Racism during Covid-19

Racism during Covid-19

This is the most discussed topic in the world at the moment, and as such it requires a systemic analysis.

Ever since the appearance of Covid-19 in China, local medics have warned Europe about the high risk of the disease. In the west, only China was spoken of, ignoring massive warnings from neighboring countries such as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Voices from the US called the Chinese "uncivilized, unclean, filthy beyond all conception, without any of the higher domestic or social relations" [1] and the like. Even in the WHO, there was a split between whites and Asians, as whites claimed it was a common flu that China couldn't cope with [2]. From right-wing parties in Europe, racism started to be more contagious than the virus itself and the media in the US, and then in Europe, began to repeat the allegations of incompetent Chinese carriers of the virus. In itself, this racism has not allowed the West to review the early measures packages of all Asian countries, which so far have incredibly few cases of the virus because of their "primitive" early measures.

The most sincere demonstration of racism was the neglect of the threat by Italy. But when the virus arrived in Italy, the jokes about inadequate primates and the like suddenly disappeared. Still, people think they can catch a coronavirus from Chinese food, but not pizza. Right-wing politicians and their supporters have now found even new methods to mock China and to blame them, even though the country and their population are ready to help anyone fight the virus. The new view is that they are responsible for it because they brought it to us with their primitive way of life. At the same time, they have been blamed for eating bats, which turned out to be the custom in a different Asian country, not China [3]. Both media and politicians ignore the statistics about other Asian countries, their progress and ways to take care of the virus even if they have a lot more tourists and traveling businessmen from China.

The racism against Chinese people is not something new in the western world, here is a small video about its history:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=77&v=zmcpLUm3EeM&feature=emb...

In modern times before Covid-19:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rX8jZTN0CdU&feature=emb_logo

After Covid19:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_IyTxRNUYk&feature=emb_logo
https://youtu.be/c09m5f7Gnic?t=953

Busting the myth about bat eating:
https://observers.france24.com/en/20200203-china-coronavirus-bat-soup-de...

Actually eating bats was common in Italy: The consumption of bat meat in Europe has been scarce, not only because of repugnance, but also because of the size of European bats, which being all insectivores are also small[4]. In the past it has been recorded the custom of the peasants of Costozza (in the province of Vicenza, Italy) to eat bats [5], especially horseshoe bats [6]. After World War II the bats of Costozza’s caves were almost extinct „for the ruthless hunting that the natives make of them, at the time of the grape, in order to assimilate them with the most tasty little birds [7]." In 1959 it was reported that „in some places [of Italy], for example in Liguria and Veneto regions, the bats are or were used as food [8]." The current Italian law no. 157/1992 includes bats in the so-called „particularly protected“ wildlife and punishes the killing, capture, or detention of specimens with two to eight months of jail time or a fine of 774 to 2065 euros.

WAR OF IDEOLOGIES

When they discovered the first 15 cases of Covid-19 in America, Trump said they had already took care of the situation and the cases would drop to almost 0 because the cases were already in good condition [9]. However, this was a war of ideologies and propaganda, because none of the detected cases was cured, and it did not tend to be cured any time soon. Then Trump announced that the virus was not dangerous or so contagious at all. He also publicly declared the Chinese regime guilty: "China's communist government keeps its people hungry, they are hungry and weak, so they have a coronavirus." With a wide embrace, all right-wingers have come to believe that the Chinese regime is responsible for the mortality in Wuhan, although this was not backed by science except for ideological warfare.

Unlike the media, many countries have adopted measures to disseminate it. It is interesting, however, that as in a textbook, leftist governments have opted for action earlier, while the Right in Europe has supported Trump's strategy. It was during this period that very interesting statistics began to be seen in Asia, despite the strict measures of all China neighbors, Taiwan and Vietnam being the safest. The West does not follow the example of Vietnam because "they are communists" and quickly accepted the narrative that they had no healthcare system and did not locate the sick.

