.... "For now the pig is under quarantine, we built it a room because of swine influenza," Aziz Gul Saqib, director of Kabul Zoo, told Reuters. "We've done this because people are worried about getting the flu."
"We understand that [there are no direct flights between Mexico and Afghanistan, no pig farms in Afghanistan, and no evidence whatsoever that this isolated pig could be a source of infection] but most people don't have enough knowledge. When they see the pig in the cage they get worried and think that they could get ill," Saqib said.
This sounds like a funny story about Muslim superstition or the endemic ignorance of the developing world, but it is neither. It is further evidence of the way illness is used as a metaphor -- thank you, Ms. Sontag -- by which people separate the "clean" from the "unclean." Viewed that way, locking away one poor solitary pig (dare we call it a "scape-pig"?) is actually no less ignorant -- and far more humane -- that imposing economic sanctions on Mexico, or discriminating against Mexicans living abroad.