Message of the Day: Disease, Population, Economic Opportunity, Hunger, War, Environment, Personal Growth
Times Square, Empty, March 16, 2020, The New York Times
It is clear that the Covid-19 pandemic has overwhelmed all other news worldwide.
We bring attention here to the tremendous public service provided by The New York Times in providing free access to ongoing information and articles on The Coronavirus Outbreak worldwide.
There is no other comparable source of print and digital information in the world.
As co-founder Lisa Blume noted at the outset of World Campaign 21 years ago, Information equals motivation equals action.
At the beginning of our last post on March 5, we noted that our worst fears expressed in our February 5 post were increasingly unfolding:
Tragically, our greatest fears expressed in the post on the global danger of pandemics from February 5 this year have come more and more true.
We noted at the time that the first discovered case of Coronavirus–Covid-19–in the US, was here in Seattle, where we live.
Little did we know that only weeks later, we would be living at the epicenter of the outbreak in the US, where the great majority of cases and deaths have occurred so far.
It spreads daily elsewhere.
From the poorest of the poor to the richest of the rich, Coronavirus is here.
Living in this initial epicenter in the US, is a humbling experience. Life is changing radically here by the day, or by the hour.
Hopefully, the worst of what we know, or don’t know, will not occur. Hopefully, after bringing tragedy for too many, this experience will bring us closer to desperately needed change, here and around the world, as we outlined in our February 5 post, and in all the inter-related issues our work has focused on from the start.
Today, the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, addressed a media briefing on Covid-19.
The following is an excerpt:
“This epidemic can be pushed back, but only with a collective, coordinated and comprehensive approach that engages the entire machinery of government.
We are calling on every country to act with speed, scale and clear-minded determination.
Although we continue to see the majority of cases in a handful of countries, we are deeply concerned about the increasing number of countries reporting cases, especially those with weaker health systems.
However, this epidemic is a threat for every country, rich and poor. As we have said before, even high-income countries should expect surprises. The solution is aggressive preparedness.
We’re concerned that some countries have either not taken this seriously enough, or have decided there’s nothing they can do.
We are concerned that in some countries the level of political commitment and the actions that demonstrate that commitment do not match the level of the threat we all face.
This is not a drill.
This is not the time to give up.
This is not a time for excuses.
This is a time for pulling out all the stops.”
The degree to which this call is being heeded varies vastly, in different nations and by different governments, and within different nations and different governments.
We will of course revisit this issue as it unfolds–what our experience has been and will be, and what the experience of all humanity has been and will be in this global outbreak.
Information at an incomparable moment such as this is like food and water, so again, use the free public service provided by The New York Times.
At the same time, this is a time to remind, as we did last week, that the life and death survival issues such as food and water, and the basic issue of survival of a species of whether or not it nurtures its offspring, have never received the same ongoing headlines.
Nothing has changed about other pandemics causing exponentially more harm for as far back as we can see.
Half of all children abused.
Millions dying from hunger every year.
Millions dying from other preventable diseases every year.
The scarce resource of water getting scarcer, contributing to the above and horrible suffering.
The environment being destroyed.
Violence causing and caused by the above.
The issue of disease is interconnected with all the above, as all the above are with each other.
The global ripple effects of Covid-19 are impacting everything. In part, the response to the above catastrophe can seem anti-globalist, as nations and regions become effective quarantine zones. But this has nothing to do with the fact of one world being a natural phenomenon that was always going to become more and more a reality interconnecting all life on the planet, and could be a positive moment in evolution if basic needs, rights and sustainable global governance were provided for all.
If we had responded to all the above and other related issues as a sane and moral species, the systems would be well in place to deal with, contain, and greatly limit the death and damage that has and will be done by Covid-19.
The other “isolationism”, not unrelated to the global, is the personal. In part a temporary but nonetheless terribly painful necessity and in part a reaction of fear to an invisible plague in which the victims are often not identified and the potential numbers of victims, to the disease or its aftershocks, are all of us.
Even while we must be apart in many ways to love each other, we must also love each other by becoming closer than ever. The survival of body, mind, heart and soul all require it.
As we noted on February 5:
This story is likely to get much worse before it gets better. But whether it’s this story or the next threat of global pandemic, the end point will be the end at some point, unless global reality, global governance, global cooperation, global equality and global sustainability converge.
It starts with each one of us, what we give to each other, especially from those with greater capacity to those with less.
And what we demand for all of us. No one should have to worry for a moment about the basics–shelter, food, health care.
There seems to be a social compact forming about this that may more and more become a universal political compact by necessity. Political games will be played for many reasons, all the usual ones. The Saudis and Russians warring over oil for instance, in part blowback on US production policies, in combination with trade wars, nationalism, and other isms, accelerating market crash and economic downturn. But something bigger is overwhelming everything.
That it has taken catastrophe, and may well take far greater catastrophe, once again in human history, to catalyze this, is despicable.
But perhaps, just perhaps, a teachable moment of all for one and one for all is upon us.
Those with the most power will in general reflexively hold on tighter than ever. And even the smallest versions of privilege, of those who have any security compared to the rest, will react out of fear of losing it, while the rest act out of fear of surviving at all.
But there are times when fear and self-interest can be transformed, required to transform by the revolt of nature and humanity, into enlightened-self interest for survival and compassion for each other.
Our deepest hope is that this crisis will become such a lever.
And the lever is not an Archimedean math equation, but a metaphor:
Give us a lever long enough and a prop strong enough and together we can change the world.
Its in the hands of each of us, and all of us.
- Issue of the Week
- Message of the Day
- ““The Best-Case Outcome for the Coronavirus, and the Worst”, The New York Times
- “‘Chilling’ Plans: Who Gets Care as Washington State Hospitals Fill Up?, The New York Times
- “Human Rights Day Letter to President Ramaphosa: Overcoming Inequality will help us overcome Covid-19”, Daily Maverick
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