Why not capitalist Taiwan then? First of all, because Taiwan is not in the WHO. There is ideological war between Taiwan and China. The country is embarking on a path of democracy that annoys Beijing authorities and they are trying to exclude their neighbor from worldly life - one of those actions is to prevent Taiwan from entering the WHO.

The Chinese play a huge role in world medicine, offering a large percentage of the equipment and medicaments worldwide, and the World Health Organization [10] is pressured to comply with them and refuses Taiwan's involvement to maintain relations with China. Only a small example of Taiwan's success is the lack of quarantines; they have only 298 cases (all of them have arrived in the country) as everyone who arrives in the country is checked by GPS on their phone and if they have arrived from a country with even a few sick people, are being immediately sent to mandatory quarantine. Although they have proven 100% effective in combating the coronavirus, the West is closing its trade routes with Taiwan, blocking 60% of the country's economy. We are unlikely to learn for the reason for this blockage of Taiwan, but it is highly likely that the representative democracies will need help from China.

Fortunately, many media outlets have collected information about the information eclipse caused by the United States. The Washington Post has a great selection of Trump's manipulative remarks [11], many of which you've probably heard in the native media, to extract just a few quotes:

“The flu in our country kills from 25,000 to 69,000 people a year. That was shocking to me. And so far, if you look at what we have with the 15 people and their recovery, one is, one is pretty sick, but hopefully will recover, but the others are in great shape.”

"The flu in our country kills 25,000 people to 69,000 people a year. That was shocking to me. And so far, if you look we have 15 people and they are recovering, one is quite sick, but we hope to recover, but the others are in great shape."

“I think the 3.4 percent is really a false number."

Dan Patrick has even said that the old people would like to take the risk, to save the economy.[12]

THE ECONOMIC WAR

It was the hardest blow to society as we know it. Eastern medics (the victim of several epidemics over the last 30 years) have explained that the virus can be controlled by early measures by breaking the spread. This practice has been tested in recent epidemics and proven effective. In Asia, countries such as Japan and China, which have been in economic warfare for years, have managed to shake their hands at the highest levels to fight the contagion, overcoming their differences. In the West, however, things were not so logical. The spoiled Europe refused to take early measures and refused to place citizens arriving from at-risk areas into forced quarantine because "this is not the way of democracy"; voluntary quarantine has proved ineffective because people simply do not respect it. The West has refused to harass tourist regions such as ski resorts and the like because it will lead to big losses for the economy. Even after hundreds of cases were detected, even thousands of cases, the politicians did not responded. Economists continued to press politicians to not jeopardize business as usual. While the WHO had already realized that they had underestimated the virus and urged countries such as Italy, England, USA, Spain and Germany to take serious action, the West listened to economists and billionaires because of the fears of becoming impoverished. Even then, China warned our countries that the earlier the measures, the less impact the global economy would have.

Thus, economists have launched a new type of war, unprecedented in modern representative democracies, a virus against the economy. For example, borders for travelers between some countries were closed but commercial channels were left open. The US announced the closure of trade channels with the EU, but not England, although at that time it was already known that England was spreading coronavirus around the world and it was an economic decision unrelated to the prevention of the infection. Measures in a very large number of countries seemed more economically oriented to distort competitive economies than logical actions. Economists have pressed against any measure, insisting that Western medicine is much more advanced than China's and that the risk of the virus is much lower than the collapse of the economy, which can be triggered by stringent measures.

So the scenario is like the Spanish flu, but instead of a world war we have an economic one. Italy fell first in the grip of the virus. Unlike China, in our society, much of the healthcare is privatized, private hospitals have pulled back and left the state to fight the virus. Suddenly, the idolized "private business" refused to take over the health of the population and the public health system, which has been heavily neglected in recent years, had to come to the rescue. The idea that private business will save the world has faded like a glacier in just few days.

