Freedom of the press is the only way to have the culprits have their days in court and to prevent recurrence of this murderous ‘leadership’ style
Most smooth-talking politicians and dictators know how to hide with nice words that thousands will die in their countries because of their incompetence or willful lying for financial gain and to look good as leaders. The press must out them so that the populations can rise-up and reject them.
The political pattern is almost everywhere the same:
1. Leaders, in the recent past, got medical reports on how plagues like the COVID-19 could happen but did not provide the money to prepare for it.
2. When the outbreak came, leaders pretended there was no danger, to save face and the economy, endangering the citizens of their countries.
3. When things really get out of hand, leading health experts couldn’t speak the truth about these lies and neglect or they would be dismissed.
4. To save the economy and their own image in the short-run, politicians continued to trivialize the dangers, letting the virus infects countless.
5. The leaders then finally take tough measures but parading as national saviors while they created the huge scopes of the disaster.
This happened both in dictatorships and democracies, the East and West.
But let’s first look at countries where it didn’t go like that. Five countries very close to China quickly understood what was going on and took adequate action: Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan.
Note: They are all very close to China. They also are Asian countries full of … Asians. Did Arab and Western countries not take action because of racism? Assuming that if it hits the Chinese, they would be immune? One wonders.
In Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan they understood immediately that social distancing and handwashing were the essences to stop the virus. South- Korea had a sect of religious fanatics who spread the virus together with their Gospels, so they started massive testing of everyone.
Israel was fairly OK. Under a constant battle between the health experts and the economists/capitalists. But from the beginning, it was clear to the politicians here that it would be costly to stop the virus but postponement would be far more costly. That’s how they could say that saving lives would be the top priority because it’s also cheaper. Only not to offend Trump, it took too many days before Israel locked the borders for Americans. The cat got out of the bag a bit there. Draconian measures followed one upon the next. But it was all done with good, cool and collected planning. And, besides big restrictions, there are also enormous measures to support us.
Unfortunately, many sectors didn’t get the seriousness of the danger and disobeyed. Some Arab Israelis felt that Israel was hurting them ‘again.’ Not all ultra-Orthodox Jews understood what was going on (they don’t learn biology and don’t have TV and their leaders did neither). Many moderately religious Jews felt that trust in G-d must save us. First-, second- and third-generation ex-religious Jews, sick of others telling them what to do, often sought freedom rather than ‘enslavement’ to the ‘dictates’ of authorities.
This all on top of the normal human first reaction to disaster: denial.
A special shout-out to the rabbis and Waqf who said that it’s not so bad. Whether they are liberal Orthodox, mainstream Orthodox, ultra-Orthodox or Muslim, if they trivialize it, don’t listen to them! But hear what some national-religious and chareidi rabbis said: It’s preferable to pray at home!
But it could have been a lot worse in Israel, a country of 9.2 million, doing 5,268 soon going up to 14,000 corona tests a day. As of publication, Israel has in preventative house isolation 74,498 people (down from 130,000) including 6,000 from the IDF and 3,030 medical professionals who likely got infected due to inadequate protective gear, including 814 doctors and 893 nurses.
There already have been around 1,238 infected cases, 16 of them soldiers, including 274 of whom are hospitalized, 334 patients in home isolation, 97 in isolation in hotels, and 169 patients yet to find an approved facility. About 1,000 of these cases are lightly sick, some 24 moderately sick, and 34 in serious condition, (most of them elderly with preexisting conditions but one in his 40s who was healthy,) 1 critical and 1 fatal and 37 have recovered so far.
I want to put in my two cents on the discussion if it’s worth it to use secret service tracking of the infected to find people to put in quarantine. Soon that won’t be necessary because we will have community spreading: anyone can have it. There is a historic precedent to this discussion. When the AIDS epidemic was going strong, some smart people suggested locking all infected people away so that they can’t infect others. That was bad because there was a better alternative. Each person prevents themselves from becoming infected. In that case it was safe-sex. Here it is with social distancing.
