywhere.

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And yet, this is a completely false picture — and there’s no greater proof than in looking more closely at one of Russia's most prominent figures, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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