The city in a time of plague

April 22, 2020

The city in a time of plague

by Pepe Escobar for The Saker Blog (cross posted with the Asia Times)

History teaches us that epidemics are more like revelatory moments than social transformers

The plague-stricken town, traversed throughout with hierarchy, surveillance, observation, writing; the town immobilized by the functioning of an extensive power that bears in a distinct way over all individual bodies – this is the utopia of the perfectly governed city.

– Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish

Predictably eyeing the Decline and Fall of the American Empire, a serious academic debate is raging around the working hypothesis of historian Kyle Harper, according to whom viruses and pandemics – especially the Justinian plague in the 6th century – led to the end of the Roman Empire.

Well, history actually teaches us that epidemics are more like revelatory moments than social transformers.

Patrick Boucheron, a crack historian and a professor at the esteemed College de France, offers a very interesting perspective. Incidentally, before the onset of Covid-19, he was about to start a seminar on the Black Death medieval plague.

Boucheron’s view of Boccaccio’s Decameron, written in 1350 and about young Florentine aristocrats who fled to the Tuscan countryside to tell stories, focuses on the plague’s character as a “horrible beginning” that tears apart social liaisons, provokes a funerary panic and has everyone wallowing in anomie.

Then he draws a historical parallel with Thucydides writing about the Athens plague in the summer of 430 BC. Pushing it to the limit, we may venture that Western literature actually starts with a plague – described in Book 1 of the Iliad by Homer.

Thucydides’ description of the Great Plague – actually typhoid fever – is a literary tour de force as well. In our current setting, that’s more relevant than the “Thucydides trap” controversy – as it’s idle to compare the context in ancient Athens with the current US-China hybrid war.

Both Socrates and Thucydides, incidentally, survived the plague. They were tough, and acquired immunity from their earlier exposure to typhoid. Pericles, the leading citizen of Athens, was not so lucky: he died at 66, a victim of the plague.

The city in fear

Boucheron wrote an immensely interesting book, Conjurer la Peur (To Conjure Fear) telling the story of Siena a few years before the Black Death, in 1338. This is the Siena pictured by Ambrogio Lorenzetti in the walls of the Palazzo Pubblico – one of most spectacular allegorical frescoes in history.

In his book, Boucheron writes about political fear before it is engulfed by biological fear. Nothing could be more contemporary.

In Lorenzetti’s Allegory of Bad Government, the court of bad justice is governed by a devil holding a poisoned chalice (today that would be the “crowned poison” – or coronavirus). The devil’s eyes are crossed and one of his feet is over a goat’s horns. Floating above his head we find Avarice, Pride and Vainglory (match them with contemporary political “leaders”). War, Treason, and Fury sit to his left (the US Deep State?) and Discord, Fraud and Cruelty on his right (casino capitalist financialization?). Justice is bound, and her scales have fallen. Talk about an allegory of the “international community.”

Boucheron pays special attention to the city as depicted by Lorenzetti. That’s the city at war – as opposed to the harmonious city in the Allegory of Good Government. The crucial point is that this is a depopulated city – much like our cities in quarantine now. Only men at arms are circulating and, as Boucheron tells it: “We guess that behind the walls, people are dying.” So this image has not changed today – deserted streets; quite a few elderly people dying in silence in their homes.

Boucheron then makes a startling connection with the frontispiece of Hobbes’s Leviathan, published in 1651: “Here again there is a city depopulated by an epidemic. We know because at the borders of the image we identify two silhouettes with birds’ beaks, which represent the doctors of the plague,” while the people in the city have been sucked upward, ballooning the figure of the Leviathan state monster who is very confident of the fear he inspires.

Boucheron’s conclusion is that the state is always capable of obtaining an absolutely unprecedented resignation and obedience from the population. “What’s complicated is that even if what everything we say about the society of surveillance is scary and true, the state obtains this obedience in the name of its most undisputed function, which is to protect the population from creeping death. That’s what plenty of serious studies define as ‘biolegitimacy’.”

And I would add, today, a biolegitimacy boosted by widespread voluntary servitude.

The Age of Haphophobia

Michel Foucault was arguably the premier modern cartographer of the Panopticon-derived surveillance society.

Then there’s Gilles Deleuze. In 1978, Foucault famously declared that, “perhaps, one day, this century will be called the Deleuzian century.”

Well, Deleuze is actually more 21st century than 20th. He went farther than anyone else studying societies of control – where control does not come from the center or from the top but flows through micro-vigilance, even activating the desire on everyone to be disciplined and monitored: once again, voluntary servitude.

Judith Butler, talking about South Africa-based critical theorist Achille Mbembe’s extraordinary Necropolitics, noted how he “continues where Foucault left off, tracking the lethal afterlife of sovereign power as it subjects whole populations to what Fanon called ‘the zone of non-being’.”

So a great deal of the intellectual debate ahead of us, borrowing from Fanon, Foucault, Deleuze, Mbembe and others, will necessarily have to focus on biopolitics and the widespread state of exception – which, as Giorgio Agamben has demonstrated, referring to Planet Lockdown, is now completely normalized.

We cannot even begin to imagine the consequences of the anthropological rupture caused by Covid-19. Sociologists for their part are already discussing how “social distancing” is an abstraction, defined and lived in quite unequal terms. They are discussing the reasons why the powers that be chose a martial vocabulary (“lockdown”) instead of forms of mobilization guided by a collective project.

And that will lead us to deeper studies of the Age of Haphophobia: our current condition of widespread fear of physical contact. Historians will be trying to analyze it in conjunction with how social phobias have evolved across centuries.

There’s no question that Foucault’s exhaustive mapping should be understood as a historical analysis of different techniques used by the powers that be to manage the life and death of populations. Between the crucial years 1975 and 1976, when he published Discipline and Punish (featured in this essay’s epigraph) and the first volume of History of Sexuality, Foucault, based on the notion of “biopolitics,” described the transition from a “sovereign society” to a “disciplinary society.”

His main conclusion is that techniques of biopolitical government spread out way beyond the legal and punitive spheres, and now are all over the spectrum, even lodged inside our individual bodies.

Covid-19 is presenting us with a huge biopolitical paradox. When the powers that be act like they are protecting us from a dangerous disease, they are imprinting their own immunity-based definition of the community. At the same time they have the power to decide to sacrifice part of the community (elderly people left to die; victims of the economic crisis) to the benefit of their own idea of sovereignty.

The state of exception to which many parts of the world are subjected now represents the normalization of this unbearable paradox.

House arrest

So how would Foucault see Covid-19? He would say that this epidemic radicalizes biopolitical techniques applied to a national territory, and inscribes them in a political anatomy applied to each individual body. That’s how an epidemic extends to the whole population political measures of “immunization” that previously only applied – violently – to those that were considered “aliens,” inside and outside the national, sovereign territory.

It’s irrelevant whether Sars-Covid-2 is organic; a bioweapon; or, CIA conspiracy theory-style, part of a world domination plan. What’s happening in real life is that the virus reproduces, materializes, extends and intensifies – for hundreds of millions of people – dominant forms of biopolitical and necropolitical management that were already in place. The virus is our mirror. We are what the epidemic says we are, and how we decide to face it.

And under such extreme turbulence, as noted by philosopher Paul Preciado, we end up reaching a new necropolitical frontier – especially in the West.

The new territory of the border politics the West has been testing for years over “The Other” – blacks, Muslims, the poor – now starts at home. It’s as if Lesbos, the key entrance island for refugees in the Eastern Mediterranean coming from Turkey, now started at the entrance of each Western apartment.

With pervasive social distancing in place, the new border is each and everyone’s skin. Migrants and refugees were previously considered viruses, and only merited confinement and immobilization. But now these policies apply to whole populations. Detention centers – perpetual waiting rooms that abolish human rights and citizenship – are now detention centers inside one’s own home.

No wonder the liberal West has been plunged into a state of shock and awe.

Towards A New World Order? The Global Debt Crisis and the Privatization of the State

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, April 17, 2020

There is a serious health crisis which must be duly resolved. And this is a number one priority.

But there is another important dimension which has to be addressed. 

Millions of people have lost their jobs, and their lifelong savings. In developing countries, poverty and despair prevail. 

While the lockdown is presented to public opinion as  the sole means to resolving a global public health crisis,  its devastating economic and social impacts are casually ignored.  

The unspoken truth is that the novel coronavirus provides a pretext to powerful financial interests and corrupt politicians to precipitate the entire World into a spiral of  mass unemployment, bankruptcy and extreme poverty. 

This is the true picture of what is happening.  Poverty is Worldwide. While famines are erupting in Third World countries, closer to home,  in the richest country on earth,

millions of desperate Americans wait in long crowded lines for handouts”

“Miles-long lines formed at food banks and unemployment offices across the US over the past week”   

In India:

food is disappearing, ….  in shanty towns, too scared to go out, walking home or trapped in the street crackdowns,

In India there have been 106 coronavirus deaths as of today, to put things in perspective 3,000 Indian children starve to death each day” 

From Mumbai to New York City. It’s the “Globalization of Poverty”.

Production is at a standstill. 

Starvation in Asia and Africa. Famine in the U.S. 

All countries are now Third World countries. It’s the “Thirdworldisation” of the so-called high income “developed countries”.  

And what is happening in Italy?

People are running out of food. Reports confirm that the Mafia rather than the government “is gaining local support by distributing free food to poor families in quarantine who have run out of cash”. (The Guardian)

This crisis combines fear and panic concerning the COVID-19 together with a sophisticated process of economic manipulation.

Let us first examine the impacts pertaining to the developing countries.

Developing Countries. The IMF’s “Economic Medicine” and the Globalization of Poverty

Is the coronavirus crisis part of a broader macro-economic agenda?

First some historical background.

I spent more than ten years undertaking field research on the impacts of IMF-World Bank economic reforms in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

Since the early 1980s, “strong economic medicine” was imposed on indebted developing countries under what was called the “structural adjustment program” (SAP).

From 1992 to 1995, I undertook field research in India, Bangladesh and Vietnam and returned to Latin America to complete my study on Brazil. In all the countries I visited, including Kenya, Nigeria, Egypt, Morocco and The Philippines, I observed the same pattern of economic manipulation and political interference by the Washington-based institutions. In India, directly resulting from the IMF reforms, millions of people had been driven into starvation. In Vietnam – which constitutes among the world’s most prosperous rice producing economies – local-level famines had erupted resulting directly from the lifting of price controls and the deregulation of the grain market. (Preface to the Second Edition of the Globalization of Poverty, 2003)

 The hegemony of the dollar was imposed. With mounting dollar denominated debt, eventually in most developing countries the entire national monetary system was “dollarized”.

Massive austerity measures were conducive to the collapse in real wages. Sweeping privatization programs were imposed. These deadly economic reforms -applied on behalf the creditors- invariably triggered economic collapse, poverty and mass unemployment.

In Nigeria starting in the 1980s, the entire public health system had been dismantled. Public hospitals were driven into bankruptcy. The medical doctors with whom I spoke described the infamous structural adjustment program (SAP) with a touch of humor:

“we’ve been sapped by the SAP”, they said, our hospitals have literally been destroyed courtesy of the IMF-World Bank.

From Structural Adjustment to Global Adjustment

Today, the mechanism for triggering poverty and economic collapse is fundamentally different and increasingly sophisticated.

The ongoing 2020 Economic Crisis is tied into the logic of the COVID-19 pandemic: No need for the IMF-World Bank to negotiate a structural adjustment loan with national governments.

What has occurred under the COVID-19 crisis is a “Global Adjustment” in the structure of the World economy. In one fell swoop this Global Adjustment (GA) triggers a Worldwide process of bankruptcy, unemployment, poverty and total despair.

How is it implemented? The lockdown is presented to national governments as the sole solution to resolve the COVID-19 pandemic. It becomes a political consensus, irrespective of the devastating economic and social consequences.A Global People’s Bailout for the Coming Financial Crash

No need to reflect or analyze the likely impacts. Corrupt national governments are pressured to comply.

The partial or complete closing down of a national economy is triggered through the enforcement of  so-called “WHO guidelines” pertaining to the lockdown, as well as to trade, immigration and transportation restrictions, etc.

Powerful financial institutions and lobby groups including Wall Street, Big Pharma, the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation were involved in shaping the actions of the WHO pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The lockdown together with the curtailment of trade and air travel had set the stage. This closing down of national economies was undertaken Worldwide starting in the month of  March,  affecting simultaneously a large of number of countries in all major regions of the World.  It is unprecedented in World history.

Why did leaders in high office let it happen? The consequences were obvious.

This closing down operation affects production and supply lines of goods and services, investment activities, exports and imports, wholesale and retail trade, consumer spending, the closing down of schools, colleges and universities, research institutions, etc.

In turn it leads almost immediately to mass unemployment, bankruptcies of small and medium sized enterprises, a collapse in purchasing power, widespread poverty and famine.

What is the underlying objective of this restructuring of the global economy?  What are the consequences? Cui Bono? 

  • A massive concentration of wealth,
  • the destabilization of small and middle sized enterprises in all major areas of economic activity including the services economy, agriculture and manufacturing.
  • It derogates the rights of workers. It destabilizes labor markets.
  • It compresses wages (and labor costs) in the so-called high income “developed countries” as well as in the impoverished developing countries.

Needless to say this Global Adjustment (GA) operation is far more detrimental than the country-level IMF-WB structural adjustment program (SAP).

It is neoliberalism to the nth degree.

In one fell swoop (in the course of the last months) the COVID-19 crisis has contributed to impoverishing a large sector of the World population.

And Guess who comes to the rescue? The IMF and the World Bank:

The IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva has casually acknowledged that the World economy has come to a standstill, without addressing the causes of economic collapse.

“The WHO is there to protect the Health of the People, The IMF is there to protect the health of the World economy” says Georgieva.

 How does she intend to “protect the World economy”?

At the expense of the national economy?

What’s her “magic solution”?

 “We rely on $1 trillion in overall lending capacity.” (IMF M-D Georgieva, Press Conference in early March)

At first sight this appears to be “generous”, a lot money. But ultimately it’s what we might call “fictitious money”, what it means is:

“We will lend you the money and with the money we lend you, you will pay us back”.(paraphrase).

The ultimate objective is to make the external (dollar denominated) debt go fly high.

The IMF is explicit. In one of its lending windows, the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust, which applies to pandemics, generously,

“provides grants for debt relief to our poorest and most vulnerable members.”

Nonsensical statement: it is there to replenish the coffers of the creditors, the money is allocated to debt servicing.

“For low-income countries and for emerging middle-income countries we have … up to $50 billion that does not require a full-fledged IMF program.”

No conditions on how you spend the money. But this money increases the debt stock and requires reimbursement.

The countries are already in a straight-jacket. And the objective is that they comply with the demands of the creditors.

That’s the neoliberal solution applied at a global level: No real economic recovery, more poverty and unemployment Worldwide. The “solution” becomes the “cause”. It initiates a new process of indebtedness. It contributes to an escalation of the debt.

The more you lend, the more you squeeze the developing countries into political compliance. And ultimately that is the objective of the failing American Empire.

The unspoken truth is that this one trillion dollars ++ of the Bretton Woods institutions is intended to drive up the external debt.

In recent developments, the G20 Finance ministers decided to “put on hold”,  the repayment of debt servicing obligations of the World’s poorest countries.

The cancellation of debt has not been envisaged. Quite the opposite. The strategy consists in building up the debt.

It is important that the governments of developing countries take a firm stance against the IMF-World Bank “rescue operation”. 

The Global Debt Crisis in the Developed Countries

An unprecedented fiscal crisis is unfolding at all levels of government. With high levels of unemployment, incoming tax revenues in developed countries are almost at a standstill.  In the course of the last 2 months, national governments have become increasingly indebted.

In turn, Western governments as well as political parties are increasingly under the control of  the creditors, who ultimately call the shots.

All levels of governments have been precipitated into a debt stranglehold. The debt cannot be repaid. In the US, the federal deficit “has increased by 26% to $984 billion for fiscal 2019, highest in 7 years”.  And that is just the beginning.

In Western countries, a colossal expansion of the public debt has occurred. It is being used to finance the “bailouts”, the “handouts” to corporations as well as “the social safety nets” to the unemployed.

The logic of the bailouts is in some regards similar to that of the 2008 economic crisis, but on a much larger scale. Ironically, in 2008, US banks were both the creditors of the US federal government as well as the lucky recipients: the rescue operation was funded by the banks with a view to  “bailing out the banks”. Sounds contradictory?

The Privatization of the State

This crisis will  eventually precipitate the privatization of the state. Increasingly, national governments will be under the stranglehold of Big Money.

Crippled by mounting debts, what is at stake is the eventual de facto privatization of the entire state structure, in different countries, at all levels of government, under the surveillance of powerful financial interests. The fiction of  “sovereign governments” serving the interests of the electors will nonetheless be maintained.

The first level of government up for privatization will be the municipalities (many of which are already partially or fully privatized, e.g. Detroit in 2013). America’s billionaires will be enticed to buy up an entire city.

Several major cities are already on the verge of bankruptcy. (This is nothing new).

Is the city of Vancouver up for privatization?: “the mayor of Vancouver has already indicated that he feared the bankruptcy of his city.” (Le Devoir, April 15, 2020)

In America’s largest cities, people are simply unable to pay their taxes: The debt of New York City for fiscal 2019 is a staggering $91.56 billion (FY 2019) an increase of 132% since FY 2000. In turn personal debts across America have skyrocketed.

“U.S. households collectively carry about $1 trillion in credit card debt”. No measures are being taken in the US to reduce the interest rates on credit card debt.

The New World Order?

The lockdown impoverishes both the developed and developing countries and literally destroys national economies.

It destabilizes the entire economic landscape. It undermines social institutions including schools and universities. It spearheads small and medium sized enterprises into bankruptcy.

What kind of World awaits us?

A diabolical “New World Order” in the making as suggested by Henry Kissinger? (WSJ Opinion, April 3, 2020):

“The Coronavirus Pandemic Will Forever Alter the World Order”

Recall Kissinger’s historic 1974 statement: “Depopulation should be the highest priority of US foreign policy towards the Third World.” (1974 National Security Council Memorandum)

The political implications are far-reaching.

 What kind of government will we have in the wake of the crisis?

Concluding Remarks

There is a lot of misunderstanding regarding the nature of this crisis.

Several progressive intellectuals are now saying that this crisis constitutues a defeat of neoliberalism. “It opens up a new beginning”.

Some people see it as a “potential turning point”, which opens up an opportunity to “build socialism” or “restore social democracy” in the wake of the lockdown.

The evidence amply confirms that neoliberalism has not been defeated. Quite the opposite.

Global capitalism has consolidated its clutch. Fear and panic prevail. The State is being privatized. The tendency is towards authoritarian forms of government.

These are the issues which we must address.

That historical opportunity to confront the power structures of global capitalism, –including the US-NATO military apparatus– remains to be firmly established in wake of the lockdown.


The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order

In this expanded edition of Prof. Michel Chossudovsky’s international best-seller, the author outlines the contours of a New World Order which feeds on human poverty and the destruction of the environment, generates social apartheid, encourages racism and ethnic strife and undermines the rights of women. The result as his detailed examples from all parts of the world show so convincingly, is a globalization of poverty.

This book is a skillful combination of lucid explanation and cogently argued critique of the fundamental directions in which our world is moving financially and economically.

In this updated and enlarged edition – which includes ten additional chapters and a new introduction – the author reviews the causes and consequences of famine in Sub-Saharan Africa, the dramatic meltdown of financial markets, the demise of State social programs and the devastation resulting from corporate downsizing and trade liberalization.

“This concise, provocative book reveals the negative effects of imposed economic structural reform, privatization, deregulation and competition. It deserves to be read carefully and widely.”
– Choice, American Library Association (ALA)

“The current system, Chossudovsky argues, is one of capital creation through destruction. The author confronts head on the links between civil violence, social and environmental stress, with the modalities of market expansion.”
– Michele Stoddard, Covert Action Quarterly

Global Research Price: $19.00
CLICK TO BUY

PDF Version: $9.50
Sent directly to your email – cut on mailing expenses!
CLICK TO BUY
The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2020


Will This Pandemic Finally Mark the End of the US Carrier Fleet?

THE SAKER • APRIL 16, 2020 

Frankly, I have never considered USN carrier strike groups as a “Cold War capable” element of the US Navy. Yes, in theory, there was the notion of forward deploying these carriers to “bring the war to the Soviets” (on the Kola Peninsula) before they could flush their subs and aircraft through the GUIK gap and into the Atlantic. In theory, it should have been a 600 ship navy too, but that never happened. In reality, of course, US strike groups were the ultimate “colony disciplining” instrument which Uncle Shmuel would park off the coast of a country disobedient to the demands and systematic plundering of the USA. Since most countries in the 20th century could not sink a US carrier or prevail over the comparatively advanced aircraft deployed on them, this was, all in all, a very safe game to play for the USA.

As for “bringing the war to the Soviets”, the truth is that had it ever come to a real war, the US carriers would have been kept far away from the formidable Soviet cruise missile capability (delivered simultaneously by aircraft, surface ships and submarines) for a very simple reason: every time such an attack was modeled a sufficient number of Soviet missiles successfully passed through the protective cordon around the carrier and successfully hit it with devastating results (while sinking a carrier is not that easy, damaging it and making it inoperable does not take that many missile hits).

And that was long before hypersonic missiles like the Kinzhal or the Zircon!

Truly, as an an instrument to deter or defeat the Soviets the USN strike groups were already obsolete in the 1980s, that is long before the the Russians deployed their hypersonic missiles which, as my friend Andrey Martyanov explained in his books (see here and here) and on his blog (see here), basically made the entire US surface fleet obsolete not only to fight Russia, but also to fight any country which possesses such missiles. Such countries already include India and China, but there will be many more soon, probably including Iran!

Today, however, I won’t discuss the missile issue, but what happened recently on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which you probably know about: her captain got fired for writing a letter (according to his accusers, bypassing the chain of command) asking for help because his crew got infected by the virus. His letter was published by the San Francisco Chronicle and you can read it here.

Interestingly, when the captain, Navy Capt. Brett Crozier, left the ship, his sailors gave him a standing ovation:

Next, Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly called Captain Crozier “stupid. That also became public, and he had to apologize and resign (clearly, Modly is not exactly a genius himself!). Then even more of the crew of the carrier got sick, including Crozier himself!

This is what is known in the US military jargon as a “clusterbleep”…

There is, however, also a lot of interesting stuff coming out from this story.

First, the obvious: USN carriers cannot operate effectively under a bio-attack (a truly weaponized virus would both be much more transmissible than SARS-COV-2 and it would be far more deadly). This also indicates that they would probably do no better under a real chemical warfare attack either.

Considering that in reality USN carriers are a instrument of colonial repression and not ships to be engaged against the USSR (which had real biowarfare capabilities), this makes sense (while most university labs & the like could produce some kind of virus and use it as a weapon, truly weaponized viruses, the kind effectively used in special delivery systems, can only be produced by a limited list of countries). However, in theory, all the formations/units/subunits/ships/aircraft/armor/etc of a military superpower should be trained to operate in case of a nuclear, chemical and biological attack. Clearly, this is not the case with US carriers, most likely because nobody in the USA really expected such an attack, at least not during the Cold War.

For the current situation, however, I think that the lesson is clear: the USN simply does not have an effective capability to operate under NBC attack conditions.

By the way, this appears to also be true of the French, whose only carrier has 30% infected sailors!

Second, I agree that going outside the chain of command is wrong, but let’s also consider the following here: the fact that the USS Theodore Roosevelt was having a large number of infected sailors is not something which could have been kept secret anyway, especially while in port. Not only that, but how do we know that Capt. Crozier did not write other memos through the regular chain of command before he wrote the one which became public? After all, any such memos could very easily be classified and never made public.

Finally, I will admit that my sympathies are squarely with the man who placed the lives of his man and women above all else, and not with the bureaucratic drone who put procedures and ruffled feathers above the lives of sailors and called the real officer “stupid” for his actions (wait! a USN carrier captain stupid?! Somehow I don’t think so…..).

At the time of writing (April 14th) there have been 600 sailors from the Theodore Roosevelt who contracted the virus and one death.

Finally, over 4000 sailors have now been evacuated from the ship (1000 are still onboard to operate the nuclear reactor and other key systems).

In other words, the USS Theodore Roosevelt is now completely inoperable!

The quoted CNN article concludes with:

Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. John Hyten told reporters Thursday the US military needed to plan for similar outbreaks in the future as the Defense Department works to cope with the virus’ impacts. “I think it’s not a good idea to think the Teddy Roosevelt is a one-of-a-kind issue. We have too many ships at sea, we have too many deployed capabilities. There’s 5,000 sailors on a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. To think it will never happen again is not a good way to plan. What we have to do is figure out how to plan in these kind of Covid environments,” Hyten said.

Yet more proof that the USN never took a bioattack threat seriously.

To be honest, it seems that the US Army has similar problems, here is a map of affected US bases I found on Colonel Cassad’s blog:

It appears that the US-based forces never expected any real attack (other than maybe one by terrorists equipped with small arms) so NBC security was never a priority.

Note, in Russia, at least so far (April 14th), there are zero cases of servicemen infected with the virus. This will almost inevitably change in the future, but for the time being, this is true, in spite of having Russian military units helping to fight the virus both in Russia and outside. Just saying…

However, this is not a fair comparison. First, bases located on land have far more interactions with the outside world than ships, even ships in port. Second, and much more importantly, in case of a pandemic or chemical/biological attack, bases located on land can better isolate those affected, bring in more resources or quickly disperse the personnel to better protect them. You can’t do that on a ship. In fact, the bigger the ship, the more it looks like an “armed cruiseliner” which, as we now all know, is a gigantic Petri dish.

Questions such as those above will only increase in number as the pandemic finally shed a much-needed light on the shocking reality about “the best! most powerful! best equipped! and best trained military force in the Galaxy!”: it can’t even protect itself from a relatively weak virus, never-mind defeat a competent enemy.

Will we get answers? Eventually, probably yes. But for the time being, the US is all about covering your ass while pointing fingers and blaming others(especially China, Russia and even the WHO!). This strategy has been an abject failure for the past decades and it will be an abject failure in the future.

Trump’s latest decision to defund the WHO (to whom the US already owes a ton of money anyway) is arguably his worst act of “international PR seppuku” which will further increase the disgust the USA already inspires worldwide. As for our Israeli friends, they are proud that their Mossad actually steals medical equipment from other countries: after all, every Israeli know that Jewish blood is sacred, while goy blood is worthless. Another case of self-inflicted “international PR seppuku” for “the only democracy in the Middle East.”

But since that is all US politicians know how to do, this is not stopping anytime soon. Likewise, what is known as the “carrier fiction” will be upheld for as long as possible, especially since there is a lot of money involved for the US ruling classes.

كورونا القيامة والكمامة…بقلم عز الدين ميهوبي – أديب وكاتب جزائري

كعادتهم يخرج المنجمون والفلكيون والعرافات وقارئات الكف والفنجان من شرنقتهم ليبشروا العالم بأيام أكثر إشراقا أو ينذروه بفواجع في 2020 فيقولون سيعم السلام الشرق الأوسط وتتعافى اقتصاديات العالم وتؤول جائزة نوبل للسلام لشخصية عربية، وبالمقابل ستحدث كوارث وزلازل واغتيالات، 

لأن القمر يقترب للمرة الأولى من الأرض، والمشتري يقترن بزحل، والزهرة ستكون على مدار عطارد، وكل يبحث في برجه عن حظ يبعد عنه التعاسة ويفتح أمامه أبواب الرزق من أهل المال والسياسة. ولم ينتبه العالم إلى التحذير الذي أطلقه الطبيب لي وين ليانغ في مستشفى وُوهان الصينية في أواخر 2019 منبهًا إلى فيروس غير عادي، قد يحول حياة الناس إلى جحيم، ولكن صوت الطبيب لم يتجاوز جدران المستشفى، ومات وفي حلقه غصة.. وتحول إلى مجرد رقم من الأرقام التي يعرضها علينا كل مساء الدكتور تيدروس أدهانوم..

