Witnessing a crime against humanityThis is no time for jingoistic propaganda when global consensus is badly needed.
When the entire world except China was caught unawares by the coronavirus, it was expected that the largely eroded values of science and reason in the post-truth era would eventually find traction and help humanity to recover lost ground with an informed counter-response to the unprecedented crisis. Unfortunately, democracy and its disguised custodians fell like tenpins the world over. Governments and multilateral institutions alike failed in delving deep to decode the causes of the virus that has reduced the capacity of humans to exist, act and grow freely. Today is bleak, tomorrow is perilously uncertain. People are suffering and dying like never before in the absence of basic public healthcare facilities, medicines and oxygen, and mysteriously inadequate vaccines—as well as the absence of credible governments. More so, sadly, in the case of India and Nepal.
Let science and reason prevail
While the immediate, present and impending future put limits on a normal corollary, a solution to get rid of the current mess unleashed by the coronavirus will come only by giving a chance to science and fair multilateral and inter-governmental interventions. The culture of fair journalism, which was endangered by commercial pressure and the necessity to toe the official line, especially in the developing countries, has a chance to reclaim its due if the mainline media learns from their home-grown independent counterparts and a section of the international media—working under serious risk—to disseminate consumable news and views.
Among the evoked discussions on the Covid-19 origin, Nicholas Wade’s long-form article in Medium is a must-read. Wade, a science writer who has worked on the staff of Nature, Science and The New York Times, made a strong case for the possibility of a laboratory accident, backing it up with logical and scientific traction. He reminds us that the outbreak began at Wuhan, a hub of the top Chinese lab in charge of studying the coronavirus, without a natural bat population or ability to find an alternative animal host, unlike during the first SARS epidemic. Wade has offered solid research to establish the origin of the coronavirus in Wuhan, China. Wade says that there is no clear evidence either to support or rule out whether the virus came from nature or a lab.
Prior to this, a story published in The Australian titled 'Chinese Military Scientists Discussed Weaponising SARS Coronavirus' made public some of the important findings contained in a 2015 book written by a military doctor Xu Dezhong—The Unnatural Origin of SARS and New Species of Man-Made Viruses as Genetic Bioweapon. Global Times, in fact, twisted it and tried to pacify the actual findings by suggesting that the 2002 and 2004 SARS epidemics in China originated through an unnatural way of genetic modification that came from abroad.
Concerted efforts under the UN
The stories and findings are inconclusive till the world community comes back to its senses and sits together under the aegis of the United Nations to let everyone get a believable chronicle of the world’s deadliest crisis. This is no time to be a prisoner of jingoistic propaganda under the framework of nationalism and regionalism when global consensus is badly needed. The said global consensus should be made for verifying whether the novel coronavirus was indeed a natural virus or an accidental or intentional creation.
Equally crucial, the world community should go into action to introspect on its failure to make concerted efforts to counter the deadly virus by holding ground and routing abundantly available resources to save lives and livelihoods across the globe. Undoubtedly, the World Health Organisation has its own share of grave mistakes which calls for a clear explanation.
Amidst a crime against humanity, the need of the hour is not to just mourn but build broad global consensus to find out the cause and make at least some course corrections for the inhuman indifferences or lapses of governments, intelligence networks and powerful international organisations. The world should make a way forward to let no crime against humanity go unpunished. During the transition, people have no luxury to believe that they have been witnessing World War III. The benefit of the doubt is causing an existential crisis for most of us. This is rather blissful to incompetent governments as they are better placed to survive even when they work against the people's interest.
We have already entered a phase of human history where going forward will need a complete overhaul of the priorities and public policies. The critically vital components of human indexes like public healthcare, education, equitable livelihoods and sustainable practices should get their real due—wasteful expenditures must be stopped. The world has no option but to get into a reset mode. The road ahead is not easy. A lot depends on how governments act and get their failures into perspective for giving much-needed hope to people beyond boundaries. No matter who played the mischief, we have lost our old world.