In fact, the coronavirus can perhaps be even perceived as a salvation for our civilization. Since 1997, medical scientists have warned that soon there will be a new pandemic, there is a whole list of diseases that can cause it and warn that the world should be ready for any of them. First in the ranking is the bird flu, which, if mutated and spread from person to person, has over 70% mortality. The economic model of our countries ignores these warnings and instead develop healthcare on the principle of "pay and we will help you if you have no money, go away", a model that operates in short-terms and is not prepared for pandemics and emergencies. In an attempt to cover up their own mistakes, so far more and more Western countries have switched to "the virus cannot be stopped, we will live with it and we must obtain herd immunity." Such an opinion is simply NOT scientifically confirmed. Ebola has been stopped in Africa, but new cases of Ebola still appear every year in the hundreds. We have neither acquired herd immunity nor been vaccinated against Ebola. This strategy seems to have not worked with Ebola. In fact, not only with Ebola - the past two coronavirus outbreaks have been prevented by the same strategy of early disruption. Covid-19 was stopped in literally every Asian country without herd immunity.

Despite the proven effective method of cutting the chain and killing the virus due to the lack of new contaminated, western countries turned to the Spanish plague instead. Spain is not the first plague country, it is probably among the latest, but the name plague comes due to censorship. Politicians have the benefit of continuing the war and in all countries involved in the conflict media and doctors are banned from talking about the new deadly flu, while Spain announces its presence. The herd immunity to the plague was not a logical medical decision, but a consequence of censorship and a ban on taking really effective measures to prevent the spread of infection. That is, the method that was considered devastating during the Spanish plague and now called the only "adequate response to the new virus" due to economic interests in preserving their wealth. Italy has failed due to the overloading of its health care system, delayed measures and poor discipline. Now we see other countries losing the fight, with the US and Spain most affected. With more than 30,000 deaths and all quarantine-denying countries moving to rigorous measures to address the situation, things are not going well. In the end, these quarantines will last much longer than in China (33 days) and will hurt the economy much more than early measures could have hurt it.

THE COLLAPSE OF PRIVATE MEDIA

Each private media fights for ratings. It is the main engine of capitalism and more ratings mean more money for advertising and therefore for the media. Since the Covid-19 came to our societies, the media noticed a huge rise in ratings every time they mentioned "coronavirus". This led to a race between journalists seek the sensation in any news related to the virus, thus seeking for people with different opinions and the like. In this way, the mass media has become a world of mass misinformation, and journalists have become less adequate in pursuing information than even the "flat earth community". In the race to be first and to take the most ratings, they have massively forgotten the basic law of journalism - to check information.

Every day people are flooded with new information, which is sometimes true and sometimes not. At one point it says one thing, at the next another, from the Left a third claim is made, from the Right - fourth. This creates unnecessary panic and mistrust among the population about the situation, which has been well known in some countries. All countries in Asia (including the liberal oligarchies) have a media monitoring department in case of epidemy. Dictatorships may censor journalists, but states like Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan do the same as well. In fact, they allow the media to write and speak whatever they want, but the government checks their sources. In order to reduce panic and inadequacy in the public, it is forbidden to publish news with questionable sources, or without one at all. People in Asia are a lot better informed about Covid-19 and how to act because of the department against "sensationalism" in the name of ratings.

THE CRISIS OF REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY

Corruption, lies, increasingly repressive laws, harassment, police violence against the population are just some of the many cancer cells that have evolved in representative democracies over the last two decades. For a democracy to work, it needs trust. However, trust has been destroyed - our representative democracies suffer from these symptoms and people simply no longer believe in this political system. Even countries trying to take adequate measures are at high risk because of the lack of trust that politicians have never tried to build. Increasingly repressive and chaotic measures are causing huge distrust among the population. Each country takes incredibly inappropriately different measures, without any consistency, often exaggerated or simply unnecessary in the situation. Such behavior can lead to an outburst of discontent and mass non-compliance, including adequate measures. Authorities are currently fighting this by imposing increasing sanctions that resemble dictatorship more terrible than the Chinese ones. There is not enough transparency and in some countries like Greece, the government is using the opportunity to smash their opposition, activist groups and so on [13]. Representative democracy has died. What would come after it is what we let or choose to come after Covid-19.