كشف فيروس كوفيد 19، عورة العالم التي لا تكفي غابةٌ من ورق التوت لتغطيتها، وفضح خرافة القيم الإنسانية التي يتبجح بها المنتصرون بعد كل حرب مدمرة، فهي لا تعدو أن تكون أكثر من كذبة يطلقها الكبار فيصدقها الصغار ويدفعون ثمنها “كاش” رغم أنوفهم..

كشف كوفيد 19 أن التضامن بين الشعوب والتكافل بين الأمم مجرد شعار أجوف، لا يختلف عن فقاعات صابون أو حبات ملح تذوب في الماء، وكشف أن المنظومات التي تدار بها المجتمعات هشة أو مهترئة، لا تقوى على الصمود والمقاومة  ولو لأسابيع، فعندما يجد الناس أنفسهم يعدون النعوش ويودعون أحبتهم عاجزين، لا يفهمون جدوى التغني بالحرية والديمقراطية وحقوق الانسان والاقتصاد الحر في غياب كمامة أو جهاز للتنفس. ولا يجدون سببا للتغني بالمثل العليا التي تكرس سيطرة الأقوياء، سياسيا بالفيتو، واقتصاديا بما تقرره مجموعة الثمانية الكبار..

صحيح هناك عوالم ثلاثة، عالم لم تكفه الأرض فاحتل الفضاء وادعى ملكيته، وعالم يسعى لابتلاع ما ومن في الأرض، وعالم يعيش تحت الأرض. العالم الأول اعتقدَ أن التكنولوجيا والقوة الاقتصادية كفيلتان بجعله الحاكم الأبدي للأرض، يطوع ويروع شعوبها كما يشاء، إذا صفعها على خد صعرت خدها الآخر صاغرة، عالمٌ يعيش على الحروب، ويستثمر في ماضيه الاستعماري، ويبني فلسفته على الخوف والتخويف وهو الغرب بقيادة أمريكا، والعالم الثاني، آخر همه أن يدخل حربا أو ينفخ في رمادها، يفتتح في كل ساعة مصنعا، ويطرق أبواب كل البلدان عارضا منتجاته، يبيع الإبرة والقطارات السريعة..  يدرك أنّ تأمين قوت مليار ونصف من الأفواه لا يتحقق إلا بشعار “اعمل أو مت”.. عالمٌ تتراجع فيه الإيديولوجيا ويكبر فيه الاقتصاد، تقوده الصين وأخواتها، وعالمٌ ثالث، يتلمس طريقه في أرض ملغمة، لم يعثر على وصفة للخروج من بناء الطابق الأرضي للدولة، وهو لا يعرف طريقه إلى التطور والتنمية، فيلقي أحيانا اللائمة على الاستعمار، وأحيانا على الإمبريالية والعولمة المتوحشة، يراوح في مكانه، يتقدم خطوة ويتراجع خطوتين، غارقًا في أزماته المتعددة الأشكال، مستسلمًا لأسئلة الخوف من المستقبل. عالمٌ يمثله ثلاثة أرباع بلدان العالم.

لقد شكلت محنة كورونا امتحانًا حقيقيا للعالم الذي وجد نفسه أمام مرآة الواقع التي كشفت عيوبه وما أكثرها، إذ لا يمكن لأي بلد، ولو كان عضوا في النادي النووي، أن يدعي قدرة على مواجهة الفيروس، وحماية شعبه ومنحه الطمأنينة اللازمة، فكل الأنظمة الصحية، مهما بلغت درجة تطورها وتعقيدها، تهاوت أمام سرعة انتشار الوباء، فانقلبت موازين التعاطي مع واقع الحال، وصار عاديا أن تتلقى إيطاليا الدعم من دول محدودة النمو، وانهارت كبرياء أمريكا في ظل عجز صريح عن منع تفشي الوباء، فألقت باللائمة على الصين ومنظمة الصحة العالمية لعدم تحليهما بالشفافية، وأبان العالم، في لحظة نفاق إنساني، عن ملامح مؤقتة لروح التضامن المفقودة، إذ تقول الحكمة “أثناء العاصفة يتعارف البحارة”. إنها استفاقة متأخرة، جاءت إكراهًا بالرغم من الكراهية التي تولدت عن صراعات الحرب الباردة ونزعة التفوق.

نعم، ليس هناك علاج متفق عليه بين الدول ومختبراتها، أحيانًا نسمع هنا وهناك، أن العمل يجري للوصول إلى لقاح، أو تطوير مصل مشابه، بينما منظمة الصحة العالمية تائهة بين خبر يدفع نحو التفاؤل ومعلومة تفتح أبواب السوداوية المرعبة. وكلما ازدادت حدة الفيروس انتشارا، زاد الحديث عن حرب المختبرات، بينما يستسلم العالم لما تضخه وكالات الأنباء ووسائل التواصل الاجتماعي من أخبار، يتداخل فيها الصحيح بالمغلوط أو المضلل، عن مشاريع حلول تكمن في أدوية الملاريا وتعديل في تركيباتها، أو باستخدام بلازما الدم، وأمام اليأس يلجأ الناس إلى الطب البديل، والعلاج بالعسل والزنجبيل والقرنفل والزعفران والحبة السوداء وخلطة الثوم والزيت والبصل وبخار الماء.. فيما أجمع الخبراء على أن العلاج الأفضل الذي لا يتم تحصيله من الصيدليات هو الوقاية بالحجر الصحي وغسل اليدين ووضع كمامة عند التواصل مع الآخرين والحفاظ على مسافة مترين..

عجيب أمر هذا العالم، دخل قلب الذرة، ونجح في فك شفرة الجينوم، واستثمر في الهندسة الوراثية، وأرسل مسابر لاستكشاف المجرات والبحث عن حياة في كواكب بعيدة، يقف اليوم عاجزا أمام فيروس، غير مرئي، عابر للقارات ومخترق للقصبات الهوائية.. عالمٌ يتجند بكل مقدراته من أجل كمامة.

في لحظة فارقة اكتشف العالم أن الصحة، فعلا، تاج على رؤوس الأصحاء لا يراه إلا المرضى، وهم في هذه الأزمة الوبائية سواء، لأن الفيروس “ديمقراطي” في فعلته، يدخل أكواخ الفقراء مثلما يلج قصور الأثرياء.. حيث لا يعنيه اللون أو الدين أو العرق أو الجاه أو المركز السياسي.. يدمر الرئتين ويرحل في ثانيتين.

واكتشف العالم حجم التقصير الذي مارسته الحكومات في حق شعوبها، فهي ترهقها بالضرائب ورفع الأسعار ، وتعجز عن توفير كمامات تقيها الوباء وشره..

إذن، من حق مواطن في بوتسوانا أو غواتيمالا أو سلوفينيا أو سريلانكا شأنه شأن مواطن أمريكي أو ألماني أو ياباني أو انجليزي أن يسأل لماذا يتم تخزين ترسانات الأسلحة الفتاكة، وتقام آلاف القواعد العسكرية التي تستنزف ميزانيات الدول، وتبقي على ثلاثة أرباع سكان العالم تحت خط الفقر، وفوق خط الموت، لا يملكون تأمينا على حياتهم، وأسوأ من ذلك، لا يملكون كمامة تؤجل موتهم إلى حين.

هذه الأيام، بدا كثير من كبار أمريكا أمثال كارتر وكيسنغر غاضبين من الرئيس ترامب، ومن أسلوب تعامله مع بقية العالم، مستهدفا خصومه الديمقراطيين في الداخل، وخصومه في الخارج، الصين وإيران والاتحاد الأوروبي  كعادته، إذ قالوا له، منذ نصف قرن، لم نسمع أن الصين دخلت حربًا أو أنفقت دولارا واحدًا في نزاع مسلح، بل وجهت جهودها لبناء اقتصاد قوي، وإنشاء آلاف المصانع والبحث عن أسواق لها في كل بلاد الدنيا، بينما دخلت أمريكا مئات الحروب والنزاعات باسم توسيع النفوذ ومحاربة الإرهاب والتبشير بالديمقراطية والحرية، وأنفقت خمسة آلاف مليار دولار على وَهْم قيادة العالم.. وهي اليوم عاجزة عن توفير كمامات لمواطنيها الذين يموتون مختنقين بفيروس.. أسماه ترامب في بدايته الفيروس الصيني، إحراجا لشي جين بينغ، غير أنه لم يجد بُدا من طلب الدعم بعد أن ابتلعَ الطعم.

الوباء لا يستثني أحدا، وهو يحصد الأرواح أمام دهشة العالم. فترامب يشكو قلة حيلته أمام ما يحدث.. وارتفاع أعداد المصابين لم يُقنع الجمهور بالتبريرات المقدمة، وبدا أن أسلوبه كرجل أعمال لم يتغير إزاء الأزمة، فهو يبرز جهود إدارته بالأرقام، ويتعاطى مع كورونا وكأنها سلعة في السوق يسعى إلى إغراقها خاصة إذا كانت صينية المنشأ(..) وبقدر إحصائه للأموات، يتحدث عن البورصة وإنعاش الشركات، والمحافظة على مناصب الشغل، ودعم الفئات المحرومة.. ولأن الأمر لا يخلو من السياسة، فهو يعرف أن انتخابات الخريف المقبل على الأبواب، وأن متاعبه بدأت مع كوفيد 19 وزادت مع الركود الاقتصادي وتقلبات سوق النفط وانحسار الدولار الذي تخلت عنه الدول الآسيوية لصالح اليوان وارتمائها في جلباب العم بينغ، بحثا عن الأمان.. إن ترامب في معركته مع كورونا والوضع الاقتصادي لا يختلف عن سيزيف وصخرته..

يقول هنري كيسنغر إن الأمريكان اليوم يكتشفون “معنى الموت”، الموت بالجملة، وليس بالمفرق، كما هو في حروب كثيرة دخلوها بحسابات الربح، وخرجوا منها بنتائج الخسارة.. وهذا ستكون له تبعات كبيرة. ولعل من المظاهر التي سجلتها بعض المواقع الإلكترونية، والتي أبانت عن ضغط نفسي كبير بسبب انتشار الوباء حتى أن هناك من شبهها بحالات الفزع التي أعقبت هجمات 11 سبتمبر. الهلع في كل مكان.

ومن مفارقات المشهد الأمريكي القاسي أن أصواتًا ارتفعت في المكسيك تطالب ترامب بالإسراع في بناء الجدار العازل بين البلدين حتى لا تنتقل عدوى كورونا.. فالهجرة لم تعد تستهوي المكسيكيين أو تسيل لعابهم. هم يعرفون “معنى الحياة”.

هناك إجماعٌ على أن ساسة أمريكا، اليوم، باختلاف توجهاتهم، محكومٌ عليهم بإعادة تحميض الصورة النمطية التي تكرست عنهم في عيون الأمم الأخرى، لأن منظريهم في جامعات يلْ وجورج تاون وهارفارد وستانفورد، أوْهَمُوهم أنهم هم من يصنع التاريخ ومن يغير الجغرافيا، ومن يعلم الناس كيف يجدون متعتهم في الماكدونالد والبيسبول.. ويُكرهون العالم على قبول أنهم النموذج الأوحد والأخير للبشرية. صدقوا كذبة منظري حقبة القوة والمواجهة، هنتنغتون وفوكوياما، ففضحهم كوفيد 19 المخادع.. العالم ليس واحدًا، إنه متعدد بالفطرة. ولم تكن كتابات المفكرين والمحللين السياسيين الأمريكان أكثر تشاؤمًا كهذه المرحلة..

لا يختلف اثنان في أن أوروبا هي التي التهمت الحربان العالميتان أكثر من خمسين مليون من أبنائها وأبناء مستعمراتها، وشهدت قبل ذاك أكثر من وباء ابتلع الملايين أيضا، هُم يحاولون التعالي على عدد ضحايا الفيروس بالقول “جاء بغتة.. ولم نكن مهيئين له”، ثم شرعوا في تصفية حسابات الدكاكين فيما بينهم، مما جعل الاتحاد الأوروبي يبدو كأفراد عائلة وقعوا في ورطة، يسعى كل واحد منهم لإنقاذ رأسه، والخروج من المأزق بأخف الأضرار. ولعل صورة إيطاليا، شهيدة كورونا، وهي تعد ضحاياها كل يوم، أمام عجز كامل للدولة ومؤسساتها، ودهشة شعبها، هي صورة لبؤس التضامن الأوروبي الذي يخفي كثيرا من الأنانية، إذ صارت أيقونة الحضارة والتاريخ القديم والإبداع الراقي في أوروبا تستجدي الجيران والأصدقاء أمام الارتفاع المهول لعدد الأموات، فلم تجد سوى طواقم بوتين وخبراء شي جين، وأطباء كاسترو..

استيقظ الاتحاد الأوروبي متأخرا، لأنه شعر أن الفيروس سيفعل بالقارة العجوز ما لم يفعله البريكسيت بعد خروج الانجليز، وأنه سيزيد الهوة ويوسع الشرخ، ويهدد البيت الأوروبي بانهيار وشيك، ويعود كل بلد إلى شرنقته الأولى، فتسقط المواطنة الأوروبية، وتستعيد القوميات الأصلية حيويتها، ويقول الآباء المؤسسون وداعًا لماستريخت ولفضاء شينغين.. وليلزم كل واحد كوخَه، ويأكل برتقاله وخوخَه.

منذ البداية ظهر رأيان حول جائحة كورونا، الرأي الأول يقول إنه نتاج مختبرات سرية هدفها تركيع الصين لأمريكا، أو العكس، أمريكا للصين، في ظل الحرب التجارية القائمة بينهما، والتي اشتدت مع مجيء ترامب وتحرشاته المتواصلة بالتنين، أو ربما هي شراكة بين دول لتحييد الصين وروسيا عن مركز الاستقطاب الجديد، وتُذكر إسرائيل كطرف فاعل في هذه المعادلة، وبعضهم يرى أنها تهدف لتأديب الاتحاد الأوروبي الذي لم يحسن إدارة شؤونه، فهو يعيش حالة تيهان مستمر أو إرباك سياسي، مرة يتهيأ له أنه مستقل تماما، ومرة يقترب من روسيا، ومرات يميل إلى أمريكا، وأحيانا إلى الصين، أو يبدي مرونة مع إيران.. وهذا ما يرفضه ترامب جملة وتفصيلا، فعلى الأوروبيين أن يحفظوا وديعة مارشال، رأسمال العلاقات التاريخية بين العالمين الجديد والقديم.

 عشرات التقارير المنسوبة للمخابرات الأمريكية أو الأجهزة المنتحلة، أو غيرها، تشير إلى أن الأمر دُبر بليل، وأن كورونا المستجد حلقة في حرب طويلة، لا يُعرف إن كان الأمر مبيتا، أو حدث في ووهان ما حدث في تشيرنوبيل، من فقدان للسيطرة على انفلات فيروسي غير محسوب، أو أنه، كما جاء في الرواية الصينية، جاء بفعل تسريب من الجيش الأمريكي على الأراضي الصينية، وليس هناك من يؤكد أو ينفي، لأن الفأس وقعت في الرأس.

وهناك من يقول إن حكاية الوباء وردت في كتب فكرية وروايات أو أفلام الخيال العلمي وو.. تتحدث عن فيروس مبتكر سيفتك بشعوب العالم، وأنه سينطلق من مدينة ووهان الصينية، على غرار رواية “عيون في الظلام The Eyes of Darkness التي صدرت في 1981 للكاتب الأمريكي دين كونتز Dean Koontz والتي يتحدث فيها بصريح الكلمة عن فيروس فتاك يظهر في ووهان أي قبل أربعين عاما. وغيرها من الكتابات التي عززت نظرية المؤامرة، ويذهبون إلى أن طبيبًا أمريكيا اسمه تشارلز ليبيرCharles LIEBER ، يدير دائرة البيولوجيا والكيمياء في جامعة هارفارد، هو من قام بتصنيع الفيروس وابتاعته الصين منه، واستخدمته بالصورة التي أدخلت العالم في كابوس مرعب. وتذكر المصادر أنه تم القبض على ليبير.. والأيام وحدها ستكشف مدى صحة المعلومة. ويسعى آخرون إلى إلصاق التهمة ببيل غيتس Bill Gates لأنه تحدث منذ سنوات عن إمكانية ظهور فيروسات قاتلة في المستقبل.. وربما هذا ما يدفع الخبراء إلى التساؤل: لماذا يصل الفيروس إلى كل بقاع العالم، وينتشر في القارات الست، ولا يدخل العاصمة بيجين حيث قيادة الصين السياسية ومدينة شنغهاي حيث القيادة الاقتصادية، وهما قريبتان من ووهان؟ وكيف نجحت الصين في السيطرة على انتشار الوباء في أسابيع قليلة بينما فشلت دول قوية، منها أمريكا.. هذا كلام تروج له دوائر في الغرب في محاولة لتبرير العجز التام والاستسلام للوباء، وهي في النهاية قراءات تتم تحت طائلة نظرية المؤامرة. وهناك من يقول إن تقريرا لمجموعة علماء أصدروه في عام 1973 بأستراليا حذروا من أن العالم سيواجه كارثة بيولوجية وبيئية في 2020 بسبب التلوث والاحتباس الحراري.. وأنها أشبه بالقيامة أو نهاية العالم. وتذهب بعض القراءات المغرضة إلى أن الغرب أراد أن يتخلص من العجزة وكبار السن، ممن يتجاوزن العقد السابع، فأرسل عليهم الفيروس الذي يخلصهم منهم دون أدنى كلفة.. وهي قراءات فاقدة لأية قيمة إنسانية، وهي لا تختلف عن نظرية الموت الرحيم..

أما الرأي الثاني فيرى أن ظهور جائحة كورونا، هو لعنة حلت بالبشر، لأنهم حادوا عن الطريق القويم وخالفوا الشرائع والنواميس، وأنهم يغالبون خالقهم في خلقه، وأنها بمثابة امتحان رباني للبشرية التي خانت وعدَ الله.. لهذا نشر كثير من الناس مقولات أو تنبؤات على ألسنة أسماء نكرات في التراث الإنساني، إذا استثني نوستراداموس الذي فُسرت بعض رباعياته الشهيرة على أنها تتنبأ بالفيروس القادم من الصين، وأكثرها سوادًا تلك التي تتنبأ بمستقبل فرنسا غير المحمود العواقب، ويذهب المتنبئ الفرنسي إلى أن الاقتصاد العالمي سينهار كليا. هناك، مثلا، من أخرج كتابا تراثيا عنوانه “دعائم الدهور” أو عظائم الدهور لمؤلف اسمه أبو علي الدبيزي (..) ونسب إليه أنه ذكر في أرجوزة له أن وباءً قاتلا يأتي من الصين وسببه الخفاش، وسيصيب كثيرا من الأقوام وخاصة الطليان.. ويُرجع مروجو هذا المخطوط إلى أنه يعود للعام 565 للهجرة، أي قبل أحد عشر قرنًا.. وهذا دليل على الكذب والتلفيق، علمًا أن مخطوط الدبيزي مذكور في المراجع التراثية ولكن لا أثر له.. وكثيرة هي الحكايات الصفراء التي يحفل بها عالم الأنترنيت المثقل بالمغالطات والأكاذيب والخرافات..

كتب المفكر الفرنسي المولود بالجزائر جاك أتالي مقالا حول كورونا وتأثيره على العالم الذي وجد نفسه بين مطرقة الفيروس وسندان الانهيار الاقتصادي، ولا خيار إلا البحث عن حلول للأزمتين معًا، وإلا فلا يمكن التنبؤ بما سيكون. يقول أتالي إن الوباء العظيم، أو ما أطلق عليه الموت الأسود، الذي أتى على ثلث سكان أوروبا في القرن الرابع عشر دفع الإنسان إلى الاحتماء بالكنيسة، وأن وباء القرن الثامن عشر جعل الناس يلجؤون إلى قوة الدولة، ومع كوفيد 19 وجد الناس ملاذهم الأخير في المشافي والمصحات.. وبالتالي فإن كل وباء يحيل الإنسان على قوة تحميه، إما رجل دين أو شرطي أو طبيب. هو بحاجة إلى خيط يتعلق به، لا خيار له. وحتى نكون أكثر إنصافا، فإن مواجهة الوباء لا يمكن أن تتم إلا بالدواء والدعاء.. والحجر في البيوت، أي بفعالية المختبرات وبقوة وصدق الإيمان.

ولعل الشيء الذي أكد أن الناس يتعلقون بأدنى قشة عندما يجدون أنفسهم على مسافة شبر من القبر هو العودة إلى الله وكتبه السماوية، فقد شاهد العالم الإيطاليين وهم يتضرعون إلى الله، مؤمنين أو ملحدين، لأنهم جربوا كل شيء، ولا حل إلا في معجزة.. وفي مشاهد أخرى، لوحظ خروج بعض الوُعاظ من دعاة الكنيسة الأنجليكانية في شوارع نيويورك وهم يدعون الناس إلى التوبة عن الانحراف، فما يجري هو إرهاصات القيامة.. وهو المشهد الذي يتكرر في شوارع المدن الكبرى، المتضررة من الوباء، روما، بروكسل، طنجة.. وهي تتضرع إلى الله ليصرف البلاء ويبعد الأذى.. وفي عديد المنابر، يفسرون غلق دور العبادة من مساجد وبيَع وكنائس على أنهُ دليلٌ على غضب من الله. الله يُمهلُ خلقهُ ليتوبوا عن الضلال الذي هم فيه ويعودون إلى رشدهم.

وخصصت مجلة “نيوزويك” الأمريكية منذ أسابيع مقالا أشارت فيه إلى أن النبي محمد، عليه الصلاة والسلام، هو أول من اقترح الحجر الصحي إذا ما انتشر الطاعون، بقوله “إذا سمعتم بالطاعون بأرض فلا تدخلوها، وإذا وقع بأرض وأنتم بها فلا تخرجوا منها”. وتساءلت المجلة إن كانت قوة الصلاة فعلاً قادرة على هزيمة الوباء.

لم يصدق الناس أن أوروبا التي أنجبت الثورة الصناعية وتفوقت في التكنولوجيا وبناء مجتمعات متحضرة، تعجز ـ كأي بلد تحت محدود النمو ـ عن مواجهة الوباء، وكيف تفشل أنظمتها الصحية عن التكفل بالأمر، فقد سمع الناس نداءات الإستغاثة تطلع من روما ومدريد ولندن وأمستردام.. مثلما سمعوها منذ سنوات من مونروفيا ولاغوس وكوناكري وفريتاون بعد تفشي وباء إيبولا. أمام الوباء، لا فرق بين من يصنف كقوة عظمى ومن ينتسب لعالم تحت الفقر. والأمر المستهجن في ظل هذه الجائحة، عندما يجرؤ أطباء فرنسيون على اقتراح إجراء تجارب للقاح كوفيد 19 على الأفارقة للتأكد من فعاليته، وهو ما اعتُبر موقفا عنصريا منبوذًا.. بل يؤكد وجود نزعة كولونيالية لدى الذين يفكرون بهذا المنطق الأخرق، وكأن الأفارقة فئران تجارب.

لم يتفق العلماء والساسة في الوصول إلى أجوبة نهائية مقنعة بشأن هذا الوباء الذي يحصد الآلاف يوميا، هل هو بفعل فاعل، امتحان إلهي، أم بفعل فاعل، قوة استخبارية تسعى لتركيع أخرى؟ هل تقف وراءه جهة تهدف لتحقيق ضربة تجارية تاريخية؟ هل يمكن الوصول إلى لقاح يقي البشر فيروس الشر؟ إلى أي حد يمكن للعالم أن يصمد أمام إكراهات الحجر وماذا عن قدرة الدول على تأمين القوت اليومي لمليارات الأفواه في ظل الركود الاقتصادي وموت الإنتاج؟ وأسئلة أخرى، من قبيل كم حكومة ستصمد إذا استمر الوضع على ما هو عليه؟ هل سيبقى النظام الدولي بتركيبته الحالية أم ستعاد هيكلته ليس على أساس القوة، ولكن على أساس الحفاظ على وحدة الكوكب وانسجام شعوبه؟ وهل سيصدق الناس مستقبلا القيم التي تبشر بها الأنظمة القائمة؟ وكأننا على مشارف القيامة أو أضحى عالمُنا منتهي الصلاحية. وبالتالي فالذي لا يختلف حوله اثنان أو ثلاثة، هو أن العالم سيخرج مُنهكا من هذه الأزمة، منهكٌ صحيًا وسياسيًا واجتماعيًا واقتصاديًا ونفسيًا، سيكون عالمًا بالغ الهشاسة، يتنفسُ ببطء، وكأنه أدرك شيخوخته قبل الأوان.

ما يمكن استخلاصه أن كل الأجوبة تبقى مجرد تخمينات وافتراضات، ولكن المؤكد أن مقاومات شرسة ستحدث بعد أن تحط الحرب على الوباء أوزارها. مقاومة للحفاظ على الإرث التاريخي للأنظمة الغربية والشرقية وما بينهما على السواء، أي تنقذ ما يمكن إنقاذه، ولو تشهد المرحلة سقوط حكومات، وتزول من شاشة الرادار السياسي مئات الوجوه التي أخفقت في إدارة الأزمة، ومع هذا يكون السؤال الأكبر في الغرب خاصة هو أين مكانة التضامن الإنساني في أجندة الحوكمة المستقبلية؟ وهل يمكن ترميم المشاعر التي ترك فيها الوباء ندوبًا عميقة؟ وهل ستُبقي بعض الدول على نمط المجتمعات المؤسسة على الفرد دون المجموعة؟ وهل سيتعزز موقع أنظمة الشرق، بقيادة الصين وروسيا، كونها أشعرت مواطنيها، وجزءًا من العالم، أنها تمتلك آليات الدولة المانحة المجموعة أولوية على الفرد الواحد، كون المواطن في الغرب يتبع الشركة التي تؤمن له قوت عياله، وما انتماؤه للدولة إلا مجرد حق في المواطنة، بينما في الشرق، ينبع الولاء للدولة من تأمينها الشروط الضرورية للعيش بين الجماعة والإفادة من ريع الدولة.. وهناك دول تأخذ بالنظامين، لذا بدت درجة الاحتجاج أقل ضررا، وأوفر أمانا. بلا شك، سيبحث العالم عن أنظمة أكثر مواءمة للحق في الحياة، وربما تثور الشعوب على الحروب التي لا رابح فيها سوى كارتلات السلاح التي يدير أصحابها دفات الحكم، في هذا البلد وذاك، كما يريدون.. ويرتفع منسوب الضغط على الأمم المتحدة لتُنهي بؤر الصراع والتوتر المتجدد في نقاط من العالم، كالشرق الأوسط، وربما يعود الناس إلى أفكار الأنبياء والفلاسفة والساسة الملهمين أمثال النبي محمد، وكونفوشيوس والفردوسي وماركس ولينكولن وغاندي ومانديلا ولي كوان ومهاتير.. ليعيدوا صياغة عالم جديد يتخلص فيه من فيروسات الأنانية والكراهية والخوف.

