I am in no way belittling the gravity of the coronavirus which the World Health Organisation classed as a pandemic, however, people have been intimidated by this virus and the news spreading with it. There have been many conspiracies about how it began, the most prominent of which is that it is a type of biological welfare launched by the US against its largest economic competitor, China. This idea is brought into question when we see that America has allocated $10 billion to confront the disease and declared a state of emergency.
Others have said China did this to itself, in an effort to get rid of foreign investors, in support of its economy, which will surpass the US’ with this political strategy. As a result of the mayhem caused by the virus, foreign investors have been forced to sell their shares in high-value technology companies at low prices and the Chinese government has been buying these up, allowing China to reap about $20 billion in two days.
They argue this scenario is true because China says it has contained the virus and may be eradicating it, leading them to claim that Beijing already had the treatment ready before the virus began to spread.
Each side brings conclusive evidence to support its suggestion. Perhaps the most famous of these is a novel written by Dean Koontz entitled “The Eyes of Darkness” published in 1981, which predicts the coronavirus and emergence in Wuhan, China, in 2020. The novel basically suggests that the virus is a human product as part of the germ wars China is waging against the United States.
However, 27 renowned scientists published the Lancet that the coronavirus has a similar source to the SARS outbreak and came from the wild.
Some have gone too far, and have seen the crisis from a purely Islamic perspective, citing prophetic sayings dating back 1,400 years ago. They related this virus to the end of the world and considered it an act of revenge for China’s brutal crackdown against Uyghurs Muslims. They, however, forget that Muslims are not immune from the spread of the virus.
The Egyptian Minister of Endowments even went to the extent of accusing the Muslim Brotherhood of calling for the spread of the virus worldwide!
So far, the number of those infected by the virus is far lower than the number of people who have cholera or tuberculosis. There are currently under 200,000 cases of coronavirus in a global population of over 7.7 billion. Of those infected, the vast majority recover completely; those who have died from the virus have had underlying ailments.
How the virus came about is not as important.
I also deplore the political, economic and religious utilisation of the coronavirus to beat political opponents and defame them, and led to the collapse of global exchanges. Trump welcomed the decline in oil prices, which increased the possibility of the conspiracy among some supporters of “the conspiracy theory”, especially that this decline came immediately after Trump took his decision to ban flights from most of Europe, angering his allies.
Mosques were closed in some Arab countries, even the Great Mosque of Mecca and the Noble Prophet’s Mosque in Saudi Arabia, on the pretext of sterilisation. Umrah was prohibited and Hajj may also be prevented.
This panic and terror have made global cities which are normally hubs of activity ghost towns with cafes, clubs, shops, restaurants, and schools closed, and hundreds of millions stuck at home. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson expressed this state of fear and panic best when he said: “The virus is going to spread further.. I must level with you that more families are going to lose loved ones before their time.”
That global movement against the coronavirus didn’t take action when people were starving to death in the southern hemisphere or being killed through the use of lethal weapons that are sold by the West. What if the world paid attention to man-made wars and aggression against the weak in order to seize their assets?
The coronavirus will not reach the level of brutality and violence of colonial and authoritarian regimes. The number of people the US killed in its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq dwarf fatalities through the virus. This is in addition to the one million Syrians who were killed by the murderer Bashar Al-Assad, and the hundreds of thousands of Yemeni people killed by the arrogant Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman with his counterpart, the Crown Prince of the UAE.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.