THE FAILURE OF CAPITALISM

For decades neoliberalism that has taken over our lives has increasingly become a dominant ideology in the population. It is based on complete individualism - that "if it doesn't matter to me, it doesn't matter at all" approach. This ideology has ruined entire systems that have existed for centuries and has put the Western world on its knees in the face of extremely little threat (compared to other viruses that are expected to erupt in the future). Even the media is trying to annoy people by shifting the blame on the population rather than the delayed reactions of institutions and the economic pressure from businessmen.

The strategy is the same as with global warming, where the blame is shifted from capitalism and its corporations to the end-users, who are supposed to bear all the blame for buying the former’s products. Countries like Japan have maintained an "outdated" value system of solidarity and communality even in the years of turbulent capitalism, so if you eat while walking, people might start quarreling with you because you can spill your food on someone and ruin their day. In Tokyo you are scolded if you make noise in the subway because many people get nap on the way to work [14]. Other Asian countries also have hundreds of examples of solidarity and collectivity among their populations.

This is an extremely important element in the current crisis because it is precisely the preservation of a philosophy that does not belong to the free market, which makes Asia much more effective at developing the necessary anti-crisis tools long before a crisis strikes them, without necessarily seeking economic profit from it. The same solidarity that most northern European countries have also preserved to a degree in their culture and are currently most able to cope with the crisis among the rest of Europe.

We need new systems that educate people in these values. Capitalism is not capable of creating them. Actually it is destroying them. Our healthcare systems are destroyed, we are brainwashed to forget about out neighbors and friends. Even if they may be at risk while we are not, we won’t care about their issue because our entire life is competitive and our survival should be at the expense of someone else’s. In the capitalist setting it is fine for elder people and the ill to die, just like in Nazi Germany. But this time it is not a dictatorship, but all your friends that call against the quarantine. It is all of the political class that are too scared for the economy. It is the rich that want you back at work tomorrow, even if you risk bringing home disease that can kill the weak. If we don't like this world, we should change it.

THE ESCAPE PLAN

The West has failed in its fight against the coronavirus. Italy and Spain have broken healthcare systems and in both countries alone there are 16,000 casualties, the US already leads the infected list and nearly 1,000 new casualties were registered over the weekend. In Europe and America quarantines for an unknown period of time began. It is now too late for a 3-week quarantine until the cases are isolated and then measures are maintained only for those arriving from abroad. Lack of medical equipment and medics to deal with the crisis. The capitalist "we will buy it only when we need it" model no longer works because the necessary things were not produced due to lack of demand before the pandemic. At present, neoliberal Europe and America are on their knees, making all sorts of strategies to avoid an even greater exacerbation of a crisis that might not have existed if medics have made decisions without pressure from private economic interests.

Some claim it is impossible to stop the virus. According to them, the population should be infected in large numbers and the weak should go. This is how things are and nothing could ever be done. Any different action will only delay the overcoming of the pandemic. These were first single voices, then dozens, and at times even national governments considered this strategy [15]. The media are giving them a growing platform. We have already seen that another scenario is possible in Asia, but it is now too late for it. The economists, politicians and businesses who blocked the early measures will have to pay the price if their guilt is ever revealed. The new propaganda machine’s line is that "we can do nothing about it", washing the blood from their hands, waiting people to forget the crimes against humanity committed by them.

Even now in America the ruling elite is not interested in prevention, but in blaming China for the virus [16]. Trump had one job and failed to do it. Now it’s propaganda time to save his name and put the blame on China (his well known enemy). The medics in some of the best hospitals in USA are using trash bags for protective suits [17]. The “first world” economies now look worse than those of developing countries, but we are not supposed to blame the government - it’s all China’s fault.