العالم بعد كورونا، وهي حتميّة تاريخية فرضها عارضٌ صحي عميق، سيعيد صياغة المفاهيم والقيم التي دمرها فيروس الأنانية، فيعيد بناء منظومة قيم جديدة تلامس كل ما هو سياسي واجتماعي واقتصادي ونفسي، للحفاظ على الجنس البشري، وأن يكون التضامن بين الأمم هو عنوان المستقبل، وأن يرتكز الاهتمام على ضرورة حماية الكوكب، وتنظيف رئتيه من إفرازات مصانع الموت التي تسبب فيها الإنسان، وتحريره من الإحتباس الحراري بفعل التغير المناخي المقلق وإفراغه من التلوث القاتل، وجعل بيئة الأرض أكثر قابلية للحياة. إن من حتمية الأشياء أن تخصص أغلفة مالية كبرى لتأمين البشر من الأوبئة والأمراض المستعصية. بلا شك، سيمتلك العالم الجرأة للبحث في مسببات المجاعة والتطرف والإرهاب والهجرة السرية والإتجار بالبشر والمخدرات وحماية التراث الثقافي الانساني، وأن يتجاوز العالم مفاهيم الحوار بين الثقافات والحضارات والأديان والحق في الاختلاف إلى الحوار من أجل حماية الإنسان وكوكبه. وسيرتفع خطابٌ نبذ ثقافة العنف والكراهية في مختلف أشكال التعبير والإبداع، وستتعزز مكانة القيم الروحية في مختلف المجتمعات، وتُعلن الحربُ على الحروب والنزاعات المسلحة التي تستنزف موارد الشعوب الفقيرة التي لا تملك نمط عيش ثابت، ويأخذ التكافل بين البلدان مكانا متقدما في العلاقات الدولية، ويُعطى مفهوم الاقتصاد التشاركي قيمة أكبر مستقبلا، وتبرز البدائل الجديدة في الطاقة والاقتصاديات الناعمة، فضلا عن تطوير منظومات البحث العلمي والتكنولوجي لأجل تفكيك أسئلة ما استعصي على الطب والتصدي للأوبئة والأمراض المزمنة لبلوغ سقف مقبول من راحة الإنسان.. وبذلك تأخذ قيم السعادة والتعاون والمبادرة مكان البؤس والخوف والأنانية..

قد تُستبق هذه التصورات بمراحل انتقالية ببروز أجيال حاملة لهذه الأفكار والقناعات، أو ما يمكن تسميته أجيال ما بعد كورونا. قد تكون مجرد تهويمات أو تهيؤات لقيم مُثلى، أو أن فيها شيئا من جمهورية أفلاطون ومدينة الفارابي الفاضلة، لكن التاريخ علمنا أنه بعد كل وباء يلبس العالم رداءً مختلفًا، يأنس فيه إلى مجتمع آمن.. وإذا اختزلنا الصورة، فيمكن القول إن العالم سينتقل من العولمة السالبة لحق الإنسان في أمنه وغذائه، إلى الأنسنة العادلة التي من شأنها أن تعيد العالم إلى جوهر العيش المشترك والتعايش الحتمي، بعيدا عن حسابات الدين واللغة والعرق والإيديولوجيا. إن فك شفرة المستقبل تكمن في بناء العالم/ العائلة.

الكاتب

عز الدين ميهوبي أديب وكاتب جزائري وزير الثقافة سابقا

المصدر : 5stass

   ( الخميس 2020/04/16 SyriaNow) 

أميركا تخسر حرب الكورونا وفي طريقها للخروج من المحيط الهادئ

محمد صادق الحسيني

لم يكن إعلان “سفارة الأمر الواقع” الأميركية في تايوان، يوم الجمعة 10/4/2020، حول تعاون الولايات المتحدة مع هذه الجزيرة لسنوات مقبلة (أمراً واقعاً لكونها غير شرعية بموجب اتفاق 1979 بين جمهورية الصين الشعبية والولايات المتحدة، والذي أكد وحدة الصين الواحدة ومن ضمن أراضيها السيادية هذه الجزيرة، التي انشقت عن الصين الأمّ عام 1949)، نقول إنّ هذا الإعلان لم يكن هو الاستفزاز الأميركي الأول تجاه جمهورية الصين الشعبية.

كما لم يكن مرور المدمّرة الأميركية USS Barry DDG 52، يوم السبت 12/4/2020، في مضيق تايوان هو الاستفزاز العسكري الأميركي الأول ضدّ بكين. اذ انّ الاستفزازات الأميركية قد بدأت عندما شرعت الولايات المتحدة في تقديم الدعم العسكري الواسع لعميلها، الجنرال الصيني المنشق جيانغ كاي شيك (Chiang – Kai – Shek)، الذي هرب من البر الصيني إثر هزيمته وقوات الكومينتانغ عام 1949 إثر انتصار قوات الثورة الصينية، بزعامة ماوتسي تونغ وحرّرت كامل البر الصيني.

نقول إنّ استفزازات الولايات المتحدة لجمهورية الصين الشعبية قبل ذلك الإعلان بزمن طويل، حيث قام الرئيس الأميركي، هاري ترومان، بنشر الأسطول السابع الأميركي في محيط هذه الجزيرة ومضيق تايوان، قبالة الشواطئ الصينية، وذلك لمنع قوات الثورة من السيطرة على الجزيرة وتحريرها. وقد اتبعت واشنطن انتشار قواتها العسكرية في تلك المنطقة بتوقيع اتفاقية، بينها وبين جيانغ كاي شيك، سنة 1955 أطلقت عليها اسم: اتفاقية الدفاع المشترك والتي وقعت في واشنطن بتاريخ 3/3/1955.

وقد استمرّت واشنطن في ممارسة سياستها العدوانية، ضدّ بكين، طوال السنوات التي تبعت توقيع الاتفاقية، المشار اليها أعلاه، وحتى نهاية سبعينيات القرن الماضي، عندما اتفقت واشنطن وبكين، على وضع أسس ثابتة لعلاقات بين الدولتين، تكللت بتوقيع اتفاقية الاعتراف الديبلوماسي المتبادل بين البلدين بتاريخ 1/1/1979، تلك الاتفاقية التي أعادت التوازن، ولو جزئياً لميزان القوى السياسي، في تلك المنطقة من العالم، خاصة أنها اعتبرت جزيرة تايوان جزءاً لا يتجزأ من أراضي جمهورية الصين الشعبية، الأمر الذي أدّى إلى أن تشغل بكين مقعد الصين الدائم في مجلس الأمن الدولي بدلاً من الجزيرة المنشقة.

وهو الأمر الذي شكل قاعدة العلاقات الأميركية الصينية، وتطوّرها، حتى تسلّم ترامب للسلطة في واشنطن، عام 2017، وبدئه اتباع سياسات استفزازية، تصعيدية وعدائية ضدّ جمهورية الصين الشعبية. ومن بين أهمّ تلك الإجراءات العدائية هي التالية:

موافقة ترامب، منذ عام 2017 وحتى الآن، على تزويد جزيرة تايوان الصينية المنشقة بأسلحة متطورة قيمتها 4,12 مليارات دولار ( مساحة الجزيرة / 35000 كم مربع / أيّ أكثر بقليل من مساحة فلسطين).

توقيع الرئيس الأميركي ترامب قانون زيارات تايوان، بتاريخ 23/2/2018، والذي يسمح لكبار المسؤولين السياسيين الأميركيين، بزيارة الجزيرة المنشقة وعقد لقاءات سياسية مع مسؤوليها، وكذلك زيارة سياسيين تايوانيين منشقين للولايات المتحدة وعقد لقاءات مع نظرائهم الأميركيين، وذلك لأول مرة منذ الاعتراف المتبادل بين الصين الشعبية وواشنطن سنة 1979. وهو الأمر الذي أثار سخطاً شديداً لدى الأوساط الرسمية والشعبية الصينية لأنه اعتبر انسحاباً ضمنياً من اعتراف واشنطن بسيادة بكين على جزيرة تايوان.

توقيع الرئيس الأميركي على قانون النفقات الدفاعية الأميركي، بتاريخ 20/12/2019، والذي يتضمّن بنوداً تدعو لتقوية العلاقات (ومنها العسكرية طبعاً) مع تايوان وإبطاء رفع العقوبات عن شركة الاتصالات الصينية العملاقة، هواوي. اضافة الى وجود نصوص أخرى، تتعلق بهونغ كونغ ومنطقة شينغ جيانغ Xinjiang الصينية. الأمر الذي اعتبره ناطق باسم الخارجية الصينية، السيد يو فينتز إي You Wenze، ووكالة الأنباء الصينية، تدخلاً سافراً في شؤون الصين الداخلية.

وهنا تجب الإشارة الى إعلان، سفارة الأمر الواقع الأميركية في تايوان، بخصوص التعاون المستقبلي بين واشنطن وتايبِه، بما في ذلك التعاون العسكري، وهو ما يُعتبر إعلاناً أميركياً رسمياً عن بدء تطبيق قانون النفقات الدفاعية، الذي وقعه ترامب والمشار إليه أعلاه، ما يشكل خرقاً صارخاً لكلّ القوانين الدولية ولا يمكن مقارنته إلا بقيام الصين الشعبية، او ايّ دولة أخرى في العالم، بتقديم الدعم لولاية أميركية منشقة عن الحكومة الفدرالية في واشنطن.

طلب البنتاغون رسمياً، من خلال رسالة موجهة للكونغرس الأميركي، الأسبوع الماضي، تمويلاً إضافياً بقيمة عشرين مليار دولار، بحجة مواجهة التوسع العسكري الصيني وإقامة شبكات دفاع صاروخي ودفاع جوي وأنظمة رادار وحرب إلكترونية وتقوية الدفاعات الأميركية، البحرية والجوية، في قواعد جزيرة غوام ومنشآت أميركية أخرى في المحيط الهادئ، لوقف هذا التوسّع الصيني المزعوم. علماً أنّ من قدم الطلب هو قيادة المحيط الهندي/ الهادئ في البنتاغون (Indo – Pacific Command).

وقد بررت هذه القياده طلبها، المذكور أعلاه، بالقول إنّه دون وجود ردع موثوق به، في وجه روسيا والصين، فانهما ستعملان على تقويض نفوذ ومصالح الولايات المتحدة في تلك المنطقة والحلول مكانها. علماً انّ الجيش الأميركي قد اطلق على هذه العملية، في رسالة طلب التمويل، اسم: استعادة التفوق (Regain Advantege). علما أنّ التمويل سيبدأ اعتباراً من السنة المالية 2021.

وبما انّ وزير الحرب الأميركي السابق، جيمس ماتيس، قد أعلن منطقة جزيرة غوام وغرب المحيط الهندي منطقة عمليات ذات الاولوية، واعتبار العسكريين الأميركيين الحاليين جزيرة غوانتينامو خط الدفاع الأول عن الولايات المتحدة فهم يخططون الآن لإقامة “خط دفاع ثانٍ” يتجه غرباً، وصولاً الى ما يطلق عليه البنتاغون: سلسلة الجزر الاولى، اي سلسلة الجزر الصينية، في بحار الصين الجنوبية والشرقية. غيرها. وهو ما يعني تضييق الخناق على الصين ودمج جزيرة تايوان في خط الدفاع الثاني، الذي يعملون على إقامته، من خلال التمويلات الجديدة وغيرها.

وعليه فلا بد من تذكير عضو الكونغرس الأميركي عن ولاية أوكلاهوما، جيمس إنهوف ( James Inhofe )، وهو رئيس لجنة القوات المسلحة في المجلس انّ ما يحمي اميركا ومصالحها، في مسرح العمليات ذي الاولوية (Priority Theatre)، ليس تمويل المزيد من مشاريع التسلح والتوسع ومحاصرة الصين، التي لا يمكنكم ان تحاصروها، بل ان ما يحمي الولايات المتحدة ومصالحها هو استثمار هذه المليارات في مشاريع إنتاجية ومشاريع لتحديث البنى التحتية، ومن بينها ثلاثة آلاف جسر مهدّدة بالانهيار بسبب انعدام الصيانة.

هذه هي الاستثمارات التي قد تعيد الحياة الى الاقتصاد الاميركي، الذي خسر حرب كورونا، امام المعسكر الأوروآسيوي. وذلك لانّ الدولة التي ستكون قادرة على اعادة عجلة دوران اقتصادها الى الوضع الطبيعي هي التي ستكون، وحلفاؤها، في وضع من يقرّر مستقبل العالم، وتخليصه من سيطرة الأحادية القطبية والتوحش الرأسمالي، الذي ساد العالم الغربي خلال السنوات الأربعين الماضية.

لن تكون خطوط الدفاع تلك وانما الكتلة الدولية المُشار اليها اعلاه، خاصة انّ الاقتصاد الصيني، وحسب التقارير الدولية المختصة قد نجحت في إعادة تشغيل وتفعيل اقتصادها بنسبة تفوق 80 %، الأمر الذي سيجعلها أكثر حظاً في ترسيخ دورها القيادي العالمي، بالتعاون مع روسيا وربما الهند، ولو بشكل جزئي في البداية.

يهلك ملوكاً ويستخلف آخرين.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

Hassan Nasrallah: the coronavirus battle is a health & social war, Western leaders are lying

Source
Date: 13 April 2020

Author: lecridespeuples

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General, Sayed Hassan Nasrallah, on March 13, 2020, devoted almost exclusively to the global health crisis caused by Covid-19 and the measures that each individual must take to protect himself and others.

When this speech was delivered, there were 124 Covid-19 cases and 3 deaths in Lebanon; on April 12th, 630 cases & 20 deaths were accounted for. 

Source: https://video.moqawama.org/details.php?cid=1&linkid=2104

Translation: resistancenews.org

 Transcript:

[…] Among the priority topics I’m going to touch on, which are of concern to the world at this stage, the first is that of the Coronavirus. The fundamental struggle in which everyone is engaged today, not only Lebanon and the peoples of our region, and which occupies the minds of all, from the country in which it (apparently) started (China) to everyone else. I mean the battle against what is now called the Coronavirus pandemic. Today, in the countries of our region —Western Asia (as Khamenei calls it) or the Middle East—, in Europe, in the United States, this is the first and essential question which eclipses all the others. I will talk about this problem.

Naturally, I will not dwell on the specific questions reserved for specialists in the scientific and medical field, whether within the Ministry of Health, at the level of doctors, WHO, etc., and therefore, everything you have heard and everything they have said in the past few days and weeks (about barrier gestures, social distancing and confinement, etc.), I will not go back to it nor repeat it. But I want to embark on the same path by approaching this enormous and major development, in order to determine its framework and the responsibilities of everyone in this regard, including ours.

Coronavirus is a mortal enemy to all mankind

First, we must consider ourselves at the heart of a battle, whether it be Lebanon or the whole region. Today, it is no longer a battle limited to one (or more) country, but it is a world war. A global battle waged by all countries & peoples of the world. This is the every government’s priority to act upon and the concern of people all over the world.

We must consider ourselves at the heart of a battle and wage that battle. This is something very important to understand the subject and approach it as it should, and find the appropriate solution. In this battle, there is an enemy, and there are (potential) targets. And all those who are threatened (namely the entire world population) must face this enemy.

In any battle —because we must take advantage of the experience of Hezbollah, of all the Resistance movements and of all the wars in the world—, the enemy must be clearly identified and known. The problem in this battle is that the enemy, who is called the new coronavirus, remains largely unknown in the world, most of its aspects are still unknown (to the scientific community). So far, research & analysis are in progress, and we are still trying to decode the formula of this virus and unlock its secrets, and we wonder how to create a remedy, a vaccine, a solution, etc. This enemy therefore remains fundamentally unknown in its specificities, but its dangers have largely become clear to everyone in the past few weeks. It poses a considerable threat to the whole world.

What is the threat that the coronavirus poses to us? It is deadly for individuals, and can end their lives. Certain enemies (like Israel) can destroy our homes, burn our agricultural fields, represent a security danger, wage a psychological war to destabilize us, etc. But there, the danger is different: this enemy wants to kill us and kill many people. And its threat does not only weigh on a village, a city, a country, or even on a single continent: it extends to the whole world, to the whole terrestrial globe. And this enemy does not stop in front of any number: neither the hundreds, nor the thousands, nor the tens of thousands, nor the millions (this virus can infect absolutely everyone). Today, some American media are considering colossal statistics, speaking of tens of millions of potentially infected people, from 160 to 225 million (figures from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention quoted by the New York Times). These statistics relate only to the United States (and suggest the risk of more than a million deaths).

Consequently, we are faced with an enemy whose threat is clear, considerable and universal. I say this because we must know the enemy in all its truth, and the truth of the threat it poses to us, in order to be able to assume our responsibilities and face them. I am not saying this to encourage surrender, fear or terror, or psychosis, this term that we use so much, even here in Lebanon, and on which there is debate (because in Lebanon, we are divided over everything).

In any case, the most dangerous thing about this threat is that it does not only weigh on the economy, on school years (that get interrupted) or different aspects of life. As I said, it is a threat to life itself (it’s a matter of life and death). And there’s nothing more important than people’s lives, than staying alive, healthy, safe and sound. This is the priority, or at least it must be the priority, as I will speak about when I mention the objective which must be ours. Because everything can be recovered: we can recover a school year, we can compensate for an economic decline, everything can be recovered. But as for those who lose their lives, our dear ones whom we lose and who leave this terrestrial world, it’s over for them: they will not come back, and we have lost them forever.

Therefore, this is the enemy and this is the threat.

Faced with this threat, and faced with this enemy, what should be our decision? We must decide to fight! It is obvious. Perhaps some will say that I say platitudes. But in our country and in many places in the world, there is debate on the most obvious things. For example, when the Israeli enemy attacked Lebanon, invading and occupying our territory, grabbing our waters, our skies and our sovereignty to satisfy its appetites, the evidence of the Resistance was a (bitterly) disputed subject. The same goes for the coronavirus: the choice must be that of the Resistance against this aggressor and invading enemy who threatens us, who occupies (always more territories and contaminates more and more people) and has become a global epidemic. Above all, you must not surrender, despair or feel defeated (in advance) and helpless or incapable of acting, or underestimate this danger, in any case. We must resolutely decide to face and fight (this virus), to fight this battle and assume our responsibilities, with a victorious morale.

Third, when we talk about this fight or this responsibility, (the meaning of) responsibility must be global and universal. If I consider the example of Lebanon (but my point is valid for the whole world), the responsibility lies with the State in all its instances: the Presidents (of the Republic, of the Council of Ministers and of the Parliament) , the government in all its ministries, and not only the Ministry of Health, which is responsible for only one aspect of this battle, but all the ministries are concerned, as well as Justice, the Parliament, the army, the security forces, the towns and cities… Everything that is part of the State and its institutions & bodies must assume this responsibility. All the Lebanese people must also assume this responsibility, be it adults, the youngest, in all regions. Likewise, all non-Lebanese who are on Lebanese territory, whether Palestinian refugees, displaced Syrians and other residents, whether Arab or not. Anyone on Lebanese territory must participate in this fight and assume their share of responsibility, of course to the extent of their means and what is required of them. And it turns out that in this battle, absolutely everyone has specific tasks to accomplish, a role to play. This battle is global, and requires all the efforts of each and the participation of all individuals, who must all assume one or more responsibilities. In this respect, the responsibilities of each are not the same as for political or military battles. In the military battle, responsibility rests with some of us, and others are dispensed from it, as in the political battle. But in this battle, everyone is responsible, and everyone has an (important) function and role to play.

Naturally, just as in military confrontations, the army and the security forces are at the forefront, just like, for the operations of the Resistance, the mujahideen and combatants are on the front line, as is the case for political or military battles, where leading political figures and field commanders are at the forefront; so here, in this type of battle (against a virus), the Ministry of Health and the other ministries concerned, public and private hospitals, doctors, nurses, anyone working in health, care and ambulances will be on the front line in this battle. And we must see them as front-line officers, soldiers and Resistance fighters, and behave with them as we should on the moral and psychological fronts. I will come back to this point. Therefore, everyone has a responsibility to take on in this battle.

Setting the right goals for this national battle

The next point is the goal of the battle: what should our goal be? If today we say that we are at the heart of the battle, what is the goal we must reach in this battle? We must know it throughout our actions (in order to reach out to it and realize it). Setting a goal and knowing it helps us to plan our actions, to establish action programs, to set up the best mutual assistance methods, to evaluate the different steps to be implemented, to know whether they are effective or not; it helps to evaluate if we approach our goals and are on the road to success, or on the contrary if we stray from them, lose ground and fail. What should be our goal?

Until the world finds out… Now, if Lebanese scientists and Lebanese authorities can participate, that would be excellent. Until the world discovers a vaccine, a cure for this pandemic, this ailment, until we reach this stage, the objective must be to stop the spread of this epidemic, to prevent it from progress, to limit human losses as much as possible… For example, instead of having 100 dead, if the least significant number of victims that can be reached is 20, we should have only 20 victims and not 100. We must first limit human loss, because as I said, everything else can be compensated, recovered (later), whether education, school year, the economy, commerce, industry… Even if in Lebanon, we are (in any case) not very developed in these fields. But whatever it is, anything that, apart from human life, is of value, we can compensate for it one day or another. The priority is to protect people, their existence, their health, their survival. This is the goal.

This objective is divided into two parts. The first part is to prevent the spread of the epidemic as much as possible, and the second part is to treat (at best) those who are infected. It is true that there is no vaccine, but there are ways to heal, to alleviate the suffering of the sick. Can this objective be achieved? Yes, we can reach it. It is not an illusory or impossible theoretical objective. It can be reached in two parts. With regard to preventing the spread of the virus, theoretically, all medical, health and specialist authorities, from the WHO to the ordinary individuals who have (alledgedly) become well-versed in the matter (because of the daily news), everyone says that thanks to a few measures that we are to repeat every day (distancing, confinement, hand washing, etc.), and that it is useless for me to repeat because I am not an expert on the subject, these measures to take, if they are scrupulously respected by every person, every individual, all the families, by the governments and the people, it is possible to prevent the propagation of this virus, or to limit it greatly. This is therefore possible both theoretically and practically, because we have the Chinese experience and its results which have been made public so far, and let’s pray God that they do not evolve (towards a revival of the epidemic). Thus, both theory and practice prove, thanks to foreign experiences, that the progression of the epidemic can be stopped.

As for the second part of the objective, namely to provide the best care for people stricken with the disease, all specialists, from WHO to all the levels below, affirm that healing is possible, and even that the healing rate is very high. Similarly, in concrete terms, according to the available data, tens of thousands of people have recovered in China, thousands more in Iran, and hundreds of people in other parts of the world, as announced (regularly). Thus, healing is possible in theory and in practice, as well as stopping the spread of the virus.

Therefore, the goal we set for this national battle is a realistic, pragmatic and achievable goal. Certainly, it requires effort, (strong) decisions, willpower, endurance, patience, efficiency, measurements, accuracy in application and responsibility.

So we have established that we are at the heart of a battle, part of a world war, because we Lebanese are not alone in fighting this fight; we talked about the enemy, its nature, its dangers and the threat it poses to all; we talked about the magnitude of the responsibilities that weigh on everyone; and we talked about the objective of the battle; as for the measures to be taken, they are repeated daily by the relevant authorities. In the context of the battle that we have just described, I must advise several things and emphasize several points.

First, in this battle, oh dear ones, we need cooperation and mutual help. We must all fight this battle with a human soul, with ethics and with patriotism. And the same is true in all other countries. It’s not unique to Lebanon, but all countries must do it: everywhere, people must help each other, be it the State, the government, the security forces, the people, the media, social networks, associations, absolutely everyone without exception must help and cooperate in this battle. And the dominant spirit has to be positive and constructive. This battle is not the proper context to settle scores, for political attacks, for revenge or to score points (against one’s opponents). I do not want to enter into any debate.

Since the first moments, there have been debates in the country, on certain points and certain choices. There is no problem with disagreements over the (best) choices (to take), but the language used (by some in Lebanon) is inappropriate, unsuitable and unjustifiable. I want to say that I don’t want to enter into a debate with anyone; I want to stay above all these (vain disputes), but I want to say that persevering in this direction (invectives, sedition, etc.) will neither achieve the desired political objectives, for those who have political objectives, and will not do anything but create more hatred, hostility and resentment between the Lebanese. Everyone must act positively and constructively. This does not mean that we cannot oppose, criticize, on the contrary: we must criticize, express our opinion, give advice, whether in the media (or elsewhere), contacting ministries, government bodies and the managers concerned, in the different positions of responsibility, this is a natural thing. No one asks others to shut their mouths. But approaching and solving these types of problems requires a soul full of ethics and humanity. Invectives have no place here, and reflect a moral failure. Negative attitudes that lead to more losses also express moral failure and a lack of national spirit. It is a spirit of mutual aid and cooperation that is required, and everyone must behave with a high sense of responsibility. Because if we start to argue and settle scores, to want to prove who was wrong and who was right (it only leads to more division and ineffectiveness). I consider it an unnecessary waste of time, and an escape from our own responsibilities.

We all know that since 1982 and up to this day, there has been a debate on the question of the Resistance; we are in 2020 (and this debate has still not been resolved). A few days ago, when several of our fighters fell martyrs in the battle of Idlib (killed by Turkish strikes), the same question was asked: what are you doing in Syria? Since 2011 and to this day, despite all our speeches, all our statements, all the debates, all our interventions on television (explaining the reason for our presence in Syria), we have achieved nothing. That’s why I don’t want to get into any debate about everything that happened. I mean that there is no problem for anyone to express their objections or criticisms, their opinion, their approach, but we must move away from any language that creates animosity, resentment, hatred, hostility and division (cf. the words of Maronite Leader of the Lebanese Forces Samir Geagea asking to quarantine the Palestinian camps).

Respecting hygiene & safety instructions is a sacred religious duty

And I hope all the more (the cooperation of all) as this coronavirus, o uncle, makes no discrimination of race, continent, region, religion, sect, party, etc. This epidemic attacks everyone, without asking anyone for anything (before hitting him). This virus respects neither the borders of races, nor those of continents, nor those of countries, nor those of nationalities, regions, religions or faiths. We are facing an exclusively humanitarian battle (without any partisan consideration whatsoever), and we must wage it with a soul full of humanity.

The second point is to confirm the humanitarian, ethical, national and legal responsibility (of everyone) in this battle and this confrontation. But what I want to add on a personal basis, since I belong to the sphere of religious sciences, and that in this respect, my point of view will be different from that of officials in government, is to insist on religious responsibility, from the point of view of Islamic law (sharia).

You see, we in Lebanon, in general, we are either Muslims or Christians. Both Muslims and Christians, even if they are not practicing, consider themselves adhering to Islam or Christianity, and all believe in God, on the Day of Judgment, on the Day of Accounts. We all believe that we will be questioned before God and be accountable for our actions. Both Muslims and Christians, according to their religion, know that God, in his heavenly teachings, commanded to preserve human life, and considered it to be of the greatest & highest value. Even in legal judgments and Islamic jurisprudence, when the need to preserve one’s property and honor is emphasized, the highest (and most compelling) stage is to preserve blood, human life, the human soul, people, their lives and their health. It is the highest echelon of duties, the most sacred, the most imperious, the most categorical. If we believe in the Day of Judgment, what I want to add to this battle is that we have a duty to fear God the Most High and the Exalted in leading this battle (against the coronavirus).