But look at what other lying politicians and ruthless leaders are doing.
The PA: 30,000 workers from the West Bank don’t go home in the evening and stay in Israel for the time being to not transport the virus. And those inside the occupied West Bank are not allowed into Jewish towns. The Palestinian Authority is very optimistic. Even more PA subjects have recovered than in the whole of Israel. If you believe it, you’re a fool.
Iran: In Iran, also, the situation is ‘hopeful.’ People drop like flies but all is fine. As I mentioned before, the Iranian People are now plagued (pardon the pun) by poverty from the international sanctions and theft by the autocratic rulers, by a lack of freedom from the religious fanatics who rule them with an iron fist (even more so after the last fake elections), by severe drought from climate change and government mismanagement, by upcoming dense locusts swarms, and now by an epidemic of the coronavirus in a country that doesn’t care if they die and the dumping of 85,000 prisoners out of the overcrowded jails. We should expect the Iranians to rise up and overthrow the junta and must help them. That would end Iran’s worldwide sponsoring of the top terrorist groups, its nuclear threat, and anti-Zionism.
Europe: Of all the European leaders warned by Netanyahu, only Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz heard and understood him and sprang to action. How sad. He said: “Thank God, I can say in this case that Bibi Netanyahu contacted me some time ago and said, ‘Hey, you underestimate this in Europe. Wake up and do something.’ That was a call that shook me up.” With leaders so irresponsible, no wonder some young people too.
Certainly, the World Health Organization is stained by connivance. It took them weeks and months to proclaim it a pandemic giving the constant wrong impression that things could still end up not being so bad.
The Netherlands: By the time the government started to take it seriously, (world-famous became the PM’s nonchalant handshake after his call not to shake hands, but when called out, elbow bumps and … embraces the doc) thousands upon thousands were already infected. Unsurprisingly, the Dutch, who generally do as they’re told, en masse violate the advice to stay home.
The Dutch King recorded a “life” (sic) TV address to encourage the people. The cabinet had to approve of its broadcast and so there was no chance that he would have called out the negligent behavior of the government.
The USA: After years underfunding the health system and recently cutting the epidemiology agency, Trump trivialized the problem, ignored the warning by the secret service that the epidemic was coming, said that it would die down in days, tried to stay upbeat for the health of the economy. Investors got the message and the markets crashed. Only then Trump got (semi-)serious but meanwhile, millions were not insured, no-one gets sick pay so sick people keep working, there were no tests even in hospitals because the US had to make its own tests (the WHO had adopted the excellent German kits but capitalism and nationalism made that the CDC must use its ‘own,’ and they turned out faulty.)
Probably with thousands infected, still no one has a clue. Physicians go unprotected, suspected patients go to hospitals, infecting everyone there. The national experts stand every evening next to the failing politicians and can barely say what really is going on. But pretense is made in the USA. Two states have ordered lockdown but for the rest, it’s all up to the brains of every individual if they’d protect themselves and society. The US stopped foreign entry: the height of cynicism and deceit. There is hardly any country more dangerous and more contaminated now than the US. A total debacle. In any normal democracy, Trump would have to step down but not in the US.
China got off to a late start (denying the problem, oppressing the physician who raised the alarm as unpatriotic) but, after causing thousands of deaths, they found the solution. Everyone stays home. If you’re in the street still, we have a silver bullet for that: in your head. Within a month or so, the epidemic stopped. Now they have a new problem: people entering China and bringing with them … the virus. But they know what to do now.
Scandalously so, in the Western press, there is hardly any attention for what the pandemic COVID-19 does outside the word‘s powerbrokers.
Freedom of the press is the only way to spread the truth and have the culprits judged to deter and prevent this from happening again.
- Try everyone who’s lying and pretending, which cost many lives.
- Make a law that anyone gets jail who downplays what health experts say. (Like: smoking, eating meat/white bread, this epidemic is not so bad.)