Journalists get trampled in rallies. Protesters try to smash rocks in their faces, while stealing their equipment.

Conspiracy theorists believe they are spies. When bullets start whizzing, landmines blowing up, they have no protection.

When journalists get too close to a truth that a violent thug wants to keep hidden, they are chased down, scared off, made to disappear.

Malaria also kills journalists.

Boris Fleuranceau was 35, a radio journalist for Radio France International, based in France, but often traveling to Africa.

He died on August 30th after battling a terrible malaria attack.

It’s possible, even for a rich man in the 21st century, with the best meds, best care. It can hit you real hard, destroy so much of your cells, that there is no coming back.

Boris was tired. He had just been on a difficult trip to Cameroon. He followed that up with his first trip to the rebel held north of Ivory Coast, for a somewhat delusionary peace ceremony. He was being followed around by an Ivorian presidential media control team.

The fancy hotels were full, so he was put up in a shack auberge, and ended up being bombarded by some particularly nasty malaried mosquitoes. He would not survive the barrage, even though his body clung on for several weeks. Going up north, he had been happy to see Yamoussoukro’s basilica, one of the Ivorian mirages, which surprisingly has yet to be engulfed by nature.

Malaria will knock you over if you have another serious ailment. If it’s in you, the slightest ailment will turn itself into malaria.

So many small children and pregnant women in Africa, their bodies weak, don’t survive bad attacks. Some children who survive are stunted their whole lives.

I’ve had several malaria bouts, which I described once partly as “having a filthy dirty rag wrapped air tight around the inside of my brain and I can smell it rotting.”

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