What is the practical translation of this statement? The first duty is to (do everything to) protect yourself, to protect your life and health, as well as your family and the people around you (neighbors, etc.). It is a religious, divine, legal duty. Each man, each woman, everyone is held by this primordial requirement. Everyone will be accountable for respecting this sacred duty. Anyone who fails to do this commits a sin, not a venial sin, but one of the greatest sins. This sin is one of the greatest sins. Consequently, compliance with the instructions (barrier gestures, distancing, confinement, hand washing, etc.) is not (simply) recommended, not at all.

Today you can question any high religious authority, and ours are well known: our great Ayatollahs have all issued declarations and fatwas emphasizing the duty to respect these health regulations & sanitary measures. They did not say that it was a recommended or supererogatory act that one would have the choice to respect or not, to which disobedience would be allowed, not at all. They stipulated the duty to scrupulously respect the instructions of the government and official health authorities concerned with leading this battle, especially with regard to health issues. These instructions must be observed.

This is not a legal obligation, because if someone does not comply with it, they risk nothing from the authorities, the police or the justice system. No one will be arrested or tried. This would be the earthly court. But I draw your attention to the need to fear the afterlife Court, because it is a responsibility that extends to everyone. It’s not just about practitioners or pious people. Everyone, without distinction, will have to answer this question on the Day of Judgment before God the Most High and Exalted: have you protected your life, your existence and your health, your family and their health, and the people around you (to the best of your ability), or on the contrary have you been negligent, lax, indifferent and disrespectful of health instructions? Answering this question will be very difficult, the examination will be severe and the punishment will be terrible.

Of course, if we approach this battle with such a spirit, bearing in mind the weight of our divine and religious obligations, with a spirit of responsibility before God and the conviction that He will demand from us rigorous accounts in this respect on the Day of Judgment… In this world, it is possible to escape the Courts, the security forces, the police, the accountability. So-and-so is protected in high places, so-and-so is covered, so-and-so can be hidden by loved ones, but on the Day of Judgment, no one will be able to hide or flee from divine justice. ‘Where could I run away from Your Judgment?’ (extract from a famous invocation). No one can escape the grip and the Judgment of God the Most High and the Exalted. I consider that this perspective and this religious obligation, theoretically, is one of the strongest elements that can allow victory in this battle (because Lebanese people is largely marked by religious sentiment).

This is, moreover, exactly what happened for the (Hezbollah) Resistance. The miracle accomplished by the Resistance (defeating Israel twice) is not due to its numbers, its capabilities or its experience; although all of this is very important and fundamental, the most determining element is the Gnostic soul of the Resistance, its ardent love for God, its piety, its reverential fear, its sense of responsibility (before God), that goes beyond the limits of this world and touches the afterlife, and that considers with the greatest seriousness the inevitable moment when it will be necessary to appear before God the Most High and account for our actions with regard to our (occupied) territory, our holy places (usurped), our dignity (raped), our freedom of choice, our waters, our honor and our sovereignty. This was the underlying foundation of our armed resistance. And we must enter this battle on the same basis.

And faced with this duty, there is something that certain people, in particular certain devouts who could be pushed to go one better than everybody else… This (theological) question is that of mutually exclusive priorities and obligations. When the largest religious authorities ask you to cancel the Friday prayer (normally mandatory), and even all collective prayers, it’s because there are things that count more than others (survival and health count more than religious rites), and everything that is not a priority, it must be put aside without any embarrassment or any hesitation. And above all, do not allow yourself to be drawn into an excess of zeal (religious or in an attitude of bravado) by anyone. When Christian authorities cancel prayers in churches, they do so based on the same order of priority. Because it is a humanitarian act to which push the jurisprudence and the celestial religions, which have for vocation to preserve the life.

So that’s the second point.

Full honesty & transparency are of paramount importance, Western Leaders are lying

The third point is that in this battle, we need frankness and honesty. I will now go into details and be more specific. And this also applies to other countries. Anyone in Lebanon… I only speak of Lebanon because it is on this field that we are participating in the battle. Anyone in Lebanon who feels that he has been infected with this virus, or who exhibits symptoms of it, must declare it honestly and frankly. He must report spontaneously to the (medical) authorities concerned, (and at their request), he must go to the hospital and undergo an examination, in order to know whether he is affected or not. And he must rigorously isolate himself (in the manner that will be indicated to him), whether at home or in hospital. It is not a recommended act, O people! It is an obligation ! It is a rational and moral duty, and a religious obligation! Because if we are lax about it, if we are ashamed to admit that we have symptoms (for fear of stigma or isolation), if we say that our dignity or our political status would be affected, it is absolutely insane. It would be one of the greatest sins (and crimes) to hide such a reality, as it can lead to our deaths and the deaths of others.

One of the great authorities in the holy city of Qom, under certain specific conditions, issued this fatwa: whoever transmits the virus to another person and kills him must pay the price of the blood (compensate the relatives of the deceased). This is the magnitude of the matter, and no one should underestimate its seriousness in terms of religious responsibility.

You have to tell the truth, frankly. If the affected person is ashamed (of declaring himself sick), let their parents and relatives do so, or their colleagues, friends, etc. You must disclose your condition (to the authorities and isolate yourself). In other words, whoever is sick must say it, and anyone who is informed of anyone’s sickness has no right to keep it secret. It is forbidden to hide such a thing (because it endangers other people). Whoever he is, he must be sent to the hospital or to the relevant medical authorities for examination (and confinement). It is forbidden to be negligent in this regard. The candor must be absolute. [Compare this statement with the directives of French leaders, who tell their people that when they have symptoms, they must stay at home, and therefore contaminate their loved ones because of the impossibility of being tested, hosted in hospitals or in any structure whatsoever —hotel, etc.].

Since I follow the file closely, I want to testify to the fact that the Ministry of Health (devolved to Hezbollah) has been frank since the first day. Everything we have heard in Lebanon about the existence of people infected with the coronavirus but who have been hidden by the Ministry of Health or (as we are accused) by Hezbollah is absolutely not true, these are just lies and fabricated inventions. The first case was directly revealed by the Ministry of Health itself. And I must even say that they went too far in frankness and transparency, because they made public elements that should have remained hidden, such as the identity, name and photo of the person affected. She is a dear sister, and it would have been more worthy of keeping her identity a secret. But the candor was to this point. And all the cases that were discovered through screenings or information were reported daily. And if there have been delays in announcing certain cases, it is because the examinations were in progress, or to preserve their identity and that of their loved ones. The Ministry of Health has been doing this to this day, and must continue to do so. And I tell him that he has to continue like this no matter what the truths are, however difficult they are to say and hear. Until now, the figures remain under control (124 cases, 3 deaths), but if God forbid we reached an enormous number of sick or dead, it would be forbidden to hide any reality from the people. The whole truth must be revealed daily, as this helps to increase the sense of responsibility, the degree of preparation and the seriousness of the reactions. And people have the right to know. No one should be able to accuse the Ministry of Health or any other government body (of lying or neglect).

Naturally, this question of frankness and transparency is a big problem in the world. For example, if we consider countries described as the first world countries (most developed western capitalist countries), the great world powers or the democratic countries where freedom of the press and freedom of opinion (alledgedly) exist, what do we see ? For example, hasn’t the UK hidden the truth? The British government was neither sincere nor truthful: every day it reported 5, 10, 15 or 20 cases (at most), but yesterday it spoke of 7,000 to 10,000 cases. Do you see what (big) country it is? We in Lebanon have spoken the truth.

In the United States, Trump, until just a few days ago (March 9), posted a Tweet in which he said that last year, 37,000 people died from the common flu in the United States, and that a huge number of people were victims of it each year, in order to denigrate the alarmist remarks and to minimize the importance of the few hundred cases officially detected in the United States, with “only” a few dozen deaths. And at the end of his Tweet, he wrote ‘Think about that’. I don’t caricature things, it’s reality.

So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!


173K people are talking about this

He said that despite these 37,000 deaths, the economy continued to turn (because the economy takes precedence over everything in their eyes). But the truth is that Trump is facing a disaster in the United States. His speech yesterday had very negative effects (on the markets, with the surprise announcement of the US closing to European visitors), and today he will make another speech. And at the time when he minimized the question, the governor of Ohio and the responsible for health in this province declared on CNN (I first read about this in brief or on titles from social networks that were brought to me but I didn’t believe it, because it is always necessary to check the original source since the words can be distorted, and I did not consider it as proven until I saw this person speak on television with my own eyes). She said Ohio has about 11.5 million residents, estimates that it has 100,000 people infected with coronavirus, and that the medical system would be unable to handle such an influx of people.

Who is the biggest liar? I call Trump the biggest liar. Even in this battle against the coronavirus, the biggest liar on the face of the Earth was once again proven to be Trump, with his administration, his vice-president and the team in charge of this issue. And today, the American Secretary of State (Mike Pompeo) accused, in all his arrogance and conceit, the Iranian officials to lie to their people and not to tell the truth, whereas the Iranian officials announced from the beginning the real figures, the number of dead, the number of sick and the number of cured, in a very frank and transparent manner. And it is a point of pride for Iranian officials. Unfortunately, some people in the Gulf are not ashamed, and when the Iranian Deputy Minister of Health, or people like Sayed Ali Akbar Welayati were affected by the virus, it is not because he is the Counselor of the Supreme Guide (pseudo-divine punishment?), but because he runs a hospital in Tehran which is on the front line of the fight against the coronavirus. When ministers, officials or doctors, prominent Iranian personalities are affected by this evil, it is because they have remained in the country and at their posts, and have not deserted or fled to other countries, other places where they would be safe, packing their bags and taking their families. They stayed in their country, with their people and at their posts, assuming all their responsibilities. This is a very positive point, a mark of pride for Iran.

Anyway, when this Mike Pompeo declares that the Iranian government lies to his people, his instruments in Lebanon do the same and accuse the Ministry of Health and Hezbollah of lying, of concealing the reality and of minimizing the extent of the crisis. These are lies, and you are (licensed liars)… Pompeo is a licensed liar, and I have nothing to do with his local instruments. [Laughs] My God, I said that I would not enter into any argument or debate…

Anyway, this Great Liar, the President of the Great Satan (the United States) declares at the same time that he is ready to help Iran. But first, help yourself and try to get out of your own predicament, and the catastrophe that is coming because of your administration, your arrogance, your madness, and your incompetence, your ignorance of truth and your contempt for people (including yours) and for humans, because only the dollar, the barrel of oil, gasoline and gas count in your eyes. And second, if you really wanted to help Iran, you could just lift the sanctions. Iran does not need your help. It would be enough to lift the sanctions, if only for the importation of drugs and medical equipment, which would help Iran (to cope with the crisis). In any event, it is one of the manifestations of American hypocrisy.

Therefore, frankness and transparency are essential.

The government is leading the battle, everyone must obey it and scrupulously respect self-isolation

The fourth point is the need to scrupulously respect government measures and provisions. And I’m not just talking about the Ministry of Health. If the Ministry of National Education decrees that there are no more schools, then all the schools must close. Private schools should not exempt themselves from respecting these measures on the pretext that they are private. If it is decreed that universities close, then all must close. Likewise for decisions of the Ministry of Labor and other Ministries: all the provisions decided by the government and by each of the ministries must be scrupulously respected. If it is decreed that restaurants must be closed under such and such conditions, restaurants must be closed according to these conditions (types, times, on site / take out / delivery, etc.). All these measures must be scrupulously observed and applied.https://www.dailymotion.com/embed/video/x7t9w1y

Fifth, the most important point concerning these measures, which today constitutes the decisive point to prevent the spread or at least limit it, and to put an end to any regrouping or encounter, is for everyone to impose on himself the strictest confinement or isolation. Everyone must stay at home, with his wife and children, and (as much as possible) stay there and not leave it to go anywhere. Even for prayer, my brother, you must pray at home, do not go to the mosque. What can I tell you more (to emphasize the imperative nature of confinement)? Pray at home and don’t go to church. Because I speak for Muslims and for Christians. Except for those who have no choice: for example, if someone is not going to work, he won’t have any bread to eat; if one does not go to work, he will be fired; etc. (These cases have no choice bu to go out and work). Until the Lebanese government takes the strictest measures (and prohibits work), and then (absolutely) everyone will have to respect them.

In any case, what are these measures aimed at? In truth, it is true that this evil is (very) dangerous. But it is easy to fight against it. However dangerous this virus is, it is (very) easy to deal with it. It’s as simple as that: we ask you to respect the barrier gestures, to wash your hands, to respect such sanitary measures at meals, when traveling, etc., to isolate yourself, to stop regrouping, (nothing more). It only requires a little willpower and discipline. Yes, we are suffocating, we are bored confined in our homes. But this is a war! Consider yourself at war! During the war, are we going to get some fresh air or do tourism? Are we going to ski? Are we going to barbecue by the water? In wartime, everyone takes war measures. Be reasonable, and behave responsibly; consider them as war measures.

Consequently, any type of assembly (must be prohibited). We have already talked about mosques, and I want to add all cultural, religious or political events or celebrations, all of which must be postponed. (Even) with regard to the families of martyrs, we will soon have annual commemorations, but we have all agreed (to cancel them). Forgive us and be understanding, but there will not be the least gathering, the least celebration, the least meeting, neither in the complexes, nor in the husseyniyas, nor anywhere.

Even with regard to the funerals, God forbid, if there are martyrs (from Syria, Iraq, etc.), we are not going to bother asking from any religious fatwa: we are clearly announcing that we want the bare minimum for funerals. If a person dies, may God have mercy on his soul, and if there is a martyr, may God accept his sacrifice, but there must be only a very small and modest number of family members who take part in his burial. We must end the culture which requires an entire village to participate in the funeral so as not to be ashamed in front of the family of the deceased, and for the whole village to follow the funeral procession: it is a beautiful habit of our cities and villages, but in these circumstances, it must be forgotten, because what was noble yesterday loses all its nobility and its beauty in this battle (and becomes detestable today). What is noble and beautiful is the minimum possible number of people attending the funeral, whether on the day of the funeral, the 3rd week, the 7th week, the opening of the husseyniyas and condolence ceremonies, (all these traditions must be forgotten). I am not telling you that it is a religious obligation or not, but I only hope that from now on, and until this crisis is behind us, I hope with all my heart that you will alleviate this funeral for the people and for yourselves. It should be alleviated both for families who have lost a loved one and for other people (relatives, neighborhood, …).

A few days ago, I saw on social networks that, for example, such a family had lost a loved one, and had announced themselves that they were canceling all traditional ceremonies and thanking everyone by asking God to reward (all those who wanted to attend). It’s excellent. Even the family of the deceased or the martyr must take the initiative to tell people that they should not come (attend the funeral or offer their condolences) but be content to recite Surat al-Fatiha in memory of the deceased and to pray to God for him, and that they would be grateful to them, wanting nothing more. These questions should not be overshadowed by the desire to do well, or to conform to habits & traditions. All of this must be frozen (temporarily). This is the headline, and everything else is just a detail. The absolute rule is: no groupings, no assemblies, no ceremonies, etc. People must be kept as isolated from each other as possible, and never do more than what is absolutely necessary.

For example, in some places people have left big cities to go back to their villages, but that is only a good thing if they do not mingle with anyone. If you go to a village and mingle with people and have meetings or assemblies, group meals, visits, tourism, it is very bad. If we go back to the village, we must go directly to our house and lock ourselves in! Because the virus can spread in villages as it does in cities. It is true that it spreads more in the cities because there are more people, (but it should not be propagated in the villages by negligence).

As in Iran, our coronavirus orphans must be provided for by the State

The sixth point concerns both the State and its institutions and the people in general, namely the consideration we owe to the ambulance and medical personnel. I said that they were on the front line, and in this regard, it is our duty to express gratitude to all the people who assume their jobs in this (critical) context, in particular at the Ministry of Health and the dedicated cell (for the fight against coronavirus), as well as public hospitals; but a special distinction must be made for the President Rafik Hariri Public Hospital in Beirut (which receives Lebanese Coronavirus patients [230 to date, and 4 deaths]), be it its management, doctors, nurses: we extend our thanks and congratulations to them, because they are on the front line. We must support them morally, and pray for their health and their preservation. And we must do everything that can help these staff, and also all those who work in ambulances, in all institutions —Red Cross, various medical centers for analysis and screening, all health personnel, etc.—, we must all thank them.

Likewise, I advise, recommend and propose to the Lebanese government to take exceptional measures to support these personnel. For some time now (due to the economic and financial crisis in Lebanon), they have had problems with their salaries and means of subsistence, and we must not delay any longer (to pay them) in this battle which is raging today. All other (non-medical) expenses must be delayed in favor of this (vital) one in this battle (in order to provide healthcare personnel with security in this regard).

Even more, it is not enough to give them what we owe them, and we must think of an additional gratification for their extra efforts and burdens, because the magnitude of the danger, the weight and the pressures that weigh on them is much greater than normal. We therefore thank (warmly) all these staff, and everyone must do so and give them all the due consideration, support them morally and psychologically, as well as materially and financially. We must all have great respect for them, thank them and be aware of the extent of the sacrifices they make (for the Nation).

Likewise, I hope that [Lebanon will do] what Iran has done – I don’t know what it is for other countries —even if some people in Lebanon are struck by a seizure as soon as we talk about Iran. In Iran, the Supreme Leader’s plan has been put in place, based on the suggestion of the Ministry of Health: thus, any doctor, nurse, paramedic or other medical staff who, in the exercise of their functions, would be infected by the coronavirus and die from it, is considered as a martyr of work (and of the Nation). And of course, this entails not only moral, but above all material obligations towards his family. The moral obligations are due to him, and the moral & material obligations (financial, etc.) are due to his family (in the event of death, his widow & children are provided for by the State).

I hope that in Lebanon, since we are talking about a battle (against the coronavirus), these medical personnel (and their families) will have access to these honors & (financial) rewards. As for soldiers or security forces, employees and State officials, if they are killed in the service, there are moral and material obligations of the State towards their family (widows & orphans) because they are already automatically considered as martyrs, but we must do the same with caregivers.

We should prepare for the worst, Hezbollah’s capabilities are fully mobilized

Seventh, (we should) prepare for the worst now. We all have to help each other to prevent the virus from spreading, but imagine it spreads (uncontrollably) anyway for some reason. The Ministry of Health, other ministries, institutions, the people, we all have a duty to prepare for the worst. There are countries in the world, even countries which are considered to be the most developed in the world and the best endowed in terms of health, which have requisitioned hotels and opened schools & universities (to accommodate the sick). Such measures should not be a problem or be subject to hesitation: they must be taken (right now) if only as a precaution. We must prepare the places, the equipment and the resources for a more advanced phase of the epidemic if, God forbid, we are heading for the worst. The human environment must be prepared (medical staff, volunteers, etc.): all the students (in medicine)… And we must take this opportunity to thank all the students of Lebanese universities, whether in medicine or in other disciplines, who have taken initiatives, volunteered (to help against covid-19), etc. All students of medicine, nursing, or all health professions, etc., must be mobilized as a precaution, as reservists, to assist and supply medical staff if the situation worsens. It is necessary to prepare the places of reception (of the patients), the equipment (medical and of everyday life), the human resources, for the most pessimistic scenario. We must not sit idly and cross our arms. Of course, actions are already underway, but I wanted to highlight this idea and to call for it to be deployed as much as possible.

In this regard, I must say that Hezbollah, and I am announcing it now, we make available to the State all our possibilities, and all our medical, health and other manpower, absolutely everyone, be it our combatants, our men, our women, everything we have in terms of human capacity, associations and equipment. All this is entirely at the disposal of the government and the Ministry of Health to wage the battle they are waging. They are the ones who lead this battle, the government is at the forefront and in the commanding position, and we aspire to nothing in this regard, we roll up our sleeves and we are at their service. It is the right attitude to have, because this battle is different (from the military one), and all its instruments are not in our possession but in the hands of the State. We and the others can only be a back-up force [To fight the epidemic, Hezbollah has deployed more than 20,000 people, dedicated an entire already operational hospital to covid-19, as well as four other disused hospitals currently renovated and equipped, created 32 medical centers and 3 field hospitals, and rented entire hotels for quarantine. Compare these actions with the 30 beds of the field hospital touted by Macron… while Lebanon has a population 14 times lower and 100 times less cases of covid-19 than its former colonizer, despite systematic screening!].

Eighth, we must take advantage of the experiences (and good practices) of other countries: China, Italy, Korea, Japan, Iran, and now France, Germany, Belgium, and even (why not) the United States, that should not be a problem at all. We must take advantage of the experience of other countries to save time and save our energy. We must not make the same mistakes, because time is very precious. In this battle, time is a deciding factor: every hour, every day is precious and crucial.

Ninth point, we must give absolute priority to this battle, whether on the part of the government, the State or the Lebanese people, anyone in Lebanon, the media, anyone who has influence and can make efforts must give absolute priority to this battle.

Poverty is as dangerous as the coronavirus, social solidarity & care for the needy are indispensable

Tenth, social solidarity is needed. I speak quickly, because the points I raise are clear in themselves (and consensual), and I only emphasize them as (important) points. Social solidarity (real and effective) is needed. Naturally, today, the government measures that close restaurants, tourism, etc., etc., etc., all of this implies that many people may not have enough to live on, will no longer have a salary or income. Perhaps we will create another problem: by wanting to escape from the coronavirus, we will fall into starvation, and we will endanger the security of society. Before arriving at the solutions (to settle the security problems which could arise), namely that the army, the police forces and the justice assume all their responsibilities to prevent any crack in peace and security, it is necessary first of all take preventive measures. The capacities of the State are well known, and I will rather mention the responsibilities of the people themselves in regards social solidarity. In each village, and for the cities in each district, in each family, in each place, there are people who live more at ease than others. There are people who have a lot of money, there are people who collect religious taxes (zakat, khums, which are redistributed to the poor), etc. But even regardless of religious taxes, ordinary individuals who are comfortable, who are wealthy, who are capable (should help), we must all protect each other. Families must help each other, residents of the same village must help each other, residents of the same neighborhood must help each other, etc. It started a few months ago, but the need today has become very pressing.

I want to appeal to the wealthy in all villages, in all cities, hoping that they will hear me. Where there are Hezbollah officials or clerics, I do not need to launch an appeal, because our instructions are clear and will be applied imperatively, but all must consider it part of their job to make sure about the well-being of all the families in the proximity of their field of responsibility, because over time, some may not even have a single loaf of bread, will not find enough to feed themselves or obtain the essentials products of a decent life. We must do everything in our power, we must help each other and be united, make donations, (defer payments of rents or debts), etc. This should be seen as everyone’s responsibility.

Likewise, the government must do the right thing in this regard. It is not enough to impose closure upon closure. Some are in a hurry to see a state of emergency declared. I am clearly announcing that at any time the Lebanese government sees it in the national interest to declare a state of emergency, let no one consider that Hezbollah would oppose it, you are free to do so at any time ( and we will respect it). It is you, the Lebanese government, who lead the battle, via the Presidents (of the Republic, of the Council of Ministers and of the Parliament) and the ministers, under the tutelage of His Excellency the President of the Republic, of the President of the Parliament and all State institutions. When you feel it is time to declare a state of emergency in Lebanon, it is your (exclusive) responsibility and you should do it (without hesitation), without paying attention to anyone. But until this moment arrives, and even once it arrives, when the government decrees the closing of such and such branch (education, restaurants, etc.), it is also necessary to look for an alternative, because there are people who will find themselves without salary, without means of subsistence. We are well aware that in Lebanon, there are many people who, if they do not work on a given day, do not have enough to buy food for that day. This problem is part of the battle. It’s not just about hospitals, drugs, etc. This issue is part of the battle. If we remedy the first aspect (medical and health) but ignore the other aspect (social, salary, etc.), we will not only lose the security of our society (violence, delinquency, riots, etc.), but even the first aspect, the battle against the spread of the virus, will be lost.

In this regard, I have been following closely the issue in recent days, and I saw that in many countries of the world, banks and (private) finance have announced to their governments that they are ready to help, because they have huge sums of money at their disposal, deposits, etc., and they declared themselves ready to help; not to make loans at high interest rates [Laughs], but to help governments, the health sector, in order to give them the means to deal with this meteoric and insatiable epidemic. I call on Lebanese financial institutions to act with the same sense of responsibility. We all know that the State budget is in a difficult situation. Private interests in Lebanon have absolutely colossal sums of money, and since 1993 have amassed astronomical gains, in the tens of billions of dollars, and you now have the duty to assume this responsibility, on a voluntary basis. If there is to be a requisition, a forcible seizure of funds by decree, it is the business of the government and of Parliament (to vote it & enact it). But as a Lebanese citizen, I address Lebanese private interests, in particular the financial and banking sector, and I tell them that they are the first who have the duty to extend a helping hand to the Lebanese government, to the finances of the Lebanese State, to the health sector as well as to social solidarity, so that the people can endure, persevere and the country can emerge victorious from this battle.

Faith and patience are our best weapons against the coronavirus

My last point with regard to the coronavirus —I don’t have many other points to mention, I have two left before the conclusion, and the second will be brief. My final point regarding coronavirus, and the most important one to me, is that by launching this battle (against the disease), oh people, oh my beloveds ones, we must be armed with faith, faith in God the Most High and the Exalted. God the Benevolent, God the Merciful, God the Capable, God who holds in His hands the Kingdom of Heaven and Earth, God the Almighty. This faith must be present with strength in our minds, in our hearts and in our souls throughout this battle, as must be the cases in all battles. And we must take refuge in God the Most High and Exalted, Call him to help, ask Him for protection and ardently seek His presence. We must invoke Him to help us, give us the means and guide us.

This battle requires patience, determination, endurance, hope ; we must not despair. It takes persistence, willpower, resolve. And it is God who gives us all this. This battle needs guidance, including the guidance of scholars (in Islamic sciences), scientists, doctors, international centers of expertise and research. It is possible that even after 1 or 2 months, or even 1 or 2 years, they do not achieve any result (by finding a vaccine or drug), and it is God who can guide them and teach them (what they ignore). It is God who can open the closed doors to them. You have to appeal to God the Almighty and Most High and have faith in Him, and that must be our most powerful and constant weapon in this battle.

Listen to me, oh my brothers and sisters, oh people: the greatest danger in any battle, be it political, military, and even in the arena of health and medecine, is when one of the two belligerents on the battlefront is affected by fear, terror, the feeling of helplessness, weakness, dead end, despair. When the defeatist mentality takes hold of us, everything is ruined, even when we speak of a powerful army, even if it has nuclear weapons, even if its capabilities are colossal. Because the basis is here (in the heart, the inner self).

Today, scaring people, inspiring them with terror, giving them the impression that we are facing an insurmountable pandemic, to which no remedy can be found and no success be obtained, and in the face of which we must admit defeat, giving up and moping, doing this is a real disaster, and it is even a crime. This crime is perhaps as serious as that of sowing corruption on Earth (one of the greatest sins in Islam). Anyone who speaks, comments or writes on social media should be particularly vigilant about the fact that scaring people, terrorizing them, spreading lies, spreading defeatist spirit, despair, discouragement, weakness, etc., this leads to defeat and to our loss. We have to overcome this crisis.

You have to consider yourself at war. Even in the face of death… Suppose this disease was isolated in hospitals only and persisted there for a certain time, and as the doctors say, because so-and-so has such and such co-morbidities, whether he is of old age or otherwise, covid-19 actually causes his death. May God bring forth a good from it (in this world or in the hereafter)! “Surely you are called to die, as they are also called to die.” (Quran, 39, 30). “Every soul will taste death.” (Quran, 3, 185). We will all die one day, and if the decree has arrived for so and so, end of story!

