The Silent Killer

Imagine reading one of the leading newspapers in the country and coming upon the local and general section. You read about current court cases, the recent parade happening downtown etc. and then you read that yet another person has died from the plague. You think about how devastating the plague has been to the country… Wait there’s a plague? In the middle of the 1905 summer on June 16, the Egyptian Gazette reported that another person has died from the plague in a hospital in Damanhour. This report in the newspaper took up literally 2 lines and was probably over looked by the majority of readers. To me it seems that a widespread plague should receive a little more attention than that. Actually a lot more attention. What was the death toll at this point? How far had the plague spread? Are there any treatments being developed for the disease? What are the symptoms? All seem like plausible questions to be asked and reported on by the newspaper but haven’t been. They treated the plague as if it were just as common as the weather report. In only 2 other pages in my week was the plague reported, each being no longer than the report on the 16th. This odd occurrence begs the question of why hadn’t the newspaper reported something of this magnitude more rigorously? Also it brings up the chilling question of what if the newspaper did it on purpose. What if they had an alternative motive? Regardless of alternative motive or blatant ignorance, the population was being misled regarding the matter of the plague. What else were they being misled about?

Will Hanley
Will Hanley
Associate Professor of History

I study the legal history of the Middle East and teach at Florida State University.