Humankind maintains few black and white images of the 1918-1920 Spanish flu – which has been described as one of the deadliest epidemics, and although it is only 100 years old, the images give the impression that they belong to a past so distant that it is impossible to reproduce again.
Perhaps this false sense of man’s unconditional belief in the scientific progress he has achieved, after qualitative leaps and discoveries such as decoding the DNA and genome, the invasion of the moon and the ambitious projects to explore the planet Mars, which made humans believe that they have the ability to control diseases, especially epidemics.
Suddenly, and again, images similar to those taken a century ago spread to the media in 2020, where we see people wearing masks and pictures of field hospitals that receive patients, but this time not in black and white, but in high-resolution quality, and in the face of the difficulty of finding a vaccine The last remaining shield for man became the muzzle, or the piece of cloth with which he tries to ensure his continuity on this planet.
This is how the Moroccan writer and academic, Hussein Majdoubi, began the introduction to his new book, “Coronavirus: The World is Hostage to the Face,” published in French in October by the publishing house “Alef Books”, in which it deals with the first global quarantine in human history.
The author sets out to search for Patient Zero, analyzes why humanity has emerged more divided from this pandemic, and highlights how mistrust between the great powers hinders the production of a vaccine to save humans from paralysis.
In the book, which is 162 pages of medium size, Majdoubi deals with how this surprise guest “Coronavirus” made a turning point in the way humanity lived and imposed on it what he considered “the unpredictable Third World War.”
It highlights that mankind has suffered the ravages of epidemics, whether those resulting from viruses or bacteria, but for the first time collectively it suffers from a pandemic imposed on it the first quarantine in its history, from India and China to the American continent, through Europe and Africa. More than 4 billion people were under quarantine.
The author says, summarizing his book, “Humanity suffered from the first quarantine in its history, so it must move for a global agenda concerned with education, scientific research, health and well-being for all, that is, for a single common destiny.”
The necessity of a global agenda
Majdoubi count the human and economic losses, and how the victims of the post-Corona stage will be much more than the dead due to the virus, as the economic losses in the future will be serious and threatening the economic financial model to collapse, and this will increase the rate of suicide and death due to deprivation. These losses are believed to continue for many years, as always happens with disasters and major wars.
The author, who moved to the British city of Reading after nearly a quarter of a century spent in Spain, calls for humanity to bet on a unified agenda towards a common destiny through re-education and scientific research to the front of preoccupations away from ideologies and political conflicts, and he cites that humanity has advanced scholars such as Avicenna and Newton Einstein and Louis Pasteur, not politicians.
In connection with this, he believes that the final decision on global epidemics should be in the hands of a strong scientific committee and not in the hands of heads (of states and governments) even if they are democratically elected. And it calls for strengthening the powers of the World Health Organization away from political bidding to serve as the world’s doctor.
Will the world end?
The book addresses the criticisms directed at scientists for failing to find a medicine either to treat Corona disease or the vaccine that protects a person from infection with it. And it demands that two factors be taken into consideration: that scientific research has not reached the end, especially in the medical field, as it has been unable to find medicines for many diseases, including those resulting from the virus, such as AIDS, but science ultimately succeeds in overcoming infectious diseases. Thanks to him, humanity progresses and saves itself from annihilation.
In relation to the second factor, Majdoubi believes that part of the deficiency is due to states ’failure to fund a real agenda for scientists, which limits their freedom, and has left citizens’ health in the hands of multinational companies that are looking for profit more than eliminating diseases.
He also says: How much the world is in need today for scientists from the clay of French Pasteur, who worked freely away from the influence of companies that did not exist at his time.
Nevertheless, the author refers to what he considers the disappointment of the majority of the world’s citizens when many believed at the beginning of the outbreak of the pandemic that humanity had reached a certain degree of maturity to participate and collectively work in the face of the new challenge, and to strive to develop a global vaccine under the coordination of the United Nations. A “nationwide” vaccine manufacturer state, which suggests that humanity will emerge from the pandemic more divided.
Second Cold War
The writer pauses a lot at the geopolitical developments that the pandemic brings with the beginning of the formation of a new international map, which is reflected in the moral victory of China over the United States.
Beijing has succeeded in containing the virus, and the number of dead people did not exceed 5 thousand and the injured did not exceed 100 thousand, which is a country with a billion and 300 million people, while the West records more than 60% of the world’s cases, whether dead or injured, according to the figures and statistics announced on which the book relied.
The author analyzes various reports and opinions that talk about the so-called Cold War II, this time between Beijing and Washington, not between Washington and Moscow. And restore the decisions of the US administration at the end of 2009, when China was considered the future adversary, and the Corona virus did nothing but formalize a war of this kind, and accelerate it to become the new given that divides the world.
Towards the digital revolution
The book, distributed in 11 chapters, deals with other issues such as: How the world moved to the digital revolution imposed by the pandemic after it became part of human activity, such as health, education and diplomacy, that it is being worked on remotely thanks to the Internet. How will the world be the scene of more economic disparities between a first world that has the resources to get out of the economic crisis and a third world that will drown more and more foreign and domestic loans and debts.
“Corona virus: The world is locked in the gag” is one of the early attempts to study the pandemic by Arab writers and intellectuals, and the author is working on translating it into Arabic in the coming weeks.