We have a duty to do everything we can (to preserve ourselves). We must not surrender without fighting, never ever! Our religious obligation is to do everything that can protect our lives (and others’). But suppose death strikes so-and-so. May God make some good come out of it! We are satisfied with the will of God the Most High and the Exalted, and we must continue to live. Just like in war: in war, our homes are destroyed, as well as our goods and resources, our loved ones are killed, wounded, made refugees, stricken with all kinds of ills, but we hold on. When we resist, we gain the upper hand and win. But if death, injury and destruction lead to our defeat, we will have lost everything.

The same goes for this battle (against the coronavirus). It is faith that gives us this strength. (We can resist and overcome thanks) to invocations, with the request for intercession (from the Prophets and Imams), with the call to God the Most High and the Exalted. Everyone can do it in his own way, according to his beliefs, because the relationship with God is open (and can be expressed in different ways). Everyone can invoke God in the language they want, in the way they want, in whatever way they see fit. Talk to him like you talk to anyone. He hears you, He knows and understands what you are saying, He even accesses your thoughts and your heart. He knows your sincerity and your ardor. This is why we need this faith, these invocations and this strong soul. We have no right to let our resolve be shaken. We must be strong in the face of this challenge, even if the truths are difficult, we must keep trust in God.

During the various wars (fought by Hezbollah), we were told that there were 100 martyrs, 200 martyrs, 1000 martyrs, 5000 martyrs, 10.000 wounded, 100.000 houses destroyed… But we weren’t shaken. And that is why we have always been victorious. And today it’s the same thing. Whatever the losses inflicted by this epidemic, we must face it with strength and determination. The strong are those who will survive and be victorious.

I ask God the Most High and the Exalted for health and salvation for all, and to grant us victory in this battle, with His grace. […]

End of the section devoted to coronavirus. Nasrallah then evoked the economic situation of Lebanon (default on debts payment) and the acceptable tracks (exploitation of oil & gas, Chinese track, etc.) and unacceptable ones (taxation of the working classes, surrender to the IMF or to the American dictates, etc.) to recover. He then concluded with the events in Iraq.

In Iraq, the United States signed their death certificate

I want to conclude quickly, because I do not have much time, the Coronavirus having monopolized all my speech. I no longer have time to discuss the regional situation, developments in Syria, Yemen and the rest of our region, but I want to say two words on a subject that I am forbidden not to mention, namely the duty to condemn last night’s American aggression in Iraq, against barracks (of the national army), positions (of the Iraqi Resistance) and civilian installations. The Iraqi army, the Iraqi police and the Popular Mobilization Committees (Hachd al Sha’bi), which are an official entity (integrated into the national armed forces) were targeted, as well as civilian installations, such as the new Karbala airport: it is a civilian infrastructure, and in no case a military installation.

What the Americans perpetrated last night was a (flagrant) violation of Iraqi sovereignty, beyond any agreement: even if they invoke the existence of (American-Iraqi) agreements, these do not in any case allow them to bomb and destroy (anything in Irak). Basically, just to use Iraqi airspace on a temporary basis, they are required to seek permission every time from the Iraqi government. They violated all the red lines and acted with hybris, arrogance and despotism, and also driven by anger, stupidly and blindly. And in general, stupidity and blindness lead to the abyss.

The crime perpetrated by the American occupation forces yesterday in Iraq has certainly started to be punished by the appropriate responses (repeated rocket fire against American bases), and will continue to receive the appropriate responses from Iraqis, whether government, parliament, people, political parties or Iraqi Resistance fighters, from this dear noble and dignified people who refuse to live under the humiliation of the occupation and the arrogance of these despotic tyrants and these (American) devils.

We ask God to embrace the Iraqi martyrs in His Mercy, and hope that with the Grace of God, the Iraqi people, by their faith, endurance and resistance, will overcome this dangerous new challenge (successfully).

May God grant you all health and salvation. By invocations, efforts, tireless action, sincerity, honesty and mutual aid, we will cross this difficult stage and get out of this (world) war (against the Coronavirus) victorious, the head high, with the Help and Blessing of God the Most High.

May the peace of God be upon you, as well as His Mercy.

Donate as little as you can to support this work and subscribe to the Newsletter to get around censorship.

“Any amount counts, because a little money here and there, it’s like drops of water that can become rivers, seas or oceans…” Hassan Nasrallah

Related Videos

كورونا والأزمة الكاشفة ….بقلم د بثينة شعبان

المصدر

أول ما يجب الاعتراف به في الحديث عن أزمة  كورونا العالمية هو أن هذه الأزمة كاشفة بامتياز، كاشفة لحقيقة قوّة البلدان وأولوياتها وقدرة القيادة في هذه البلدان وعلاقتها بالشعب الذي تحكمه، ومدى تجاوب هذا الشعب مع أوامر قيادته واقتناعه بها.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is n1586770005.jpg

 فقد قسّمت هذه الأزمة العالم وفق خطوط غير تقليدية أبداً وغير معروفة من قبل، وطرحت معادلاتٍ جديدة على الساحة الدولية، لا بدّ وأن تؤخذ بعين الاعتبار كي يتمّ إرساء الأسس السليمة للمرحلة المستقبلية المقبلة. فمن كنا نعتقد أنه قويّ أظهر علامات ضعف مؤكّدة لا جدال فيها، ومن كنّا نعتقد أن تصنيفه يأتي في آخر السلّم قفز إلى أعلى السلّم بقدراته التي لم نكن نعرف عنها شيئاً.
ولا شكّ في أنّ الإعلام الغربي المضلّل يتحمّل جزءاً كبيراً من مسؤولية هذه المفاجآت لأن الإعلام الغربيّ ما فتئ يكرّر مفاهيم لسنوات طوال حتى آمن الناس بأنّ هذه المفاهيم هي الحقائق بعينها إلى أن اصطدمت هذه المفاهيم اليوم بوقائع مغايرة تماماً على الأرض فتهشّمت. وهذا أيضاً مصدر أساسيّ من مصادر المفاجآت الكاشفة التي تتعرّض لها البشرية اليوم. فقد كان معظم البشر يعتقدون أنّ #الولايات المتحدة، والتي ما زالت البلد الأقوى عسكرياً واقتصادياً، هي الأقدر اليوم على مواجهة أيّ جائحة أو وباء، وأنّ مؤسساتها وأساليب عملها ستكون النموذج الأهمّ في العالم، ولكنّ الواقع الحقيقي أظهر أنّ هذه الدولة القويّة ذات القواعد العسكرية المنتشرة في العشرات من دول العالم لا تملك إلّا نسبة ضئيلة مما تحتاجه من الأقنعة #الطبية مثلاً، ولا تملك الألبسة الطبية لممرضيها، ولا اختبارات كافية لهذا الفيروس الذي ينتشر كالنار في الهشيم، فضلاً عن الأزمة الاقتصادية الخانقة التي سبّبها الحجر، وتسريح العمال والموظفين من أعمالهم، وتضخّم دائرة الفقر والعَوَز في بلد يعتبر من أغنى بلدان الأرض.

كما أنّ إيطاليا و إسبانيا قد فاجأتا العالم بعجز النظام الصحي في كلتيهما، وارتفاع نسبة الوفيات فيهما وفي الولايات المتحدة بشكل أثار دهشة العالم واستغرابه. بينما أبلت البرتغال واليونان مثلاً بلاءً ممتازاً نتيجة الإجراءات الاستباقية التي اتخذتاها، وتكاتف الحكومة والمجتمع لمواجهة هذا الخطر الداهم على الجميع.

وفي هذا المجال برهنت ألمانيا أيضاً اختلاف نظامها عن النظم الغربية من خلال تقديم الفحص مجاناً للجميع؛ الأمر الذي ساعدها على تخفيف حدّة الإصابات، واحتواء الجائحة إلى حدّ بعيد. ولكن ولا شكّ، فإنّ النموذج الأبرز والأهمّ في التصدّي لهذا الفيروس بخطوات متناسقة بين الحكومة والشعب والمؤسسات والعمل الطوعي هو الأنموذج الصينيّ، والذي أدهش العالم أولاً بحرص القيادة الصينية على وضع إنقاذ حياة البشر فوق كلّ اعتبار مهما كلّف ذلك الدولة من أعباء، كما أدهش العالم بالتقدم التكنولوجي الذي وصلت إليه  الصين، والذي تمّ استخدامه بذكاء ومهارة بالغَين لاكتشاف انتشار الفيروس وحصر الحالات وتضييق دائرة الانتشار.

كما أدهشت الصين العالم باستعداد شعبها للتطوّع والتضحية ووضع المصلحة العامة فوق كلّ اعتبار، وكذلك بتصرّفها المسؤول دولياً؛ بحيث وضعت نتائج أبحاثها في متابعة الأصول الجينية لهذا الفيروس في خدمة علماء العالم من أجل توفير الوقت واستكمال الأبحاث التي توصل العالم إلى اختراع اللقاح أو الدواء. وكانت الخطوات الصينية المتّخذة دائماً متاحة للجميع كي يتعلّموا منها، كما منعت السفر إطلاقاً خارج البلاد.

وحين انتشر الوباء في إيطاليا وإسبانيا وغيرها قدّمت الصين و روسيا و كوبا المساعدات السخية لهذه البلدان لمساعدتها على احتواء الجائحة والحدّ من انتشارها. لا شكّ في أنّ هذا المسار للأحداث قد كشف للعالم أجمع شخصية جمهورية الصين كبلد متقدّم حديث، ومع ذلك محافظ على إنسانيته وعلى دوره على الساحتين الإقليمية والدولية كعامل مساعد للأسرة الدولية وكعنصر فاعل فيها لمواجهة هذا الخطر القاتل.

ولا شكّ في أنّ الناس في كلّ أنحاء المعمورة بدأوا بإجراء المقارنات بين القوة العظمى، وهي الولايات المتحدة والتي تحاول دائماً تشويه صورة الصين، وبين الصين التي تظهر للمرّة الأولى على الساحة الدولية بكلّ مقدّراتها، ليس فقط الاقتصادية وإنما التعبوية والإنسانية والأخلاقية والقيمية التي تحكم كلّ تصرفاتها وأعمالها. بالمقابل، فإنّ الولايات المتحدة وإلى حدّ اليوم لم تستجب لنداءات العالم لرفع العقوبات عن الجمهورية الإسلامية الإيرانية، وعن الجمهورية العربية السورية، ودول أخرى أيضاً لتمكين هذه الدول من مواجهة هذا الوباء.

ومع أنّ المسؤولين في الولايات المتحدة يمارسون قوّتهم وسلطتهم لمنع الدواء عن هذه الدول، فهم لا يعلمون مدى خسارتهم الأخلاقية والقيمية، إذ لا يوجد عاقل في العالم يمكن أن يؤيدهم في استمرار هذه الإجراءات العقابية الظالمة أصلاً في الوقت الذي يعرفون فيه أنهم يسبّبون الموت لأناس أبرياء. وفي هذه الحال، وحالات لا تُحصى يُدرك الجميع في قرارة أنفسهم أنّ النظام الليبرالي يعيش أسوأ أزمات حياته وتاريخه، وأنّ الإعلام الغربي الذي كان يمجّد هذا النظام قبل كورونا لن يتمكّن من فعل ذلك بعد كورونا، وأنّ زمن كورونا قد يكون الإنذار الحقيقي لصلاحية الأنظمة الليبرالية، والتي برهنت خلال هذه الفترة أنها غير جديرة بأن تكون مؤتمنة على حياة البشر، وخاصةً الفقراء منهم.
ولعلّ إدراك مراكز الأبحاث الغربية لعمق هذه الحقيقة وأهميتها والتي ستزداد حضوراً في كلّ الساحات العالمية، هو الذي دفعها إلى تحويل الأنظار عمّا يجري في بلدانها، واختلاق التهم للصين، ورفع الدعاوى القضائية على الصين بذرائع وحجج واهية لا تصمد أبداً أمام المنطق السليم. وبدلاً من التركيز على نقاط ضعفها، والتي جعلت الولايات المتحدة الرقم الأول في عدد الوفيات، تلقي بأخطائها على الآخرين، وتحاول التعرّض للصين من خلال مسارين،الأوّل هو اتهام الصين بالمسؤولية عن انتشار الوباء، والثاني هو محاولة سحب الصناعات الأميركية من الصين كي يسهل استهدافها، وفي الحالتين وقبلهما بكثير، من الواضح أنّ مسؤولي الولايات المتحدة قلقون، وعلى مدى السنوات الأخيرة من التقدّم المطّرد الذي تحققه الصين في المجالات كافة، وخاصة في مجال التطوّر التكنولوجي والـ 5G على وجه التحديد. والسجالات الأميركية مليئة بمقولة: الصين هي العدوّ. وحتى حين تتمّ مقابلة مسؤول في  الكونغرس السؤال عن الصين هو سؤال أساسي لمعرفة موقفه من هذا الموضوع الأساسي الذي يشغل بالهم.

لا شكّ في أنّ البشرية اليوم على مفترق طرق، وفي الوقت الذي يصارع فيه معظم دول العالم للتخلّص من هذا الوباء، فإنّ الأمر الذي لا يقلّ أهمية هو إلى أين يتّجه العالم بعد القضاء على هذا الوباء؟ هل سيتّجه إلى الإفادة من الدروس التي وفّرتها هذه الأزمة، بحيث يعكف كلّ بلد أو طرف على معالجة نقاط ضعفه، وترميم جدرانه التي توشك على الانهيار؟ أم سيحاول إنكار الواقع والعودة إلى المكابرة والتضليل الإعلامي والذي دفعت البشرية ثمنه أرواحاً بريئة وفي أكثر من مكان، وإلقاء عبء المسؤولية على الآخرين، والدفع باتجاه حروب كي تغطّي نقاط الضعف هذه، وتشغل أذهان العالم بمعارك مصطنعة هدفها الهروب من الواقع وعدم مواجهته؟ إذا كانت المراجعة ضرورية في هذه المرحلة، فيجب أولاً مراجعة قرارات الحرب غير المشروعة، والتي دمّرت بلداناً بكاملها من أفغانستان إلى العراق وليبيا واليمن.

وإذا كان هناك من عدالة على الأرض، فيجب أن نرى هذه الشعوب البريئة والتي لم تقترفْ ذنباً تنال حقّها، كما يجب أن نرى وقف أسلوب العقوبات وتهديد سيادة الدول وسلامتها، سواء من خلال أدوات إرهابية مصطنعة، كما كانت الحال في سوريا وليبيا واليمن، أم من خلال التهديد المباشر لفنزويلا دولة وحكومة وشعباً اليوم، وللجمهورية الإسلامية الإيرانية أيضاً. وعلى الولايات المتحدة دفع تعويضات لضحايا حروبها الإرهابية والاقتصادية على سوريا والعراق وليبيا واليمن وكوبا وإيران وفنزويلا.

إذا كانت هناك دروس مستفادة يجب أن نستخلصها من أزمة كورونا الكاشفة، فهي أولاً وقبل كلّ شيء دروس يجب أن تعيد الاعتبار إلى كرامة الإنسان وإلى المنظومات القيمية والأخلاقية التي تعزّز سيادة الدول وكرامتها، وأن تُنتزع القدسيّة عن الإعلام الغربيّ الذي ينشر الأوهام عن النظم الليبرالية الغربية، والذي برهن خلال هذه المحنة أنه لا يتقن إلّا فنّ صناعة الثروات، وأنّ البشر والذين هم خلائف الله على الأرض يقعون في أدنى سلّم اهتماماته. في الوقت الذي أشرقت فيه شمس الصين على العالم من خلال هذه المحنة، وأظهرت التزاماً أخلاقياً ومجتمعيّاً، وتقدّماً مهنياً وتكنولوجياً، ومواكبة عراقة الحضارة لتسخير آخر مبتكرات الإنسان لإنقاذ حياة البشر وتأمين صحتهم وسلامتهم، لن يتمكّن أحد من إطفاء هذا الضوء الساطع. ومن العبث الانشغال بترّهات محاسبة أو محاولة تهميش ما أثبت الواقع أنّه حقيقة أكيدة ومقنعة، وفي هذا الإطار تبدو الحاجة ماسّة إلى تعاون دولي غير مسبوق يناقش كلّ هذه المعطيات والمستجدات، ويرسم خارطة طريق لتعاون دولي مستقبلي يستند إلى الرّكائز الواقعية التي أفرزها زمن كورونا بعيداً عن الإعلام الغربيّ المضلّل، وادّعاءات الديمقراطيات الليبرالية الغربيّة، التي استنزفت أسباب وجودها، وأصبحت الحاجة ملحّة اليوم إلى اجتراح نظام عالمي  جديد تسوده  الحكمة و  الإنسانية، وليس  المال والثروات المادّية.
 
   ( الاثنين 2020/04/13 SyriaNow)  

Total system failure will give rise to new economy

Total system failure will give rise to new economy

April 11, 2020

by Pepe Escobar – posted with permission

Covid-19 driven collapse of global supply chains, demand and mobility will painfully spawn next great tech-led economic models

Is the world on a collision course with the financial and economic equivalent of a meteor impact with shock wave? Fractal illustration: AFP

Nobody, anywhere, could have predicted what we are now witnessing: in a matter of only a few weeks the accumulated collapse of global supply chains, aggregate demand, consumption, investment, exports, mobility.

Nobody is betting on an L-shaped recovery anymore – not to mention a V-shaped one. Any projection of global gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020 gets into falling-off-a-cliff territory.

In industrialized economies, where roughly 70% of the workforce is in services, countless businesses in myriad industries will fail in a rolling financial collapse that will eclipse the Great Depression.

That spans the whole spectrum of possibly 47 million US workers soon to be laid off – with the unemployment rate skyrocketing to 32% – all the way to Oxfam’s warning that by the time the pandemic is over half of the world’s population of 7.8 billion people could be living in poverty.According to the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) most optimistic 2020 scenario – certainly to become outdated before the end of Spring – global trade would shrink by 13%.  A more realistic and gloomier WTO scenario sees global trade plunging by 32%.

What we are witnessing is not only a massive globalization short circuit: it’s a cerebral shock extended to three billion hyperconnected, simultaneously confined people. Their bodies may be blocked, but they are electromagnetic beings and their brains keep working – with possible, unforeseen political and other consequences.

Soon we will be facing three major, interlocking debates: the management (in many cases appalling) of the crisis; the search for future models; and the reconfiguration of the world-system.

This is just a first approach in what should be seen as a do-or-die cognitive competition.

Particle accelerator

Sound analyses of what could be the next economic model are already popping up. As background, a really serious debunking of all (dying) neoliberalism development myths can be seen here.

Yes, a new economic model should be revolving around these axes: AI computing; automated manufacturing; solar and wind energy; high-speed 5G-driven data transfer; and nanotechnology.

China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are very well positioned for what’s ahead, as well as selected European latitudes.

Plamen Tonchev, head of the Asia unit at the Institute of International Economic Relations in Athens, Greece, points to the possible reorganization – short term – of Belt and Road Initiative projects, privileging investment in energy, export of solar panels, 5G networks and the Health Silk Road.

Covid-19 is like a particle accelerator, consolidating tendencies that were already developing. China had already demonstrated for the whole planet to see that economic development under a control system has nothing to do with Western liberal democracy.

On the pandemic, China demonstrated – also for the whole planet to see – that containment of Covid-19 can be accomplished by imposing controls the West derided as “draconian” and “authoritarian,” coupled with a strategic scientific approach characerized by a profusion of test kits, protection equipment, ventilators and experimental treatments.

This is already translating into incalculable soft power which will be exercised along the Health Silk Road. Trends seem to point to China as strategically reinforced all along the spectrum, especially in the Global South. China is playing go, weiqi. Stones will be taken from the geopolitical board.

System failure welcomed? 

In contrast, Western banking and finance scenarios could not be gloomier. As a Britain-centric analysis argues, “It is not just Europe. Banks may not be strong enough to fulfill their new role as saviors in any part of the world, including the US, China and Japan. None of the major lending systems were ever stress-tested for an economic deep freeze lasting months.”

So “the global financial system will crack under the strain,” with a by now quite possible “pandemic shutdown lasting more than three months” capable of causing  “economic and financial ‘system failure.’”

As system failures go, nothing remotely approaches the possibility of a quadrillion dollar derivative implosion, a real nuclear issue.

Capital One is number 11 on the list of the largest banks in the US by assets. They are already in deep trouble on their derivative exposures. New York sources say Capital One made a terrible trade, betting via derivatives that oil would not plunge to where it is now at 17-year lows.

Mega-pressure is on all those Wall Street outfits that gave oil companies the equivalent of puts on all their oil production at prices above $50 a barrel. These puts have now come due – and the strain on the Wall Street houses and US banks will become unbearable.

The anticipated Friday oil deal won’t alter anything: oil will stay around $20 per barrel, $25 max.

This is just the beginning and is bound to get much worse. Imagine most of US industry being shut down. Corporations – like Boeing, for instance – are going to go bankrupt. Bank loans to those corporations will be wiped out. As those loans are wiped out, the banks are going to get into major trouble.

Derivative to the max

Wall Street, totally linked to the derivative markets, will feel the pressure of the collapsing American economy. The Fed bailout of Wall Street will start coming apart. Talk about a nuclear chain reaction.

In a nutshell: The Fed has lost control of the money supply in the US. Banks can now create unlimited credit from their base and that sets up the US for potential hyperinflation if the money supply grows non-stop and production collapses, as it is collapsing right now because the economy is in shutdown mode.

If derivatives start to implode, the only solution for all major banks in the world will be immediate nationalization, much to the ire of the Goddess of the Market. Deutsche Bank, also in major trouble, has a 7 trillion euro derivatives exposure, twice the annual GDP of Germany.

No wonder New York business circles are absolutely terrified. They insist that if the US does not immediately go back to work, and if these possibly quadrillions of dollars of derivatives start to rapidly implode, the economic crises that will unfold will create a collapse of the magnitude of which has not been witnessed in history, with incalculable consequences.

Or perhaps this will be just the larger-than-life spark to start a new economy.

OPEC+ Deal Threatened as Mexico Walks Out, Refusing to Participate in Cuts

 April 10, 2020

OPEC

Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Energy said in a statement that OPEC+ had adopted a new declaration on cooperation that envisages a three-stage reduction in oil production, which, if implemented, will cut oil production by 23%, or 10 million barrels per day.

The Ministry of Energy of Azerbaijan, a country which is one of the members of the OPEC+ format, said in the statement that Mexico had refused to accept the three-stage oil reduction, with output cuts of 400,000 barrels per day from October 2018 levels.

“During the ninth meeting of the ministers of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in a format of a video conference, the new Declaration of Cooperation was adopted after some 11-hour discussions on condition that Mexico will accept the proposed cuts. It should be noted that the new Declaration of Cooperation envisages the three-stage reduction of the daily oil production compared to the level of October 2018,” the ministry said.
If the deal is approved, the OPEC+ countries will decrease their daily oil output by 23 percent, or 10 million barrels compared to October 2018.

“[According to the declaration], in July-December 2020, the daily oil production will be reduced by 8 million barrels, or 18 percent compared to October 2018. According to the Declaration of Cooperation, starting from January 2021 to April 2022, OPEC+ has to cut the output by 6 million barrels per day compared to October 2018. It is expected that during this period, the production commitments of OPEC nations will amount to 3.651 million barrels [per day], while those of the non-OPEC countries to 2.349 million barrels,” the ministry added.
Earlier, the press office for the Kazakhstan Ministry of Energy said that OPEC+ had failed to reach an agreement by the end of the Thursday talks, but Kazakhstan expressed hopes that a consensus would be reached in the near future.

“As a result of eleven-hour talks the parties could not reach any agreement. Kazakhstan, in its turn, remains hopeful that in the future the consensus on collective reduction of oil production will be reached, which will impact positively on the oil industry”, the Ministry of Energy’s statement reads.
Kazakhstan, one of the states included in the OPEC+ format, noted in a statement that it is ready to join the deal, should it be sealed.

“We hope for the positive results of the upcoming talks. The disbalance that we observe on the global oil market shows that OPEC+ countries’ efforts are not enough in this case and we need all market competitors to participate. In our turn, we understand the importance of today’s agenda and we are ready to join the collective reduction of oil production”, Kazakhstan’s Energy Minister Nurlan Nogaev said.
He stressed that Kazakhstan has always met its commitments as an OPEC+ member.

Mexican Energy Minister Rocio Nahle tweeted that the country was ready to reduce the national oil production by 100,000 barrels per day in May-June.

According to the Azerbaijan Energy ministry, the adopted cooperation agreement envisages higher consecutive cuts in oil output – 400-320-240 thousands of barrels per day that correspond to each of the three stages.

“Mexico has disagreed with the quotas – 400,000, 320,000 and 240,000 barrels per day for each stage, respectively – in line with the Declaration of Cooperation,” the ministry said.
The Kuwait oil minister tweeted that Mexico was ‘obstructing’ the agreement to cut oil output by 10 million barrels per day.

A tweet reads: “At the extraordinary meeting of the OPEC+ group that ended at 3 a.m., Mexico obstructed the agreement of all member states to reduce oil production by about 10 million barrels per day. Kuwait held marathon talks in the past days, and during the meeting, to create a state of consensus among the member states in the hope of rebalancing oil markets.”
A source in one of the delegations told Sputnik that Saudi Arabia said that “there would be no deal [without Mexico]”.

Earlier, two sources told Sputnik that the Mexican delegation had left the video conference talks after failing to accept a consensus with the alliance on oil production limits.

The OPEC+ meeting took place on Thursday in a form of an online video conference, gathering OPEC+ members and other observer countries not part of the group to create a new oil output cut agreement in an attempt to stabilize the oil market struggling with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

SourceSputnik

العقوبات الأميركيّة في زمن كورونا: جريمة ضدّ الإنسانيّة

العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط

من أجل السيطرة على العالم لا تتورّع أميركا عن استعمال أيّ وسيلة أو سلاح بصرف النظر عن مدى مشروعيته أو لاأخلاقيته أو لاإنسانيته. فالأساس لدى أميركا هو فرض السيطرة وإخضاع مَن يعارضها أو يعرقل سعيها لامتلاك قرار العالم حتى ولو تمّت هذه المعارضة في معرض ممارسة الآخر حقه بالحرية والسيادة والاستقلال واستثمار ثرواته الطبيعية.

وقد تصاعدت وتيرة استباحة أميركا لحقوق الدول والشعوب منذ أن تفكك الاتحاد السوفياتي الذي كان يقاسمها النفوذ والسيطرة على العالم ويضع بوجهها الخطوط الحمر التي تمنعها من الاستئثار بالقرار الدولي، حيث انطلقت أميركا بعد هذا الحدث بذهنية أنها القطب الأوحد في العالم الذي يجب ان تنصاع له المعمورة. وانطلقت معتبرة نفسها أنها الحاكم والقائد والشرطي والقاضي والجلاد لكلّ العالم، وأنّ حاكمها جاء بأمر إلهي وانّ العناية الإلهية اختارته ليكون الضابط والناظم لحكم المعمورة وحركتها، على حدّ ما قال جورج بوش قبل غزوه للعراق في العام 2003، “العناية الإلهية اختارتني لأنقذ العالم”، وكما ضمّن إعلانه الحرب على العراق بأنّ هدفه “نزع أسلحة العراق، وتحرير شعبه، وحماية العالم من خطر قاتم محدق”.