OPTIMISM IN THE CRISIS

Except of all the negativity surrounding this crisis, there are also some positive signs for our future. Already at the beginning of the pandemic we have noticed the weakening of the iron grip of the Chinese authorities. For the first time they have chosen the path of transparency and openness to deal with the crisis, instead of the country's typical ways. Beijing has launched an investigation into "issues" related to the death of a doctor whose early efforts to alert his colleagues to the dangers of a new coronavirus were quashed by authorities [18], and Wuhan's mayor publicly acknowledged the mistake of hiding information during the first month of the infection [19]. Countries with the best results in combating the virus rely on early measures, transparency and awareness, talk of the actions they have taken and the reasons for taking them. To date, these countries have not had to initiate forced quarantine because citizens take the issue extremely seriously, and instead of publicizing new laws to monitor their citizens, they have publicly announced that GPS will be monitored on the phones of the diseased, as well as those of the people with whom they communicated in order to find all the potential carriers of the disease.

This did not cause a negative reaction in society. The difference between them and the EU, England and America is the approach and balance of what personal information the law enforcement agencies can use. In Italy, a small 3D printing business has become a national hero, printing essential medical components, and seamstresses around the world have started producing reusable masks. In countries like Italy, people voluntarily transmit coordinates from their phones to create a map of sick and potentially ill people. China, Russia and Europe are helping each other out and the economic war between these countries has been placed in the background. Contrary to the claim that things must be in the hands of states and businesses, we have witnessed that the population can make adequate decisions on its own and act with good awareness, transparency and the ability to self-organize. This crisis has taught us that direct democracy is not utopia, and we must pursue it after this situation is over. The current model, on the other hand has proven incapable of providing good health care, treatment of the most vulnerable, clean cities and adequate emergency response.

For all statistics about the Covid-19 in the article:
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ and https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html

Footnotes:
[1] https://edition.cnn.com/2020/01/30/opinions/wuhan-coronavirus-is-fueling...
[2] https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/01/who-says-no-need-yet-declare-spr...
[3] https://observers.france24.com/en/20200203-china-coronavirus-bat-soup-de...
[4] Marco Riccucci (2014). "Pipistrelli come cibo: Aspetti etnografici e sanitari". Alimenti & Bevande. XVI (6): 39–43.
[5] Giovanni Arduino. Nuova Raccolta d'opuscoli scientifici e filosofici del Calogerà. VI. Venice. pp. 133–180.
[6] Alessandro P. Ninni, 1878
[7] Giuseppe Perin, Scienza e poesia sui Berici, a cura di G. Da Schio, G. Trevisol e G. Perin, Vicenza, Tip. Commerciale, 1947
[8] A. Toschi; B. Lanza (1959). Mammalia: Generalità, Insectivora, Chiroptera. Fauna d'Italia. Bologna.
[9] https://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/2020/03/one-month-ago-today-tr...
[10] https://www.institutmontaigne.org/en/blog/fighting-coronavirus-pandemic-...
[11] https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/03/14/tracking-trumps-false...
[12] https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2020/03/24/texas_lt_gov_dan_patr...
[13] https://freedomnews.org.uk/greek-authorities-use-covid-19-lockdown-to-cr...
[14] https://travel.stackexchange.com/questions/88101/in-japan-is-it-consider...
[15] https://www.ft.com/content/38a81588-6508-11ea-b3f3-fe4680ea68b5
[16] https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/19/coronavirus-outbreak-trump-blames-china-...
[17] https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/11273621/fears-medics-lives-at-risk-as-the...
[18] https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/02/07/803680463/china-to-...
[19] https://www.theguardian.com/science/2020/jan/27/china-coronavirus-who-to...

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free_demos
Apr 5 2020 15:59

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  • The capitalist "we will buy it only when we need it" model no longer works because the necessary things were not produced due to lack of demand before the pandemic. At present, neoliberal Europe and America are on their knees.

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