If Boris Johnson hadn’t closed down his country and if scientists were organized well enough to give us a quick determination that the disease caused by Omicron is – as claimed by the South African Chief Medical Officer – mild, and/or that existing vaccines offer as much or better protection against Omicron than the flu vaccine does for the flu… the world would be in a much better place, today.
Whether Johnson’s policies and all those who followed him were well thought-out or reactionary doesn’t matter anymore. The die is cast. This latest blow to tourism in sub-Saharan Africa could be lethal. It’s spreading far beyond tourism. The influential Sowetan-Live news published, “Travel bans smack of colonialism.” The war’s begun.
WHO’s exhausted arguing that Omicron can’t be stopped by travel bans which do however impede research and implementation of global initiatives to stem the virus. The organization concluded a special meeting yesterday begging western nations to open their borders and share more vaccines.
This is no longer just an epidemiological debate. It’s political, economic and cultural.
Think of all the American governors who refused to shut down, to issue mandates or even publish statistics. The “Trump Front.” And the Trump Front’s base is rural, poor and feels disenfranchised from the America we know and love. The Front becomes most vociferous and dynamic where the demographics of the under-privileged meet the urban Mar-A-Lagos. There, the victimized poorest and the criminal richest don’t collide but collude.
Excluding politicians, hedge-funders and other evil exploiters, the common denominator between Mar-A-Lago and The Front is ignorance and the fear that creates when something new and threatening emerges like Omicron. Self-interest becomes muddled when you don’t know what to do. That’s the worst terror for the selfish.
So whether you’re Ted Cruz fleeing to the Caribbean or Donald Trump admitting he obstructed justice, or any of the nameless 600 being hunted down for storming the Capitol on January 6, you’re scared and … reacting.
Like Boris Johnson and the dozens of countries that followed that closed their “borders” to a virus that sneaks through steel mesh. The ramifications weren’t thought out before the bridge was lifted from the moat: Jail for the insurgents. Loss for the politician. Disharmony for the world. The perfect cesspool for a couple more variants to form. (Is war with Russia part of this?)
“Hate for Africa is unscientific, mindless” writes another correspondent in the Sowetan.
”Donald Trump called Africa a ‘shit hole’… Western nations have treated Africa with total and utter disrespect. From monumental human rights violations …to the ruthless exploitation of Africa’s mineral wealth, these racist policies continue… Today, Southern Africa is being ruthlessly punished for discovering and alerting the world for identifying a new variant.”
There is one earth and the virus attacked earth, not Brooklyn, not Torres del Paine, not Stellenbosch. As it divides and conquers us it heaves us into raw and hurtful divisions and those with either nothing to lose or the most to lose begin to fight to the death.