أطلق بوش رئيس الولايات المتحدة هذا القول رغم انّ مجلس الأمن الدولي رفض طلب أميركا غزو العراق ورفض العمل العسكري ضدّه، ورغم هذا تصرّفت أميركا فوق الإرادة الدولية خلافاً للقانون الدولي ونفذت غزوها وتصرفت بذهنية أنها قائد العالم معتبرة انّ تفكك الاتحاد السوفياتي، وعدم قيام الندّ البديل المناهض وامتلاكها القوة بكلّ أنواعها العسكرية والعلمية والاقتصادية والإعلامية، يبرّر لها إقامة نظام عالمي بقيادتها الأحادية يمكنها من السيطرة على المعمورة ويعطيها الحق بأن تلزم العالم بالخضوع والاستسلام لإرادتها او التعرّض لما يفرزه غضبها عندما تصبّه عليه ناراً وحصاراً.

فأميركا المعتدّة بقوّتها والمزهوة بجبروتها تتعامل مع العالم على أساس أنه ميدان نفوذها وأن ليس لأحد حق بالاعتراض على أرادتها، وأسندت موقفها بإطلاق نظريات جديدة كنظرية “التدخل الدولي الإنساني المتقدّم على السيادة الوطنية لأيّ دولة” و”نظرية العولمة” التي تسقط بموجبها الحدود الدولية أمام اجتياح الأقوى إلخ… وأعطت أميركا نفسها الحق بتقدير مصلحة الشعوب كما تراها هي وتعمل على فرضها وفقاً لتصوّرها، بصرف النظر عما إذا كانت هذه الشعوب تقبل هذا او ترفضه. فهي مَن يقرّر وهي مَن يتصرف وتنتظر من الآخر الانصياع وإلا كانت العقوبة التي تختار هي نوعها وحجمها ونطاقها، تفرضها بشتى صنوفها المادية وغير المادية شاملاً ذلك الحرب والقتل والتدمير والحصار والتجويع إلى حدّ الموت.

لقد عانى ويعاني العالم من الاستبداد الأميركي المطلق خاصة في العقود الثلاثة الأخيرة التي أعقبت أربعة عقود أخرى كان فيها نوع من التوازن الاستراتيجيّ الدوليّ الذي كان يقيّد او يحدّ من هذا الاستبداد، معاناة كانت بسبب ما قامت به أميركا من حروب وفتن وثورات مزيّفة بألوان أميركية متعدّدة مترافقة مع تدابير قسرية كيدية نفذتها تحت عنوان “العقوبات” التي تستهدف الدول والمنظمات والأشخاص وكلّ من يقول “لا” لأميركا، التي لم تواجهها علانية ويرفض تسلطها وسياستها العدوانية إلا قلة من المكونات السياسية والشعبية في العالم والتي تبلورت نواتها الأولى في غربي آسيا، حيث تشكلت ما عرفت بالمقاومة، ثم قام محور يقاوم الغطرسة الأميركية الاستعمارية أساسه إيران وسورية وحزب الله وبعض المكونات الفلسطينية، ثم تعاظمت ظاهرة الرفض العالمي العلني للاستبداد الأميركي حتى باتت تشمل دولاً وكيانات وشخصيات وتيارات هامة برزت الصين وروسيا في مقدّمتها.

لم تعبأ أميركا كثيراً بمعارضيها وكانت شبه واثقة بقدرتها على ترويضهم وظنت بأنّ ما تملكه من قوة وعلاقات مع شركاء او حلفاء وفقاً لتسمياتها (في الحقيقة ليس لأميركا شريك او حليف، فأميركا لا تنظر إلى الآخر إلا على أنه تابع وأداة أو عدو وخصم، وأكد بوش الابن على هذه النظرة حيث قال “من ليس معنا فهو ضدّنا”) ظنّت أنها قادرة على إخضاع من يتجرّأ على رفض إرادتها، لكنها صدمت بنتائج المواجهة خاصة نتائج العقد الأخير حيث إنها رغم كلّ ما اعتمدته من تدابير عسكرية وسياسية وغير ذلك من الأعمال القمعية الزجرية ضدّ المناهضين لسياستها، لم تحقق أهدافها في السيطرة ولم يخضع أحد من المعسكر المناهض لها رغم ما نزل بهم من أضرار وخسائر مؤلمة.

لقد نجح معسكر رفض الاستبداد الأميركي في إفشال مساعي أميركا لإقامة النظام الدولي أحادي القطبية ومنع تشكل حالة دولية تكون فيها أميركا القائد الوحيد للعالم، ونجح ذاك المعسكر في الدفاع عن حقوقه رغم أنه لم يشكل حلفاً متماسكاً او منظومة دولية متحدة خلافاً لحال أميركا مع الحلف الأطلسي الذي تمسك به وتستعمله لتنفيذ سياستها الدولية بعد أن غيّرت طبيعته من دفاعية عن أمن الأعضاء إلى هجومية عدوانية لتنفيذ المصالح والأهداف الأميركية.

في ظلّ هذه النتائج السلبية أميركياً للصراع الدولي، حلّت جائحة كورونا في الصين التي اجتاح اقتصادها العالم وتقدّمت على أميركا فيه، وظنّ في البدء أنّ الأمر قد يكون نوعاً من حرب جرثومية تشنّها أميركا ضدّ عدوها الاقتصادي وأنه حلقة من سلسلة حروب لجأت إليها في ظلّ عجزها عن النجاح في المواجهات الأخرى، حرب تترافق مع ما يُقال من تحضيراتها للمواجهة العسكرية مع الصين، ثم تعزز الظنّ هذا عندما اقتحم الفايروس إيران ليجعلها الدولة الثالثة التي يجتاحها الوباء.

لكن تطوّر انتشار الجائحة وسقوط أميركا وشركائها في الحلف الأطلسي فريسة لهذا الفايروس وتقدّمهم كلّ دول العالم في حجم الإصابات والموتى جعل مطلقي نظرية الحرب البيولوجية يتراجعون أو يُخفتون الصوت للانصراف إلى التدقيق بمسائل أخرى أفرزها الفايروس كورونا خاصة في مجال نظام الرعاية الصحية الغربي، والعلاقة بين الحلفاء أعضاء الحلف الأطلسي، وتصرّف الشرق خاصة الصين وروسيا تجاه الغرب الأطلسي، وأخيراً أداء أميركا في معرض مواجهة الوباء.

1

ـ ففي النقطة الأولى تبيّن وضوحاً كم انّ نظام الرعاية الصحية في الغرب واهن وضعيف ويفتقد إلى الجهوزية لمواجهة وباء، وثبت أنّ الذهنية الرأسمالية المادية تغلب المصالح المالية للرأسماليين على الحاجات والحقوق الإنسانية للمواطنين. ما أكد زيف تشدّق الغرب بمقولة حقوق الإنسان التي يتخذها مبرّراً للتدخل في شؤون الدول والشعوب.

2

ـ وفي الثانية فقد ظهر جلياً انّ ما يربط أعضاء الأطلسي ببعضهم هو المصالح والنفعية دون المبادئ والإنسانية، فإذا استوجبت العلاقة التضحية والعطاء فلا يكون للعلاقة أثر او وجود، وأظهر البعض من دول الغرب الأوروبي قدراً من الأنانية وضع مصير الاتحاد الأوروبي كله ومستقبله تحت علامة استفهام كبيرة.

3

ـ أما في الثالثة فقد أكدت الصين وروسيا والشرق عموماً انّ الخلافات الاستراتيجية والسياسية لا تثنيهم عن تقديم المساعدات الإنسانية حتى للخصوم والأعداء، وانّ حاجة ومصلحة الإنسان كإنسان تتقدّم على أيّ اعتبار، وبذلك قدّمت هذه الأطراف نموذجاً فذاً عن التصرّف الإنساني خلافاً للتصرّف الغربي المعادي للإنسانية.

4

ـ أما في الرابعة فقد كانت الفضيحة الكارثة، حيث انهارت صورة أميركا على وجوه ثلاثة… الأول داخلي حيث ظهر وهن الروابط الوطنية بين الولايات الأميركية ما ينذر بالتفكك، وعلى الصعيد التحالفي حيث ظهرت الخفة وعدم الاكتراث بمصائب الشركاء، أما الجريمة الكبرى فقد كانت في الأداء الأميركي ضدّ الخصوم خاصة سورية وإيران اللتين تتعرّضان لعقوبات أميركية إجرامية تفرضها أميركا خلافاً لقواعد القانون الدولي، حيث أصرّ ترامب على تشديد العقوبات بدلاً من وقفها ومنع عن إيران وسورية حاجاتهما من الدواء والمواد الأولية التي تستعمل في تصنيعه او في المجال البحثي لإنتاجه، ورأى في الوباء فرصة نادرة لتجعل العقوبات أكثر فعالية في تركيع الدولتين ما يعني أنّ ترامب انْ لم يكن هو مطلق الفايروس فهو مستثمر به بكلّ تأكيد.

لهذا نرى أنّ السلوك الأميركي في التمسك بالعقوبات على سورية وإيران، رغم الطلبات والمناشدات الدولية لرفعها وحتى من الداخل الأميركي، يُعتبر جريمة يؤدّي ارتكابها إلى منع التصدي لوباء بل يسهم في انتشاره، جريمة تتطابق عناصرها مع عناصر جريمة الإبادة الجماعية التي لا تسقط بمرور الزمن وتوجب أن لا يفلت مرتكبها من العقاب. فترامب ومن خلال إصراره على العقوبات ضدّ سورية وإيران وغيرهما رغم التهديد الوبائي الخطير الذي تتعرّضان له إنما يرتكب جريمة ضدّ الإنسانية لا يمكن اعتبارها جزءاً من حروبه ضدّ الدولتين بل تشكل ملفاً قائماً بذاته منفصلاً عن كلّ ما عداه، ملفاً بعنوان “جرائم ضدّ الإنسانية” بحق شعبي سورية وإيران، جرائم تحيل مرتكبها إلى مجرم دولي لا يستحق أن يوكل إليه شأن في قيادة العالم…

*أستاذ جامعي وخبير استراتيجي.

Americans in Lebanon Want to Stay because It’s ’Safer’

Americans in Lebanon Want to Stay because It’s ’Safer’

Source: By CNN

Several US citizens in Lebanon told CNN that they have decided not to be repatriated to the United States because they believe that it is “safer” in Lebanon amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The US citizens who spoke to CNN cited skyrocketing cases in the US.

“When the US government last week said it would fly its citizens and permanent residents to the US on a chartered flight for $2,500 per person, some Americans took to Twitter to publicly decline the offer,” CNN said.

“And no, Mom, I’m not going,” Beirut-based freelance journalist Abby Sewell wrote in a tweet about the US embassy announcement.

Responding to her tweet, a Lebanese journalist said: “For once I’m like no America is not safer than here.” Sewell’s mother, Meg Sewell, replied: “Actually, for the moment I might have to agree.”

Sewell told CNN she never considered taking the US embassy’s offer.

“From everything I’m reading, the situation is worse in the US, in terms of the number of cases, prevention measures or lack thereof, and how overburdened the health system is,” she said.

“Also, since I’ve been living overseas for years, I don’t have health insurance in the US now, so if I did go back and then got sick, I would be looking at paying thousands of dollars out of pocket.”

On the morning of April 5, the US embassy flew 95 US citizens out of Lebanon, according to a US State Department official. It is estimated that thousands of Americans live in Lebanon — many of whom also hold Lebanese citizenship.

“The Department of State has no greater priority than the safety and security of US citizens overseas,” the official told CNN. “We are rising to meet the historic challenge posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, every day, all over the world.”

When asked about Americans suggesting that Beirut is, for once, safer than the US, the official declined to comment.

“All of my American friends here have decided to stay,” says Lebanon-based American citizen Daryn Howland, 27.

In recent weeks, the spread of the coronavirus in Lebanon has slowed, according to the World Health Organization’s Lebanon office. Medical professionals have offered cautious praise for the country’s relatively early steps to enforce the lockdown.

“We’re not at a stage where we have to decide who gets a ventilator and who doesn’t. That is because we are staying at home and the borders are closed,” tweeted Dr. Firas Abiad, head of the government’s Rafik Hariri University Hospital, which has been dealing with the majority of coronavirus cases in Beirut. His tweet linked to a New York Times opinion piece about ventilator shortages in the US.

As of April 9, there are more than 430,000 Covid-19 cases and 14,000 deaths in the US, with 576 cases and 19 fatalities in Lebanon.

While it may be too soon to say if the spread of coronavirus will continue to slow in Lebanon, Howland says she has taken comfort in the country’s strict measures. “The government got ahead of the problem and so far [the number of cases] hasn’t escalated,” she says.

The White House’s response, she argues, stands in sharp contrast with that of her crisis-ridden adopted country.

US President Donald Trump has come under fire for being slow to act in stopping the rapid spread of the disease there. The country now has the highest number of reported cases and deaths from the virus globally, and a prominent model that tracks the coronavirus in the US predicted on Wednesday that more than 60,000 people will die due to Covid-19 by August.

“Watching how Trump has handled this crisis … it just seems that people are not really aware of what’s going on and not taking the proper decisions,” says Howland.

المنطقة والعالم إلى تسويات منتصف الطريق..العراق نقطة عراق

العراق نقطة انطلاق

ناصر قنديل

لا ينتبه الذين يتحدّثون عن مخاطر حروب جديدة تنتظر المنطقة، وربما العالم، إلى حجم التحوّل الذي فرضته جائحة كورونا على الأوضاع الدولية والإقليمية، فيوماً بعد يوم يترجل المتحمّسون لمواصلة العنتريات العسكرية في إدارة الرئيس الميركي دونالد ترامب عن جدول أعمال حربي لحساب الحديث عن الردع إذا تعرّضت قواتهم للاستهداف، وبالمثل يقف خصوم المشروع الأميركي ورافضي التمركز الأميركي في المنطقة عند ضفة جديدة، تسحب من التداول جدول أعمال تنفيذي وميداني لإخراج الأميركيين، لحساب خطاب الردع في حال أقدم الأميركيون على التصعيد، وتعود هذه التحوّلات إلى مصدرين واضحين، الأول الثقة العميقة في مركز صنع القرار الأميركي بأن مناخ كورونا وفر الفرصة لتفادي الوقوع في حروب استنزاف ستنتهي على طريقة أفغانستان بالانسحاب، ليفتح باب التراجع عن التصعيد وفتح باب التسويات. وعلى الضفة المقابلة، فرضت أولوية مواجهة كورونا على حكومات المنطقة وقواها الشعبية التأقلم مع حقيقة تكوينها الشعبي ومسؤوليتها الوطنية، وبالتالي التعايش مع فرضية الانسحاب الأميركي البارد وتسهيله، تحت سقوف تسويات محلية تتيح الطريق لتحقيق هذا الهدف.

عندما تنشأ ظروف للتساكن البارد، على خلفيّة أفق نهائي معلوم هو الانسحاب الأميركي، ينفتح الباب العراقي على مشروع تسوية حكومية يبدو واضحاً تتقدم حظوظه مع تقدّم اسم مدير المخابرات مصطفى الكاظمي لتشكيل الحكومة الجديدة، وهو منسّق العلاقة الأميركية الإيرانية في العراق لسنوات بتراضي الطرفين، وقد عادت أسهمه ترتفع منذ زيارة رئيس مجلس الأمن القومي الإيراني الجنرال علي شمخاني إلى بغداد قبل شهر. وبالتوازي يظهر الوجود الأميركي في سورية مشلولاً بلا وظيفة، وتبدو الانسحابات من مواقع حساسة عراقياً تمهيداً لإقفال ملف الوجود في سورية، بسبب انكشاف هذه المواقع عسكرياً إذا اكتملت عمليات الإخلاء لمواقع أميركية في العراق تشكل قاعدة خلفية لنقاط التمركز في سورية. ويبدو القلق من انتشار فيروس كورونا بين الجنود الأميركيين حاضراً في تسريع التجميع والانسحاب، كما يبدو عجز الجهات الكردية التي تعمل تحت الراية الأميركية شرق سورية عن التعامل مع مخاطر كورونا مدخلاً طبيعياً لفتح الباب لتسويات محلية تهيئ الظروف لعودة هذه المناطق إلى عهدة الدولة السورية. ولا يبدو الوضع في مناطق التمركز التركي مختلفاً مع تقدم تركيا إلى المركز العالمي التاسع بين الدول التي يتفشى فيها الوباء، وحجم التهديد الذي يلقاه الجنود الأتراك من مخاطر التفشي، وهشاشة البنى الملتحقة بالأتراك وعجزها عن احتواء مخاطر تفشي الفيروس.

في اليمن يبدو السعي لوقف شامل لإطلاق النار وتبادل مجموعات من الأسرى على نار حامية، وتشير المعلومات إلى تحقيق تقدم كبير على هذا الصعيد، مع عجز النظام الحاكم في الرياض عن مواصلة خوض الحربين دفعة واحدة، حرب كورونا وحرب اليمن. وقد صارت التهديدات للأمن السعودي بسبب حرب اليمن فوق قدرته على الاحتواء والتحمل، بينما لم يعد لدى الأميركي ما يجعله يتحمل المماطلة السعودية في السعي لتسوية سياسية تنهي حرب الاستنزاف، بل ربما لم يعد الأميركي حاضراً لتقديم الحضانة التي يحتاجها السعودي لمواصلة الحرب في أكثر من مجال وعلى أكثر من صعيد، وقد تغيّرت الأولويات.

التسويات ووقف الحروب، في كثير من الأحيان تكون ناضجة في العمق، لكن ثمنها السياسي والمعنوي يدفع بأصحاب الحرب لمواصلتها بسبب عجزهم عن الإقدام على التسوية، أو عجزهم عن تبرير وقف الحرب دون إنجاز أو انتصار بعدما رفعوا سقوفهم عالياً، فتقع أحداث كبرى كالطوفان والزلزال والوباء والانهيارات المالية، وفي بلدان ديمقراطية تكون الفضائح الحكوميّة أو الهزات الحزبية والسياسية، فتخلق المبرّر الذي يتيح تظهير هذا النضج الكامن لمنطق التسويات، ولا يبدو هذا بعيداً عن توصيف ما يجري وما سيجري على مسرح المنطقة، والعالم أيضاً.

فيديوات متعلقة

أخبار متعلقة

كورونا يعزّز انتقال مركز القيادة والثقل في الاقتصاد وإدارة الأزمات من الغرب إلى الشرق

حسن حردان

بات من المسلّم به، أنّ العالم ما قبل كورونا لن يكون هو ذاته ما بعد كورونا… إنّ الحرب العالمية ضدّ فايروس كورونا، مثل كلّ الحروب العالمية، والأزمات التي أصابت البشرية، ستكون لها نتائج وتداعيات على العلاقات الدولية والنظام العالمي، تعكس موازين القوى الجديدة المتولدة عنها.. هذا ما حصل في أعقاب انتهاء الحرب العالمية الثانية حيث خرجت كلّ من الولايات المتحدة الأميركية والاتحاد السوفياتي كأكبر قوّتين في العالم، فولد نظام عالمي ثنائي الأقطاب، وكذلك بعد انتهاء الحرب الباردة بين الدول الغربية بقيادة أميركا، وبين الكتلة الشرقية بقيادة الاتحاد السوفياتي، انهار الأخير وتفكك، وولد نظام دولي جديد أحادي القطب بقيادة الولايات المتحدة.. ولهذا فإنّ الحرب العالمية الجديدة في مواجهة كورونا سوف تؤدّي إلى تغييرات سياسية واقتصادية تسهم في تسريع تحوّل السلطة والنفوذ من الغرب إلى الشرق، كما قالت مجلة «فورين بوليسي»… لا سيما أنّ العالم، قبل بدء الحرب مع كورونا، كان يشهد تحوّلات في موازين القوى الاقتصادية والعسكرية والسياسية، تدلل على بداية انتقال مركز الثقل في القرار الاقتصادي والمالي والسياسي من الغرب إلى الشرق، لا سيما بعد فشل حروب أميركا في أفغانستان والعراق من ناحية، وفشل الحروب الإرهابية بالوكالة لإعادة تعويم مشروع الهيمنة الأميركي على العالم من ناحية ثانية، وتجسّد هذا الفشل في انتصار سورية وحلفائها في محور المقاومة، وروسيا، في الحرب ضدّ جيوش الإرهاب والدول الداعمة لها.. وأصبح من الواضح أنّ السياسة الأميركية دخلت في مرحلة تخبّط واضطراب، تحاول إدارة الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب إخراجها منها واعادة تأكيد الهيمنة الأميركية من خلال استخدام آخر سلاح بيدها وهو سلاح الهيمنة على النظام المالي العالمي الذي تأسّس بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية، حيث تتحكّم واشنطن بنظام التحويلات المالية بالدولار العملة الأكثر تداولاً في العالم في عقد صفقات بيع النفط والسلاح والمبادلات التجارية.. وعبر هذه الهيمنة لجأت واشنطن إلى فرض الحصار المالي إلى جانب الحصار الاقتصادي ضدّ الدول التي ترفض هيمنتها ونجحت في اضعافها، وفي طليعة هذه الدول روسيا وإيران وسورية وفنزويلا، وكوبا..

وإذا كانت الدول التي تواجه الهيمنة الأميركية، وتعمل، قبل حرب كورونا، على كسر هذه الهيمنة الأميركية من خلال إقامة تحالفات دولية، عسكرية واقتصادية وتكريس التبادل التجاري بالعملات الوطنية، بديلاً عن الدولار، وكذلك إنشاء بنك وصندوق دوليّين في مقابل صندوق النقد والبنك الدولي اللذين تهيمن عليهما أميركا ويشكلان أداتها المالية لإخضاع الدول والسيطرة على قرارها الاقتصادي.. فإنّ هذه الدول، خلال وبعد حرب كورونا، قد خطت خطوات نوعية جديدة لإنهاء هذه الهيمنة، وتأكيد حضورها ودورها الدولي القيادي الذي يقوم على تكريس علاقات دولية تشاركية وتعاونية تنطلق من احترام القوانين والمواثيق الدولية، بل ويقدّم نموذجاً في العلاقات الإنسانية، مناقضاً تماماً للنموذج الأميركي النيوليبرالي الخالي من القيم والعلاقات الإنسانية.. وظهر هذا الحضور والدور من خلال الخطوات التالية..

أولاً، المبادرة، حيث امتنعت وتخاذلت الولايات المتحدة، الى المسارعة لتقديم العون والمساعدة للدول التي تعرّضت لكارثة نتيجة انتشار وباء كورونا فيها، مثل إيطاليا وإسبانيا وإيران وفرنسا إلخ… بل والتعاون لأجل إيجاد لقاح مضادّ لهذا الفايروس.. وهو ما ترك أثراً عميقاً إنسانياً لدى شعوب هذه الدول وكذلك لدى شعوب العالم.. فيما ساد الغضب والتنديد بالسياسة الأميركية إزاء التخلي عن تقديم المساعدة لهذه الدول، والتصرف بطريقة تتنافى والقيم الإنسانية من خلال سعي ترامب بداية إلى استغلال الوباء لعزل الصين وإضعاف اقتصادها عبر وصف الفايروس بـ «الفايروس الصيني»، ومن ثم السعي الى احتكار لقاح يعمل على إنتاجه علماء ألمان، في محاولة لابتزاز العالم وتحقيق الأرباح المالية الضخمة من ورائه.. مما أظهر ترامب وإدارته بمظهر قبيح ووحشي يعكس الطبيعة المعادية للإنسانية التي تتميّز بها السياسات النيوليبرالية.. التي تسبّبت أيضاً في ترك الشعب الأميركي يواجه انتشار الوباء بهذا الشكل الكارثي..

ثانياً، هذا الأداء المتميّز لكلّ من الصين وروسيا وكوبا، في مساعدة البشرية على مواجهة كورونا، جعلها تتقدّم الصفوف على المستوى الدولي في إدارة الحرب ضدّ كورونا، فيما واشنطن التي تعتبر نفسها زعيمة العالم، تخلت او تقاعست عن القيام بهذا الدور، وهو ما جعل وزير الخارجية الأسبق هنري كسينجر يحذر من خطورة ونتائج فشل أميركا في إدارة الأزمة، مشيراً إلى أنّ التحدي التاريخي للقادة هو إدارة الأزمة وبناء المستقبل، وأنّ الفشل يمكن أن يحرق العالم.. في حين رأت نائبة المدير العام للمعهد الدولي للدراسات الإستراتيجية، كوري شاك، أنّ عالم ما بعد فايروس كورونا لن يشهد استمرار زعامة الولايات المتحدة للعالم.

وقالت شاك في توقعاتها التي نشرتها «فورين بوليسي»، إنّ العالم لن ينظر إلى الولايات المتحدة بعد الآن كقائد دولي نظراً لسلوك الإدارة الأميركية الذي يقوم على تغليب المصالح الذاتية الضيقة وافتقار تلك الإدارة الفادح للكفاءة.. أما كيشور محبوباني، الباحث في معهد آسيا للبحوث بجامعة سنغافورة الوطنية ومؤلف كتاب «هل فازت الصين؟» حول تحدّي الصين للهيمنة الأميركية، فيرى، انّ جائحة كورونا، «ستسهم في تسريع تغيير كان قد بدأ بالفعل، هو الانتقال من العولمة التي تتمحور حول الولايات المتحدة إلى عولمة تتمحور حول الصين».. في المقابل توقع جون آلن، مدير معهد بروكينغز، أنّ المنتصرين في المعركة ضدّ فايروس كورونا القاتل هم من سيتسنّى لهم كتابة التاريخ كما هي الحال عبر تاريخ البشرية.

ثالثاً، في هذا الوقت حصل حدث مهمّ في دلالاته لناحية الانتقال إلى خطوة عملية طالما انتظرتها معظم دول العالم، للتخلص من هيمنة الدولار، وهذه الخطوة تمثلت في إعلان الدول الثماني الأعضاء في منظمة شنغهاي للتعاون الاقتصادي، بما في ذلك الصين وروسيا والهند، قراراً باعتماد العملات المحلية والوطنية في التبادل التجاري والاستثمار الثنائي وإصدار سندات، بدلاً عن الدولار الأميركي، ما ينهي عقوداً طويلة من الهيمنة الأميركية على العالم في التجارة والذهب والتعاملات النفطية، بحسب ما أوردته شركة خدمات التحليل الاستراتيجي عبر أوراسيا «سيلك روود.. أهمية هذه الخطوة وأثرها يتأتيان من كون الدول المذكورة تشكل ثقلاً سكانياً عالمياً يتجاوز نصف سكان العالم، وتحوز على قدرات وموارد اقتصادية وثروات نفطية وغازية ومعدنية هائلة وتملك التقنيات المتطورة في التكنولوجيا، والأبحاث العلمية، وتحوز على قدرات عسكرية منافسة بقوة للقوة الأميركية الغربية.. ما يجعل القرار له أثر كبير على التبادلات التجارية، ويؤدّي إلى تراجع كبير في اعتماد الدولار في العلاقات التجارية بحجم ما لهذه الدول من وزن ودور في الاقتصاد العالمي..

من هنا فإنّ نتائج حرب كورونا سوف تشكل محطة فاصلة في تاريخ العالم، وتكرّس التحوّلات الدولية وموازين القوى الجديدة وبالتالي إعادة بناء النظام العالمي على أساس هذه الموازين التي تفرض التعددية في العلاقات الدولية بديلا من الأحادية…

Coronavirus urges people to change: cartoonist Einstein

Photo: A cartoon exclusively designed by Brazilian artist Cival Einstein for the Tehran Times.

TEHRAN – Brazilian cartoonist and illustrator Cival Einstein regards the COVID-19 pandemic as the fight of David and Goliath, calling it a war that has forced people to change

 “Nature deserves respect, the American imperialists and the Chinese have explored and hurt nature a lot, and she couldn’t take it and it is reacting this way. We are paying a high price for it,” he told the Tehran Times in an email interview on Monday.

Einstein is taking part in Iran’s We Defeat Coronavirus International Cartoon Contest with his submission based on Gulliver’s adventures portraying Gulliver as huge, but even the huge one cannot escape the coronavirus and has to stay at home.

Asked how he really sees the situation, and whether he considers it a good or a bad opportunity for art especially caricature, he said, “I believe art is a therapy, while it is educative and playful, it is like a school.”

He noted that caricature helps take off the masks of those who always used masks to deceive people.

“When the truth comes, it hurts some people. I think we will not know the world without creative expressions and art makes us reflect the reality,” he described.

Einstein also said that he believes his other artist friends are busy producing artworks on the theme of coronavirus, which is an accessible theme and refers to many interpretations.

“In this theme, we have a salad of subjects, such as politics, social life, history and facts, of course, I see it with a positive side,” he said.

Einstein added that he is filled with new ideas and is busy producing more works every day, while he is in home quarantine.

“I can see the pain of others and put it in the cartoon, this is very important for me, I pour all my feelings into the cartoons which are joy, sadness, creativity and hoping for better days to come,” he added.

Last updated April 7, 2020, a total number of people diagnosed with the coronavirus in Brazil has reached 12,232, of whom 566 have died and 127 recovered.

Einstein said that his country is also taking quarantine measurement as it is known worldwide, however, some accept and follow the rules and some don’t.

“In my country, some people have their beliefs and think this is a lie, they are the most diverse interpretations, some groups accuse other groups, saying that quarantine is the electoral stage, others believe in science, others in faith, and the governments of some states are doing what they can, but the virus is an invisible and fast enemy,” he explained.

Asked if he is satisfied with the policies of his country taken towards the combat against COVID-19, he answered that the cases of coronavirus infection and the death rates at the moment are low in his country compared with the United States, Italy, China, and other countries.

“No, I’m not happy with the policies. It could be better, they don’t give up their salaries to help people, it doesn’t make me happy, it could be better, maybe a few are working hard to fight this pandemic, but they are not many,” he said.

Einstein has participated in many festivals and cartoon contests in Iran and the world, winning a special prize in 2014 at the Macedonia cartoon competition, where he selected as a member of the jury in 2019.

He also received first prize at the Fourth International Graphic Humor Festival in Armenia in 2018.

“I will continue making cartoons. I believe art saves and irony softens the pain and laughter relaxes the soul,” he concluded. 

RM/MMS

مخاطر الأزمة

سعادة مصطفى ارشيد

يخوض الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب معركة الدعاية الانتخابية للرئاسة الأميركية مبكراً وقبل موعدها بكثير، مكرهاً على ذلك ومن موقع الضعف واختلال الثقة، فليس من دعاية انتخابية معاكسة له او مؤيدة لمنافسه سواء كان بايدن او غيره خير من الواقع الملموس الذي تعيشه الولايات المتحدة، أولاً بسبب وباء الكورونا وسياسات ترامب الخرقاء في إدارة الأزمة داخلياً وخارجياً، وثانياً بسبب تهافت أدائه خلال سنوات توليه الرئاسة، في الشكل والمضمون، الأمر الذي دعا المفكر الصديق فاضل الربيعي لأن يقارنه بالرئيس الروسي الأسبق بوريس يلتسين، وأن يقارن اللحظة الأميركية الراهنة باللحظة السوفياتية في عهد يلتسين وقبيل الانهيار الكبير للاتحاد السوفياتي.

على الصعيد الداخلي فقد بدا ترامب على حقيقته الفظة المتوحّشة. وهذه الحقيقة وانْ كان لا يخجل من إبدائها في السابق، لكنه كان يطلقها باتجاه خارجي، تجاه أوروبا وروسيا وإيران والصين، وحتى باتجاه أصدقائه السعوديين الذين لا يرى منهم إلا أموالهم ونفطهم، لكنه في هذه الأزمة فقد بدا على القدر ذاته من الانحطاط حتى في داخل بلاده وتجاه شعبه وجمهور ناخبيه، رجل بلا أخلاق، بلا مشاعر، مسعور جشع، لا يهمّه سوى المال والاقتصاد والبورصات والأسهم والسندات، ولكن فضيلة وباء الكورونا – إنْ كان لدى الوباء من فضائل – هي أنها فضحت تلك الايدولوجيا الرأسمالية وأزاحت عنها ستار ما تدّعيه من أنها مجتمع الرفاه والاستهلاك والترف، فبدت عارية من مساحيق التجميل، لئيمة وقذرة ومتوحشة. فالإنسان مهمّ بقدر ما هو قادر على العمل الذي يزوّد خزائنها بالمال، لذا تعقد هذه النظرية المقارنة على شكل معادلة رياضية: أيهما يعود بالنفع والمال أكثر، مكافحة الفيروس والقضاء على الوباء أم ترك الفايروس طليقاً ليدور دورته ويقتل الفائض عن حاجات الإنتاج من كبار السنّ وذوي الإعاقة والمرضى بأمراض مزمنة، مَن الذين يثقلون على صناديق الرعاية الصحية والمجتمعية بأكلاف علاجهم ورعايتهم، وهم لا يقومون مقابل ما يُصرَف عليهم بأيّ عمل منتج؟

على الصعيد الخارجي لا يجد ترامب وإدارته عيباً في السطو على مئتي قناع طبي كانت في طريقها من بانكوك إلى ألمانيا، بعد أن اشترتها الحكومة الألمانية ودفعت ثمنها، فمن يتابع التصريحات الأميركية لفظاً والمسلكيات عملاً، لا يجد وصفاً سياسياً لها وإنما يلجأ الى مستوىً متدنٍّ من الوصف، إنه سلوك الأزعر الذي يمارس البلطجة في الحواري والأزقة التي لا تصل إليها أيدي القانون، غير آبه بعيب او حرام، بقيم او بأخلاق.

في مجال خارجي آخر، فإنّ ترامب يرى من حقه توزيع الاتهامات لأيّ كان إلا لإدارته، مرة على الصين وأخرى على منظمة الصحة العالمية التي اتهمها بحجب معلومات عن الوباء في مدينة ووهان الصينية والتي لو توفرت حسب ما يقول لمنعت انتشار الوباء ووصوله الى بلاده، وتواترت الأنباء أثناء كتابة هذا المقال أنّ ترامب قد اتخذ قراره بوقف مساهمة بلاده في ميزانية منظمة الصحة العالمية.

احتمال لا يزال قائماً لدى عقلية كهذه في الهروب الى الأمام، فقد يجد ترامب في الحرب او المواجهات العنيفة مخرجاً من فشله، فها هو يلوح بالحرب حيناً على إيران وحيناً آخر على فنزويلا والصين بذرائع واهية لم يعد يحتملها حلفاؤه قبل أعدائه، ولكن تلك الدول بطبيعتها ليست لقمة سائغة او مكسر عصا، الأمر الذي قد يجعل من مواجهتها مغامرة غير محسوبة وتعود عليه بأفدح الخسائر. الأمر الذي قد يدعوه لتجربة حظه مع إحدى جمهوريات الموز في أميركا الوسطى أو إحدى أشباه الدول المنسيّة في أرخبيل الجزر في البحر الكاريبي وخليج المكسيك.

في مشرقنا وفي فلسطين، لا زال بن يامين نتنياهو يتصرّف كساحر ومقامر يقف الحظ الى جانبه، تخدمه الظروف والمصائب والأوبئة حتى اليوم، وهو باقٍ في مكانه رئيساً للحكومة الحالية، وليس في عجلة من أمره لتشكيل الحكومة اللاحقة، لذلك فهو يطيل من أمد المشاورات والمفاوضات مع الأحزاب والكتل البرلمانية، يستدرج بعضها ويفتّت بعضها ويهمل بعضها، وهو يعلن بصريح القول: “سنطبق السيادة الإسرائيلية على غور الأردن وبدعم أميركي كامل. هذه الأرض أرضنا، أرض إسرائيل، أرض التوراة، أرض الآباء والأجداد، عدنا إليها لنبقى لا لنغادر”. هذه التصريحات أصبحت مكان إجماع بينه وبين خصمه السابق وربما شريكه اللاحق بني غانتس وغيره من المرشحين لدخول الحكومة، لقد فرض عليهم ذلك دون عناء، فهم بالأصل يملكون النظرة ذاتها؛ الأمر الذي لا يثير استغراب المتابع للأحوال السياسية في “إسرائيل”، فما كانوا قد اختلفوا عليه لم يكن ولا مرة واحدة مسائل تتعلق بالسياسات الخاصة بما تبقى من أرض فلسطين وشعب فلسطين، وإنما خلافات حول تقاسم الوظائف والمواقع، وقد صرّح ناطق رفيع باسم حزب “أزرق أبيض” مؤخراً: “بغضّ النظر عن تفاهمنا مع نتنياهو حول مسألة السيادة الإسرائيلية على المستوطنات والأغوار، إلا أننا على غير استعداد لتقديم أدنى تنازل في مسألة اختيار القضاة”.

بهذا يكون بن يامين نتنياهو مرتاحاً في سيره البطيء، فموضوع الحكومة وإنْ تعثر فهو في النهاية من نصيبه، ومسألة ضمّ أراضي المستوطنات والأغوار قرار قد اتخذه وبقي إعلانه وتطبيقه على أرض الواقع، فهو مطلق اليدين معطى الحرية ليفعل ما يريد، أمامه وأمام دولة الاحتلال فرصة قد لا تتكرّر وتمتدّ الى الثالث من تشرين الثاني موعد الانتخابات الرئاسية في الولايات المتحدة.

صحيفة “التايم” الانجليزية العريقة والمحافظة تنشر مقالاً تتساءل فيه عن شكل العالم الجديد الذي هو قيد التشكل وتستطرد في السؤال هل سنشهد نهاية العهد الأميركي؟ الأمر الذي تؤكده وتضيف انّ العالم سيشهد تشكيل هياكل عالمية جديدة، هذه الأخطار التي تواجه العالم عموماً وتواجهنا خصوصاً ذات علاقة بتداعيات الوباء، ولا تقلّ خطراً علينا من الوباء نفسه، فعلينا الاستعداد لأيام مقبلة لا تقتصر على تحدي الكورونا وإنما تتجاوزه بكثير…

*سياسيّ فلسطينيّ مقيم في الضفة الغربية.

FALL OF ONEWEB: GLOBAL CONSPIRACY OR SOARING AMBITIONS

South Front

Fall Of OneWeb: Global Conspiracy Or Soaring Ambitions
IMAGE: Soyuz ascends from the Spaceport in French Guiana in February, 2019, carrying the first six satellites for OneWeb.

In late March, OneWeb, one of the leading companies attempting to build a satellite mega-constellation, filed for bankruptcy and declared that it now intends to sell its business. This move put an end to the company’s plan to offer high-speed satellite Internet service around the world.

leaving uncertainty about the 74 satellites it has in orbit and its plans to provide high-speed internet from space.

Commenting on the decision, OneWeb said on March 27 that it “voluntarily filed for relief under Chapter 11 of the [US] Bankruptcy Code,” and “intends to use these proceedings to pursue a sale of its business in order to maximize the value of the company.”

While the company was close to obtaining financing, the process did not progress because of the financial impact and market turbulence related to the spread of COVID-19,” the official realease says adding that the company was “forced to reduce our workforce.”

The company did not reveal how many people may have been laid off. However, reports say that OneWeb axed most of its staff.

OneWeb has a license from the Federal Communications Commission to launch an initial constellation of 648 low-flying satellites, to provide high-speed internet around the world to homes, boats, and planes located above the 60th parallel north latitude. 74 satellites are already in orbit. Initial services were scheduled to start in 2021.

Just in March, OneWeb successfully launched 34 satellites on a Russian Soyuz rocket from Kazakhstan. The announced plans included providing “fiber-like internet” coverage to the Arctic sometime in 2020.

The bankruptcy filing became a result of the company’s failed attempt to secure new funding from investors including its biggest backer, SoftBank. OneWeb had previously raised $3 billion over multiple rounds of financing. However, it was still in need of more money to fund its deployment and commercial launch next year.

According to SpaceNews, OneWeb has $2.1 billion in total liabilities, including $1.7 billion in senior secured financing plus money owed to between 1,000 and 5,000 creditors. OneWeb also operates the satellite-production factory in Florida – a joint venture with Airbus.

While media reports as well as the company itself call the turbulence on the market and the COVID-19 outbreak among the key reasons of the bankruptcy, in fact the situation looks pretty strange. According to reports, OneWeb failed to secure $3.2bn in additional funding. Taking into the account the technological potential, the existing network of satellites and the already received $3bn of funding, the amount of $3.2bn is a small amount for such a project. In comparison, Elon Musk’s glamorous SpaceX is spending comparable amounts, at the same time being fully integrated into the system of the US national security. So, the real amount of the government assistance (including technologies and specialists) is much higher than SpaceX delcares publicly.

HINT: To provide a broader look at the current satellite technologies available for commercial companies it’s interesting to mention ICEYE’s in-orbit demonstration of synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) videos, acquired with ICEYE SAR satellites. The company claims that they allow to detect and analyse movement in a new way, giving insights into what is happening on the ground during a single SAR satellite pass over the location.

It’s interesting to note that OneWeb’s concept was among the key competitors to the G5 network projects developed around the world. China’s Huawei and large Western 5G provided saw its possible success as a direct threat to their interests. Therefore, it’s possible that using the ‘COVID-19 turbulence’, they exploited their levers of pressure to limit the further funding to OneWeb. Another factor is that such free and widespread cheap Internet, that cannnot be controlled by common measures of the censorship, goes contrary to the interests of the global elites that strongly rely on their ability to control communication and information flows.

One more explanation often cited by media is OneWeb’s alleged inability to deliver the claimed technology in time and within the framework of the claimed budget. Meanwhile, there are no doubts that the modern scientific though allows to build a satellite network, which OneWeb has proposed. Therefore, if this version is true, the issue should be in some engineering solutions. If such solutions were not developed, it would need much more funding to invent and test them than it requested. Furthermore, OneWeb already launched dozens satellites in orbit and was nearing the official launch. In these conditions, it becomes likely that OneWeb became a victim of its inability to incorporate itself in the existing global technological order; something what more mainstream and affiliated with governments’ companies like SpaceX and Huawei successfully do.

MORE ON THE TOPIC:

Corona’s Biggest Victim Is Yet to Come. The EU Itself. But Don’t Worry, Top Officials Are Talking to Albania

Corona's Biggest Victim Is Yet to Come. The EU Itself. But Don't ...

Martin Jay

April 6, 2020

Will the European Union itself become the first real institutional victim of corona? It seems that the warning signs are already there as we see genuine anger and vitriol across the 27-nation bloc from people of all walks of life, who fall victim to the 21st century plague.

What Corona has re-impounded is the uselessness of the EU, its impotence and delusional idiocy and above all its futility. Even those across Europe who believed passionately in the bloc, now see it for what it is. In the words of the Serbian president, “a fairy tale”.

Need convincing? Just look at how the European Commission president is so enfeebled that she can’t even unveil any kind of rescue plan, either for those infected or for the millions who have to suffer, lose their jobs, or small business that go under.

At the end of February, the Commission unveiled a 250m dollar aid package. Oh yes it did. You might have missed it, or didn’t quite see it properly if you didn’t have your reading glasses on, as articles next to it on Google, flanked Spain’s 220 BILLION euro aid package.

But wait. You might be wondering how the European union is able to give 500m euros of its own cash to dictator of a country in Central Africa which has been thrown into turmoil following the same despot’s coup d’état but not manage much for the entire 27-nation bloc as Europeans drop dead like flies.

It’s all about competence. A little known secret, until now, about the EU is how the European Union puts on a great show, by paying cash to EU media giants to subsidise their reports from Brussels, and pretends to the greater public that it has competences and power in areas where, in fact, it doesn’t.

Any Brussels-based hack, worth his weight in Mules and Frites, will tell you that two chief no-go areas which are sacred are health and culture. But don’t let that stop Brussels from blowing billions and billions of euros of taxpayers money on setting up and running a “ghost ministry” in the name of pan-EU healthcare policy. Yes, the EU actually has a directorate of health, run by a Greek called Stella Kyriakidou. But like foreign policy, it’s yet another one of these talk shops which doesn’t actually do anything.

Yes, the European Commission’s own Directorate General of Health is a white elephant, which is why not only have you not heard or seen this Greek lady in front of the media’s spotlights, but the EU also has no real power – and therefore no cash – for healthcare, which is what the corona pandemic would fall under.

So, in short, add ‘health’ to the growing list of competences which the EU claims to have, but in fact are bogus. On that same list, ‘foreign policy’ is a good contender for the top place and yet the EU’s foreign diplomatic service, the EEAS, blows over a billion dollars a year just on keeping 130 odd “diplomatic missions” around the world open. That’s one billion dollars with a ‘b’. And all we have heard from the aged, bumbling Mr Magoo – ‘ol Josep Borrell – about corona is that it is a “global problem”, which he muttered recently in a spammed social media video clip. Is that code for “we can’t really do anything about it. Sorry”?

Of course, Borrell could. He could propose that the 1bn dollars a year blown on his own diplo yaddah yaddah service be diverted to saving Europe’s small businesses. Or jobs. Or face masks. Anything.

But that’s about as likely to happen as Borrell himself, standing up to Donald Trump and defending Iran against crippling, and morally bereft US sanctions. Yet nothing comes from Borrell on this subject. Can Iran assume that the EU has totally abandoned it? And that, in reality, Brussels wasn’t the great architect of the so-called Iran Deal, that is claimed to be? Can Tehran assume, that in its darkest hour, that the EU is simply a cheaper, poorer grovelling cousin of the White House? Yep.

And what about immigration? Could or should that be added to the White Elephant list of non-competences, which EU taxpayers fund, which is failing spectacularly as we witness the total implosion of the so-called Schengen Agreement?

Corona has shown us that the US is not the super power it might like to think it is, as there was no leadership from Trump around the world. It has also shown us how London, Paris and Berlin are helpless when it comes to health crises and that the concept of unity is very limited at best. Presently, what we are seeing is a new war emerging which pitches NATO countries against their foes over face masks. Germany recently lashed out at the US which “confiscated” a shipment of facemasks heading towards Berlin cops; France and Spain are also at loggerheads over a consignment of face masks from a Swedish firm based in Lyon, got swiped by the French government before they could be delivered to Spain which ordered them. Turkey is also in the news for face mask banditry, but this time threatening to nationalise firms which make them on its own turf. While all this kicks off, Trump holds a press conference defending his decision to take face masks from Putin.

But where is the European Union in all this? What is Josep Borrell doing? In fact, celebrating. According to his own twitter Feed we see that the former Spanish FM was self-pleasuring over the news that Albania and Northern Macedonia had got the “green light” to begin accession talks with the EU.

The EU is getting more insular and elitist. It can’t help but think of its own priorities no matter how banal they may seem to outsiders. When countries join the EU, even those on the edge of darkest Europe, this gives EU officials a massive rush, as though expanding the club provides temporary relief to the reality that the building is falling down – like using gasoline to put out a fire, it provides a small flare, a distraction which endears the viewer, while he realises that he’s in the midst of an inferno.

How will the European Union survive this stunning lack of dynamism and misplaced priorities? It’s hard to imagine it will hang on as the lack of any real power or influence is even being picked up by journalists in MENA countries who watch such things carefully. Corona has its own media dynamism which hundreds of millions of euros of cash which MEPs voted should be put aside to “assist” EU media report on the EU, cannot buy.

Live Updates: Russia Confirms 954 New Coronavirus Cases in 24 Hours Bringing Total to 6,343

A worker packs surgical masks on the production line in a factory in Taoyuan

Spotnik

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, with over 1,270,000 confirmed cases across the world and at least 69,450 fatalities from the disease.
Nations affected by the coronavirus are introducing further measures to curb the spread and urging people to stay at home to be safe and also ease the pressure on healthcare systems amid the crisis.
The United States remains the country hardest hit by the pandemic with almost one-fourth of the world’s infected (at least 337,000), while Italy and Spain remain the main centre of the outbreak in Europe with the highest numbers of deaths (15,887 and 12,641 respectively).
Germany, in the meantime, is approaching 100,000 confirmed cases.
Follow Sputnik’s Live Feed to Find Out More!
New messages
  • 18:19

    Danish Gov’t to Begin Reopening Day Cares and Schools on 15 April if COVID-19 Numbers Remain Stable

  • 18:08

    New Jersey Reports Coronavirus Cases Increase to 41,090, Death Toll Rises to 1,003

  • 18:03

    French Sex Workers Appeal to Macron for Help Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

    Woman lying down

    French Sex Workers Appeal to Macron for Help Amid COVID-19 Pandemic


    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Federation Parapluie Rouge, France’s trade union for sex workers, has called upon President Emmanuel Macron to provide sex workers with financial aid as they struggle from a drastic reduction in clients following the lockdown in the country.
    READ MORE
  • 17:53

    COVID-19 Death Toll in US Rises Above 10,000 – Johns Hopkins University

    People walk on a temporarily closed section of the Grand Concourse during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Bronx borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 2, 2020

    COVID-19 Death Toll in US Rises Above 10,000 – Johns Hopkins University


    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The COVID-19 death toll in the United States has risen above 10,000, according to the latest data published by Johns Hopkins University at 1:25pm EST (17:25 GMT).
    READ MORE
  • 17:20

    Turkey’s Health Minister Reports 3,148 New COVID-19 Cases, 75 New Deaths in 24 Hours

    According to a graphic posted on Twitter by the health minister, the total number of cases reported in Turkey since the start of the outbreak is now 30,217, up 3,148 from Sunday. The COVID-19 death toll in the country currently stands at 649 after 75 new deaths were reported, according to Koca.
    A total of 1,326 people in Turkey have recovered after contracting the disease, an increase of 284 in the previous 24 hours, the minister said.
  • 16:30

    Russia’s Medical-Biological Agency Develops COVID-19 Treatment, Clinical Trials Starting

    Russia’s Federal Medical-Biological Agency (FMBA) says that is has developed a treatment for COVID-19 based on the drug Dalargin, and clinical trials of the treatment are getting underway, the agency’s press service stated on Monday.
    “The Federal Medical-Biological Agency has developed a treatment for severe forms of pneumonia that lead to respiratory failure caused by a coronavirus, based on … the synthetic hexapeptide Dalargin”, the agency said in a statement.
    Dalargin is already accredited in Russia as a treatment for trophic ulcers and protecting vital organs such as the lungs and liver, the agency noted.
    The new treatment has already been tested on animals, with success rates between 70 and 100 percent, the agency stated.
    “Given the high tolerance and safety of Dalargin, which has been proven in tests, the FMBA is today launching clinical trials of Dalargin for the treatment of severe pneumonia caused by the coronavirus, which is accompanied by respiratory failure and the risk of developing acute respiratory distress syndrome”, the agency’s head Veronika Skvortsova said in the statement. 
  • 16:20

    New York State Death Toll Reaches 4,758 – Government

    Healthcare worker outside Wyckoff Heights Medical Centre in the Brooklyn borough of NYC

    New York State Death Toll Reaches 4,758, Number of Cases Exceeds 130,600 – Government


    Last week, US President Donald Trump ordered to deploy 1,000 military personnel, consisting mostly of doctors, nurses, and healthcare specialists to New York City amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.
    READ MORE
  • 16:19

    Italy Death Toll From COVID-19 Pandemic Rises by 636 to 16,523

    A man wearing a face mask walks past a graffiti

    Italy Death Toll From COVID-19 Pandemic Rises by 636 to 16,523


    Italy is the country hit third hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, with Lombardy being one of the main hotbeds of the disease in the nation.
    READ MORE
  • 16:10

    Number of Daily New COVID-19 Cases in Greece Falls Sharply From 62 to 20 – Health Ministry

    The daily rise in the number of new COVID-19 cases reported in Greece has fallen sharply, as 20 new cases of the disease were reported on Monday, compared to 62 new positive tests confirmed on Sunday, Health Ministry representative Sotirios Tsiodras said at a briefing.
    Greek medical authorities reported a record 129 new cases on Thursday, but the daily rise in the number of positive tests has since decreased.
    During the briefing, Tsiodras confirmed six new deaths as a result of the disease, raising the overall death toll since the start of the outbreak to 79. He stated that 90 people remained in intensive care and 269 people have been discharged from hospitals after contracting the disease.
    According to the deputy minister for civil protection Nikos Hardalias, the decline in new cases was an encouraging sign, but measures to curb the spread of the disease could not yet let be lifted.
  • 16:08

    Number of Novel Coronavirus Cases in US Military Soars by Nearly 50% in 3 Days – Pentagon

    Police and U.S. Military personnel work amid a line of cars of people arriving for testing at a new drive-thru coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing center in the Staten Island borough of New York City, New York, U.S., March 19, 2020

    Number of Novel Coronavirus Cases in US Military Soars by Nearly 50% in 3 Days – Pentagon


    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The US military has so far recorded 2,528 cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), a rise of around 800 since Friday, the Department of Defence announced on Monday.
    READ MORE
  • 15:32

    Boat Tour Around Empty Canals in Venice Amid COVID-19 Pandemic – Video

    A view of an empty Grand Canal on Palm Sunday, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Venice, Italy, April 5, 2020

    Boat Tour Around Empty Canals in Venice Amid COVID-19 Pandemic – Video


    Italy has the highest COVID-19 death toll in the world — 15,887 people have died from complications related to the coronavirus in the country.
    READ MORE
  • 15:22

    Russian Military Doctors Begin Receiving, Treating COVID-19 Patients in Italy’s Bergamo

    Russian military experts  prepare to carry out a complete sanitary disinfection treatment of the Martino Zanchi care home for the elderly in a suburb of Bergamo, Italy.

    Russian Military Doctors Begin Receiving, Treating COVID-19 Patients in Italy’s Bergamo


    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russian military doctors have begun providing 24-hour care at a field hospital in the Italian city of Bergamo for patients that have tested positive for COVID-19, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Monday.
    READ MORE
  • 15:10

    France Faces Worst Recession Since 1945 Due to COVID-19 – Finance Minister

    France Faces Worst Recession Since 1945 Due to COVID-19 – Finance Minister


    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Monday that the COVID-19 pandemic would cause an economic recession in the country in 2020, one worse than what France experienced at the end of World War II.
    READ MORE
  • 15:09

    US Military in South Korea Tests Guests for Coronavirus With… Apple Vinegar

    An US Air Force soldier patrol the perimetre around a F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter jet

    US Military in South Korea Tests Guests for Coronavirus With… Apple Vinegar


    The Daegu Garrison has introduced smell tests as an additional measure, apart from necessary gate checks for temperature and cough, as even those with mild symptoms have been found to showcase anosmia, or in other words, the loss of smell.
    READ MORE
  • 15:08

    Number of COVID-19 Cases in Indonesia Approaching 2,500 – Health Ministry

    The number of cases of the coronavirus in Indonesia has reached 2,491, with 218 of them being registered over the past 24 hours, the Health Ministry said on Monday.
    According to the ministry, 11 new fatalities have been registered in the country, bringing the total death toll to 209. Meanwhile, a total of 192 patients have fully recovered.
    In late March, Indonesian President Joko Widodo declared a health emergency due to the spread of COVID-19. As a part of measures to curb the pandemic, the authorities have also temporarily banned entry and transit services for foreign nationals.
  • 15:05

    FIFA Set to Extend Coronavirus-Disrupted 2019/20 Football Season Indefinitely – Reports

    FIFA President Gianni Infantino gestures as he walks on the stage before the start of the 69th FIFA congress in Paris, Wednesday, June 5, 2019.

    FIFA Set to Extend Coronavirus-Disrupted 2019/20 Football Season Indefinitely – Reports


    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The world football governing body FIFA is planning to extend the 2019/20 season indefinitely, which will allow domestic leagues to decide how to conclude their seasons, the majority of which were initially scheduled to end in April and May but were disrupted due to the COVID-19 outbreak, The Athletic sports news portal reported.
    READ MORE
  • 15:04

    Swiss Health Ministry Reports Record-Low Daily Increase of 522 COVID-19 Cases

    The Swiss Federal Office of Public Health on Monday has confirmed 522 new COVID-19 cases, the lowest day-on-day increase over the past three weeks, raising the overall number of those infected to 21,652.
    According to the health authorities, 584 patients have died from the disease, with 25 of the fatalities being recorded over the past 24 hours.
  • 14:10

    Streets of Moscow Amid Self-Isolation Regime as World Battles COVID-19 Pandemic – Video

    Empty street in Moscow

    Streets of Moscow Amid Self-Isolation Regime as World Battles COVID-19 Pandemic – Video


    In a move to fight the spread of the coronavirus, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin earlier imposed tough restrictions on movement, prohibiting residents from leaving their homes except in cases of emergency, to seek medical help, or to do essential shopping.
    READ MORE
  • 14:09

    Ex-Special Branch Officer Becomes Oldest Briton to Recover From Coronavirus at 99

    Ex-Special Branch Officer Becomes Oldest Briton to Recover From Coronavirus at 99


    Pollock, who turns 100 in November, served for the UK’s national security police force in Kenya – while there, she suffered from Malaria twice, which she says was “probably a little worse than coronavirus”.
    READ MORE
  • 14:07

    Danish Police Register Decline in Crime Across Country Amid COVID-19 Quarantine Measures

    Danish police (File)

    Danish Police Register Decline in Crime Across Country Amid COVID-19 Quarantine Measures


    STOCKHOLM (Sputnik) – A drop in crime has been observed across Denmark against the backdrop of the restrictive measures imposed by the government to curb the COVID-19 outbreak, the country’s police said.
    READ MORE
  • 14:04

    Outside of New York City Hospital as Doctors Join Efforts Against COVID-19 Pandemic – Video

    A woman walks by the Javits Convention Center as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues in New York, U.S., March 22, 2020

    Outside of New York City Hospital as Doctors Join Efforts Against COVID-19 Pandemic – Video


    Last week, US President Donald Trump ordered to deploy 1,000 military personnel, consisting mostly of doctors, nurses, and healthcare specialists to New York City amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.
    READ MORE
  • 13:38

    US Stocks Open Higher Amid COVID-19 Slowdown Hopes

  • 13:35

    New Delhi Receives 170,000 Medical Protection Suits From China

  • 13:26

    Almost 300 New Cases Confirmed in Serbia, Total Rises to 2,200

  • 13:17

    Passengers Continue Disembarking From Coronavirus-Hit Ship Coral Princess in Miami – Video

  • 12:47

    Russia to Allocate $1 Million to WHO in 2020 to Fight COVID-19

    A logo is pictured on the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, November 22, 2017

    Russia to Allocate $1 Million to WHO in 2020 to Fight COVID-19


    Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko stated on Monday that most specialists believe that the coronavirus appeared naturally and not as a result of some experiment.
    READ MORE
  • 12:23

    FIFA Set to Extend Coronavirus-Disrupted 2019/20 Football Season Indefinitely – Reports

  • 12:09

    UK PM’s Spokesman Says Boris Johnson is Not on a Ventilator

    Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson appears on a monitor for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) meeting in London, Britain March 28, 2020

    UK PM’s Spokesman Says Boris Johnson is Not on a Ventilator


    The prime minister was admitted to a hospital on 5 April after his COVID-19-related symptoms failed to disappear over a week after being diagnosed with the infection.
    READ MORE
  • 11:34

    Number of Infected in Netherlands Rises to 18,803

  • 11:26

    Street Outside Virchow Clinic in Berlin – Video

  • 11:22

    COVID-19 Cases in Ukraine’s Kiev Up by 22 to 267

  • 11:03

    Oman’s COVID-19 Tally Rises by 33 to 331

  • 10:58

    Prime Minister Modi Urges ‘Digital Indians’ to Use Govt’s COVID-19 Detection App ‘Aarogya Setu’

    FILE- In this April 30, 2014 file photo, India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi holds his party's symbol and looks into his phone after casting his vote in Ahmadabad, India

    Prime Minister Modi Urges ‘Digital Indians’ to Use Govt’s COVID-19 Detection App ‘Aarogya Setu’


    New Delhi (Sputnik): Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, India’s federal government has launched a mobile application named Arogya Setu (literally Health Bridge) to enable people to self-assess the risk of catching the infection. The app also helps to find out whether the user has interacted with someone who could have tested positive for COVID-19.
    READ MORE
  • 10:52

    French Police Issue About 480,000 Fines Over COVID-19 Lockdown Violations

  • 10:42

    Switzerland Confirms 21,652 Cases, Death Toll Grows to 584

  • 10:38

    Putin and Netanyahu Agree on Coordinating Fight Against Coronavirus

  • 10:21

    Israeli Startup Using AI to Create App to Help Diagnose COVID-19 Via Voice Analysis

    “At the moment, Vocalis Health is working hard to create COVID-19 diagnostic technology. The company uses patented voice analytic solutions to find a way to distinguish between the voices of healthy and infected people. For this purpose artificial intelligence is used”, Kenes Rakishev, investor of Beyond Verbal, part of the Vocalis Health app said in a statement obtained by Sputnik.
  • 10:08

    Indian MPs, PM Modi, President Kovind Cut Their Salary by 30% for a Year to Support COVID-19 Fight

    Black leather wallet with money

    Indian MPs, PM Modi, President Kovind Cut Their Salary by 30% for a Year to Support COVID-19 Fight


    Earlier today, the Indian Health Ministry reported that the number of coronavirus-related deaths in India had reached 109, while 490 people had tested positive in the past 24 hours, bringing the total count to 4,067.
    READ MORE
  • 10:05

    COVID-19 Death Toll in Iran Grows to 3,739, Number of Infected Surpasses 60,500

  • 09:51

    Situation Outside London Hospital After PM Boris Johnson Was Admitted Over COVID-19 Symptoms – Video

    Situation Outside London Hospital After PM Boris Johnson Was Admitted Over COVID-19 Symptoms – Video


    On Sunday evening, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to a hospital for tests as he continued to display persistent symptoms of COVID-19.
    READ MORE
  • 09:51

    Moscow to Soon Start Testing Foreign Express COVID-19 Diagnostics Systems – Deputy Mayor

  • 09:48

    Number of Infected in Spain Surpasses 135,000, Death Toll is Over 13,000 Введите сообщение

  • 09:32

    Indian Airline Announces Resumption of Air Services Starting 15 April

    “GoAir is open for bookings from 15th April 2020 for its domestic flights. And the airline is open for bookings for international flights from 1st May 2020”, a spokesperson for the company said.
  • 09:25

    Iran Urges US to Remove Unilateral Sanctions on Tehran Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

  • 09:23

    Austria Prolongs Lockdown to End of April, No Mass Events Will be Held Until June – Chancellor Kurz

  • 09:10

    Japan’s PM Abe Proposes Stimulus Package Worth $1 Trillion as Part of COVID-19 Response

    Passersby wearing protective face masks, following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), walk at Kabukicho entertainment and shopping district in Tokyo, Japan

    Japan’s Abe Proposes State of Emergency, Stimulus Package Worth $1 Trillion Due to COVID-19 Outbreak


    Earlier in the day, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is planning to declare a state of emergency in the country later this week in order to contain the rapid spread of COVID-19.
    READ MORE
  • 08:56

    Death Toll in Australia Reaches 220, Over 12,000 Infected

  • 08:47

    Philippines Reports 414 New Coronavirus Cases, Bringing Total to 3,660

  • 08:17

    Libya’s GNA Accuses LNA of Violating Peace Deal During COVID-19 Crisis

  • 07:55

    US Provides Almost $3 Bln in Aid for India to Curb Coronavirus

  • 07:37

    Russia Confirms 954 New COVID-19 Cases in 49 Regions Over 24 Hours

  • 07:37

    Russian Company Registers 40-Minute Express Test for COVID-19

    Russian Company Registers 40-Minute Express Test for COVID-19


    Numerous countries continue to research ways to introduce precise tests for the COVD-19 infection, as the pandemic has already claimed almost 70,000 lives. At present, over 1,270,000 people have been diagnosed with the disease worldwide.
    READ MORE
  • 07:26

    Polish Minister Rules Out Rescheduling May Presidential Election Due to COVID-19

  • 06:37

    UK Prime Minister Johnson Will Undergo Tests in Hospital Today, Housing Secretary Says

    Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits a laboratory at the Public Health England National Infection Service on 1 March 2020

    UK Prime Minister Johnson Will Undergo Tests in Hospital Today, Housing Secretary Says


    The head of the British government had to self-isolate at his residence on Downing Street back in March after he tested positive for the coronavirus. At the same time, Prince Charles and Health Minister Matt Hancock also stated they had been diagnosed with COVID-19.
    READ MORE
  • 06:35

    Number of Infected in Georgia Rises to 188

  • 05:10

    Israel Reports Over 8,600 Infected, While Death Toll Rises to 51

  • 05:10

    Number of COVID-19-Related Deaths in India Exceeds 100

    NEW DELHI (Sputnik) – The number of coronavirus-related deaths in India has reached 109, while 490 people have tested positive in the past 24 hours, bringing the total count to 4,067, the country’s Health Ministry said on Monday.
    The previous data indicated that there were 3,577 COVID-19 active cases across the country.
    According to the Health Ministry, 291 people have recovered from the disease, and 109 have died.
    The western state of Maharashtra is the most affected by the virus — the state has 690 cases. The capital territory, Delhi, has 503 cases, and Tamil Nadu has so far confirmed 571 cases.
  • 04:47

    Number of COVID-19 Cases in Germany Exceeds 95,000, Death Toll Tops 1,434 – Koch Institute

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has jumped by 3,677 to 95,391, and the death toll has risen by 92 to 1,434 in the past 24 hours, the Robert Koch Institute said.
    According to the latest data, the majority of cases have been recorded in Bavaria (24,974), North Rhine-Westphalia (19,384), and Baden-Wurttemberg (19,395). Berlin has 3,670 cases.
    Germany remains the third most affected country in Europe after Spain and Italy in terms of the number of COVID-19 patients. There are over 620,000 cases throughout Europe.
  • 04:45

    Thailand Reports 51 New Coronavirus Cases and Three Fatalities

  • 04:43

    Japan’s Abe to Declare State of Emergency on 8 April Amid COVID-19 Pandemic – Reports

    Tourists wearing protective face masks, following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), visit Asakusa neighbourhood in Tokyo, Japan March 8, 2020

    Japan’s Abe to Declare State of Emergency on 8 April Amid COVID-19 Pandemic – Reports


    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is planning to declare a state of emergency in the country on Wednesday to contain the rapid spread of COVID-19, the Kyodo news agency reported on Monday, citing a government official.
    READ MORE

«تايتانك» أميركا تغرق والربيع الصينيّ يجتاح العالم!

محمد صادق الحسيني

كلّ شيء في زمن الكورونا يشي بانهيار منظومة أو معادلة المنتصرين في الحرب العالمية الثانية وتبلور منظومة جديدة بديلة لها رويداً رويداً..!

إنّ الصراع الدولي المحتدم، بين قوى الإمبريالية العالمية بقيادة الولايات المتحدة والدول الداعية الى إقامة علاقات دولية قائمة على المنافع المشتركة بعيداً عن روح الهيمنة والسيطرة على ثروات الشعوب ومنع استكمال الدول لسيادتها على أراضيها وثرواتها ومسيرتها المستقبلية، التي تحدد استقلالها الاقتصادي وتأمين نمو وتطور شعوبها من عدمه، في ظلّ اجتياح وباء كورونا لمعظم دول العالم قد بدأ يأخذ أبعاداً استراتيجية ستقود العالم الى تغييرات جذرية في قيادته.

وأولى نتائجه الحتمية ستكون إنهاء سيطرة الولايات المتحدة على القرار الدولي وعلى قيادة العالم، وهو تحوّل نوعي لم يحدث منذ انهيار الاتحاد السوفياتي حتى الآن.

فالولايات المتحدة، التي ظلّ ينكر رئيسها بكلّ صلف وعنصرية وجود وباء كورونا حتى قبل أيّام، أصبحت هي المركز الرئيسي لهذا الوباء في العالم، مما جعلها في موقف أكثر ضعفاً في حروبها التجارية ضدّ الصين وفي فرض عقوباتها على روسيا وإيران وسورية وغيرها من الدول. فها هي مجموعة الـ 77 وغيرها من القوى الدولية تطالب الولايات المتحدة بإنهاء عقوباتها ضدّ إيران وغيرها. كما انّ الصين وروسيا كانتا تناديان بذلك منذ أمد بعيد.

من جهة أخرى فإنّ مظاهر الضعف، التي تعاني منها واشنطن، لا تقتصر فقط على فشلها في التصدي لوباء كورونا في الولايات والمدن الأميركية، إنما كذلك في فشلها الذريع في حماية العسكريين الأميركيين من هذا الوباء. فبعد إصابة أكثر من 1500 من موظفي البنتاغون بوباء كورونا ها هم جنود البحريه الأميركية، على متن حاملة الطائرات الأميركية، ثيودور روزفلت، المنتشرة في غرب المحيط الهادئ (جزيرة غوام) مع مجموعتها القتالية، التي تعمل بالطاقة النووية، وعلى متنها 5000 بحار أصيب عدد منهم بالوباء مما اضطر قائد الحاملة، الكابتن بريت كروزيير، إلى طلب الاستغاثة من مسؤوليه والذين أصدروا أمراً بطرده قبل يومين، من سلاح البحرية الأميركية، بدل إغاثته، ولكنهم اضطروا، على الرغم من ذلك، الى إخلاء أربعة آلاف من أولئك البحارة وإخضاعهم للحجر.

ولم يقف الأمر عند حاملة الطائرات، ثيودور روزفلت، بل إنّ عدداً من بحارة حاملة الطائرات الأميركية، رونالد ريغان، المنتشرة مع مجموعتها القتالية، كجزء من الأسطول السابع الأميركي، في قاعدة يوكوسوكا Yukosuka البحرية في اليابان وقد اضطرت قيادة سلاح البحرية الأميركية الى إخلاء الآلاف من بحارتها الى اليابسة وإخضاعهم للحجر أيضاً.

ولكن ما علاقة هذا بذاك؟ أيّ ما هي العلاقة بين إصابات الجنود الأميركيين بوباء كورونا وصراع بلادهم مع الصين حول قيادة العالم؟

لتوضيح هذه العلاقة لا بدّ من الإضاءة على بعض النقاط المهمة، التي لا تُرى بالعين المجردة، تماماً كما هو حال فيروس كورونا. ومن بين أهمّ هذه النقاط ما يلي:

1

ـ إنّ إصابة قرابة عشرة آلاف بحار أميركي، في المحيط الهادئ وبحر اليابان، بوباء كورونا وخروجهم من الخدمة عملياً، يعني أنّ حاملتي طائرات أميركيتين في تلك المنطقة، على متنهما حوالي 180 طائرة حربية قد خرجتا من الخدمة أيضاً. وهو الأمر الذي يشكل خللاً كبيراً في ميزان القوى العسكري، بين الصين وروسيا من جهة والولايات المتحدة وحلفائها من جهة أخرى.

خاصة أنّ القوات البحرية الصينية، المنتشرة في بحر الصين الشرقي وبحر الصين الجنوبي، ومعها سلاح البحرية الروسية، في غرب المحيط الهادئ، أيّ في المنطقة العسكرية الروسية الجنوبية الشرقية/ مقاطعة فلاديفوستوك، الى جانب سلاح البحرية والقوة الصاروخية في كوريا الشمالية. كلّ هذه القوات تحاصر، استراتيجياً، القوات الأميركية المنتشرة في غرب المحيط الهادئ وفي عمقه الشرقي، باتجاه سواحل الولايات المتحدة الغربية، وكذلك تلك القوات المنتشرة في بحر اليابان. الأمر الذي يجعل القوات الأميركية، في مسرح العمليات المذكور أعلاه، تواجه العديد من المشاكل التي تجعل وضعها غاية في الصعوبة، في حال حصول نزاع مسلح مع تلك المنطقة. او بالأحرى في حال قرّرت الولايات المتحدة التحرّش عسكرياً بالصين او التعرّض لقواتها البحرية في بحار الصين.

2

ـ أما النقطة الثانية، التي تجب الإضاءة عليها، فهي انّ السيطرة السريعة للدولة الصينية على وباء كورونا وحصر انتشاره بشكل كامل في مناطق صغيرة نسبياً من الصين، ومنع انتشاره بين أفراد القوات المسلحة الصينية، بكلّ صنوفها، أفشلت مشاريع المخططين العسكريين الاستراتيجيين الأميركيين، الذين كانوا يأملون غير ذلك ويمنون النفس بانتشار الوباء بشكل واسع بين أفراد الجيش الصيني، وبشكل يؤدّي الى شلل في قدراته الصاروخية والبحرية، خاصة في منطقة أرخبيل سِنكاكو (Senkaku) شمال شرق جزيرة تايوان، المنشقة عن الصين الأمّ والمدعومة اميركياً، مما يجعل نجاح الولايات المتحدة في تنفيذ اعتداءات عسكرية ضدّ الصين الشعبية ممكناً.

3

ـ وهنا، عندما انقلب السحر على الساحر، وفشلت مخططاتهم، بدأت القوى الخفية، التي تحكم الولايات المتحدة، وتحرك الكثير مما يطلق عليه في واشنطن مراكز صنع القرار، بدأت تلك القوى بشنّ حملة إعلامية مركزة، في وسائل إعلام أميركية وأوروبية، تركز فيها على مخططات الصين لمهاجمة جزيرة تايوان المنشقة ونشر المزيد من القوات البحرية، الرديفة لسلاح البحرية الصيني، وهي قوات تنتشر على طول بحار الصين وعرضها، وخاصة في مناطق جزر باراسيل (Paracels) بحر الصين الجنوبي وجزر سِنكاكو، في جنوب بحر الصين الشرقي، وهي جزر صينية خالصة. ولكن الولايات المتحده تتهم الصين بنشر القوات البحرية الرديفة (عبارة عن جيش من الصيادين مقَسَّم الى مجموعات صغيرة مجهّزة بزوارق صيد… ايّ ما يشبه جيش الزوارق السريعة الإيرانية ولكن على نطاق أوسع بكثير)، نقول إنّ واشنطن تتهم بكين بنشر هذه القوات لتثبيت سيطرتها على الجزر الصناعية، التي أقامتها الصين في بحارها لتعزيز أمنها، والتمهيد لغزو جزيرة تايوان وضمّها للصين الأمّ… أو للبرّ الصيني.

4

ـ وبناءً على ما تقدّم فإنّ النتيجة النهائية، قريبة المنال، في الصراع الدولي على بحار العالم، وبالتالي على مقدّرات هذا العالم، إذ ستكون بالتأكيد لصالح المحور المعادي للهيمنة الاستعمارية الأميركية. وستضطر الولايات المتحدة، مجبرة، للبدء في سحب قواتها البحرية والجوية من كلّ البحار المُشار اليها أعلاه دون قيد أو شرط، وعلى عكس ما تريده واشنطن تماماً. اذ انّ المخططات الأميركية تهدف الى إخضاع الصين وإرغامها على التفاوض مع الولايات المتحدة، تماماً كما هو الحال الذين تتمنّاه مع إيران، من موقف الضعيف.

5

ـ لكن الصين، كما تؤكد الوقائع في العلاقات الدولية الحالية، قد تجاوزت هذه المرحلة (مرحلة الخضوع للضغوط) بكثير، وبدأت هجوم الربيع في كامل مسرح المواجهة الدولي مع الولايات المتحدة. فها هو طريقها الواحد وحزامها الواحد يتفرّع الى طرق عدة وأحزمة عدة. فهناك الطريق البري، من بكين الى مدريد، وهناك الطريق البحري من موانئ الصين المختلفة الى مرسيليا الفرنسية، وهناك الجسور الجوية الى مختلف الاتجاهات وكلها تنقل المساعدات والتجهيزات الطبية الصينية لمساعدة شعوب العالم على الانتصار على الوباء المنتشر حالياً. وهذا يعني، بالترجمة الفعلية الدقيقة أنّ الصين قد بدأت في الجلوس على عرش العالم، المستند الى التعاون الدولي الحقيقي والمثمر، وفي ظلّ انكفاء كامل للولايات المتحدة الأميركية عن المسرح الدولي، إذا ما استثنينا أعمال القرصنة الجوية التي تمارسها إدارة واشنطن، لسرقة التجهيزات الطبية الصينية المرسلة الى شعوب العالم، كما حصل مع الطائرة التي كانت تحمل شحنة كبيرة من هذه التجهيزات وتتجه الى ألمانيا عندما استولت عليها، قبل يومين، جهات أميركية مجهولة، في مطار بانكوك وحوّلت اتجاهها عنوة إلى أميركا. وهو الأمر نفسه الذي حصل مع شحنة مساعدات كندية متجهة الى فرنسا تمّت قرصنتها، من قبل واشنطن، قبل أيّام في كندا.

6

ـ كما تجب ملاحظة أنّ هجوم الربيع الصيني هذا لا يقتصر على المساعدات الإنسانية والطارئة فحسب، بل انه يمتدّ الى مجالات الاستثمار المستدام، في طيف واسع من المشاريع الإنتاجية والخدمية، التي تعزّز اقتصاد الدول النامية وتبني قاعدة لاستقلال وطني حقيقي لهذه الدول وانفكاكها من نير الاملاءات الأميركية.

فها هو البنك الدولي يؤكد في آخر إحصائية له، حول الاستثمارات الصينية، إنّ مجموع ما استثمرته الصين في الدول الأفريقيّة، قد وصل الى 208 مليارات دولار… إضافة الى استثماراتها في العديد من الدول الأخرى ومن بينها دولة الاحتلال الإسرائيليّ. إذ إنّ الجهات التنمويّة المعنيّة في الصين قد استثمرت مبالغ كبيرة في ميناء حيفا الفلسطيني المحتلّ، كما استثمرت بقوّة في قطاع الصناعات الدوائيّة، واستحوذت على كبريات مصانع الأدوية هناك. وهي استثمارات استراتيجيّة أثارت غضب سيد البيت الأبيض. إلا أنّ حكومة الاحتلال وافقت عليها، رغم أنها أشدّ التصاقاً بالسيّد الأميركي، من بعض الأذناب العرب الذين يرفضون فتح باب التعاون مع الاستثمارات الصينية، رغم أنها غير مشروطة على الإطلاق ولا ترتبط بأيّ أهداف سياسية، سوى تمتين العلاقات الدولية على قاعدة المصالح المتبادلة.

وتلك الأيام نداولها بين الناس.

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله…

The Coronavirus Pandemic Will Forever Alter the World Order

by Henry A. Kissinger

The Wall Street JournalApril 3, 2020


The U.S. must protect its citizens from disease while starting the urgent work of planning for a new epoch.

The surreal atmosphere of the Covid-19 pandemic calls to mind how I felt as a young man in the 84th Infantry Division during the Battle of the Bulge. Now, as in late 1944, there is a sense of inchoate danger, aimed not at any particular person, but striking randomly and with devastation. But there is an important difference between that faraway time and ours. American endurance then was fortified by an ultimate national purpose. Now, in a divided country, efficient and farsighted government is necessary to overcome obstacles unprecedented in magnitude and global scope. Sustaining the public trust is crucial to social solidarity, to the relation of societies with each other, and to international peace and stability.

Nations cohere and flourish on the belief that their institutions can foresee calamity, arrest its impact and restore stability. When the Covid-19 pandemic is over, many countries’ institutions will be perceived as having failed. Whether this judgment is objectively fair is irrelevant. The reality is the world will never be the same after the coronavirus. To argue now about the past only makes it harder to do what has to be done.

The coronavirus has struck with unprecedented scale and ferocity. Its spread is exponential: U.S. cases are doubling every fifth day. At this writing, there is no cure. Medical supplies are insufficient to cope with the widening waves of cases. Intensive-care units are on the verge, and beyond, of being overwhelmed. Testing is inadequate to the task of identifying the extent of infection, much less reversing its spread. A successful vaccine could be 12 to 18 months away.

The U.S. administration has done a solid job in avoiding immediate catastrophe. The ultimate test will be whether the virus’s spread can be arrested and then reversed in a manner and at a scale that maintains public confidence in Americans’ ability to govern themselves. The crisis effort, however vast and necessary, must not crowd out the urgent task of launching a parallel enterprise for the transition to the post-coronavirus order.

Leaders are dealing with the crisis on a largely national basis, but the virus’s society-dissolving effects do not recognize borders. While the assault on human health will—hopefully—be temporary, the political and economic upheaval it has unleashed could last for generations. No country, not even the U.S., can in a purely national effort overcome the virus. Addressing the necessities of the moment must ultimately be coupled with a global collaborative vision and program. If we cannot do both in tandem, we will face the worst of each.

Drawing lessons from the development of the Marshall Plan and the Manhattan Project, the U.S. is obliged to undertake a major effort in three domains. First, shore up global resilience to infectious disease. Triumphs of medical science like the polio vaccine and the eradication of smallpox, or the emerging statistical-technical marvel of medical diagnosis through artificial intelligence, have lulled us into a dangerous complacency. We need to develop new techniques and technologies for infection control and commensurate vaccines across large populations. Cities, states and regions must consistently prepare to protect their people from pandemics through stockpiling, cooperative planning and exploration at the frontiers of science.

Second, strive to heal the wounds to the world economy. Global leaders have learned important lessons from the 2008 financial crisis. The current economic crisis is more complex: The contraction unleashed by the coronavirus is, in its speed and global scale, unlike anything ever known in history. And necessary public-health measures such as social distancing and closing schools and businesses are contributing to the economic pain. Programs should also seek to ameliorate the effects of impending chaos on the world’s most vulnerable populations.

Third, safeguard the principles of the liberal world order. The founding legend of modern government is a walled city protected by powerful rulers, sometimes despotic, other times benevolent, yet always strong enough to protect the people from an external enemy. Enlightenment thinkers reframed this concept, arguing that the purpose of the legitimate state is to provide for the fundamental needs of the people: security, order, economic well-being, and justice. Individuals cannot secure these things on their own. The pandemic has prompted an anachronism, a revival of the walled city in an age when prosperity depends on global trade and movement of people.

The world’s democracies need to defend and sustain their Enlightenment values. A global retreat from balancing power with legitimacy will cause the social contract to disintegrate both domestically and internationally. Yet this millennial issue of legitimacy and power cannot be settled simultaneously with the effort to overcome the Covid-19 plague. Restraint is necessary on all sides—in both domestic politics and international diplomacy. Priorities must be established.

We went on from the Battle of the Bulge into a world of growing prosperity and enhanced human dignity. Now, we live an epochal period. The historic challenge for leaders is to manage the crisis while building the future. Failure could set the world on fire.

Mr. Kissinger served as secretary of state and national security adviser in the Nixon and Ford administrations.

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: